Many people who are injured in car accidents are scared and confused in the aftermath. They may not understand what their legal rights are, if they are at fault for the accident, or how they could possibly handle the claim on their own.
Individuals injured in Boston car accidents that are not their fault have the right to pursue compensation for all their losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies like to take advantage of unrepresented plaintiffs who are unfamiliar with personal injury law and their own rights to restitution.
If you receive a low settlement offer or are pressured to sign statements waiving your right to sue or admitting guilt for the accident, you may need professional legal representation for your personal injury case. A dedicated Boston car accident lawyer could work on your behalf to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Legal Rights After a Car Accident
Under Massachusetts law, there can never be a situation where a car accident is no one’s fault. Because of this, the first thing to do when considering a claim is to determine which driver carries legal liability—or in other words, is “at fault”—for the accident.
The simplest way to do this is to determine if the other driver was negligent. Negligence is a legal concept and cause of action that allows individuals injured in accidents to demand compensation for their injuries. If one party has a legal duty to watch out for the wellbeing of another that they fail to uphold, anyone who is injured as a result can demand compensation.
In car accident cases, all drivers have a duty to protect all other people they may encounter while on the road. This extends to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. To succeed with a civil lawsuit, though, an injured person would need to introduce evidence that the defendant driver failed in this duty.
This could include evidence that the defendant was speeding, ignored a stop sign, or was texting while driving. A Boston car accident attorney could help clients to gather this essential evidence and incorporate it into a claim alleging negligence.
Statute of Limitations
Even in cases where a defendant is clearly responsible for the accident, a car crash claim may fail if the plaintiff does not act in time. There is a strict time limit of three years for a plaintiff to file a case for personal injury under Mass Gen. Law ch. 260 §2A.
If a plaintiff misses this deadline, their case is likely to fail. Insurance companies are aware of this law and will not negotiate a settlement if the accident happened more than three years ago.
Typical Injuries in a Car Accident Case
All car accident cases must be centered around a physical injury. No matter how emotionally traumatized a plaintiff may be, the case cannot move forward if there is no accompanying physical injury.
Common examples of qualifying physical injuries stemming from car accidents include:
- Severe cuts or bruises
- Vertebral strains or sprains
- Broken bones
- Separated joints
A car accident lawsuit can demand compensation for all medical costs associated with bringing the plaintiff back to full health. If the plaintiff is not expected to ever fully recover, the claim could also demand payment for future medical treatment.
In addition to medical costs, a comprehensive car accident claim should also quantify the economic and mental losses associated with the case. If a plaintiff misses time at work to seek medical treatment or suffers from PTSD symptoms because of their Boston auto accident, their lawyer could ensure their settlement demand includes compensation for intangible losses like these.