Massachusetts Court Discusses Recovery of Damages for Pain and Suffering in Car Accident Cases

Car accidents are common in Massachusetts, and people involved in car accidents often sustain injuries and property damage. Thus, in many cases, a person who incurs damages due to a car accident will pursue claims against one of the drivers involved in the accident. There are numerous categories of damages a person can recover following a car accident, including damages for pain and suffering. Recently, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts discussed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages for pain and suffering following a car accident, under Massachusetts law. If you suffered harm due to a car accident, it is advisable to speak with a diligent Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover from the party that caused your harm.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by a Vermont resident, when they were involved in an accident with a driver from Massachusetts. The plaintiff reportedly sustained injuries in the accident and subsequently asserted claims against the Massachusetts driver, the Vermont driver, the insurance company of each driver, and his own insurance company. Subsequently, each of the plaintiff’s claims was dismissed,with the exception of the negligence claims against each driver. A jury found that the Massachusetts driver was negligent but that her negligence was not the cause of the plaintiff’s alleged harm and, therefore, entered judgment on her behalf. The plaintiff appealed.

Recovering Damages for Pain and Suffering Following a Car Accident

On appeal, the court noted that during the trial, the plaintiff expressed that he was only seeking damages for pain and suffering from the Massachusetts driver. As such, he was required to prove his injuries met one of the enumerated threshold requirements set forth under Massachusetts law. Specifically, in Massachusetts, a plaintiff can only recover damages for pain and suffering in a lawsuit arising out of a motor vehicle collision in certain circumstances, which includes when the plaintiff’s medical expenses exceed $2,000.00.

The plaintiff argued that the trial court judge committed an error in denying his requests to obtain discovery from his insurer and the insurer of the Vermont driver regarding what medical bills they paid on his behalf. The court noted, however, that the plaintiff did not establish that the payments made by those insurers were related to his negligence claims against the Massachusetts driver.

Further, the court noted that a directed verdict was entered on the issue of whether the plaintiff proved an injury sufficient to meet the threshold requirements, which the plaintiff argued was an error. The court rejected the plaintiff’s arguments regarding the weight of the evidence, finding that there was copious evidence that the accident did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Consult a Dedicated Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered harm in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, it is prudent to consult a dedicated Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what claims you may be able to set forth. The skillful attorneys of the Law Office of James K. Meehan have the knowledge and experience to help you strive for the full amount of damages you may be owed. You can reach us via our online form or at 508-822-6600 to schedule a meeting to discuss your accident.