Massachusetts Legal Blog

The Different Types of Personal Injury Damages in Massachusetts

Being injured is never fun. The pain and anguish can become overwhelming at times. Fortunately for those who are injured, Massachusetts law allows for the awarding of damages to those who have suffered due to the negligence of others. But, what are the different types of personal injury damages in Massachusetts?

Actual Damages

Actual damages, in tort law, refer to the compensation awarded in response to any loss suffered by a party or parties. Generally speaking, actual damages, also known as compensatory damages, are awarded based on factors such as loss, harm, or injury suffered by the plaintiff. These damages can be broken down further into two distinct types of actual damage: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are a type of actual damage which seeks to provide compensation for any financial loss which the plaintiff may have experienced. Economic damages are usually a fixed sum of money which is used to cover various tangible expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages (both in the past and the future), any medical bills the plaintiff may face and repair costs.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages differ from economic damages in that they are not based on tangible costs. As such, there is never a fixed dollar amount placed upon non-economic damages. Non-economic damages generally cover “the pain and suffering” of the plaintiff. The reason why there is no set amount is that it is left up to the court to determine what amount of money is required to make the individual “whole again.”

Under Massachusetts law, the maximum amount of non-economic damages which can be awarded in any case is $500,000.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are much different from actual damages. Where actual damages seek to recoup what was lost from the plaintiff, both physically and mentally; punitive damages seek to take away from the defendant. Punitive damages seek to punish the defendant. Under Massachusetts state law, punitive damages may only be awarded in a case where the defendant’s gross negligence resulted in an individual’s death. Gross negligence can be defined as someone (either a person or a corporation) having acted with complete and total disregard for human life.

The threshold for proving that someone acted with disregard for human life is a very difficult one to achieve. As such, punitive damages are awarded rarely in the State of Massachusetts. If punitive damages are awarded, they are usually granted in addition to any actual damages.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Personal Injury Damages

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury and you feel you may be due compensation, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. At Shapiro Law, our experienced and knowledgeable team of attorneys have the know-how and skills to get you the personal injury damages you deserve.  At Shapiro Law, we deal with all of our clients on a personal level, as we know and understand the pain and suffering they are going through. Unlike other law firms, at Shapiro Law you aren’t just another case number – you are our client. Give us a call today at 339-298-2300 for a free, no-obligation consultation.