Should I Pursue a Personal Injury Claim or Settle Out of Court?

Should I Pursue a Personal Injury Claim or Settle Out of Court?

If you are suffering from a serious injury, the last thing you want to think about is complicated legal matters. That being said, you may be faced with an important decision at this point in time. On the one hand, you could pursue legal action and take an injury lawsuit to court. On the other hand, you could settle out of court and receive compensation from the insurance company or the guilty party. There are pros and cons for both options, and sometimes it is tricky to decide which option is right for you.

How Does a Personal Injury Claim Work in Massachusetts?

First off, it is important to note that according to Massachusetts law, you need to bring your personal injury and damages claims to the attention of the court within three years. This means that you need to file all of your paperwork within three years of the incident. This period of time is shortened to two years in some cases, although some exceptions apply.

Almost any type of injury can result in a lawsuit, and you could receive between $100,000 and $500,000 in compensation, depending on the type of injury and the “category” of your claim. These categories are as follows:

  • Negligence: An injury lawsuit based on negligence is quite common, and they usually arise when a guilty party causes an accident because of irresponsible behaviors and actions. This includes things like driving erratically, not following safety protocols, or even medical malpractice.
  • Strict Liability: An injury lawsuit based on strict liability is similar to one based on negligence, but one with one major difference: In this case, the defendant is liable even if they behaved responsibly. The purpose of this is to ensure that you do not have to pay for injuries caused by someone else, whether they are “guilty” of being irresponsible or not.
  • Intentional Act: An injury based on an intentional act is exactly like it sounds: In this case, the guilty party fully intended to cause the victim bodily harm. These claims are often connected with assault and battery cases.

Massachusetts is also a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means that if you were partly responsible for your own injury (say you forgot to wear a helmet while riding a bike), the court will take that into account and modify your compensation accordingly. For example, you might receive 80% of your compensation instead of the full 100%.

Advantages of Taking Your Injury Claim to Court:

  • The jury could award you a higher compensation than an out-of-court settlement
  • A trial will publicly confirm the guilt and wrongdoing of the defendant for all to see
  • The trial process can create a sense of closure and help the plaintiff “move on”

Advantages of Accepting a Settlement:

  • Avoid the stress of a long, drawn-out trial
  • You can be sure of how much compensation you will receive
  • Settlements are kept private
  • You may not want to destroy the defendant’s reputation with a public trial

Who can Help Me Decide on the Right Course of Action?

If you are not sure how to proceed when dealing with a potential injury claim, it is best to contact professionals with years of experience in these matters. Located in West Springfield, Johnson Sclafani & Moriarty has considerable expertise when it comes to personal injury matters, so reach out today and figure out your next step. 413-732-8356