There are steps to take to maximize your personal injury settlement and get adequate compensation for your injuries and other losses. Learn about it in this article.
A personal injury claim arises when a negligent party performs an act that inflicts injuries on a person. In a personal injury case, the at-fault party is the defendant, and the victim is the plaintiff. Generally, a victim is entitled to file a compensation claim with the help of a personal injury lawyer in Boston.
The aim is to get maximum compensation, covering the bodily injury suffered, physical pain, and psychological trauma. However, just because you suffered severe injuries and can file a civil claim does not mean you will get a fair settlement.
The onus is on you to discharge the burden of proof and maximize your personal injury case. But how do you do this? We provided the answer in this article. In it, we discuss how you can increase the amount you get as compensation for damages from the liable party.
Where Does Personal Injury Law Apply?
Some specific cases fall under personal injury law in Boston, Massachusetts. They include the following:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of death and catastrophic injuries, making them a top contributor to personal injury claims. In an automobile accident, the person who breaches their duty of care is the at-fault party.
Auto accidents extend to:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
In each case, you can usually hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get adequate compensation.
Construction Site Accident
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1 in 5 workplace deaths in 2020 occurred in the construction industry. Construction site mishaps do not affect workers alone but visitors, too. Therefore you can file a claim for compensation if hazardous conditions caused an accident that injured you.
You can also commence legal proceedings against a negligent property owner if you are a lawful occupant or visitor. Common examples of premises liability claims are:
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites
- Inadequate security
- Swimming pool accidents, etc.
Your primary care physician and other medical providers must uphold the standard of care applicable in the medical profession. If they fail to do so, they will face a medical malpractice action. One typical example is legal claims arising from birth injuries.
A product is defective if any of its characteristics keep it from carrying out the purpose for which it was manufactured. For instance, if faulty medical equipment aggravated your injuries, you can sue the manufacturer and get fair compensation.
Personal Injury Claims and Massachusetts No-Fault Car Insurance
Massachusetts is one of the few U.S. states that operate a no-fault car insurance system. Therefore, if you suffer injuries in an accident caused by a reckless driver, you would generally expect them to pay damages. However, the no-fault system stops you from doing this.
Instead, you must rely on your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to cover your medical and out-of-pocket expenses. This is the law whether or not you or someone else caused the accident.
The personal injury protection policy applies to:
- The vehicle owner
- Anyone with permission to drive the vehicle
- Any passenger traveling in the vehicle
- Any pedestrian injured by the vehicle
The policy also covers any lost wages (up to 75%) incurred due to your inability to work and replacement services. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Simply put, there are instances where you can file a personal injury claim despite the no-fault law.
An injured party can commence an action against the at-fault driver if they:
- Incurred at least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses, or
- Sustained injuries that cause permanent and severe disfigurement, fractured bone, or substantial loss of hearing or sight.
If any of the above applies to you, you can demand compensatory damages from the at-fault party through a third-party insurance claim. You file this claim with the reckless driver’s insurance company. Alternatively, you can initiate a personal injury lawsuit, but ensure you use a qualified attorney with trial experience.
Does the No-Fault Rule Apply to Every Personal Injury Case?
No, the no-fault insurance system applies primarily to automobile accidents. It does not apply to other personal injury cases. So, suppose you are a victim of medical negligence, you can immediately commence an action against the healthcare provider for financial compensation.
How Can You Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement in Boston?
Once you’ve determined that you can file personal injury action, you must take steps to maximize your personal injury settlement.
In personal injury claims, the person who asserts must prove the existence of what they claim. So, you need evidence to back up your assertion. For instance, if you were involved in an auto accident, you need the following types of evidence:
- The police report detailing what happened at the accident scene
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Photographs and video evidence of the crash scene
It’s one thing to have proof and another to preserve it. To preserve evidence, do the following:
- Write down what you remember about the accident
- Inspect the accident scene
- Take photos to protect physical evidence
- Write down your injuries
If you sustained catastrophic injuries like a traumatic brain injury and can’t preserve evidence yourself, a relative or friend can help you. Alternatively, a personal injury lawyer in Boston can help you gather and preserve evidence.
Get Medical Treatment
Accidental injuries like a broken bone or spinal cord injury can affect bodily function. Therefore, injured people must get medical care immediately after an accident. Your medical record is crucial evidence if you desire maximum compensation.
It shows the extent of your injuries, whether or not you need future medical care, and how much current and future treatment will cost. This way, an insurance adjuster will not argue that your wounds are not as extensive as you claim.
Also, insurance companies cannot claim your wounds are from a pre-existing medical condition. Finally, follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, and don’t stop treatment until they tell you to. Disobeying your physician’s orders only benefits the at-fault party’s insurer and reduces the worth of your claim.
Evaluate Your Claim
Claim evaluation is essential as it lets you know what the case is worth to avoid getting cheated by insurance providers. In evaluating your case, consider the following:
- The severity of your injuries
- Past, current, and future medical costs
- The cost of medical equipment and home improvement, if any
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
- The presence of a comparative fault
You can contact a personal injury law firm to help you with a case evaluation. They know the law and have the experience needed to correctly place a monetary value on your case.
Don’t Accept the First Offer
One common mistake accident victims make is accepting the first settlement offer made by the liable party’s insurance company. However, you might eagerly accept the first offer if you have no PIP, health insurance, or funds to pay your hospital bills and aid your recovery.
However, this stops you from getting an adequate settlement as the first offer is not always the best. Therefore, don’t be too eager to accept an accident settlement, especially if you have not gotten legal representation. If you do, you cannot get additional compensation as the settlement agreement closes the case.
File a Personal Injury Claim Immediately After the Accident
Insurance providers know that you have a timeframe in which you must file a lawsuit. Under the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations, you have three years to commence an action. Suppose you filed an insurance claim late, and the negotiation drags.
The insurance company may keep the negotiations ongoing for the three years to elapse. They know that if they do this and the time runs out, you have no choice but to accept their settlement offer.
The only way to prevent this is by filing a lawsuit immediately if it is clear that someone else’s negligence caused you harm. This way, you enter negotiations strong and not at a disadvantage.
Avoid Social Media
To maximize your personal injury settlement, you must stay off social media. Insurance adjusters constantly look at your social media accounts to find what they’ll use to counter your claim. This could be returning to work too early or making a statement that makes you seem liable. So, avoid social media until you settle the claim.
Damage Caps for a Personal Injury Settlement
Massachusetts does not have damage caps for every personal injury case. However, it places a $500,000 limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. In addition, if the injury claim involves a government agency, you cannot claim more than $100,000.
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer in Boston Help Maximize Your Settlement Amount?
Yes, hiring legal services is crucial to maximizing compensation. Law firms have attorneys with combined years of experience negotiating and securing fair settlements for their clients.
Also, lawyers know all the tricks insurance carriers apply to limit compensation amounts and have developed ways to counter them. So, hiring a legal team is more beneficial than handling the claim yourself.
Hire An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Boston From Kelly and Associates Injury Lawyers
At Kelly and Associates Injury Lawyers, our attorneys are committed to helping injury victims get the maximum compensation from the at-fault party. You don’t have to worry about how much you’ll pay us as we work on a contingency fee basis and do not demand upfront fees. Therefore, reach out to us to file that liability claim. We offer free initial consultations.