Trying the Negligence Case in Massachusetts

Located in Boston, Lawyers Weekly of Massachusetts recently reviewed civil verdicts rendered in Superior Courts in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. The review showed that the deck is heavily stacked against tort plaintiffs, particularly those who go to trial in Norfolk County and other Boston suburban communities. The Boston attorneys at the Law Office of Neil Burns recommend that those clients considering taking their personal injury, car accident or other injury case to trial listen to the advice of their attorney. A lot of factors must be weighed before taking a case to trial, and the rate of success is certainly one large factor to consider.

The Massachusetts newspaper for lawyers, Lawyers Weekly, recently determined that of the civil jury trial verdicts in Norfolk Superior Court in 2009, only five of the 35 personal injury verdicts in 2009 favored plaintiffs. The county’s 14 percent success rate was 22 percentage points lower than Essex County jury verdicts, which had the highest rate of plaintiffs’ verdicts, and 12 points behind the statewide average of 26 percent.
The only region in Massachusetts with a lower success rate than Norfolk County was the Cape and Islands, which saw eight of its nine tort trials decided in favor of defendants.
Superior Court Judge Patrick F. Brady has been keeping track of verdicts for negligence trial he has presided over. Of the 151 negligence trials Judge Brady has heard since 1993, when he first started keeping track, only 16 have resulted in plaintiffs’ verdicts, he said. In Norfolk County, only seven of 69 verdicts ended in favor of plaintiffs. Of the 52 trials he has heard in Plymouth County, 49 – or 92 percent – were decided for the defense.
In motor vehicle cases, meanwhile, it is believed that many jurors mistakenly believe that insurance premiums will be negatively impacted by a plaintiff’s’ verdict.