Brockton, Massachusetts: Car Accident Attorneys
If you sustained an injury in a car accident in Brockton, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, you’re probably wondering how to secure compensation to cover the expenses associated with your injury. Perhaps you don’t quite understand what “no-fault” insurance is or whether you are able to sue an at-fault driver for expenses beyond what your personal injury protection insurance provides. Read on for more information.
Massachusetts Laws Protecting Car Accident Victims
Massachusetts law requires drivers to obtain at least $8,000 in personal protection insurance, in addition to liability insurance, making it a “no-fault” state. Accordingly, if you’re injured in an accident, you must first seek compensation from your own auto insurance policy, regardless of who caused your accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) policies are designed to cover medical expenses and lost wages due to missed work. If you sustain an injury in a car accident, your PIP policy will cover up to $8,000 of your medical expenses, minus your deductible. Here are some additional details about PIP policies:
- Massachusetts PIP policies pay for funeral expenses.
- PIP policies cover everyone in a policy holder’s household, and each family member is entitled to receive up to $8,000 in medical expense payments.
- PIP policies cover up to 75 percent of an injured individual’s lost wages, based on his or her salary for a year previous to the date of the accident, up to the limit of the policy, minus the deductible.
- Injured individuals have up to two years after an accident to submit their PIP policy claim to their insurance provider.
- An injured individual’s insurance provider may require participation in an independent medical examination.
- PIP policies do not cover property damage, but policy holders are free to pursue third-party property damage claims through the other party’s property damage liability policy or through their own policy if they purchased additional collision insurance.
About Front-End Collisions
Front-end collision car accidents are regarded as the most dangerous type of accident. A front-end collision results when the front end of two cars, approaching each other, collide with each other. Although head-on collisions don’t account for many of the car accidents that occur on our roadways (2 percent of all accidents are head-on crashes) a great deal of these crashes do account for a large number of motor vehicle related fatalities (head-on car collisions account for ten percent of all roadway fatalities).
75 percent of all head-on collisions occur on rural/back roads. Statistics indicate that most front-end collisions are caused by alcohol/drugs, falling asleep at the wheel, speeding, or distracted divers. In response to these causes both federal and state officials have implemented several strategies to get the attention of the distracted operator or awaken the dozing driver. Rumble strips are often installed across the centerlines of rural back roads, as are those thermoplastic reflection strips.
Because of the amount of momentum two vehicles crashing headfirst into each other generates, traumatic injuries and death is an all too common outcome. The head-on collision attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan have extensive experience in dealing with this unique type of car accident. Our firm has represented clients who have suffered traumatic injuries, spinal cord injuries and brain injuries as a result of an auto accident.
About Car Accident Insurance Claims In Massachusetts
The physical and emotional trauma that results from a car accident can be devastating. This stressful situation is often exacerbated by the confusion and aggravation that comes when dealing with the insurance companies after the accident. You may begin to question whether or not you will ever receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. You likely have many questions, some being:
- Can I get a rental car?
- Who will pay for the damage and repairs for my car?
- When am I entitled to be compensated for lost wages?
- PIP Auto Insurance Claims: Who will pay my medical bills?
- Can I get damages for pain and suffering in a car accident settlement?
- What should I do after I have been in a car accident?
These are all real questions and concerns. However, auto and medical insurance policies often complicate matters. That is why it is important to contact an experienced Whitman car accident lawyer. We will deal with all the insurance providers and medical providers to make sure all your medical bills get paid. We will also work to build a case against the responsible driver’s and his or her insurance company to insure that you are compensated for your pain and suffering. Our Brockton office is conveniently located right off of Route 18.
Head-on Auto Collisions
Head-on collisions are far and away the most dangerous (if not the most common) type of car accident, for a simple reason. If you’re traveling at 40 miles per hour and you’re rear-ended by a car going 45 miles per hour, the net impact amounts to only 5 miles per hour of force. But if you’re traveling at 40 miles per hour and collide head-on with a car going 45 miles per hour, the impact both drivers feel will be equivalent to 95 miles per hour—enough to seriously injure, if not kill, the occupants of both cars.
We Use Accident-Reconstruction Experts To Prove Fault
If you’re involved in a head-on car collision, the first thing the police (and the insurance companies involved) will want to determine is who was at fault: you or the other driver. If there are no reliable eyewitnesses, authorities can examine forensic evidence—skid marks, damage to the cars’ interiors and exteriors and injuries suffered by the drivers—to recreate the circumstances of the crash. If liability remains an issue, The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan employs a team of accident-reconstruction experts that can present convincing evidence in your favor to a judge, jury or insurance-company representative.
Often, in head-on collisions, it turns out that the driver at fault was drunk, going too fast, or distracted by talking on his cell phone—and in more cases than you might think, drivers who cause accidents are also often uninsured or underinsured.
