Massachusetts Appellate Court Affirms Denial of Pain and Suffering Benefits in Passenger Injury Car Accident Case

Car accidents can be incredibly complicated and involve numerous claims against the person who caused the accident and a claim with the insurance companies involved in the lawsuit. If you are facing a car accident dispute and feel overwhelmed by the situation, it is totally normal. A seasoned Boston car accident lawyer like Michael O. Smith can assist you with ensuring that you are treated fairly and that you receive the outcome that you deserve.

Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal heard a case in which the plaintiff was a passenger in another person’s car when it was involved in a crash. The plaintiff sued the driver of the vehicle in which she was driving, asserting negligence and many other claims. He also asserted a claim against his own insurance company, the driver’s insurance company, and the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash’s insurance company. The civil claims were eventually dismissed or stayed except for the plaintiff’s negligence claim against the driver.  The jury ultimately concluded that the defendant drove negligently but that the plaintiff was not injured as a result of the negligent driving. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.

The plaintiff appealed on a number of grounds. The plaintiff sued one of the drivers for pain and suffering damages only. This required the plaintiff to satisfy at least one statutory basis for entitlement to pain and suffering damages, such as where medical expenses exceed $2,000. The plaintiff argued that the judge erred in denying his request to seek discovery from two of the insurers regarding any medical bills that they may have paid on his behalf.

He also argued that the lower court judge erred in prohibiting from offering Medicare summaries to show that he received medical care in excess of $2,000. The appellate court rejected these claims, finding that the Medicare summaries contained hearsay and that the plaintiff had not identified a hearsay exception. Regarding the insurance payments, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to prove how the insurance payments were relevant to the pain and suffering claim.

The appellate court also pointed to evidence in the record suggesting that the accident was minor and happened at low speed, that the plaintiff did not experience certain pain symptoms until well after the accident, and that the plaintiff’s neurological tests did not support a finding of radiculopathy. It was also determined at trial that the plaintiff suffered from a degenerative disease that could have been the primary cause of his pain and injuries.

If you were hurt in a car accident and have questions about your right to recovery, contact attorney Michael O. Smith today to start learning about your potential options. Car accidents and insurance company claims can become overwhelming, especially if your injuries are painful and resulted in serious disabilities. We will ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the entire process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Contact us today at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.