Massachusetts law uses a rule called comparative fault when awarding financial damages in a personal injury case. In effect, there is a determination made regarding what percentage of fault to assign to the injured party as well as the fault percentage to assign to the person claimed to have caused the injury.
Practical application of comparative fault
For most people, it is a challenge to understand comparative fault. Therefore it is typically helpful to have a solid example of how the rule operates. Here is an example demonstrating the application of comparative fault:
You are walking up a flight of stairs in a commercial building. You are with a friend and talking. Because you are distracted, you do not notice that there is a break in the handrail, and you get your shirt sleeve stuck in the break, causing you to fall down the stairs. You are seriously injured in the fall and have to have surgery and are out of work for several weeks. You feel you deserve to recover damages for your medical bills, injuries and lost wages.
During the trial of your case, the factfinder (judge or jury) determines that you are partially responsible for your fall because you were distracted and that the property owner is at fault as well because he should have repaired the broken handrail.
The final determination is that you are 20% at fault for your injuries. If your total damages are $100,000, then you will be awarded $80,000 because of the 20% deduction related to your comparative fault.
The comparative fault threshold
It is important to understand that if you are found to be more than 50% responsible, then you will be unable to collect any compensation under the personal injury fachanwalt für familienrecht bremen laws in Massachusetts. Using the scenario above, the court might find you more than 50% liable for your accident, if the property owner placed a hazard sign on the stairway indicating there was a break in the handrail. You would then recover nothing.
If you have been injured at a commercial facility such as a supermarket or shopping center, you may have the right to file a personal injury suit. Contact a Massachusetts personal injury attorney to determine what rights you have and what evidence you may have to provide.