How We Can Help Your Car Accident Claim
Working with an attorney can have a positive effect on the outcome of your case. Our lawyers and staff will be committed to you throughout the duration of your case, putting in the effort and energy it takes to pursue a favorable case outcome.
Our services include:
- Free consultation. Before you even hire our law firm, we want to sit down with you to discuss your accidents and your legal options. We perform this service free of charge. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about the claims process and why working with our team is right for you.
- Investigation. Once you decide to work with our law firm, we will start building your claim. The process kicks off with an accident investigation. This is where we start to collect evidence to build the various elements of a car accident claim, including fault and damages. During this process, we may hire experts who can help put together the pieces of what happened and how you were harmed.
- Organization and claim building. Once we know what happened, who’s at fault, and what your damages are, we’ll start putting everything together in an organized manner in order to present your claim to the insurance company in a compelling fashion. We have a large staff and the resources it takes to execute this part of the process efficiently and effectively.
- Negotiating for a settlement. Our lawyers are skilled negotiators. If you are offered a settlement that we believe is lower than what you deserve, we advise you not to accept it. We will go back to the table to negotiate a higher offer. It’s important to us that you walk away with full compensation.
- Litigating your case in court. Our goal is to reach a settlement offer that both parties can agree on out of court. This is the often most cost-efficient and time-effective method of settling a claim. However, there are some situations where an insurer will not budge, and therefore pursuing a lawsuit may be the only remaining option. If going to court is necessary, we will handle all elements of this process on your behalf, including filing your lawsuit, deposing witnesses, filing all motions, and litigating your case.
If you need anything at all during the process, our lawyers will be here to serve you.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive?
In a car accident claim that results in serious injuries and damages and was someone else’s fault, a claimant deserves to be fully compensated for the extent of harm that they have suffered. The amount of compensation that will be available in your car accident claim will be affected by factors such as:
- Degree of fault. Something that can have a large effect on the amount of compensation that you are able to receive in a car accident claim is the degree of fault of each party involved. In fact, because Massachusetts has a no-fault system, you can recover damages from the other party only if your injuries meet the “serious injury “threshold. If your injuries do meet the serious injury threshold, your compensation award could be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For example, if you were 10 percent to blame for the accident and you suffered $200,000 in damages, you would only be able to hold the other party liable for $180,000.
Drivers maintain no-fault coverage in our state, which means that after an accident, they file a claim with their own insurance company first, regardless of fault. A driver may step outside of this system and bring a claim against another party in the event that they have suffered serious injuries, defined as injuries that result in bills in excess of $2,000, or that involve whole or partial loss of a body part, serious disfigurement, loss of sight or hearing, or death.
- Damages. Another factor that will have a large impact on your final compensation award is the amount of losses you have suffered. More serious accidents tend to result in more serious – and more costly – damages. If you are pursuing damages outside of the no-fault system, the type of damages for which you may seek compensation could include:
- Property damage expenses
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- All other economic and noneconomic losses
- Insurance policies. Even if you have solid proof that the other party was 100 percent to blame for your accident, and even if your damages total in the tens of thousands of dollars or more, you will likely be unable to recover compensation if the at-fault party had no insurance or too little coverage. However, you may be able to turn to your own policy’s uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts limits the amount of time that a party has to bring forth a lawsuit after an accident to three years from the date of the accident. If you exceed the three-year time limit, you can be permanently barred from recovery. For this reason, it is best to talk with a lawyer as soon as you are able to do so following your crash.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident?
If you have been hurt in a car accident, it’s important that you take the following steps to avoid putting your right to recovery in jeopardy.
- File a police report. You must file a police report after an accident in Massachusetts if the accident results in property damage in excess of $1,000 or if anyone is injured or killed. Not only is filing a police report important because doing so ensures that you are complying with the law, but it is also important because a police report can provide valuable information when you pursue a claim.
- Collect evidence at the scene. If you are able to, while you wait for the police to arrive on scene, you should start collecting as much evidence and information as possible. This includes the names and contact information for any other parties involved, the specifics of any other vehicles involved, the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident, photos of the accident, a sketch diagraming the vehicles’ positions following the accident, and any other details that could be important to the outcome of your claim.
- Go to the hospital or see your doctor. If you do not go to the hospital or go to see your doctor after being involved in a car accident and then later file a claim for medical expenses and injury-related costs, you can be almost certain that the insurer will deny your claim. Not only should you see the doctor, but you should also keep detailed notes and records of these doctor’s appointments, and you should also follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Notify your insurer. After you have filed a police report and seen a doctor, the next step is to call your insurer and provide them with notice of the accident. If you fail to give your insurer notice within a reasonable amount of time, it may maintain the right to deny your claim.
