Massachusetts Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
After You Are Injured
- Take care of your injuries immediately
- Contact a lawyer
- Document all injuries and any damage to property (get copies of accident reports, take pictures, keep receipts and invoices, keep notes of new symptoms, document time off from work, etc.)
- Get information from witnesses (phone numbers, addresses, statements, etc.)
- Open a claim with the other person's insurance company
- Do not give any statements to anyone other than the police before speaking with a lawyer
- Do not sign any releases of liability or potential claims before speaking with a lawyer
You have a limited amount of time to file your personal injury claim in Massachusetts. The statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file the claim with the court after you are injured. In some cases, the statute of limitations starts when the person becomes aware of the injury or should have become aware of the injury (the Discovery Rule). Massachusetts statute of limitations laws may differ from those of other states.
MASSACHUSETTS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS LAWS
|Type of Claim:||Statute of Limitation:|
|Negligence (car accidents, slip and fall, toxic torts, etc.)||3 years|
|Assault or Battery||3 years|
|Strict Liability||3 years|
|Products Liability||3 years|
|Wrongful Death||3 years|
Types of Claims: Who Is Liable?
The person or company who was negligent is liable. However, Massachusetts uses a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence to assign fault. This system of assigning fault has two important aspects to it. First, the injured party may recover only if he or she is less than 50 percent at fault. Second, if the injured party was also negligent, the original negligent party is only liable for the percentage of damages he or she caused.
For example, if you are in a car accident where the person who hit you ran a red light while you were speeding, the jury can find that running the red light was 80 percent negligent while your speeding was 20 percent negligent. You will only be rewarded 80 percent of your total damages. However, if the jury found that your speeding was 55 percent negligent, then you would not be able to recover any compensation at all.
Assault or Battery (Intentional Torts)
The person who deliberately caused the injury is liable.
The speaker or writer of the negative statement and anyone who repeats that statement is liable.
The person or company engaging in the dangerous activity — or who has, in some way, helped to put the product on the market (see below) — is liable. In strict liability cases involving damage caused by an animal, the person or company responsible for the animal is liable.
Anyone who has had a role in putting the product on the market could be liable. Frequently, though not always, this person or company must be someone involved in the sale of the product in the regular course of business.
Whoever would be liable for the activity that caused the death is liable.
Damages You May Receive
- Reimbursement for medical treatment and lost wages
- Reimbursement for damage to or loss of use of property that occurred as a result of the injury
- Loss of consortium (loss of services of your spouse: income, companionship, child care, etc.)
- Money for emotional distress and/or pain and suffering
- Injury to reputation
- Punitive damages (money given as punishment)