Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Auto insurance in Massachusetts is not getting cheaper, so it may not be a great time to tell you to increase your UM/UIM coverage – but it’s accident attorney

Here’s why: Auto insurance premiums have recently hit a national average of $1,427, according to The Washington Post. This is for a few different reasons, including catastrophic weather (which increases the number of crashes). However, as the Post reported, one’s college degree or credit score may actually have more bearing on how much your car insurance costs than your actual driving record, given the complex and often opaque formulas used by auto insurers. What this boils down to is that people who might really need insurance are going to either skimp on coverage, buying only the bare minimum required by law, or they aren’t going to buy any at all and take their chances getting caught.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that from 1992 to 2015, the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists nationally ranged somewhere between 16 percent and 13 percent. Florida had the highest rate of uninsured motorists (27 percent), while Massachusetts had one of the lowest (6.2 percent). Here, state law requires motorists carry a minimum:

  • $20,000 per individual in bodily injury liability and property damage
  • $40,000 per crash for bodily injury liability and property damage
  • $5,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits

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Not all Massachusetts car accident injury claims will be resolved in a courtroom. Some of course will be settled without ever having to file a lawsuit. Injured motorists, passengers or bicyclists simply file a claim with the insurer, the insurer makes a reasonable settlement offer, claimant signs off on it and it’s done. (This is usually for cases wherein injury was not serious and damages weren’t extensive.) Other times, claims will be resolved via arbitration. car accident attorney

Arbitration is not necessarily a preferred forum for resolution of Boston car accident claims (or any civil litigation) where the plaintiff is concerned. It’s not a transparent process, and results tend to be more favorably skewed toward the defendant/ insurer (at least compared to personal injury litigation outcomes). However, many courts in Massachusetts will uphold arbitration agreements, depending on the language in the insurance policy.

For instance last year, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held the lower court (Bristol County Superior Court) in Chamberland v. Arabella Mutual Insurance Company did not abuse its discretion in deciding the insurer could compel plaintiff in the car accident lawsuit to resolve the underinsured motorist claim via arbitration, rather than in a courtroom.  Continue reading

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In many serious car accidents in the Greater Boston area, one or more victims will be pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, or at the hospital a short time later. In some accidents, however, victims will survive for some time following the accident.  This can be days, weeks, or even years. In such cases, a wrongful death claim may be added to a negligence claim that has already been filed so long as the plaintiff did not sign a general release of liability and waiver.

car crash BostonWhile it may seem strange, a person could die from a car accident years later, there are cases where a person suffers from severe organ damage that will eventually result in death, even if it does not happen for a long time.  For example, a person could damage their kidneys, liver, or both and survive for a while on medication and dialysis, but eventually succumb to the injuries. When a death occurs, as long as there is a causal connection between the accident that caused the damage, a claim may be warranted. Continue reading

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The clear majority of Boston car accident lawsuits are filed under a theory of negligence.  If a plaintiff was killed, a claim for wrongful death would be added as well, but the case would likely be pleaded under the same theory of negligence, but the wrongful death claim would allow for a demand for additional damages as well as possibly some direct claims such as loss of consortium filed by a surviving spouse. In some cases, plaintiff is able to plead an intentional tort such as battery if defendant is alleged to have intentionally hit plaintiff with his or her car, but those cases are few and far between.

Boston car accidentsThe point is it will be necessary to determine who was at-fault in the serious or fatal Boston car accident and present enough evidence of fault to convince a jury if necessary, but hopefully to convince a car insurance company to agree a full and appropriate financial settlement so as to fully compensate a plaintiff for any loss suffered.  Continue reading

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Each year car accidents many car accidents in Boston result in serious personal injury, but some result in death.  Unfortunately, the numbers are getting worse instead of better as the Boston Globe reported the number of traffic deaths has risen nearly 50 percent in recent years.  When a victim dies in a car accident, as opposed to only suffering injuries, decedent is still the plaintiff, but the case is filed in the name of decedent’s estate, and a representative of plaintiff stands in for the decedent when it comes to settlement negotiations or going to court should the case fail to settle.

The Need for a Probate Estate in a Boston Wrongful Death Car Crash

Boston car accident lawsuitsThese cases will be filed with the name of the decedent’s estate on the caption as well as name of the estate’s representative.  This representative is ultimately chosen by the Family and Probate court in Suffolk County, but the decedent, through a last will and testament may have a say in the matter posthumously. In the event decedent died with a valid last will and testament, this instrument will declare who he or she had selected as the personal representative of his or her probate estate. If it is clear, and this person is willing and able to accept  responsibility, courts generally honor a decedent’s request. Hopefully, a lawyer prepared decedent’s will because when people attempt to use so-called online legal help services, things can get very messy and lead to a lot of problems between family members. Continue reading