We Will Seek To Hold All Responsible Parties Accountable For Your Accident
Since head-on collisions can result in serious injuries (broken bones, internal bleeding, damage to the brain or spinal cord) it’s important to hire a lawyer who can recover the most damages possible—not just from the driver involved or his insurance company, but other people or institutions that may have contributed to the accident. (For example, bars in Massachusetts can be held responsible for continuing to serve inebriated patrons who later drive drunk, and the state itself can be sued for improperly maintained dividers or other hazardous road conditions.)
What happens if I exceed the limit of my PIP policy?
While PIP insurance policies are in place to prevent the filing of an overwhelming number of car accident lawsuits, Massachusetts law also requires drivers to carry a minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury liability insurance. If your injuries are permanent and serious, you’ve incurred at least $2,000 in medical expenses, and the other driver was at least 50 percent responsible for causing your accident, you may file a claim against that driver’s insurance. State law also allows you to sue the driver for damages. Permanent and serious injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Substantial loss of hearing or sight
Below we discuss some additional highlights of Massachusetts’ process for filing a personal injury claim in court:
- The statute of limitations to file is generally three years from the date of the crash. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, which you should discuss with an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Massachusetts follows a “modified comparative negligence” standard, meaning that even if you’re partially responsible for causing an accident, you can still sue any other at-fault party, as long as you aren’t more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. However, a court will reduce any award you receive by your percentage of responsibility.
- As long as you can prove a permanent and serious injury, you’re able to claim all types of damages, including economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Hit And Run Car Accidents
It can be especially difficult to recover damages from the perpetrator of a hit-and-run accident, for the obvious reason: if the person responsible for hitting you, your property, or your car doesn’t stop, and police are unable to identify him or his vehicle, you have no one to hold liable for your injuries or property damage. Fortunately, the uninsured motorist insurance policies that all drivers in Massachusetts are required to buy requires a payout in these kinds of hit-and-run incidents. If your insurance company refuses to settle your claim, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan can present convincing evidence that the hit-and-run accident in fact occurred and was not your fault.
Of course, in many instances, the motorist responsible for a hit-and-run accident can later be identified via forensic evidence (for example, incriminating paint chips left on your car or property) or a review of video surveillance tapes. In these cases, not only would that person be subject to increased civil and criminal penalties (especially if the hit-and-run accident resulted in serious injury or death to a pedestrian or driver), but the attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan can initiate proceedings against the driver to recover damages.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Below we discuss some of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States, which include the following:
- Speeding. Speeding causes approximately 27 percent of all car accident fatalities in the United States. Speeding increases the likelihood of having an accident and sustaining an injury, as it reduces the time that a driver has to react to roadway hazards, increases the severity of any impact, and makes automobile protective features—such as seat belts and airbags—less effective in a crash.
- Distracted driving. According to information published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,450 people and injured another 391,000 in 2016. Driving distractions—such as texting, talking on the phone, talking to other passengers in the car, eating, drinking, and paying attention to external distractions, such as a previous accident—are a major cause of collisions in Massachusetts.
- Impaired driving. Information provided by the CDC reveals that 29 people die in the United States every day due to motor vehicle crashes that involve alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers. This equals one death caused by impaired driving every 50 minutes, with a cost to society of about $44 billion per year.
- Driver fatigue. The National Safety Council reports that driving while drowsy produces similar effects as those suffered while driving drunk. A driver’s reaction times, ability to sustain attention, and awareness of roadway hazards all worsen with drowsiness, making fatigued drivers three times more likely to cause a car crash than those who are well rested.
- Tailgating. Tailgating is a term used to describe when a driver is following the vehicle in front of him or her too closely. If the lead vehicle suddenly stops or slows, the following car risks rear-ending it. Between 23 and 30 percent of all crashes are rear-end collisions. Tailgating deprives drivers of the time needed to safely react to a sudden stop by another car.
I Sustained an Injury in a Car Accident. Call the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan
If you were injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, it’s important to remember that state law requires that you report your accident to the police within five days if there was an injury, death, or more than $1,000 worth of property damage. Below we discuss some important steps that you should take if you’ve been involved in an accident:
- Avoid accepting the insurance company’s initial settlement offer or giving a statement to an insurance adjuster without first speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Avoid admitting fault to the other driver, the police, or insurance adjusters.
- Document all relevant evidence. Take pictures of the crash scene and any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) involved. Get a copy of your accident’s police report, keep all copies of diagnostic reports, medical bills, car repair estimates, and other items that may prove helpful to prove your damages.
- Speak to a personal injury attorney who can provide guidance and representation throughout the insurance claims process and can help you file a lawsuit, if necessary.
Let us help you understand your legal options. Call the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan at (508) 588-0422, or contact us online, to speak with a member of our experienced legal team regarding your accident and legal options.