Have you been the victim of a car accident in Massachusetts? Car accidents can leave victims physically injured, emotionally distressed, and struggling to pay their medical bills, and the financial repercussions of a severe car accident can be long-lasting.
If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for losses incurred as a result. A personal injury lawyer from Kiley Law Group can help you understand the different types of damages available in car accident claims and how to value them.
Kiley Law Group has been representing car accident victims in Massachusetts for over 40 years. We have the knowledge and experience needed to help our clients recover maximum compensation for their losses. Call us today or complete the online form to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to take your call.
Types of Damages Available After a Massachusetts Car Accident
The word “damages” is a legal term used to describe the monetary compensation that may be awarded to a person after an accident. The damages that are awarded to victims of car accidents can be separated into three categories: economic, non-economic, or punitive.
Economic damages are calculable expenses, usually costs that were incurred as a direct result of the accident. Common compensatory economic damages in car accident cases include:
- Medical bills: Medical costs could include compensation for ambulance rides, hospital stays, transportation costs, prescriptions, surgeries, and more
- Future medical costs: If your injuries are severe, this is compensation for future medical procedures or long-term care
- Rehabilitation: Covers physical, occupational, speech, or other types of rehabilitation
- Property damage: Costs to repair or replace your vehicle, as well as reimbursement for any personal items damaged in the crash
- Rental car: If the damage to your vehicle prevents you from driving it, you could be reimbursed for the cost of a rental car until yours is fixed or replaced
- Lost wages: Reimbursement for missed wages or salary while your car accident injuries prevented you from returning to work
- Loss of benefits: This includes contributions your employer would have made toward your healthcare, vacation days, and retirement fund
- Loss of future earning potential: Compensation when severe injuries force a person to take a lower salary, change careers, or stop working altogether
- Assistive services: Reimbursement for household chores you were able to perform before the accident, such as mowing your lawn, cleaning your home, running errands, and other tasks
- Child care: Parents whose car accident injuries now prevent them from caring for their children can seek damages for child care expenses
Non-economic damages are losses suffered as a result of the accident that may be more personal than direct, out-of-pocket expenses. They are designed to compensate for how the car accident has impacted a person’s mental and emotional health and quality of life. These losses are not directly calculable and require estimations based on your economic damages.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for any physical or mental pain and suffering that you endured as a result of the car accident
- Disfigurement: These damages are awarded to victims who have lost limbs, experienced loss of vision or hearing, were permanently scarred, or suffered other disfigurements in the collision
- Humiliation: To compensate people who feel shame or guilt following a car accident
- Loss of consortium: This compensation is awarded only to the spouse of an accident victim to compensate for the change in their relationship
- Mental anguish: To compensate for the stress and anxiety you have experienced as a direct result of the crash
- Physical impairment: Injuries sustained in the accident may prevent people from engaging in certain activities they previously enjoyed
Punitive damages are typically awarded by a judge or jury in court. These types of damages are designed to punish a defendant for malicious, intentional, or grossly negligent actions. The idea is that the more money a person loses as a result of his or her behavior, the less likely he or she is to repeat the offense.
Unlike other states, Massachusetts does not typically award punitive damages in personal injury cases. The only time punitive damages are allowed is if someone’s gross negligence has caused a wrongful death.
For example, if a person hits another vehicle while drunk driving and causes a fatality, then the surviving family members could file a wrongful death lawsuit. The judge may order the drunk driver to pay punitive damages to set an example and hopefully deter others from committing the same offense.
Should You Settle With the Insurance Company After a Massachusetts Car Accident?
After being involved in a car accident, you will likely hear from the other party’s insurance company. You will have to decide whether you are going to accept their settlement offer or seek the help of a car accident lawyer. While deciding, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind.
First, the other party’s insurers do not have your best interests in mind. They often take advantage of the stressful time immediately following a car accident to try and pressure victims to accept a fast settlement. The amount they offer is likely far less than your claim is worth; their goal is to get you to accept as low of a settlement offer as possible.
Second, remember that when you accept an offer, the insurance company will send a release for you to sign. Once you sign the release, you will forfeit the right to pursue any additional compensation in the future. This means that even if your medical expenses end up being far more than what the insurance company paid out, you will be unable to go back and request more money.
A trusted and experienced car accident lawyer will be able to calculate the actual value of your claim. They can help you determine whether the amount the insurance company is offering is fair, or if the attorney can help you recover more compensation.
At Kiley Law Group, we offer all potential clients a free case review. So you have nothing to lose by consulting with one of our compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.
Contact a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer Today
Motor vehicle collisions can be traumatic and life-altering, and you deserve to have a lawyer on your side advocating for your best interests. If you sustained injuries in a Massachusetts car accident, our legal team can determine what damages you may be entitled to. We can also calculate the value of your losses to ensure that you recover the amount you deserve.
Our law firm believes no one should have to worry about affording legal representation to seek compensation for injuries someone else inflicted. We take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you never pay any upfront costs or fees. We are only paid if we win your case and you recover a settlement.
Kiley Law Group has over 4 decades of experience helping victims of car accidents. We have helped our clients recover over $500 million in damages. Contact us as soon as possible after your accident – you have a limited amount of time to settle your claim.
Call now to schedule your free case review. Our legal team is standing by to help.