Boston traffic presents a real challenge to residents. A recent study determined that only three other cities worldwide have more severe congestion.
Sitting on the road for so long leads to approximately a workweek of time and thousands of dollars in fuel. With such losses, a motorist may wonder if time wasted in Boston traffic constitutes damages for which one can bring a lawsuit.
Reasons a Person Can Sue for Boston Traffic
Regrettably, people cannot sue simply for someone wasting their time in Boston traffic. Such circumstances are a consequence of living in this fair city.
However, there are some losses related to wasted time for which a person may sue. A car accident causes losses due to personal injury or property damage. Recovering from such incidents can rob a victim of time from work, which can possibly increase the damages a person may receive after an accident.
Travelers should understand the different types of damages that can occur after an accident. Such losses may be economic or noneconomic. Additionally, a court may sometimes award punitive damages to a plaintiff.
Some refer to economic damages as compensatory damages. A court awards this money to compensate an injured party for their monetary losses.
Typical factors that incur economic damages include medical bills, lost wages and other out-of-pocket expenses. What distinguishes economic damages from noneconomic and punitive is their quantifiable value.
Courts award economic compensation to make an injured party as whole as possible. In other words, the goal is to put plaintiffs back in the same financial position they were in prior to their injury or loss.
Types of Economic Damages
Since a person may miss time at work because of an accident, this lost time might become part of the compensation. If possible or applicable, a person should be able to return to the same employment position or income level. If an injury impairs a plaintiff’s ability to work, this too can factor into damages.
Additionally, the person should be able to cover all medical bills. Treatment expenses often become a significant part of recovering economic losses. For example, the average cost per hospital stay is over $11,000.
A victim can also receive compensation for property damage from the incident. Collisions may damage a vehicle or other property. For example, a car could run into someone’s home or business, or the damaged automobile could be a vehicle a person requires for their work. The time it takes to put the property back into working order can add to the potential losses.
How To Calculate Economic Damages
To determine economic damages accurately, the injured party must provide proof of all financial losses related to their injury or property damage. Documentation, such as pay stubs, provides evidence of lost wages during recovery. Receipts from medical visits can identify all treatment costs for items such as hospital stays, prescription medication or surgeries.
A defendant’s legal team will likely challenge every item and contend that some losses were not a result of the accident. A plaintiff must organize and present these documents for court proceedings or settlement negotiations. Doing so allows the process to go smoothly and increases the odds of fair compensation.
Sometimes a person only considers compensation for medical costs and lost work, but the consequences of an accident can be much greater. Non-economic damages are those that do not have a fixed dollar amount but intend to compensate for emotional, physical and psychological pain and suffering caused by an accident or injury.
For example, the sights, sounds and smells that surround an accident can create emotional distress and trigger post-traumatic stress. Seeing a particular vehicle or passing the location of the crash can affect a person for years.
Noneconomic damages might even include the loss of earning potential. Also, the effects of medical treatment are not just monetary. An individual may experience a loss of enjoyment of life from injuries. Hobbies and activities a person once enjoyed may no longer be possible.
If a person deals with disfigurement or scarring, they may face humiliation and embarrassment. Damage to sexual function can affect a marriage. Payment can provide some relief for injured parties who suffer emotionally from the incident but can never truly compensate for the effects on a person’s life.
Determining Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damage awards are more subjective than economic damage awards since the exact dollar amount is harder to determine. Proving noneconomic damages typically requires a trained professional.
Since there is no official number that can quantify the cost of pain and suffering, courts rely on:
- Documentation of economic damages
- Testimony of the plaintiff
- Testimony of those close to the plaintiff
- Testimony of authoritative professionals
Economic damages can only cover documented bills and losses. Noneconomic damages have no limit for injury cases in Massachusetts.
Punitive damages attempt to deter reprehensible forms of behavior. Courts award this money in civil cases to punish the defendant for malicious, wanton or oppressive conduct. Instead of intending to compensate the plaintiff for losses, this award sends the message that the court will not tolerate such actions.
Such punishment is often against large organizations and corporations to hinder them from repeating such conduct. These awards also set an example for others who may consider committing similar offenses. Sometimes people refer to punitive damages as exemplary damages.
A judge determines the size of a punitive award by reviewing the information presented during trial proceedings. The court then sets an amount it believes is sufficient to set a precedent. Punitive damage awards are rare, especially in traffic cases, and usually only occur in exceptional circumstances.
A Law Firm That Helps You Get Fair Compensation
Boston residents cannot sue for wasted time in traffic, but many other circumstances can create a legitimate reason to pursue damages. You don’t have to fork over a lot of cash to find representation.
The Stone Cold Guarantee from the team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers means you pay nothing for us to start on your case. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation if you’ve had an accident so you can begin to get your life back. “There’s No Obligation, Just Information. (R)”