Massachusetts Car Accident Attorneys
Americans of all ages spend a significant part of their lives on streets, roads, highways, and byways. Considering this, it is not surprising that traffic accidents are the leading cause of accidental injury and death in this country. And traffic accidents don’t just affect drivers; they affect passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a traffic accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. To get the settlement you deserve, it is important that you be represented by a qualified Burlington accident attorney.
At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys have experience dealing with:
- Accidents caused by teen drivers
- Bus, taxi, and MBTA accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- High-speed accidents
- Passenger injuries
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Spinal cord and brain injuries
- Rear-end collisions
- Chain-reaction collisions
- Cellphone misuse
Accidents may only last a few seconds, but the impact they can have on victims sometimes lasts a lifetime. In addition to the physical injuries, a variety of complications can wreak havoc on your recovery and quality of life: permanent disability, financial instability, and severe emotional distress are just a few of the challenges you may face following an accident.
What you do immediately after a car accident can have huge consequences for your future. Here’s what we recommend:
- Pull over: If your vehicle is drivable, pull off the road and onto the shoulder. If possible, pull into a nearby parking lot so that you can remove yourself from oncoming traffic.
- Call the police: If you decide to take legal action later, a police report will be very important for verifying damage and determining fault.
- Get medical attention if you are injured: Getting immediate medical attention is vital to your recovery. Don’t postpone treatment or attempt to ignore symptoms, no matter how trivial you feel they are. Nagging injuries can quickly turn into serious conditions that can severely impact your day-to-day life.
- Take photos: Everyone carries a smartphone these days. Use the camera app to take pictures of the scene, the damage, and any pertinent evidence like skid marks or road conditions, if safe to do so. The more evidence you can collect, the better off your case will be.
- Get witnesses: Get the full names and phone numbers of any available witnesses who can help piece together what happened during your car accident. If more people contribute evidence to what happened, your story becomes more credible.
- Contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney: While Massachusetts does have no-fault PIP (Personal Injury Protection), the maximum payout is only $8,000. A serious injury can result in medical bills that could be much higher than that.
If you’ve already been involved in a car accident and you’ve sought medical treatment for your injuries, contact an attorney to learn whether or not you have a personal injury claim.
Car accidents can be frightening and, for injury victims, their aftermath can pose many uncertainties. Are you eligible to seek compensation? Will your insurance cover your expenses? Do you need legal representation? Below, let's look at some of the more frequently asked questions injury victims have following their accidents and some reliable answers provided by our knowledgeable Boston car accident lawyers.
Yes, if you’re less than 51% "at fault" for the accident. In cases of traffic accidents and other types of personal injury, Massachusetts follows the concept of "modified comparative negligence." This means that you are only eligible for compensation if you are less that 51% responsible for your accident or injury.
However, Massachusetts also reduces your monetary compensation by your amount of fault. If the court finds you 20% responsible for the crash, it will take 20% away from your winnings.
In Massachusetts, all registered drivers are required to carry a car insurance policy - meaning that, in the case of a collision, your coverage should provide compensation for your injuries. This kind of compensation can be recovered even when negligence has not occurred.
On paper, this is fair system, except that most drivers carry minimum liability insurance. While these minimums can cover expenses resulting from minor accidents, they are usually not sufficient for victim relief when serious injuries occur.
Additionally, insurance providers want to protect their bottom lines and will often contest claims - even claims involving minimum liability coverage. In these cases, it is recommended that injury victims seek legal counsel to aggressively negotiate with the insurance provider and, if necessary, bring them to court.
In some states, car accident injuries can be covered by the victim's insurance coverage, the negligent driver's coverage, or both. Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, this is not the case. Our state is considered a "no-fault" state, which means that, in most cases, you must approach your own insurance provider for relief following an accident.
You can, however, seek compensation from a negligent driver if your accident meets certain conditions. If the other driver was negligent and you have more than $2,000 in medical expenses or have suffered permanent effects due to your injury, you may be eligible to seek compensation outside of the "no-fault" system.