- Call a lawyer. Even claims where injuries are not serious are often best navigated with legal counsel. If you have a complicated claim, the fault is uncertain, your injuries are serious, or your settlement has been lowballed, you absolutely need to call a lawyer as soon as possible.
What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
Injuries in a car accident can change a person’s life. Even if the injuries heal in a few months’ time, this still means weeks upon weeks of pain, loss of income, and limitations. Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Head and brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the most serious car accident injuries. They can have long-term consequences on a person’s life.
- Spinal cord injuries. An injury to the spinal cord can be absolutely devastating. A spinal cord injury can result in permanent paralysis that is incurable and will affect an individual for the remainder of their life.
- Facial injuries. For drivers and occupants, especially those in the front seat, facial injuries are common. When airbags inflate or when an occupant hits hard surfaces inside the car, the face can be bruised, and facial bones can even be broken.
- Soft tissue injuries. The soft tissues, such as the ligaments and muscles, can be damaged in a car accident. Soft tissue injuries in the neck, including whiplash, are especially common in a car accident, as are back injuries and joint damage.
- Broken bones. Broken bones in various parts of the body, including the face and the ribs, are very common in a car accident. Sometimes, broken bones pose other complications as well, such as infection or organ puncture.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Massachusetts
Car accidents are almost always caused by negligence on someone’s part. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Illegally changing lanes
- Driving while drunk or impaired
- Driving while distracted
- Aggressive driving
- Driving while fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel
- Using a cellphone while driving
Not all accidents are caused by drivers’ errors. Other top causes of car accidents include road defects, such as potholes, poor driving conditions, poor signage, improper construction zone marking, and vehicle defects, including defective tires and brakes.
Who Is Responsible for Paying the Bills after a Car Accident?
Ultimately, the party or parties that caused your car accident should be held responsible. However, it often takes weeks, months, or even years to secure full compensation after a crash.
When you have medical bills that need to be paid before you can obtain compensation from the at-fault party, you may be able to turn to your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in your own auto insurance policy or your health insurance policy. These can help pay for medical expenses while you are in the process of pursuing a personal injury claim. If these insurance companies pay for losses you incur in a car accident caused by someone else, the insurers may place a lien on any recovery you obtain from the at-fault party.
What Must I Prove to Hold Someone Responsible for My Car Accident Damages?
You will need to prove that the party acted either intentionally, recklessly, or negligently. To show that someone’s negligence caused your car accident, you will need to prove:
- Duty – In car accident cases, this is typically straightforward as every motorist on the road owes a duty of care to others on the road.
- Breach – The at-fault party, through their actions or omissions, breached that duty of care.
- Causation – The responsible party’s breach of their duty directly and proximately caused injury to another person.
- Damages – The injured person has incurred some compensable damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Should I Settle My Claim?
When deciding whether to accept a settlement of your car accident claim, you should remember that the compensation you receive should cover all your damages, both now and into the future. If you incur damages after settling your claim, you cannot go back to the insurance company or the at-fault party and demand more money.
As a result, you should typically wait until you have completed your medical treatment, also called reaching “maximum medical improvement.” This is when your doctor determines that no further medical treatment will improve your condition. That way, you will have a better idea of the extent of your damages.
In addition, you should have any settlement offer you receive reviewed by an experienced car accident attorney. A car accident lawyer will be able to determine what your claim is truly worth and can advise you as to whether a settlement offer is fair.
How Can I Prove Fault?
You can prove fault with the following evidence:
- The police accident report
- Accident scene photos
- Photos of damage to the vehicles involved in the accident
- Vehicle damage/repair reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Surveillance videos around the scene
- Medical records of your injuries
In many cases, experts in accident reconstruction will use these pieces of evidence to prepare a report, animation, or re-creation that shows how your crash occurred and identifies who caused it.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Car Crash?
You are not required to hire an attorney to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit after you’ve been injured in a car accident. However, having an attorney will help ensure that your rights and interests are protected. The insurance companies want to settle car accident claims for as little money as possible. Insurers may try to take advantage of an injured car accident victim who isn’t represented by an attorney. They may try to get the victim to make a statement against their interest. Or they may offer a quick cash settlement that won’t come close to covering the victim’s medical bills and other expenses.
When you have an attorney on your side, your lawyer will deal with the insurance adjusters on your behalf. Your attorney can also lead a thorough investigation of your accident and collaborate with expert witnesses to build your case. That way, you can keep your focus and energy on your recovery rather than your claim.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney Now
If you have been in a car accident, you have options ahead and you have a future. The process begins with calling a local Boston car accident lawyer who will work hard for you to seek the compensation that you deserve.
At Brooks Law, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us any legal fees unless and until we secure compensation for you. We are ready to sit down with you to discuss your claim free of charge today. Please reach out to our lawyers now to learn more.