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.
What Must the Plaintiff Prove In Order to Recover Money Damages?
In order to be awarded money damages, the plaintiff in a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit must prove that the defendant breached a legal duty towards the plaintiff and that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of physical injuries to the plaintiff’s body. Because Massachusetts follows the modified comparative fault rule, the plaintiff only receives money damages in proportion to the defendant’s fault in causing the accident. Importantly, if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault in causing a crash, he or she cannot recover anything from the defendant.
An experienced automobile accident attorney can help the plaintiff gather evidence about the cause of the crash and about the nature and extent of his or her injuries. Without competent and convincing proof of this crucial information, the plaintiff’s case is likely to fail. It is important to note that only certain types of evidence are admissible at trial and that there are many rules, some of which can be very complex, that determine what is – and is not – admissible in court.
Get Legal Advice About a Product Injury Claim
Another important thing to note about filing a car accident claim following a Cape Cod vehicle crash is that, in many cases, the plaintiff can obtain legal representation without paying an upfront legal fee. At the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, our team of experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorneys handle many accident and injury claims on a contingency fee contract. In short, we get paid when you get paid. To schedule a free consultation in our Hyannis or Plymouth offices (or in your home or hospital room, if necessary), call us now at 888-262-6664.
Related Blog Posts