If you have been injured as the result of someone else’s reckless actions or lack of care—whether on the road, in unsafe premises, or elsewhere—you may be entitled to compensation for the material and immaterial consequences of your injury. A skilled personal injury can give you a personalized assessment of the damages you have suffered, what a court would assign as their worth, and how best to obtain compensation for you through the legal system. This article, however, is designed to give you an overview of damage claims that Massachusetts courts may recognize.
Compensatory Damages Only
In American law, two kinds of damages are recognized: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are designed to make up for a victim’s injuries by placing a dollar amount on them, allowing for the victim to receive resources that, in effect, make it “like It never even happened” in the eyes of the law. While, of course, a dollar amount cannot restore function to paralyzed limbs or win back time lost in the hospital, financial compensation can allow a newly disabled person to live an independent life through medical devices, physical therapy, and in-home care, or can make up for wages lost while one was recuperating in the hospital. Compensatory damages can be awarded for monetary losses and non-monetary losses.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, seek to punish the defendant for their irresponsible behavior that caused the victim’s injuries. The goal of punitive damages is to deter not only the defendant from engaging in this behavior again, but to send a warning to others considering similar action.
Massachusetts law does not allow for punitive damages in personal injury cases, but it does recognize both monetary and non-monetary compensatory damages.
Also called economic damages, these are related to costs that come with objective, verifiable “price tags” such as hospital bills, ongoing or future medical expenses, loss of wages and benefits as a consequence of being unable to work, loss of earning capacity due to ongoing inability to work, property damage, home health care costs, mobility aids, and vehicle modifications such as to accommodate a wheelchair.
Non-monetary, or non-economic, damages are awarded for the immaterial, emotional, and otherwise difficult-to-value consequences of an injury. These can include pain and suffering, mental anguish or distress, disfigurement, disability, loss of consortium (awarded to spouses of victims for the loss of the emotional support of marriage), and loss of enjoyment of life.
You Need a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney
In trying to put a value on one’s loss, and then obtain compensation through a personal injury suit or settlement, a skilled attorney is needed. Our firm’s lawyers are experienced in winning compensation for the full cost of injuries—both material and immaterial. To discuss your particular situation, call our office today.