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Articles Posted in Car Accident

The vast majority of Cape Cod car accident lawsuits are settled out of court. In most cases, the parties’ respective automobile accident liability insurance companies are part of the settlement process and, consequently, are bound by the terms of the settlement.

Sometimes, however, instances arise in which an insurance company may not be part of the settlement negotiations in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit arising from an automobile accident. A recent case explored such a situation and gave instructions for how such matters are to be handled in similar circumstances in the future.

The case at bar differed from the “typical” case in one important respect: one of the primary issues in the underlying litigation was whether the incident giving rise to the suit was an accident or whether it was the result of an intentional act. Importantly, the insurer was not obligated to make certain payments for an intentional act but was obligated to pay for damages arising from an act of negligence.

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Under Massachusetts law, there are certain requirements for those who operate motor vehicles within the Commonwealth. In a Cape Cod car accident case, a dispute may arise as to whether a driver was in compliance with these laws at the time of the accident.

It should be noted that some of the rules that affect Massachusetts drivers may not apply to those from out of state who just happen to be passing through at the time of a collision. A recent court case explores the relationship between the amount of time that a nonresident has spent in the state and the requirements for certain insurance coverage.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unreported court case, the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a two-car wreck allegedly caused by the defendant motorist’s negligence. The plaintiff’s suit also named the driver with whom he was riding at the time of the crash, her motor vehicle accident insurance company, and the defendant motorist’s insurance carrier as defendants in the suit. Only the plaintiff’s negligence claim against the defendant motorist proceeded to trial, the remaining claims having been dismissed on summary judgment or stayed.

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Under Massachusetts law, those who are injured or lose a loved one due to another’s negligence have a limited amount of time in which to file a Cape Cod personal injury claim against the responsible party.

It is important to note that certain situations, such as cases involving a governmental entity, can result in much shorter deadlines, sometimes only a matter of days, than the general statute of limitations would suggest.

When a claim is not timely filed, the injured person will, most likely, be deemed to have waived his or her right to recover money damages.

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Being involved in a Massachusetts automobile accident can be difficult enough, on its own. Damage to one’s automobile, pain and suffering from physical injuries, and time off of work while recuperating are all common problems for those who are hurt due to others’ negligence behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, the accident itself may be only the beginning of an extended period of difficulty for those involved in a crash. Dealing with insurance companies about personal injury protection, property damage claims, and other issues can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, especially for those who are not represented by an attorney.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) appellate court case, the plaintiff was a medical services provider who filed suit against the defendant insurance company, seeking to recover personal injury protection (PIP) benefits on behalf of a patient who was involved in an automobile accident in 2011. The defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint, asserting the affirmative defense of noncooperation.

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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.