Even a plaintiff-friendly state like Massachusetts has its limits. The following are the laws that affect your personal injury situation.
Massachusetts statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a lawsuit. In Massachusetts, this limit is three years from the date of injury. Therefore, if you were involved in a car accident on June 4, 2023, you have until June 4, 2026 to file a complaint.
However, the statute of limitations should not be confused when filing an insurance claim. Most insurers set this window as 24 hours from the accident until one week afterward. However, you want to file your claim with the events fresh in your memory, so the sooner you get in touch with the negligent party’s insurance company, the better.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice remains three years, but this countdown begins differently than for other personal injury claims. This time limit begins on the date you knew or should have known that medical negligence caused your injury. For example, if you had surgery on August 1, 2022, but didn’t discover the doctor’s mistake until you started showing symptoms on September 14, 2023, the last day to file a lawsuit is September 14, 2023.
Medical malpractice claims are also subject to the law of rest, which is the maximum length of time for filing a lawsuit. Regardless of when the injury was discovered, you have seven years from the date of the medical treatment or the date of the procedure to file a claim against the medical professionals.
Minor children must file a claim within three years of turning 18 unless it is a medical malpractice claim. Then, the parents have three years from when they knew or should have known that something went wrong during a medical procedure. However, if the child is under six years old, the parents have until the child’s ninth birthday to file a lawsuit.
Massachusetts fault identification
Massachusetts uses the common neglect criterion. The plaintiff can obtain damages if most of the fault lies with the defendant. For example, if the arbitrator determines that the plaintiff is 45% at fault in an accident, and the defendant bears 55% of the fault, the plaintiff can still compensate. However, their total prize was reduced by 45%.
But if the fact finder concludes that the plaintiff is 51% at fault, this prevents his recovery. Even this slight difference places the majority of the fault on the plaintiff and prevents him from obtaining compensation for damages.
special liability cases
Special liability refers to those matters in which liability operates differently. These things may fall under strict liability Where the defendant is liable even if his conduct was not negligent, willful, or negligent. or they arise from a statutory duty as with the Dram Shop Rules. But the general negligence theory can still be applied if someone acted carelessly in these incidents.
Massachusetts applies strict liability to dog bite cases. It is presumed that the owner is responsible for a dog bite even if the dog has never acted viciously before or has a history of gentle behavior.
But there is an exception to the dog bite law. Owners are not responsible if the dog bites a person who has been trespassing or if that person harasses, tortures or mistreats the dog. This standard does not apply to minors under the age of seven, as the law presumes that they have not trespassed or tortured the dog.
The Drama Store Act makes it illegal for a public establishment, such as a bar, restaurant, or tavern, to serve customers who are already intoxicated. If they continue to do so, they may face liability if that aggrieved beneficiary causes injury to another person or damage to their property while intoxicated.
Social Host Act
Massachusetts case law also imposes liability on individuals who serve alcohol in the home. In general, these laws require anyone serving alcoholic beverages at a private party to do so safely and legally. Otherwise, you may be liable for the following:
- Drinking guests get hurt during the party
- Guests who drink get hurt by someone else at the party
- Guests who drink and then get hurt due to a dangerous situation at your party (for example, broken steps or ice)
If a guest leaves the party and then gets hurt or hurts someone else, you are not responsible. However, you can be held responsible if this guest Driving while weak and injures or kills another person.
These laws work differently when you allow minors to drink in your home. You are responsible for all injuries and property damage after minors drink in your home or on a property you control (such as a hotel room). There are also criminal charges, including fines of up to $2,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both.
Limitations of personal injury recovery
There is no general cap for general personal injury claims. But there is one related to medical malpractice.
In most medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs can get no more than $500,000 in compensation for pain and suffering. However, a judge or jury can determine that “special circumstances” allow for damages in excess of this maximum. These conditions usually involve a significant or permanent loss of body function or severe disfigurement.