There are several benefits of hiring a lawyer as an auto crash victim. Learn what a Newton auto accident attorney can do for you and their impact on your case.
The aftermath of a motor vehicle accident could be quite traumatizing for accident victims. Injured persons may be in great pain, be financially strained, and torn between numerous decisions, all at the same time.
However, if you sustained injuries in an auto accident, there is a way out. You can scale through this period by hiring a Newton auto accident law firm that knows its onions. Your attorney will help you file a personal injury claim.
If you aren’t sure how a Newton auto accident attorney is an advantage, or if you aren’t convinced about what roles they play, this article is for you. One of the advantages of hiring an experienced car accident attorney is a better chance of recovering fair compensation. This is because lawyers have received years of training and developed the required experience to help you get adequate compensation.
Is Massachusetts a No-Fault Accident State?
Yes, MA (Massachusetts) is a no-fault accident state, which implies that no matter whose fault the accident is, PIP (personal injury protection) insurance coverage will cover your expenses.
Massachusetts is one of the many states that abide by the “no-fault” vehicle insurance policy. Under this no-fault system, your car insurance coverage pays for the medical treatment and other expenses incurred, regardless of whose fault the accident is.
It is also important to note that MA’s no-fault car insurance policy applies to injuries only caused by car accidents but not for vehicle damage claims.
What Is Covered Under the No-Fault Accident Car Insurance?
Generally, your PIP coverage will settle the following after a car accident, but only up to a maximum of $8,000.
- Medical bills from the car accident
- The limit of up to 75% of income lost due to your inability to work
- Replacement services
You should also note that in the case of compensable losses after a no-fault car accident, you won’t get compensated for “pain and suffering” and other related non-monetary damages caused by the accident.
The no-fault Massachusetts car insurance or PIP coverage applies to:
- The owner of the car
- Anyone with the permission to drive your car
- Any passenger inside your car
- Any pedestrian injured by your car
However, if you want to step out of the MA no-fault policy and file a third-party insurance claim against the driver at fault, your injuries must meet several thresholds set by the law. Stepping outside of the MA no-fault system will help you get compensation for the “pain and suffering” and other related non-economic losses as opposed to working with the no-fault system.
How Does Massachusetts Determine Fault in Auto Accidents?
With its status as a no-fault insurance state, Massachusetts drivers can be held responsible for Newton County auto accidents if they are more than 50% at fault. In an auto accident, a negligent driver is judged to be over 50% liable if the following conditions are established:
- The driver fails to signal
- The driver collides with a lawfully or unlawfully parked motor vehicle
- The driver drives out of the lane and collides with another motor vehicle
- Disobedience to driving rules and regulations
- Entering from a side road and colliding at a “T” intersection
- Breaking the legal requirement to yield the right-of-way to emergency motor vehicles
- Colliding when hooking onto a highway/rotary
- Carelessly exiting from a parked position, an alley, a driveway, or a parking lot
- Colliding with a vehicle traveling in the same or opposite direction when hooking a left turn or a U-turn
- Failing to drive with caution at a traffic control signal or sign
- Getting distracted and hitting the car in front in a rear-end collision
When a driver is found to break any of these standards, the Massachusetts Merit Rating Board will attach the accident report to the motorist’s driving record.
What Damages Can a Newton Auto Accident Attorney Recover in an Auto Accident?
Auto accidents come with accident injuries, and proving fault is complicated. However, with the proper evidence, a Newton auto accident attorney seeking damages on behalf of an accident victim can press for any of these compensation types:
Damages of this nature come with a precise cost attached. A lawyer can prove them by presenting doctor’s bills, hospital statements, testimony from medical and financial experts, and tax returns or pay stubs.
Economic damages include:
- Compensation for Lost Wages and Diminished Future Earnings
If an accident injury keeps a victim out of work for some time, the accident victim deserves compensation for the lost wages. Lost wages can also capture the future losses from an inability to earn. For example, injuries that lead to physical disability can hinder an auto accident victim from making as much as they used to.
