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Articles Posted in Car Accident

speeding car
When someone leaves the scene of a Massachusetts car accident that results in property damage or personal injuries, he or she can be subject to both a fine and possible imprisonment. A civil negligence case is also a possibility, if the person who was hurt or whose vehicle was damaged in the crash is able to ascertain the wrongdoer’s identity.

Such cases can be difficult, however, sometimes leading an injured person to seek compensation from his or her own insurance company. Unfortunately, even that is not a guaranteed form of recovery.

Facts of the Case

muscle carThe fact is, most Massachusetts car accident cases settle out of court, even though the litigants in such cases have a right to have a jury decide the merits of their claims (and defenses). There are many reasons for this, including the costliness and time involved in a jury trial. Additionally, when a case settles, both parties have a say in the outcome, while jury trials involve considerable risk and a lack of predictability.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) case, the plaintiff was a man who was injured when a vintage “muscle car” slid off a flatbed trailer that was traveling in front of him on the Massachusetts Turnpike in 2011. The plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against the owner of the car, and the case proceeded to a jury trial. The jury found that the defendant was not negligent. The plaintiff appealed, asking the court of appeals to find that he should have been granted a mistrial due to the opening statement of the defendant’s attorney, that the trial court should have instructed the jury on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, and that he should have been given a new trial after the jury’s verdict in favor of his opponent.

cattle in field
There are several familiar expressions warning against a premature assumption as to the outcome of an event. “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” It’s all sound advice.

But what happens if, after the fat lady has sung, the chickens have all hatched, and it’s clearly over, the opposing party refuses to accept the outcome? If the event in question happens to be a Massachusetts car accident lawsuit, the successful litigant may have to seek additional help from the court in order to collect what is due him or her via a judgment – or, as happened in a recent case, even a settlement.

Facts of the Case

highway at sunsetSo how bad – or how good – are Massachusetts drivers, really? That all depends on whom you ask. Some sources claim that Massachusetts has some of the best drivers in the country, but other studies lead to a very different conclusion.

While we cannot say with 100% accuracy which side has the better argument, we can say one thing for sure:  there are a significant number of car accidents in and around the Cape Cod area. We know this because we have been representing the victims of crashes caused by negligent drivers for many years. Regardless of what the numbers say, we understand that a Cape Cod car accident can wreak great physical injuries and financial hardships on innocent parties, and we are here to help those who have been hurt seek fair compensation.

The Country’s Best Drivers? Seriously?

insurance

Those who have been involved in a Cape Cod auto accident may be surprised to learn that they may have to file multiple claims, including not only a negligence claim against the party whose actions led to the crash but also a claim against their own insurance company if the negligent party does not have adequate liability insurance to cover the claimant’s total damages (including pain and suffering, past and future medical costs, and lost earnings).

An experienced injury attorney can help the claimant explore the various causes of action, explain the likelihood of success of each claim, and prepare the appropriate paperwork to ensure that important deadlines like the statute of limitations are met.

While many cases are settled prior to trial, an injured party should be prepared to go to court if necessary. Despite a statutory obligation to exercise good faith in settling claims, there is never a guarantee that a reasonable settlement offer will be made.

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semi-truck

One of the most important facets of the American legal system is the right to a trial by jury. The idea is that a jury of one’s peers will be more likely to render a fair and impartial verdict than might a seasoned judge, who might be predispositioned to lean one way or another.

Unfortunately, jury verdicts are not always predicable, and litigants are often dissatisfied with the results of a jury trial. While there exists the possibility of an appeal in some cases, simple displeasure with the outcome is not, in and of itself, sufficient reason for a “do-over.”

Convincing an appellate court that a mistake was made during a jury trial is not an easy thing to do, as the disappointed plaintiffs in a Massachusetts truck accident case recently learned.

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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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clock

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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calculator

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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