Car accidents in Massachusetts can lead to various consequences. For one thing, physical injuries or property damage could result. Or else you may emerge from a crash without physical harm and do not intend to file a car accident case. Nevertheless, there is still a possibility that the other parties involved may choose to file a personal injury claim against you.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone has taken steps to seek damages against you following a car accident in Massachusetts, it is crucial to seek legal advice. You must respond to the car accident claim on time. Failing to respond could result in unfavorable outcomes and financial losses.
Understanding your legal responsibilities and taking prompt action when faced with a lawsuit after a car accident is in your best interests. Getting assistance from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can ensure that your rights and well-being are protected.
Should You Get a Lawyer If You Are Sued After a Car Accident?
If someone sues you after a car accident, it is in your best interests to consider hiring a car accident lawyer. You can enjoy peace of mind knowing an experienced personal injury attorney experienced with car accidents in Massachusetts is working to protect your rights.
Lawsuits can be complicated. The necessary steps must be taken promptly before legal deadlines expire.
Suppose you do not respond to the car accident lawsuit. In that case, the court might rule in the other party’s favor. Thus, it might be better for you, financially speaking, to hire a personal injury attorney.
Additionally, car accidents are often more complicated than they seem. You might have a valid reason to name the other party as the at-fault driver. You could possibly file a counterclaim to recover damages you are entitled to receive.
Even more importantly, a car accident lawyer can work hard to minimize your liability. He or she can try to negotiate a fair settlement to avoid going to court. Plus, if you got hurt or your property was damaged in the car crash, he or she can fight to make sure you get maximum compensation for your losses.
Lastly, the involved auto insurance companies will also investigate the accident to determine fault and financial responsibility. They aim to figure out how and why the accident happened, primarily intending to pay out as little money as possible.
Dealing with an insurance company can be difficult. They can be stingy regarding their policy limits. They can be obstinate in agreeing to what your liability insurance provides. Insurance companies may also be unreasonable in determining the expenses related to your accident.
When you have a lawyer on your side, though, he or she can handle the challenges presented by any insurance company. Meanwhile, you can spend time focusing on your recovery and loved ones.
What Happens If Your Insurance Provider and the Insurance Company of the Other Driver Disagree?
In regular car accident cases, car insurance companies usually follow a simple process until they agree on a settlement. For example, in simple accidents like a rear-end collision, it might be relatively easy to determine who is at fault. But in more complicated accidents, an insurance company might need to look closely at the evidence to find out who is responsible.
There are sometimes arguments about who the at-fault driver really is. There may be questions about whether the injuries were really because of the car accident, and whether the settlement offered is fair or not.
When these problems come up, you might have to go to court with a personal injury lawsuit to seek fair compensation for the damages you suffered. Even though most car accident claims in Massachusetts end with an out-of-court settlement, car accident lawsuits can take a lot more time to sort out.
What Damages Can Be Included in a Car Accident Suit
In car accident cases, damages usually come in two forms: economic and non-economic. In certain circumstances, punitive damages can also be awarded. These are explained as follows.
You can put a dollar amount on economic damages, like the costs for vehicle damage, medical treatment, or the wages you lost when you could not work.
Medical records for the medical attention you received must be obtained to determine economic damages accurately.
Non-economic damages are harder to measure since they relate to pain and suffering or emotional distress. It can even include missing out on affection or companionship because of losing a loved one.
The Massachusetts wrongful death law lets you seek punitive damages in certain cases. These are available when someone’s death happens because of outstandingly bad behavior by the person responsible.
The appalling act in question may go beyond typical distracted driving but could involve wrongful behavior such as drunk driving. To recover punitive damages, you must prove that the negligent actions directly led to the death.
The Process for Car Accident Settlements in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is not an “at-fault state.” Rather, there is a “no-fault” system here for vehicle accidents and insurance claims.
As a rule, then, you must first contact your insurance company to recover compensation for personal injuries before trying to get money from the other party or their insurance company.
You can go to court and sue if two things happen:
- You have medical bills of at least $2,000
- Your injuries are serious, or you suffered permanent disfigurement, fractured bones, or loss of hearing or sight
When you file a claim under your insurance policy and seek money from your car insurance provider for help, they still might deny your claim or offer you an insufficient settlement. If you do not agree with them, you can appeal their decision.
Unfortunately, the insurance company’s own interests are often their priority. It is common for an insurance company to have agents attempting to distribute the least possible amount as a settlement. You may need to challenge your insurance policy limits.
If that does not work, you can file a complaint regarding the car insurance company with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI). This agency keeps an eye on how car insurance companies conduct their business.
Only Provide Minimal Information Until You Have a Lawyer
Your insurance policy probably mandates that you inform them when you are sued for a car accident. Nonetheless, make sure to disclose minimal information until you have obtained the services of an experienced car accident lawyer, especially if the other party alleges gross negligence.
The reason? You do not want to assume financial responsibility for the car wreck inadvertently. Nor do you want to take personal liability for an injured party unintentionally.
How a Lawyer Can Help You If You Are Sued for a Car Accident
When you hire trusted car accident attorneys, they can gather evidence about the accident, that may prove your side of the story, by:
- Obtaining the accident report from the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Police
- Visiting the accident scene
- Talking to eyewitnesses and expert witnesses
These steps are crucial to prove that the other driver caused the car accident and your injuries. Simply put, you must show that the other driver made a mistake that clearly led to your injuries.
Next, your attorneys can speak to the insurance company about your injury claim. They can inform the claim adjusters that they are representing you as an accident victim.
Your attorney can also contact the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. He or she can request details about their insurance coverage for bodily injuries.
At the same time, your attorney can let your auto insurance company know about your claim for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. This gets your PIP claim going, which can help cover your medical bills and any lost wages.
Kiley Law Group Can Help When You Are Being Sued After a Car Accident
It can be scary to be accused of causing a car accident. Like most drivers, you may not know your legal rights after an accident, nor how no-fault laws are interpreted in your state.
Lessen the confusion and stress by getting the help you need. Contact your local Massachusetts injury lawyers to learn what you can do for both peace of mind and legal protection.
Get in touch with our caring personal injury lawyers at Kiley Law Group. We are eager to listen to your case and provide the legal advice you need.
Call our law offices 24/7 at (888) 979-9323 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Remember, one call can make all the difference.