I Just Got In An Auto Accident in Boston – Now What Do I Do?
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) 925-6407 to speak with our dedicated team about your case.
Tips for What to Do After a Car Accident
Everyone thinks they know how they will deal with being in a catastrophic situation, but emotions run high during these adrenaline-producing times. One of the best things you can do is prepare a checklist of things to consider after an accident and keep it in your glove compartment. This way, no matter how hectic things are, you have a prepared document that you can reference to make sure you do not miss any critical steps in the heat of the moment. This includes making sure you have your updated registration and insurance cards in your vehicle at all times. You should also consider the following:
- Write down the other driver(s) license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle immediately in case the driver attempts to flee or later gives you false information
- Ask immediately for insurance verification, even if you do not think there is any damage to your car or injury to yourself
- Get the contact information of the people involved in the accident, including any witnesses that stopped to help
- Never make any admissions of liability. This includes statements about being on the phone while driving, being distracted, or admitting that you caused the accident
- Use flares if necessary to protect yourself and others from oncoming traffic
- Call the police – although this may not be necessary for minor fender benders. However, severe accidents may warrant a police report
After the accident, be sure to notify your insurance carrier immediately. If you did not call the police already, they might ask you to file a police report or make a statement. Remember, you will always want to think twice before talking to the other driver’s insurance companies or making any admissions of guilt. In Massachusetts, even if you are found partially liable, you may still recover damages in auto accident litigation cases, but note that your recovery will be reduced.
You can get in touch with our Cambridge car accident attorneys for help and more information about dealing with the fallout from an accident.
Determining the Extent of Your Injuries and Damages After a Car Accident in Boston
After a car accident, you need to get medical attention right away. Sometimes, drivers feel fine after an accident and refuse to go to the hospital. In reality, their injuries are internal and can lead to very serious health complications if left untreated. Seeking medical treatment is doubly important because it can help us assess the extent of your medical injuries for purposes of calculating damages. A doctor can help you understand how serious your injuries are and what your future treatment may look like and cost.
It will also be important to keep track of your costs related to property damage. This will include damage to your vehicle as well as damage to any property you may have had inside the vehicle. We need to know how much the repairs on your vehicle will cost or the cost of a new vehicle if your car was totaled. Also, take into consideration any important cargo. For example, if you were transporting something of value, like a new computer or television, that was damaged in the collision, we may be able to include that among your damages.
Additional damages can include things like lost wages from taking time off work and pain and suffering. Lost wages include all the earnings you miss from taking time away from work while you recover. After serious accidents, people can miss weeks or months of income. You may also include lost future earnings if your injuries are so severe that you will be unable to work for the foreseeable future.
How Your Insurance Might Affect a Lawsuit for a Car Accident in Boston
Massachusetts is a no-fault state when it comes to insurance for auto accidents. Your insurance is required to pay for damages up to a certain amount after an accident regardless of fault. This system is helpful for people who have minimal damages that can easily be covered by insurance, especially those responsible for their accidents. However, damages like lost wages or pain and suffering are rarely covered by insurance.
To get around the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove two crucial elements. First, your medical expenses but be at least $2,000. Second, you must have suffered a substantial injury, like broken bones, hearing or vision loss, or disfigurement. If we can establish these facts, we can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in your accident and recover much more substantial compensation. Compensation from a lawsuit can include damages for pain and suffering and other non-tangible losses, whereas auto insurance often does not cover such damages.
Filing Your Lawsuit and Proving Fault for an Auto Accident in Boston
After filing a lawsuit against the defendant, we need to think about how we will prove they are at fault for the accident. Proving fault generally means proving that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. Negligence involves four key components: duty, breach, causation, damages.
Duty can be shown from the defendant’s legal duty owed to the plaintiff. On the road, all drivers always owe a legal duty to drive safely. The breach comes from the defendant’s violation of that duty or their failure to drive safely. The element of causation is like the connection between the defendant’s breach and the accident. The defendant’s breach of duty must have been the proximate cause of the accident. Finally, your injuries and damages must be real, not just hypothetical “what if’s.”
We will, of course, need to gather evidence to support your claims that the defendant caused your accident. Evidence from car accidents can sometimes be challenging to put together. Crashes and collisions often happen so quickly that drivers and passengers have a minimal recollection of the event. Evidence we could use to support your claims includes eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage from nearby security cameras, or testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
It will also be important to take a close look at your own behavior leading up to the accident. Massachusetts follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, if a plaintiff is at least 51% responsible for their own injuries, they cannot recover any damages. This kind of behavior could include unsafe driving on the part of the plaintiff, like speeding or failing to brake on time.
Speak with our Malden car accident lawyers about your case. Our team can help you develop the best strategy with which to approach your lawsuit.
Boston Auto Accident Litigation Attorneys
John J. Sheehan is an experienced Boston personal injury lawyer serving clients in the greater Boston region. His knowledge of auto accident litigation can help you receive the greatest compensation possible. To speak with our Boston car accident attorneys, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to set up a free legal consultation.