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Articles Posted in Car Accident

UM/UIM Motorist

When an automobile accident results in injuries, the plaintiff’s medical expenses and lost wages can easily reach tens of thousands – or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars. Even if the at-fault party has liability insurance, there may not be enough coverage to fully compensate the injured party.

This is why uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is so important. It can help fill the gap between the at-fault party’s liability insurance limits and the plaintiff’s actual damages. Of course, payment under such a policy is not automatic. Like other matters in which insurance companies are involved, the process can be difficult and contentious.

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Should an insurance company be required to settle a lawsuit against its insured if liability is clear? If so, how long should the settlement process take? Which party should make the first move? What about situations in which the insurance company and the injured person have very different ideas about the value of the claim?

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently considered these and other issues in a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled liability insurance claimant.

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No one wants to be involved in an automobile accident in which the responsible party has no liability insurance. Well, no one wants to be in an automobile accident at all, right?

But, if an accident does happen, wouldn’t it be easier to secure a fair settlement if the responsible driver had multiple policies of liability coverage? The surprising answer is “not necessarily.”

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tax calculation

Many times, the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle collision also has a claim for property damage to his or her automobile. In most cases, the property damage portion of the case is settled separately from the issues arising in the personal injury claim.

Depending upon the situation, the plaintiff’s property damage claim may include repair costs to his or her vehicle, fair market value of the car (if it is a total loss), towing, storage fees, and rental charges for a replacement vehicle (while the plaintiff’s car is being repaired). A recent case explored whether another element of damages – tax – may be included in appropriate cases.

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city bus

Most people are aware that there are deadlines for the filing of a lawsuit in a personal injury case. However, simply filing suit within the statute of limitations does not guarantee that a case will be considered in compliance with all rules pertaining to timeliness.

There may also be a statute of repose or – particularly in cases in which the defendant is a governmental entity – a notice requirement that is separate from the statute of limitations. A failure to give notice in a timely fashion can be just as detrimental to the plaintiff’s cause of action as missing the statute of limitations.

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headlights at nightDuring a jury trial, the judge is required to make a variety of rulings – beginning with the procedure for the selection of the jury and ending with a review of whether the jury’s verdict was supported by the evidence.

A party aggrieved by a decision of the trial court judge may file an appeal and ask a higher court to review the trial judge’s decisions.

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apartment complexWhen a driver fails to act in a reasonably prudent manner, and someone else is hurt, the negligent driver can be held liable for the injured person’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, not every at-fault driver has high enough limits on his or her automobile liability policy to pay fair compensation in serious accident cases.

Underinsured motorist coverage helps protect those who are injured as a result of the negligence of an underinsured driver. However, disputes can arise as to whether a particular person is considered to be an “insured” under a given policy.

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Those who are injured on the job have a legal right to seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and at least partially offset lost wages. If a particular work injury results in a permanent disability, a worker may also file a claim for incapacity benefits.

Of course, the benefits are not automatic, and the plaintiff must comply with all of the procedural requirements set forth under Massachusetts law. Even then, there is the possibility that he or she may be met with opposition from the employer or its insurance company, especially with regard to the issue of permanent disability.

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cars on road

As you may remember, 2015 was rife with vehicle recalls. According to news reports, there were in the neighborhood of 900 recalls in all, affecting tens of millions of vehicles. Issues such as sudden acceleration, faulty ignition switches, and Volkswagen’s infamous cheating on certain emissions tests made headlines throughout the year.

Although there have been fewer recalls thus far in 2016, that does not necessarily mean that manufacturers have stopped making vehicles with significant flaws. Quite the contrary.

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pedestrian crossingThere are thousands of laws on the books in Massachusetts and across the nation. What happens when two of those laws potentially conflict? For instance, if a driver is obligated to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, but the pedestrian is obligated to obey a pedestrian crossing signal, what happens if both the driver and the pedestrian disregard their statutory duties?

Does one law trump the other? Not necessarily. According to a recent case decided by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the laws have equal force, and it is up to a jury to decide the relative fault between two parties who may have violated their respective duties.

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