Negligence is basically any irresponsible conduct that caused the crash to happen, such as:
- Impaired driving (drugs, alcohol, fatigue, etc.);
- Failing to signal;
- Distracted driving (texting, phone calls, etc.); and
- Failing to obey traffic lights or signage.
If your claim is serious enough to be pursued outside of the no-fault system, there are a number of different types of damages that be pursued. These include:
- Property damage;
- Medical bills;
- Permanent injury or disability;
- Costs of future medical costs related to your injury;
- Lost wages/income (past and future);
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Wrongful death damages if you lost a loved one in the accident;
- Lost support and services that the victim provided your family; and
- A court may also award you punitive damages, depending on the circumstances.
There are also other types of non-economic damages that can be pursued, as well. These include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other damages.
Most people spend their road time in an automobile. And while cars are much safer than they were in the past, new traffic hazards have sprung up. One of these new hazards is distracted driving. Americans are addicted to their smartphones, and though Massachusetts passed a Safe Driving Law in 2010, making it illegal to send, type, or read electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle, distracted driving is still at epidemic levels. Here are some other dangers on our 21st century roads:
- Truck Accidents: Tractor trailers (semi-trucks or big rigs) are an abundant and menacing presence on Massachusetts’ roadways, especially going through major Seaboard cities like Boston. A fully-loaded tractor trailer can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to the 4,000 pounds of the average car. In a collision between the two, the occupants of the car are going to suffer more severe injuries.
- Motorcycle Accidents: When a motorcyclist is involved in a traffic accident, the injuries suffered can be life-altering, even deadly. Motorcycles don’t have the restraints and protection that cars offer their occupants. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you are likely to accumulate medical bills that far exceed your insurance coverage. In addition, you’ll probably miss a great deal of work while you recuperate.
- Bus, Taxi, and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Accidents: Accidents involving buses, taxis, or the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) are not necessarily handled in the same way as other traffic accidents. Because the MBTA is a government agency, it has certain protections in personal injury claims involving bus, subway, and train accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these types of accidents, it is important that you choose a traffic accident attorney who is familiar with the unique nuances involved in pursuing compensation.
- Government Vehicles/Roads: There may be times when you’re in an accident and the government is to blame. This could be the case when the road is in such disrepair it caused your crash; for example, after a large snowstorm where a main street in Boston has not been plowed. Your vehicle could also be hit by a city employee in a government-owned vehicle. Claims against the government are much more complicated, because you must file within 30 days of the incident.
In Massachusetts, there is a statute of limitations for car accident cases: a deadline for a person to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for his or her injuries against another driver, not including the government. In Massachusetts, you have three years from the date of your crash to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. If someone was killed in a car crash, an executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate has three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you believe you have a legitimate car accident claim against a negligent driver - or are experiencing resistance from your own insurance provider - contact a proven Boston car accident lawyer immediately. Insurance companies think about their bottom line before they think about you. Vigilant counsel can not only assess the details of your case but, if necessary, start establishing a thorough and compelling claim that seeks maximum compensation for the losses you have suffered.
The attorneys at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., understand the law as it applies in these cases, so you can be confident in our ability to pursue fair compensation for you. For over a decade, we have represented clients injured in all types of vehicle accidents, including taxi cabs, tour buses, airport shuttle buses, and long-distance buses, such as Greyhound buses. We:
- Successfully represented thousands of cases;
- Serve New Hampshire and Massachusetts;
- Recovered millions of dollars for our past clients;
- Offer translations for Spanish speakers;
- Give free car-accident case reviews; and
- Have 24-hour availability.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident in Boston, Burlington, Methuen, or anywhere in Massachusetts, please contact the trusted attorneys at the DiBella Law Offices, P.C. Call our office at (781) 262-3338 today for a free initial consultation.
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- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
- Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)