If you were injured in a car accident because of another driver’s carelessness, you may need help dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, proving the other driver was at fault, and figuring out who will pay for your medical bills and any lost wages.
Bob Allison has been helping car accident victims throughout Massachusetts including the North Shore and Essex County, Peabody, Topsfield, Salem, Beverly, Danvers, Ipswich, Lynn, Swampscott and Marblehead receive fair and just compensation for over 25 years.
Should You Cooperate With The Car Insurance Company
You should not speak to the other driver’s insurance company until you speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer.
One thing above all else that you must understand about insurance companies is that they are in business to make money. It is the job of the insurance adjuster to make sure that happens. So, no matter how friendly an adjuster may seem to you, remember the insurance adjuster is on the lookout for information that they can use to impeach your credibility and pay you less money for your claim.
Also, don’t sign any forms for the other driver’s insurance company before you speak to an experienced car accident attorney. When you sign these forms, you may be allowing the insurance company access to your medical records including records which may not be related to the accident.
One exception is that you must cooperate with your OWN insurance company. If you don’t, your insurer can deny certain claims you may have under your own insurance policy such as Personal Injury Protection and Underinsurance claims.
An experienced attorney will represent your interest effectively and help you avoid any mistakes that may impact your claim.
How to Prove a Car Accident Claim
You must prove the other driver involved in the accident was responsible for causing the accident. This is accomplished by thoroughly investigating and documenting the incident including:
- Reports: Obtaining any police report or other incident reports
- Photos: Taking photos of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved
- Statements: Obtaining witness statements
- Rules of the Road: Determining if the other driver violated any rules of the road
- Expert Witnesses: If necessary hiring an expert witness.
In addition, you must prove that you met one of the requirements of the Massachusetts Tort Threshold discussed below.
An experienced auto accident attorney has the skill, knowledge and experience necessary to prove a car accident claim. In addition, car accident attorneys receive a contingent fee which means that they don’t get paid unless and until you receive compensation for your claim.
Causes of Car Accidents
Some of the major causes of automobile accidents are:
Drunk Driving: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that “every day about 29 people in the United States die from alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes – that’s one person in every 50 minutes in 2016.”
Drug Impaired: In NHTSA’s survey conducted in 2013-2014, 20 percent of drivers surveyed tested positive for potentially impairing drugs.
Distracted Driving: NHTSA reports that distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving including talking or testing on your phone, eating or drinking, talking to people in your car and fiddling with your stereo.
Drowsy Driving: According to NHTSA, drowsy driving claimed 824 lives in 2015.
Violating Traffic Laws (Rules of the Road): Violation of driving laws accounts for thousand of accidents and fatalities a year. In 2016, speeding accounted for more than 27% of all traffic fatalities (NHTSA).
Rules of the Road
Here are several laws, rules, and regulations concerning the operation of an automobile (which are often referred to as Rules of the Road):
- Passing a vehicle (M.G.L. c. 89, s. 2)
- Changing lanes (M.G.L. c. 89, s. 4A)
- Right of way at intersection (M.G.L. c. 89, s. 8)
- Stop at a stop sign or signal (M.G.L. c. 89, s. 9)
- Pedestrians and crosswalks (M.G.L. c. 89, s. 11)
- Approaching a person on a bicycle; Left turn on a one way street (M.G.L. c. 90, s. 14)
- Speeding (M.G.L. c. 90, s. 17)
- Cutting in after passing (720 CMR 9.06 (3))
- Following too closely/tailgating – rear-end collisions (720 CMR 9.06 (7))
- Look before starting, stopping, turning or backing up (720 CMR 9.06 (9))
- Emerging from a driveway or alley (720 CMR 9.06 (20))
Auto Accident Injuries and Damages
If you prove the other driver was responsible for your injuries and you satisfy one of the Mass. Tort Threshold requirements discussed below, you are entitled to fair and just compensation for your damages including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Any permanent injuries or impairments
- Any scarring or deformity
- Medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Loss of Consortium or Companionship
These damages are established through your testimony, witness testimony, medical records and reports, medical bills, documents evidencing loss earning capacity and, if necessary, expert testimony.
Car Accident Claims
There are a number of different types of car accident claims you may pursue following a car accident. Here we will discuss Bodily Injury, Uninsured, Underinsured, and Personal Injury Protection claims.
Bodily Injury (BI): You may pursue a Bodily Injury Claim against the insurance company of the other driver if the other driver was responsible for the accident.
Uninsured (UM): Uninsured coverage is available for people who are injured in a car accident caused by the driver of an uninsured car. An Uninsured Claim may arise when the car causing the accident is either stolen, a hit and run, or does not have any insurance. You may pursue an uninsured claim against the insurance policy of the car you were riding in or your own car insurance if you were a pedestrian.
