Those who are victims of personal injuries in Massachusetts – including car accidents, slip and falls, premises liability accidents, dog bites, and more – have the right to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages. And while there are many things that will affect the amount of damages that a victim can recover, including the extent of injuries and amount of economic loss, one thing that can have a significant effect on compensation is comparative negligence. The following considers what you need to know about comparative negligence in Massachusetts and how an experienced Boston personal injury lawyer can help to ensure you recover your full compensation amount.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence and contributory negligence are two terms that are often used interchangeably. In personal injury law, comparative or contributory negligence means that the plaintiff in a civil suit contributed to their own injuries by means of their own negligence; the defendant was not the sole party responsible for the plaintiff’s harm.
Per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 Section 85, contributory negligence in a civil action “shall not bar recovery…is such negligence was not greater than the total amount of negligence attributable to the person against whom recovery is sought….” In other words, a plaintiff can still file their lawsuit and seek compensation for their injuries if they are not more than 50 percent at fault for their injuries.
That being said, the law continues to explain that while recovery will not be barred, the amount of damages recoverable will be “diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence…” For example, if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit for an injury for which you were 10 percent at fault for, your total damages amount will be reduced by 10 percent.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer On Your Side
Because of the laws regarding comparative negligence, it is likely that the defense will try to blame a proportion of the accident and your injuries on you in order to reduce the amount of money that they are liable for. They may argue that you contributed to your accident by not exercising a reasonable amount of care, such as traveling at an unsafe speed while driving, entering a property with a known hazard (such as a dog), or otherwise acting recklessly.
To help you fight back against these accusations and assert that the other party should be held fully liable for your damages, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you to gather evidence, build a strong case, and will negotiate for a fair settlement amount.
Contact Your Boston Personal Injury Attorney Now
Serving those in the Boston area, skilled personal injury lawyer Deborah Gold-Alexander Attorney at Law has over 30 years’ experience representing victims like you. If you have been injured in an accident and have questions about comparative negligence or other facets of personal injury law, use our online contact form to contact Deborah Gold-Alexander today, or call our offices directly for a free consultation at 781-289-4235.