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Articles Posted in Car Accident

Each year, hundreds of Massachusetts residents lose their lives in automobile accidents, and tens of thousands more are injured. If you or a family member has recently been involved in a Cape Cod car accident, there are several things that you should know. Having the right information at the right time can go a long way toward making sure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries (or, in the case of a fatal crash, for your loved one’s wrongful death).

Getting Started on a Claim

The first thing to know about seeking fair compensation following a Cape Cod motor vehicle accident is that the burden of proving fault lies on the plaintiff (the person seeking payment for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, etc.) This means that the plaintiff must file a civil claim against the responsible party within the period set forth by the Massachusetts statute of limitations for personal injuries or wrongful death. (It is possible that the defendant may be charged criminally due to an accident, but this is a separate matter that, typically, does not involve the injured individual.)

While it is possible for a car wreck litigant to represent himself or herself in court in a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries suffered in an accident, this is not advisable. The defendant’s insurance company will hire an attorney to represent the defendant in court, and the plaintiff will need skilled legal representation during both pre-trial settlement negotiations and during litigation, if the case proceeds to trial.

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Naturally, some Cape Cod automobile accident cases are more complex than others. Still, a case reviewed early this month by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals stands out as unusually protracted. Although the facts of how the accident happened were straightforward enough (a pedestrian was struck by a car while crossing the street), a total of three lawsuits were ultimately filed.

Two complicating factors were that, in one action, the plaintiff was awarded more than four times the defendant’s liability insurance limits in damages and that, thereafter, the defendant filed for bankruptcy protection.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate court case, the plaintiff in an earlier action was a pedestrian who was injured when she was struck by a certain motorist (named as the defendant in that action). The case proceeded to a jury trial and resulted in a determination that the defendant was 65% at fault. The plaintiff was awarded $414,500 in damages after deduction of personal injury protection benefits previously received. The defendant’s insurance company paid policy limits of $100,000.

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To those injured in a Cape Cod car accident, the issue of whether or not a certain insurance company should provide coverage for an accident may seem like an “open and shut” case. Sometimes, this is true.

However, often it is not true. Many issues can arise in deciding whether coverage is available, and, ultimately, it is up to the courts to decide whether or not a particular insurance company has an obligation to pay a claim in a given case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case decided by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the plaintiff was a man who was seriously injured in an automobile accident in 2014. At the time of the accident, the man was riding in a car owned and operated by another individual. The plaintiff entered into a settlement with the driver, who was at fault in the accident, for the full policy limits of her automobile liability insurance policy.

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In a Cape Cod car accident case, the plaintiff may seek reimbursement of medical expenses and lost wages necessitated by the motor vehicle collision. He or she may also seek money damages for pain and suffering in most cases.

However, if the plaintiff’s medical expenses are $2000 or less, he or she is not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering unless certain exceptions (such as permanent disfigurement or loss of sight) apply.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unreported court decision issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court, the plaintiff was allegedly injured while riding in a wheelchair inside a vehicle owned by one defendant and driven by the other. According to the plaintiff, the driver stopped abruptly, causing her to fall part of the way out of her wheelchair. At trial, the plaintiff introduced certified copies of her medical records, but she did not submit any evidence of her medical costs. Continue reading

Most Cape Cod automobile accident and other personal injury cases are settled outside of court. In most situations, the parties are eventually able to reach an agreement concerning issues like liability and the damages to which the plaintiff is entitled for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and the like.

Some cases, however, cannot be settled and must proceed to trial. It is not unusual for the party that finds himself or herself on the losing end of the jury’s verdict to appeal from the trial court’s decision. However, having a entry of judgment upon a jury’s verdict set aside on appeal can be a difficult task.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) case, the plaintiff was a woman who claimed that she sustained serious personal injuries as a result of an accident that was allegedly caused by the defendant’s lack of reasonable care in exiting his vehicle. The case was tried to a jury and resulted in a defense verdict. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court judge mishandled his “gatekeeper function” with regard to an expert witness called by the defendant and/or that the plaintiff was deprived of a fair trial. Continue reading

There are many different types of issues that can arise in a Massachusetts car accident lawsuit – who is at fault, whether the plaintiff or a perhaps a third party are also to blame, whether a certain policy of insurance is applicable considering the particular facts giving rise to the cause of action.

Sometimes, the issue is not who is at fault or whether there is liability insurance available, but, rather, whether the defendant’s personal assets can be used to satisfy the judgment. Typically, this only happens when the defendant is either uninsured or underinsured.

However, when a particular defendant has significant wealth in addition to (or in lieu of) insurance coverage, it may be possible for the plaintiff(s) to attach the defendant’s personal assets. Of course, each case is unique and must be decided on its own merits.

In a Cape Cod car accident case, one or both parties may initially seek payment of “personal injury protection” benefits from his or her insurance company. Ideally, these benefits are available immediately after the accident, regardless of fault. However, complications can arise, and not every driver receives the benefits to which he or she is entitled – at least not without a fight.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a medical services provider that sought to recover unpaid personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, which it alleged the defendant insurance company should have paid on behalf of a woman who was injured in a car accident. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, accepting its defense that it did not owe any PIP benefits due to an exclusion in the insurance policy at issue to the effect that no benefits are to be paid when the claimant contributed to his or her own injuries through the use of alcohol. The plaintiff appealed.

When someone is injured in a Cape Cod car accident, the responsible party’s insurance company has certain responsibilities toward the injured individual. When the insurance company fails in this regard, the plaintiff may have a separate legal action against the insurer.

As with a traditional tort case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the insurance company acted wrongfully. Due to the punitive nature of the statute, a successful case can result in substantial damages, including up to three times the amount in controversy.

Facts of the Case

Being in a car crash can trigger many months (or even years) of painful consequences for those involved. In addition to physical injuries, those hurt in an accident may be off work indefinitely, have their vehicle declared totaled, and experience other financial losses due to the negligent driver’s conduct.

Compensation for these damages may be available from the defendant’s insurance company, but the plaintiff bears the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. An early start – and assertive legal representation – can prove very helpful in an injured person’s pursuit of full and fair monetary payment for losses suffered in a Cape Cod car accident.

Facts of the Case

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an arm of the federal government whose mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce costs due to traffic crashes. The entity’s website lists many statistics illustrating its success, including a “safety success” of decreasing Massachusetts fatal car accidents in rural towns by 48% in 2015.

As part of its task of keeping people safe on America’s roadways, the NHTSA issues recalls of vehicles, car seats, tires, and equipment that may pose a risk to the public. Sometimes, a recall affects only a few products, but other times millions of consumers may potentially be affected. Either way, it pays to stay up to date on the latest information issued by the NHTSA.

Toyota Recalls 65,000 Tundras/Sequoias