Underinsured (UIM): The car causing the car accident may not have sufficient bodily injury coverage to cover your damages. If the car in which you were traveling and/or your own car has Underinsured coverage in excess of the available bodily injury coverage, you may pursue an Underinsured Claim. Paragraph 12 of the coverage selections page of your insurance policy will indicate whether you have any underinsurance insurance coverage available. You must give your insurer prompt notice of UM and UIM claims.
In order to receive compensation for a BI, UM or UIM claim, you must prove the other driver was responsible for the accident and you satisfied one of the Mass. Tort Threshold requirements.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): A PIP Claim is available to compensate you for medical bills and lost earnings as a result of the car accident. The total amount of coverage under PIP is $8,000.
Massachusetts Car Accident Claim Requirement
In order to pursue a Bodily Injury, Uninsured or Underinsured claim in Massachusetts, you must meet one of the following statutory requirements of the Massachusetts Tort Threshold (M.G.L. c. 231, s. 6D):
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred in treating your injury exceed $2,000.00;
- Causes death;
- Consists in whole or in part of the loss of a body member;
- Consists in whole or in part of a permanent and serious disfigurement;
- Results in loss of sight or hearing; or
- Consists of a fracture.
How Much time Do You Have – Statute of Limitations
There are time limitations within which you must pursue car accident claims such as:
Bodily Injury Claims: If you are pursuing a bodily injury claim, you must settle your claim or file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Claims: In uninsured and underinsured claims, you have six years within which to settle or arbitrate your motor vehicle claim.
If you fail to resolve your claim or file a lawsuit within the applicable time period, you will be forever barred from receiving compensation for your claim.
Seven Things To Do Immediately After the Car Accident
- Do Not Leave the Accident Scene. If you are involved in a car accident, you must stay at the accident scene until you exchange information with the other driver or you may be criminally prosecuted.
2. Avoid Additional Collisions. Take steps to avoid additional collisions such as moving your car to the side of the road, invoking flasher lights, lighting flares, and raising the hood of your car.
3. Exchange Information. Exchange information with the operator of the other motor vehicle(s). Obtain the name, address, date of birth, and driver’s license number of the operator and owner of the car (if different from the operator), registration number, and name of the insurance company. (Always keep a pen and a small pad of paper in your car.)
4. Inform the Police. Contacting the police is very important, because the police will prepare a detailed motor vehicle accident report. This report will contain important facts regarding your claim that will come in handy when you seek legal advice.
5. Never Admit Liability. Never admit your liability before you seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney. When you are speaking with other drivers, passengers, paramedics or police, just provide a truthful account of the incident – do not accept responsibility for the accident.
6. Get Appropriate Information. If possible, you should attempt to obtain the following information: Names and addresses of witnesses; Note the damage to the motor vehicles; Note any skid marks and the approximate distance; Draw a diagram of the scene, noting the names of streets, intersections, traffic signals or signs, and location of the motor vehicles; and take photos of the scene and motor vehicles.
7. Medical Treatment. If you are injured, seek appropriate medical treatment and follow your doctor’s orders regarding any treatment (i.e. physical therapy), tests (i.e. x-ray and M.R.I.) and prescriptions
Protect Your Rights
File Accident Reports. Obtain and fill out an “Operator’s Report of Motor Vehicle Accident.” This form may be obtained from the police department or from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Send the original to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles and one copy to the police department in whose jurisdiction the accident occurred. Keep a copy for your files. Before you send it out, the report should be reviewed by your attorney.
Inform Your Insurance Company. Report the accident immediately to your insurance company or agent in writing without any detailed description of the accident. (Keep a copy of the letter for your file.) The attorney’s job will be to fill in the blanks for the insurance company later.
Get Legal Advice as Soon as Possible. It is important that you contact a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to help preserve evidence, identify and interview witnesses, and to begin building a case.
Car Accident Attorney
An experienced auto accident attorney has the skills, knowledge and expertise to establish who caused the accident and the nature and extent of your damages, thoroughly investigate and research your claim, evaluate your claim, deal with insurance companies, and help you obtain fair and just compensation.
What Happens When You Call Bob Allison
When you call Attorney Bob Allison, we will:
- Answer any questions you may have
- Ask you questions about the accident such as how it happened, where and when it occurred, the nature and extent of your injuries, and whether the police arrived at the scene
- If Attorney Bob Allison thinks he can help you, we will schedule a free consultation
- Attorney Allison will explain how we will work on your claim and keep you informed.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact Attorney Bob Allison now for a free consultation by calling 978-740-9433 or filling out our free consultation form. We look forward to talking to you about your Massachusetts auto accident claim.
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP)