What to Do After a Car Accident in Massachusetts
Auto accidents are relatively common occurrences in Boston and throughout the rest of Massachusetts. Most people have either been in a car accident at some point or at least know someone who has. In many cases, car accidents are minor, and injuries are minimal. However, occasionally car accidents are very serious, and drivers and passengers are severely injured while their vehicles are totaled. After an accident, many drivers are left wondering what their next step should be.
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can feel like a whirlwind. Any drivers and passengers who were hurt in the slightest should be getting checked out by a doctor. at the same time, you might be wondering what to do about your car. Can it be repaired? is it totaled? How much is that going to cost you? You should also consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against other drivers you believe are to blame for the accident. No matter what happens, you should consider finding a qualified lawyer to guide you through the process.
After an auto accident in Boston, you are probably feeling confused, disheveled, and scared. Our Boston auto accident attorneys can help you get your life back together so you can recover and move on. Schedule a free, private legal consultation with the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. Call (617) 539-8366 to speak with our dedicated team about your case.
Steps to Take After a Car Crash in Massachusetts
An accident is a traumatic experience. They are usually unexpected and victims are often injured and disoriented in the moments following a crash. However, the steps you take in the aftermath of a car accident could significantly impact your ability to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. One thing you could do to prepare for the possibility is to put a simple checklist in your glove compartment with your registration and insurance information. This way, you can ensure you have a guide to help you in the case of an emergency.
Call the Police Boston or Local Police
While this might not be required for a small fender-bender, if someone is injured, you should call local enforcement. The police will secure the accident scene and ensure medical personnel is sent to provide treatment to anyone who was hurt. The police will also prepare an accident report based on the preliminary investigation of the accident. This report will contain crucial information that will assist our Cambridge car accident attorneys working to settle your case or taking it to trial. Additionally, if you believe that the other driver or drivers are not being forthright, you should call the police even if you think it is not otherwise advisable.
Gather Information from Other Drivers
While this information should be included in the police report, you should also gather the contact information from any other drivers involved in the accident. This includes their personal and insurance information.
Collect Contact Information From Witnesses
Testimony from uninterested witnesses typically carries more weight than the statements given by drivers involved in the accident. Again, this information might be included in the police report. However, our office will want to talk with any witnesses as soon as possible. Furthermore, some witnesses might not stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. We will want to talk with anyone who saw the accident, even if their account contradicts your recollection of events.
Take Photographs of the Massachusetts Accident Scene
Nearly everyone has a phone with a camera these days. a car accident is a perfect time to put it to use. Pictures of the scene will give accident investigators valuable information regarding what occurred. You should take pictures of the cars, any damage, and the road surface. it does not make sense to be frugal or thrifty with the number of pictures you take. The more, the better. Also, be sure to photograph any injuries you or your passengers suffered.
Seek Medical Attention After a Massachusetts Car Crash
If you are seriously hurt in an accident, emergency treatment should be provided at the scene. Under no circumstances should you refuse medical help. However, if you walk away from a crash and believe you have not been injured, you should still see a doctor as soon as as you can. Many injuries will not exhibit symptoms until days or maybe weeks later, especially muscle and head injuries. it is not uncommon for an crash victim to be completely unaware of the extent of their injuries because of the adrenaline rush.
Seeking medical attention is important for your health and if you want to pursue an injury claim. Documenting your injuries and treatment is a key component if our Malden car accident attorneys are working with an insurance provider or preparing a lawsuit.
Do Not Admit Liability For a Massachusetts Car Accident
You should not admit to fault after an accident. While you should give a statement to the police that arrive on the scene and your auto insurance provider, it is important to stick to the facts. No matter what an adjuster might say, they are not working for you. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers and investigators working to limit or eliminate liability. If an insurance company offers you a settlement, you should speak with a legal representative before signing anything. Once you accept an offer, you will be prohibited from seeking further compensation if your injuries are more severe than you originally believed.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts?
Time limits to file certain types of lawsuits are set forth by states’ statutes of limitations. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260, § 2A, you will usually have three years from the date of your crash to file a car accident lawsuit in Massachusetts. Noncompliance with this deadline could cause you to forfeit your case. You should contact our Massachusetts car accident lawyers as soon as possible after an accident, so that our team can help file your case on time.
Furthermore, plaintiffs in car accident lawsuits must gather evidence that supports their claims. However, as time passes, relevant evidence can become difficult to collect and preserve. For instance, eyewitnesses can forget certain details surrounding a collision, and physical evidence can deteriorate. The sooner you get in touch with our experienced attorneys, the more easily we may gather the evidence needed to win your case.
There are some exceptions to the standard, three-year statute of limitations for car accident cases. For example, a parent may file a case on behalf of their injured child at any point until the minor turns 18. Furthermore, under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260, § 7, a victim will have three years after turning 18 to file a car accident case stemming from a collision that was suffered while they were a minor. During your free case assessment, our Massachusetts car accident lawyers can help explain how the statute of limitations will be applied in your case.
What is the Process for Recovering Compensation in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts?
The process for recovering compensation in car accident lawsuits can vary from case to case. There are several factors that can influence the path to monetary damages. However, there are certain steps that will be taken in every lawsuit. Our Massachusetts car accident lawsuits can offer guidance and support through each of the following steps of the legal process:
Reviewing Your Case
First, our attorneys can help review your case for free. There are several different strategies and analyses that may apply to your case. However, in every car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the following elements are true:
- The defendant driver was under a duty of care
- The defendant driver failed to adhere to that duty of care
- You were injured because of the defendant’s breach of their duty
- You sustained damages because of the injuries you incurred
While these elements may seem simple, analyzing them in the context of your case can be difficult. There are several factors to consider when determining if the aforementioned elements have been satisfied in your case. During your free case assessment, our Beverly car accident lawyers can help evaluate the strength of your claim.
Next, plaintiffs in car accident lawsuits must gather evidence to support their cases. There are several different forms of evidence that can be used. The following are common forms of evidence utilized by our Massachusetts car accident lawyers:
- Accident reports
- Witness testimony
- Photos from the scene
- Physical evidence from the scene
- Surveillance footage
- Expert witness testimony
- Personal recollections
Unfortunately, parties in control of pertinent evidence may be reluctant to cooperate with plaintiffs. For example, a business owner who has relevant security camera footage of your accident may not want to provide a copy of the footage. The assistance of our experienced attorneys can be highly beneficial when collecting and preserving relevant evidence in your case.
Filing Your Case
Our Massachusetts car accident lawyers can also help comply with the numerous requirements for filing a case. As previously mentioned, plaintiffs will generally have three years from the dates of their accidents to bring their claims to court. However, there are several other requirements that must be complied with. For instance, plaintiffs must file their cases in the correct courts, attach necessary supporting documents, pay any required filing fees, serve all named defendants, and avoid filing frivolous claims. Our attorneys can help adhere to the necessary conditions for failing your lawsuit.
Additionally, failure to comply with any of the requirements for filing your case could force you to re-file. Accordingly, you should attempt to file your case as soon as possible, so that you may have time to re-file your lawsuit if necessary.
Negotiating with Defendants
Furthermore, our Massachusetts car accident lawyers can offer support when negotiating for fair compensation. Before taking your case to trial, the defendant will likely make a settlement offer. When parties to a case reach a settlement agreement, the defendant will pay a certain amount of damages to the plaintiff in exchange for their case being voluntarily dismissed. There are multiple potential advantages to settling early. For instance, plaintiffs who settle early may receive payment sooner. Furthermore, parties who settle early can save on the many costs associated with going to trial. Plaintiffs who take their cases to trial may have to pay additional attorney’s fees, filing fees, and administrative costs.
Unfortunately, most defendants try to settle their car accident lawsuits for less than they are worth. Defendants are usually represented by insurance companies who will employ various strategies to entice cheap settlement agreements. Our attorneys can lean on years of experience when negotiating with insurers, so that you may receive a more appropriate settlement offer in your case.
Still, in some cases, settlement agreements cannot be reached. By going to trial, you will have the opportunity to recover additional compensation that was not offered during settlement negotiations. Our experienced lawyers can help assess any settlement offers made in your case, so that you can confidently decide if going to trial is the right choice for you.
Presenting Your Case at Trial
Lastly, our Massachusetts car accident lawyers can help present your case at trial. Our team will present evidence that supports your claims and question the evidence and witnesses for the other side. At trial, the assistance of our experience attorneys can be highly valuable when fighting for the financial compensation you deserve.
Call Our Experienced Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers
An experienced attorney will investigate your accident, calculate what your claim is worth, and work with any insurance companies involved in the case. If required, our Somerville car accident lawyers will fight for your rights in court. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 539-8366 to talk with someone about your case.