- Financial Coverage for Previous and Future Medical Expenses
The insurance company of the defaulter will pay all the medical costs that a victim incurs or will incur. Depending on the accident’s severity, medical treatment may continue for years. In such cases, the claim should capture foreseeable medical expenses. The law allows claims to accommodate medical costs until the accident victim fully recovers.
- Financial Compensation for the Cost of rehabilitation, Medical Equipment, and Home Modifications
If an accident victim suffers mental complications, they will need some time to rehabilitate. Rehabilitation costs money and should feature in the claim. In addition, the accident victim may require medical equipment to aid recovery and mitigate any discomfort from physical disability.
The victim may also need to live in modified living conditions. For example, if their previous accommodation isn’t suitable for recovery, the claim could contain allowances for a change of home.
If economic damages are tied to fixed or documented costs, non-economic damages are the opposite. Non-economic damages deal with costs whose monetary worth is not easy to estimate. They include non-tangible costs connected with pain and suffering. If an accident victim hires a good lawyer, they can peg a reasonable value to losses.
Non-economic damages include the following:
- The Loss of Consortium
This claim is usually made by a spouse or anyone close to the injured person. If the fallouts of the injury affect the quality of the relationship, such persons can sue for damages.
- Physical Pain
Accident victims can receive compensation for physical pain from the injuries sustained in an accident.
An amputation or a permanent scar or damage to the external part of the body has a place in an auto accident claim.
- Emotional Distress
An accident can cause psychological damage and trauma to a victim. For example, some auto accident victims may lose the fortitude to drive. Therefore, the law allows them to receive compensation.
- Decreased Quality of Life
For example, if an auto accident results in a disability, it reduces the quality of life. As a result, this loss of quality of life can feature a claim.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim For Personal Injury?
The Statute of Limitations for claiming personal injury after a car accident is usually two to three years for most states but five or six years for others. In Massachusetts, the Statute of Limitations is three years for car accident cases.
This means that if the insurance adjuster delays your claim or you fail to reach a timely agreement, you must commence a lawsuit before the three years elapse. If you fail to do so, you lose your right to recover damages and may never recover a settlement.
Generally, claims for personal injury after an accident should be made within three days of the accident. After having an accident and seeking medical attention, contact your insurance company within 24 hours and notify them of the accident. Try to take photos of the accident scene as proof, or you can document any details you can get.
Afterward, your insurance company will contact you about your claimed losses, and they may want to see your documentation. Then, they’ll use any information gathered to process your claim.
Note that the time limit is three years for cases where the victim dies. However, the time starts counting from the death date or the date of discovery. The latter refers to when the deceased’s relatives discovered an accident injury caused the victim’s death.
What Are You Required to Do After an Accident?
There are steps you can take at the accident scene that will help you recover from injury and promote your chances of compensation recovery.
After having an accident, call 911. If you’re unable to do so, seek medical attention first, especially if the accident resulted in severe injuries. The police will play their part in investigating the accident and filing a report. The police report is a potential asset in your compensation recovery.
Capture the Scene
If possible, get photos, videos, and voice recordings of the accident scene. If you are too weak to do so, you can let someone around help out.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Find experienced and intelligent Newton auto accident lawyers to give you advice and help you pursue compensation.
The Roles of a Newton Auto Accident Attorney
It is common knowledge that an auto accident attorney increases your chances of getting fair compensation. Apart from their understanding of the law, the experience of handling case after case involving accident injuries gives Newton auto accident lawyers superior insight.
So what do accident attorneys do? We discuss this below.
Listen to You
Successful personal injury lawyers do not underestimate the need to listen closely to their clients. One way to gauge the amount of interest a Newton auto accident attorney has in your case is how well they listen to you.
The ability of a car accident lawyer to listen attentively to clients could make a big difference in the outcome of a case. Is your Newton auto accident attorney doing less than they should in getting accurate accounts of the incident? You can tell by the kind of questions they ask. If they aren’t showing sufficient interest in your case, you should consider changing your lawyer.
