- What if I am Bitten by a Dog?
- What is a “Dram Shop” Case?
- What is the Statute of Limitations?
- What if I Fell in a Supermarket?
- What is the Value of My Case?
There is a special Statute in Massachusetts (M.G.L. Chapter 140, Section 155) which provides special protection to victims of dog attacks. If the victim was not trespassing, was not teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, the owner or keeper of the dog will be liable for the consequences of the dog’s attack. In other words, it is not necessary to prove that the dog had bitten other people in the past, nor is it necessary to show that the dog was unrestrained or in violation of a leash law. The attack does not have to be a bite. A victim can also make a claim if he or she is knocked down by the dog as well.
Sometimes a person intoxicated at a restaurant or bar will leave the establishment and cause an automobile accident. The injured person may have a claim against the bar or restaurant. In order to do so, the victim must prove the driver was a customer of the Defendant, and that when the establishment served him alcohol it was obvious that the person was intoxicated.
In general, the Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts for negligence actions is three years. If the victim is a minor, that Statute of Limitations does not run out until his 21 st birthday.
However, there are some exceptions. If the claim is being made against the Federal Government, Commonwealth of Massachusetts or an organization such as the M.B.T.A., there are shorter time limits. Sometimes, the Statute can be extended if the Defendant concealed the wrong doing or if the relation of the injury to the accident could not reasonably be known to the victim.
Supermarket fall down cases often involve a person slipping on liquid or something similar. Until recently, the victim had to prove that the liquid was on the floor for a period of time long enough that the store owner should have known about it and fixed it. This was usually a difficult to impossible task.
However, case law now says that if the store owner has a self-service mode of operation, and the injury was reasonably foreseeable, it may not be necessary to prove how long the problem had existed.
A very simple, but completely wrong, method is to simply multiply the amount of medical bills or wage loss by some number to determine the value of the case. This method has never worked in the past, and never will.
The value of a Personal Injury Case is usually based on three things;
- Loss of wages or loss of earning capacity in the past, present and what is reasonably expected in the future.
- Medical bills incurred in the past, present and also what are reasonably expected in the future.
- “Pain and suffering”. This over worked phrase is an attempt to describe compensation for the nature of the injury and the way it affects a particular person. Every person’s case is different and special. There is a huge difference in the value of cases where an injury is temporary as opposed to an injury that is permanent. There is no easy way to determine the value of a case. Only an experienced attorney can do that.