Auto AccidentMassachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Award of Prejudgment Interest on Multi-Million Dollar Judgment

February 20, 20190

Lawsuits relating to car accidents can take a long time to resolve, but the medical expenses, lost earnings, and other financial costs that are associated with the accident continue to pile up. Massachusetts law permits some parties to receive interest from the date that the lawsuit is initiated to the date that a judgment is entered. This can offset a portion of the expenses that the plaintiff has to pay as they wait for the trial to take place. As dedicated Massachusetts car accident lawyers, we can help you ensure that you assert your legal rights to the fullest extent possible following a car accident.

Recently, a Massachusetts court considered the issue of prejudgment interest in a claim where the jury found that the plaintiff was entitled to $8,250,000 in damages. The verdict was entered on April 11, 2018, and the case was originally filed on February 25, 2015. The plaintiffs requested prejudgment interest for the three-year period that the litigation was ongoing.

The defendants objected to this on the basis that they did not owe interest for the full time period. Instead, they asserted that certain portions of the judgment award for things like future lost wages, future medical bills, and personal care should not be included in the prejudgment interest calculation. The main issue, therefore, was whether or not the defendant should be required to pay prejudgment interest on the portion of the award that was allocated to future expenses and damages.

In prior cases, Massachusetts courts have stated that prejudgment interest is a remedy that is based in state law and applies even when state law claims are asserted in federal court.  This applies to car accidents as well as a wide variety of other tort injuries like truck accidents and motorcycle accidents. When interest starts to accrue and whether or not the damages that the plaintiff is accruing will be eligible for interest payments depends on a list of factors. Overall, however, state law indicates that interests will start to accrue at the time the action is filed. This is one of the primary reasons why it is important to file your car accident lawsuit as soon as you can in order to capture the highest amount of interest possible that you are owed.

The court ultimately rejected the defendant’s position on the basis that in tort cases the plaintiff suffers damages when the accident takes place. Prior courts in Massachusetts had also held that the total damages award in a personal injury action is eligible for prejudgment interest regardless of the categorization of the damages.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact us as soon as possible to start learning about your right to compensation from a negligent driver. We know that the legal process can seem daunting and that it may be hard to understand the best way to proceed as you are dealing with injuries, missed work, and other inconveniences. We offer a free consultation so that you can start learning about our legal team and how we can assist you. Call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.

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