Mass. Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Car Accident Claim Finding Sufficient Evidence to Show that Plaintiff Suffered more than $2,000 in Medical Expenses, thereby Establishing Requirement for Pain and Suffering Damages

There are several rules that apply to a personal injury trial, including rules about the evidence that a plaintiff must establish when seeking pain and suffering damages. As experienced Boston car accident lawyers, we are familiar with these rules and will ensure that they are applied appropriately and fairly in your claim every step of the way. This can help avoid unnecessary delays in your case as well as ensure that you do not waive any critical rights. Whether you were involved in a minor crash or a severe, life-altering collision, you deserve compassionate and dedicated legal counsel.

A recent Massachusetts appellate opinion discusses G.L. c 231, Section 6D, which governs when a victim of a motor vehicle accident can seek pain and suffering as an item of damages. According to this provision, the plaintiff must show that the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred from treating the injuries associated with the crash exceed $2,000, subject to some exceptions. These exceptions include instances where the crash results in death, results in the loss of a body part, results in disfigurement, or results in the loss of sight or hearing.

The plaintiff filed suit against a wheelchair and van transport company as well as its employee-driver for personal injuries that she suffered in an accident. She was traveling in the defendant’s handicap accessible van when it came to an abrupt stop causing her to fall out of her wheelchair. Her knees hit the floor and the wheelchair fell on top of her.

The defendant filed a motion for a directed verdict, which the lower court granted. The plaintiff appealed and the issue before the court was whether the plaintiff’s submission of medical records of treatment without any medical bills or accompanying testimony about medical bills was sufficient proof to show that her medical costs exceeded the $2,000 threshold.

The appellate division initially affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the action, but the appellate court reversed. It concluded that a trier of fact can reasonably infer based on the medical records that the treatment and expenses associated with the accident exceeded the $2,000 threshold. The medical records included an emergency room visit, numerous tests including imaging, MRIs, prescriptions, and more. The jury could have concluded based on this that the medical costs incurred as a result of the accident were in excess of $2,000. The fact that the plaintiff did not provide medical bills, accompanying lay testimony, or expert witness testimony did not automatically mean that she failed to satisfy the statutory requirement.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is critical that you seek reliable and experienced Boston car accident lawyer. At The Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we pride ourselves on providing each client with the personalized and compassionate legal counsel that they need and deserve. We offer a free consultation to help you learn more about how we can assist you and to discuss your situation. Call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started. Don’t wait; time may be running out on your claim.

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