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T-bone accidents occur all the time and they can result in some of the most severe damage in any type of car accident.  A T-bone accident involves the front-end of one car colliding with the plaintiff’s car on the side where the doors are located.  A Boston T-bone car accident can  involve the driver’s side or the passenger side of the vehicle.  The reason they are potentially so dangerous or even deadly is because the side of a vehicle offers much less protection than the front or rear of a vehicle. Fortunately, modern cars do have one or more airbags located on the vehicle to protect from side impacts, but while they do help, they are not perfect and plaintiffs are still severely injured.

car accident BostonThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHSHLDI) has been keeping statistics for years and has determined that improvements designed to reduce front-impact damage have been far more successful than efforts to reduce the number of serious injuries in side-impact car accidents. To make matters worse, as the size of SUVs and Pickup trucks have increased over the years, especially with the use of lift-kits, the point of impact on the front end of a typical defendant’s car is much higher than in decades past so this has also increased the number of T-bone car crashes with serious or fatal injuries that occur in the Greater Boston area. Continue reading

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Most car crashes in Boston involve two or more vehicles, typically owned by private citizens, though sometimes by corporations. In some cases, vehicles involved may be owned by a local, state, or federal agency. If the driver deemed to be at-fault in the accident was driving a government vehicle, this may complicate the matter of compensation due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Boston Car Accident Lawyer The doctrine of sovereign immunity comes from British common law, where essentially held the king was above the law.  This term sovereign have been retained long after kings and queens ruled the land. Today, the term is used to refer to a state or federal government or what are known as political subdivisions of the government in the Massachusetts General Laws.

Cases involving government vehicles or employees must be carefully handled by an experienced Boston car accident attorney. Continue reading

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Although many car accidents do not involve any malicious intent by the at-fault driver, and may indeed by “honest mistakes,” that’s still not necessarily the accurate legal conclusion. That’s because each and every time a motorist gets behind the wheel of a vehicle in Massachusetts, he or she owes a duty of care to use reasonable and prudent caution. car accident lawyer

Failure to do so – even in the event it was not intentional – is negligence, and grounds for compensation if injuries resulted.

So for instance, accidentally stepping on the gas when you mean to hit the break could be failure to use reasonable care, even if you didn’t mean to take the action you did.

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Boston truck accidents are often inherently more serious and legally complex than a typical auto accident case. First, there are often more personal injuries, given the weight and size differential of semi-trucks to passenger vehicles. The chances of death may be much higher given the sheer force of impact.

From a legal standpoint, we are often dealing with numerous defendants. While some drivers own their rigs, it’s more typical for a carrier to own the rig and either hire the driver as an employee or an independent contractor. In some cases, the trailer may be owned by an entity other than the carrier. This was done in part to shield these companies from liability as much as possible, and it does make it trickier for injury lawyers to sort through the web of business contracts and liability insurance policies that may be applicable.

If the driver is an employee, the trucking company can be held vicariously liable per the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, or Latin for “let the master answer.” It isn’t necessary to prove the trucking company did anything wrong, only that the driver was negligent and acting in the course and scope of employment. However, that same doctrine does not apply when truckers are independent contractors. That doesn’t mean legal action against the company is impossible, but it does mean negligence will need to be proven, and there will most likely be numerous defendants.

Boston Truck Accidents Continue reading

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Fatal car accident lawsuits in Boston are often very complex and best handled by an experienced personal injury lawyer who has a track record of success in deadly crash litigation. While fault may seem a fairly straightforward issue, there are also matters of causation and comparative negligence and damages that have to be sorted out. Many of these cases require hundreds of hours of research and analysis and usually necessitate expert witness testimony.

Boston car accidentsAccording to a recent article from News 7 Boston, one person was killed in a three-car accident in Medfield, Massachusetts.  Medfield is located to the south and east of the city of Boston. Authorities have said the fatal crash, which occurred on Route 109, occurred at around 2 p.m. and involved the driver of a Jeep who was allegedly speeding prior to the accident that involved a collision with two other vehicles and one where the jeep completed flipped over and came to a stop resting on its roof.

Aside from the man declared dead at the scene, another victim was rushed to Tufts Medical Center, a level-one trauma center located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. A third person was also injured, but his injuries were not as severe as the other two.  This person was taken to a local hospital in an ambulance.

As our Boston car accident lawyers can explain, the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) will send in an investigation and accident reconstruction team to work with local police in conducting a full investigation into the cause of the crash.  This does not mean there will necessarily be any criminal charges filed, as the state police investigate all fatal car accidents.

It should be noted that the conclusions of law enforcement are not necessarily final when it comes to the question of fault. Although those findings can be used in your civil lawsuit, those facts were gathered for the purpose of investigating traffic infractions and criminal charges – the outcome of which will be totally separate from any civil litigation. That’s why contacting an attorney as soon as possible is smart, so we can immediately begin our own gathering of evidence and analysis.  Continue reading