Launch an Investigation and Collect Evidence
After listening to your account, your lawyer needs to kickstart an investigation to get the facts. The law firm you work with could hire investigators or handle the inquiry themselves.
Either way, your lawyer should have every valuable accident detail at their fingertips. However, to achieve accurate results, an investigation must be thorough and meticulous.
There are sensitive documents that will corroborate your account of events and solidify your compensation claim. This includes the police report of the accident, the recording of your distress call, evidence of payments of hospital bills, and medical reports.
Determine Your Level of Fault
Your degree of fault in an automobile accident can influence your access to the compensation you desire. Your degree of responsibility is your level of liability in the accident. Therefore, a driver’s degree of fault plays a crucial role in determining if they can receive compensation.
In addition, the degree to which you are at fault will also determine how much compensation you can get from your claim. A Newton auto accident attorney will ascertain your role in the accident. In addition, they will use this information to estimate your fault in percentages.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies and Lawyers
Your compensation bid can end on the negotiation table. If the at-fault driver has subscribed to an auto insurance policy, your Newton auto accident attorney will set up a meeting with their auto insurance company and lawyers.
Negotiation involves convincing the at-fault party’s insurance provider that you deserve compensation. Afterward, your personal injury attorney makes efforts to settle on the most favorable compensation amount.
Prepare You for Deposition
The legal team of the at-fault party’s insurance provider can request a deposition. A deposition is a sworn testimony that a witness makes outside the courtroom walls. These testimonies could serve as a fact-finding compass or, in some cases, be admitted as evidence in the court. Depositions could either be written or given orally.
There is every possibility that the legal team of the at-fault party’s insurance company will request a deposition with you. If this is the case, the experience and skill of your Newton auto accident attorney will come in handy.
Testifying at oral depositions could be a nervy experience. But they are recognized by law and a critical phase in your compensation recovery journey. So if you have an experienced car accident attorney, you shouldn’t fret.
Your deposition could become more of a friendly chat than an interrogation session. Your attorney will let you know what to expect and ensure that you are prepared.
File a Suit in Court
Compensation negotiations could fail. In this case, filing a suit in court will be your next step. However, due to the several bottlenecks that plague the typical court process, filing a lawsuit in court could be cumbersome for you.
Your lawyer’s network and superior understanding of the court system will make for a faster and more seamless court filing process. After filing your case in court, your lawyers secure a date for the court hearing.
Prepare Your Case and Represent You in Court
Your lawyer prepares for the court showdown by compiling the facts, documents, and evidence. Then, your personal injury attorney will aim to convince the courts that you deserve compensation for the losses you have suffered from the accident.
Your personal injury lawyer will square off with the insurance company’s legal team. Your attorney will produce definitive evidence and argument for the opposing party. Your lawyer may also secure the testimony and presence of both eyewitnesses and expert witnesses in court.
Keep You in the Loop
While your Newton auto accident attorney works on your case, you will most likely focus on your injury recovery. However, an experienced attorney should keep you updated with the case’s progress. Your lawyer should also consult you before making sensitive decisions.
Let Kelly and Associates Recover Your Compensation
If you have suffered injury from a vehicle accident in Massachusetts, there are Newton auto accident lawyers you can trust. You need attorneys that care as much as you do about getting paid. At Kelly and Associates, we understand how crucial it is that you get compensated for injuries and other losses. So you do not have to suffer for the indiscretion of a negligent or drunk driver.
We also know the pain that accident victims feel when they lose their compensation requests. So we ensure that none of our clients have to experience that feeling. As a result, we have demonstrated outstanding professionalism, a tireless fighting spirit, and a desire for results with every auto accident case we have handled.
We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for auto accident victims, and we would love to fight for you. Our attorneys are waiting to hear about your situation, advise you on what to do, and lead the fight for your compensation. Contact us today for a free case review.