Wakefield Car Accident Lawyer
Most car accidents, statistically, involve property damage only. However, many accident victims face far more serious outcomes, with potential injuries that could leave them out of work for weeks or months or completely alter their lives with permanent disabilities.
If you were injured in a car accident, do not trust the insurance companies to have your best interests at heart. Instead, contact a Wakefield, MA car accident lawyer to take your case. With the help of one of our experienced car accident attorneys, you can rest assured that your best interests will be at the top of our list of priorities. We will fight to hold the other driver responsible for your crash and seek the compensation you need from their insurance company.
For a free case review, call our Wakefield car accident lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today. Our number is (617) 925-6407.
Damages Available in a Wakefield Car Accident Case
After being injured in a car accident case, you might want to file an insurance claim. In most car accident cases in Massachusetts, our no-fault insurance rules require you to file your initial claim with your insurance company. However, your PIP only covers up to $8,000 for a basic policy (though you can elect for higher coverage). To get additional damages, you may have to file a lawsuit with the help of your Wakefield car accident attorneys.
Filing a lawsuit is only allowed if your damages are worth more than $2,000 and include death, loss of a body part, disfigurement, lost sight or hearing, or a broken bone. If you meet these limits, then you can often sue the at-fault driver or file a third-party insurance claim against them for additional damages beyond your PIP coverage. Your Wakefield car accident lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible for a lawsuit and help you choose the right course of action for your case.
These damages often include, at the very least, compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Medical expenses can be paid with your PIP insurance and lost wages can be claimed at a rate of 75% of their full value with PIP. If your damages are very high, your PIP limit might not be enough. Additional coverage options could be available to pay for other things such as medical expenses, but you would need to pay additional premiums for these coverage options. In a lawsuit against the other driver, you could be entitled to recover these damages in full.
Damages for pain and suffering are available in any case where your other damages total at least $2,000. In a lawsuit for a car accident, you could be entitled to substantial compensation if you faced serious injuries that led to high levels of pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, lost enjoyment of life, or other “non-economic” damages. Talk to a Wakefield car accident lawyer about what these damages could be worth in your case.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident in Wakefield, MA
Knowing whom to sue and how to determine fault in a car accident is essential to making sure you get the compensation you need from the right parties. As mentioned, Massachusetts uses a no-fault insurance system, so questions of fault are not as important if your damages are below your PIP limit. However, in cases of serious injury, it is vital to prove fault to get the damages you need – plus, claims for vehicle damages are still based on an at-fault system even though injuries use no-fault coverage.
In a car crash, a party can be said to be “at fault” if they did something wrong to help contribute to the accident. Some crashes truly are accidents, and it is possible that everyone was driving appropriately and doing everything they were supposed to be doing, and no one can be properly blamed for the crash. However, most accidents are caused by someone doing something wrong behind the wheel.
Negligence in Car Accidents
Typically, negligence in a car crash involves some kind of traffic violation, such as speeding, drunk driving, running a red light, or texting while driving. Even if there is no specific traffic violation, other unsafe driving decisions such as distracted driving could also be considered negligent.
Ultimately, the court will look for any mistakes or errors that meet the standard of “negligence.” This means that the driver failed to use the proper care and skill that a “reasonable driver of ordinary prudence” would have used behind the wheel. You must also show that that mistake indeed caused the crash.
When a traffic violation is involved, this analysis can be somewhat condensed into an analysis of whether the traffic violation caused the crash or not.
Many drivers worry that they might have done something wrong to contribute to the crash. Ultimately, courts can assign partial fault to the defendant and the victim, but this often still allows you to get compensation as a victim. As long as you were not more at fault than the defendant, you can still get compensation for the crash. However, your damages might be reduced by your share of the blame. For example, in a $100,000 car accident where the court found you 8% at fault, you would only receive $92,000 in damages.
Courts can also assign blame to multiple drivers. Many car crashes involve three or more cars, and courts can find that multiple drivers were negligent and hold each one responsible for their fair share of the damages.
In cases involving trucks or other commercial vehicles, the companies that operate these vehicles could also be found partially at fault. In many of these cases, the company might be ordered to pay damages instead of their employee driver under “vicarious liability” rules. If you have any doubts about whom to sue, speak with our Wakefield car accident lawyers.
Call Our Wakefield, MA Car Accident Attorneys Today
For help with a car accident case, call the Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. For a free case evaluation, contact us today by calling (617) 925-6407.