Understanding Personal Injury Law: Your Rights and Legal Options

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Law Your Rights and Legal Options

Personal injury law is a broad area of civil law that covers cases involving physical or emotional harm caused by another party’s actions or failure to act.

In Massachusetts, there are specific laws and regulations governing personal injury claims, and understanding your rights and legal options is crucial.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law is designed to protect individuals who have suffered harm due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions.

You can get help from a Boston personal injury lawyer in a wide range of situations, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products
  • Assault and battery
  • Premises liability.

In essence, if you have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness or intentional misconduct, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim.

Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

To successfully pursue such a claim in Massachusetts, you must establish four key elements:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant (the party accused of causing harm) owed you a duty of care, meaning they had a legal obligation to act reasonably to prevent harm.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant was negligent or purposely harmful, therefore breaching their duty of care.
  • Causation: Your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
  • Damages: You suffered quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage.

Proving these elements can be complex, which is why it’s often advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Should you win the claim, the details of your case will determine whether you are entitled to any kind of damages.

Two basic groups can be distinguished among these damages:

  • Economic Damages: These are quantifiable losses, such as medical expenses (past and future), lost wages, property damage, and loss of earning capacity.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These are subjective losses that are more difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium (for spouses).

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or intentional.

Personal Injury Law Your Rights and Legal Options

Statute of Limitations

In Massachusetts, personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations, which is a legal time limit for filing a lawsuit.

The statute of limitations for most such cases in Massachusetts is three years from the date of the injury or the date when it was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

However, there are exceptions to this rule.

For example, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is three years from the date of the injury or the date when it was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, but no more than seven years from the date of the alleged act or omission.

It’s crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an injury occurs to ensure that you do not miss the deadline for filing a claim.

The Role of Comparative Negligence

In some cases, the principle of comparative negligence may apply.

Comparative negligence is a legal principle that allows for the allocation of fault between multiple parties involved in an accident or incident.

In Massachusetts, the doctrine of modified comparative negligence applies, which means that if you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries, your compensation may be reduced proportionally.

However, it’s important to note that if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation under Massachusetts law.

The following table illustrates how comparative negligence can affect your compensation.

Your Percentage of FaultCompensation Reduction
0%No reduction
1%-50%1%-50% reduction
51% or moreNo compensation

For example, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages but were found to be 20% at fault for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, resulting in an award of $80,000.


If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, it’s essential to understand your rights and legal options under personal injury law.

While pursuing a personal injury claim can be complex, an experienced attorney can guide you through the process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

To get a free consultation regarding your case, contact Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers by calling 617-444-4444 or visiting their website.

Remember, time is of the essence since Massachusetts has stringent statutes of limitations on such claims.

Get legal advice without delay to defend your rights.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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