Understand Your Legal Options After A Car Accident
Regardless of their offers to help and claims of compassion, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They have a bottom line they must maximize and will work hard to minimize the impact of a car accident on that bottom line.
At the Law Offices of James F. White, P.C., our job is to secure the compensation that reflects your injuries and the level of negligence that led to the car wreck. Having represented countless clients throughout Norfolk County and the rest of Massachusetts, we can deliver the strong representation you need to ensure your rights are protected after a crash.
Effectively Handling All Your Legal Needs
While you recover from your injuries, we handle all the legal aspects of your case, including the volumes of paperwork and communications with the insurance company. Identifying the true cause or causes of your accident is our primary goal. Driver negligence may have played a role. A defect in either car may have caused whiplash or a more serious injury.
Regardless of how your accident happened, we strive to maximize your compensation if you were involved in any type of collision.
We can help you seek compensation for the following damages:
- Present and future medical bills
- Lost wages and other income
- Lost earning potential
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
Massachusetts ‘No-Fault’ Car Insurance Laws
Massachusetts follows a “no-fault” car insurance structure which directs drivers to seek compensation under their own insurance coverage after a crash regardless of who is to blame for the collision. Unlike other states’ systems that allow car accident victims to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, your insurance company will pay for medical treatment and other losses for anyone covered under your policy up to the limits established in your “personal injury protection” and “medical payments” coverage. The downside of this system is that you cannot seek compensation for “pain and suffering” from your insurance company.
You may seek compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages from an at-fault driver in Massachusetts outside of no-fault law if:
- Your medical expenses exceed $2,000.00
- Your injuries involve broken/fractured bones, severe disfigurement, or permanent vision or hearing loss
It is important to note that no-fault law does not apply to vehicle damage claims in Massachusetts. You may seek compensation for vehicle repairs or total loss damages from an at-fault driver with no limitations. Regardless of whether you are seeking compensation from your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s, our attorneys can ensure your best interests are protected and maximize your chances of securing a fair settlement.
Statute Of Limitations For Car Accident Lawsuits In Massachusetts
If your injuries are significant enough to meet the legal threshold, you need to act fast if you wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Car accident lawsuits in Massachusetts are subject to a “statute of limitations” which sets a strict deadline on how long a plaintiff has to file a civil claim. The reason for this deadline is because evidence can be much more difficult to gather as time passes, as memories fade, details are lost, and witnesses become difficult to track down.
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for personal injury, property damage, and wrongful death lawsuits related to car accidents is three years. This deadline may be extended in situations where criminal charges apply against the at-fault driver, such as in drunk driving accident cases.
Statutes of limitations are strictly enforced and can ultimately make or break your claim. Since investing in a car accident claim can take weeks or even months on its own, it is important to retain the services of a skilled attorney as soon as possible if you wish to file a car accident lawsuit to ensure your compliance with all applicable deadlines.
What To Do After A Car Accident In Massachusetts
A car accident is an undoubtedly stressful experience that can shake even the calmest and collected people. While you may be shaken up, it is important to have a game plan in place and to stay in control of your actions and words in the immediate aftermath. What you say and do can have a considerable impact on any subsequent car accident or lawsuit you may choose to file. Adhere to the following steps and contact an attorney as soon as possible.
- Stay at the scene and tend to the injured: If you or anyone involved in the crash is seriously injured, call for emergency aid immediately. Never flee the scene of an accident!
- Call the police: Local or state law enforcement should respond to your crash and create a report. Answer the police’s questions truthfully, but do not accept blame or make accusations. Stick to the facts and avoid speculation. Be sure to request a copy of the police report afterward.
- Exchange information: Once the police arrive, exchange information with all involved motorists. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and auto insurance information. If the other driver is uncooperative, let the police handle acquiring this information. Do not discuss the crash with the other driver.
- Collect evidence: Your smartphone is your greatest asset at the scene of an accident. Use your phone to take photos or videos of the involved videos, including their positioning in relation to each other before they are moved, the damage to all vehicles, skid marks or debris on the road, traffic patterns and conditions, and any other information that might explain how the accident occurred. If you can, get photographs of your injuries before they are treated.
- Get medical care: If you did not require emergency medical aid, see a doctor within 24 hours of the crash. Being examined by a doctor is important not only to protect your health, but also to create initial documentation of your injuries that can be crucial to your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
- Report the crash: You are required by law to report a car accident in Massachusetts within five days of the collision if someone is injured, killed, or if there is more than $1,000 worth of damage. This requires completing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report and submitting it to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, as well as sending copies to your insurance company and the police department.
- Contact your insurance company: Most insurance policies require you to notify your insurer of an accident within a few days to be able to open a claim file. Only report the crash to open a claim; do not discuss the details with an insurance adjuster before speaking to an attorney.
Do Not Trust The Insurance Companies
Do not speak to the opposing side’s insurance company following an accident. You may be experiencing pain and suffering, and, frustrated by the recent events, you may want to resolve matters quickly. Knowing that, the insurance provider will make an offer that is pennies on the dollar.
Attorney James F. White established our Massachusetts-based firm, employing a blue-collar approach in his dedication and diligence to protecting his clients’ rights. He works hard and does not overlook the smallest details in a rear-end collision, SUV rollover, or other car accident claim. He is well aware of the tactics used by insurance companies and counters them with a facts-based approach.
Call 508-763-6571 To Set Up Your Free Consultation
For more information or to schedule your case evaluation with an experienced Norfolk County motor vehicle accident lawyer about an injury suffered in an auto crash, please contact our firm. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay us unless we win for you.