In Massachusetts, the statutory requirement for bodily injury is only $20,000. This means, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a car insured in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is at least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage. More times than not, a client will call and tell me he or she has serious bodily injuries. Some with fractured arms or legs. Others have broken teeth or torn muscles which require surgery. I always advise the potential client not to hesitate, come to my office right away. If there is minimum insurance available, my advice is to achieve a settlement with the insurance company before a medical lien sets in on your personal injury case. This must be a consideration. Once a statutory medical lien is perfected against a personal injury case, paying the hospital out of your settlement becomes a legal obligation. There are legal ways to avoid a medical lien on your personal injury case. I can help you with this. Typically, there is not enough insurance available to satisfy serious bodily injury claims. Probably half of the people on the road in Massachusetts carry only a 20/40 bodily injury limit. Unless you carry optional bodily injury underinsured motorist insurance on your own auto policy, only 20,000 for insurance coverage will be available to cover your serious injuries. Even worse, in New Hampshire, an individual is not required to carry liability insurance on their vehicle, unless they have a bank loan on their car. Therefore, if you are seriously injured in a car accident or a slip and fall, please do not hesitate. Contact a personal injury or car accident lawyer immediately. I want you to obtain the most money for your injury as quick as possible.
Did you know you can get a personal injury settlement, even if a car or truck crashes into you and flees the scene of the accident. Yes, you certainly can, and you do not receive a surcharge from your insurance! One of the great misconceptions I regularly see among clients, is they believe they will get a surcharge if they pursue an uninsured bodily injury claim against their own auto policy or a friend’s, when it involves a hit and run accident. Please let me be clear, the only way you receive an insurance surcharge is if you are found 50% or more at fault for the motor vehicle accident. Surcharges are based upon a fault system. So long as you are not at fault for causing the car accident, the insurance company will not surcharge you for going after a personal injury case. Therefore, please do not be mistakenly scared away from obtaining a personal injury settlement. If you are hurt in a car accident and it was not your fault, please get the medical attention you need and call a personal injury lawyer if you need help.
I always tell my clients after our first meeting, “At the end, I want you to be happy with the amount of your settlement. But, you get out of it what you put into it.” What is meant by this phrase is, the client must be compliant with his or her medical treatment.
So many clients start off with a good injury case. The liability is clear. The car was a total loss. Perhaps you went by ambulance to the emergency room. The ER doctor tells you have a bad knee or shoulder injury and to follow up with your primary care doctor right away. But then the client does not promptly follow up with their doctor for much needed treatment. This is called noncompliance. Insurance companies love to see this. They use noncompliance to discount the value of your settlement. When I go to settle a client’s case, I regularly hear the insurance adjuster beating his/her drum saying, “your client was not compliant with his recommended treatment. I am discounting the settlement value based upon the “gaps” in treatment. He must not have been that seriously injured”.
Generally, I see lots of reasons why the client can’t get on track with medical treatment. The problem is, many of my clients have busy work schedules and/or are limited in their resources. They can’t stay home from work and go to doctor visits. Maybe there’s only 1 car in the family. The problem is, the client will not get credit for their pain and suffering unless they attend regular and consistent medical visits. It’s a trap the insurance companies love to prey upon.
In Massachusetts, an injured person must accumulate $2,000.00 or more in medical bills to have a settlement for pain and suffering; barring any bone fractures or permanent injuries. Getting to this mark requires some consistent effort.
Clients need to stay focused if they want the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. Do you recall the theme song from Rocky III, The Eye of the Tiger? It’s the thrill of the fight, rising to the challenge of our rival… if the client can simply stay focused and immediately attend medical appointments and continue going to them, the client will rise to the challenge of our rival insurance company and achieve a nice financial reward at the end of the personal injury case.
When you are involved in a car accident, and your vehicle sustains physical damage, there are certain steps one should take to get their automobile properly repaired:
- If you have full coverage, then use your own insurance to pay your claim. Your own insurance company will treat you better because you are their customer.
- Don’t use the other person’s insurance to repair your car, unless you do not have full coverage.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance company, unless there is an attorney present. Saying the wrong thing to the other side can damage the outcome of your claim.
- If your car is a total loss and you don’t have full coverage, try and have the car towed to your home or a secure location. This will stop the accrual of storage costs at the tow yard. Store costs can be as high as $35.00 per day.
- Make sure the police are called to the accident scene. A Police report helps the insurance company determine liability faster.
- Complete a RMV crash report. Completing a crash report helps the insurance adjuster determine liability faster. A crash report should be completed within five days of the accident in accordance with MGL c. 90, section 26. This can be found at the RMV website www.massrmv.com/rmv/forms.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Look for skid marks left on the roadway.
- Take pictures of any bruising or lacerations to your body.
- Hire an experienced Haverhill personal injury attorney to help guide you to success with your claim.
When you are involved in a car accident, there are certain steps one should take to protect their interests. Sometimes after an accident, you are in a state of shock and perhaps not thinking clearly. But, if you follow these simple steps, you will help yourself in the long run.
- Call the police. Having the police come to the accident scene and take your statement as well as the statement of the other driver will preserve evidence. This locks in the testimony of the at fault driver so that stories cannot be changed later.
- Complete a RMV crash report. A crash report should be completed within five days of the accident in accordance with MGL c. 90, section 26. This can be found at the RMV website www.massrmv.com/rmv/forms
- Do not communicate with the at fault driver’s insurance company. They will try and obtain a recorded statement from you. Without knowing what to say, you can say the wrong thing and diminish the value of your injury claim.
- If you are injured, seek medical attention immediately. If you wait more than two weeks, the insurance company will discredit your treatment as not being related to the accident.
- If you have collision coverage, then use your own insurance to pay your auto claim. Do not go through the at fault insurance to pay your auto damage claim. They will not provide you with the same level of customer service.
- Take pictures of your damaged car and of any bruising you may have suffered during the accident.
- Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you with completing paperwork and negotiate your path with the injury claim.