A serious car crash could change your life in an instant. While the collision happens in a split second, the aftermath can leave you with life-changing or severe injuries. It could take months or even years to make a full recovery. In the worst cases, violent collisions can cause permanent disabilities and even fatalities. All this could take a financial toll on your and your family.
In case you or a loved one got injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another motorist, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burdens of your damages and injury. Contact a Brockton car accident lawyer today at Robert Shea Law today. For the past two decades, we have secured favorable results for our clients. We are always ready to help car crash victims pursue the justice and compensation they deserve following an accident.
Get in touch with our personal injury firm today to schedule a free evaluation of your case. Keep in mind that working with an experienced lawyer can make all the difference when it comes to pursuing the financial compensation you need and deserve.
Table of Contents
Car Accident Statistics For Massachusetts
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), traffic accidents are a major public health concern in the U.S. and a serious issue in Massachusetts. Car accidents are some of the leading causes of severe injuries and death, with almost 100 people losing their lives every day. Several factors contribute to the outcome of a car crash in Massachusetts, including the age of the drivers and passengers, the impairment level of the driver, the use of seatbelts and restraints, and whether the crash involves bicyclists, pedestrians, or motorcyclists.
CDC reports that 400 people died in a Massachusetts car crash in the last full reporting year. In 2020, there were about 76,000 reported accidents and 286 fatalities. Almost 1000 of these accidents involved pedestrians while 824 involved cyclists. While the overall number of accidents decreased slightly, the rate of fatalities is still similar to the past reporting years.
The CDC also reported that alcohol impairment was responsible for more than 1,000 car accident fatalities in Massachusetts. This is worrying given the fact that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BACK) level exceeding .08%. Although many state and federal level programs have worked to help curb the rate of driving while impaired, millions of drivers under the influence continue to get behind the wheel every year. The 2.5% of Massachusetts drivers in Massachusetts admit to driving after drinking too much, compared to the national average of 1.7%.
Many auto accidents and injuries are preventable. That’s why it’s important for accident victims to consult with an experienced lawyer to learn about their rights and potential remedies in these kinds of cases.
How Much Does A Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
The thought of hiring an attorney can be of major concern for many victims of car accident crashes due to the costs associated with lawyers. Fortunately, at Robert Shea Law, we work with our clients on a contingency arrangement. This refers to the fact that you don’t need to pay us any money upfront to acquire one of our experienced lawyers. You only need to pay up to a pre-agreed upon percentage of the money you are awarded as compensation. And if the case is lost, you won’t have to pay us anything.
What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
When an accident happens, it’s often unexpected, and emotions could be running high. However, the actions you take during this stage is critical to not only your health (and other victims’) but also your case. The following are the steps to take following an accident:
Contact The Police
Even if there aren’t any serious injuries, it’s always wise to contact the police. In many cases, you will need to produce a police report when filing your claim with your insurance company, even for claims that only involve damage to your vehicle. Ideally, the vehicles should remain where they are while you wait for the police unless they interfere with the traffic.
Don’t Leave The Scene
Never drive away from the scene of the accident. Even if it’s a minor one.
Check On Other parties
One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to check on the other parties involved in the crash. If you can, try moving them to a safer spot, but if they are seriously hurt, avoid moving them until paramedics arrive at the scene.
Exchange all the relevant info with the other motorists involved. Some of the information you should exchange include: names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, license plate numbers, etc. In case there are witnesses at the scene, get their names and addresses too.
Record The Scene
Document the accident scene, including the injuries and the level of property damage. Try to take good pictures of where the vehicles came to rest, the conditions of the area where the crash occurred, any skid marks, weather conditions, road signs, and relevant traffic.
Never Admit Fault
It’s important to avoid making any statements regarding whose fault the accident was. You could still be in shock from the accident, and you don’t want to admit any liability for it. The statements and apologies you give out may limit your ability to get fair compensation from the insurance companies.
Seek Medical Attention
Be sure to also check for injuries and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor should be the one to determine the severity of your injuries. Keep in mind that sometimes, the injuries resulting from an accident don’t show up immediately. Failing to get medical attention may result in further complications.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer
Perhaps the most important thing you should do is consult an attorney. They will help to protect your rights and ensure that any valuable evidence related to your case is not destroyed. Insurance companies will often want to take statements immediately following the accident. It’s essential to seek legal advice before you provide such a statement. Your lawyer will provide you with guidance and advice throughout the entire process and help you avoid some common pitfalls.
What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident?
Our guideline for determining the average settlement amount is that it will be about three times the total cost of your medical bills. However, there are so many factors that go into determining the average settlement for a car accident claim.
The court will take into account the kind of injuries you suffered, the length of therapy, treatment plan, severity of the wreck, and the loss of income. In many cases, a settlement will only be offered once the treatment is completed. Permanent injuries will also influence the amount of compensation you will receive.
However, it’s quite difficult to calculate the exact settlement amount you can expect considering the amounts awarded for non-economic damages and punitive damages will vary from case to case.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for my Auto Accident?
Whether you get a lawyer it’s all up to you. However, if you do decide to get a lawyer for your auto accident case, it’s best to get one as quickly as possible – preferably the day of the collision, or a day or two afterward. Here’s how a lawyer can help:
Your lawyer will be responsible for conducting investigations into the circumstances surrounding your case and evaluating all the evidence that supports your case. Your lawyer will also make sure that there are no surprises from the defendant in their attempt to deny your case.
Your lawyer will also be responsible for negotiating with the insurance companies on your behalf. This will help alleviate the stress of conducting these negotiations on your own with the often unfaltering insurance companies so that you can focus on making a full recovery.
Preparation For Trial
Your lawyer will provide you with guidance and advice with regards to your legal options, especially when the defendant is unwilling to cooperate and reach a reasonable settlement amount. They will also be ready to take your case to court, protect your rights, and ensure you get a favorable outcome.
How Much Can I Expect To Receive For My Damages?
There’s no exact formula that can be used to determine the average car accident settlement amount. If your car sustained damage, you will be reimbursed within the policy limits. Pain and suffering compensation will only be awarded if you were injured. As such, it’s important to visit a doctor immediately after the accident, even if you don’t feel hurt.
Generally speaking, aside from the medical bills and lost wages, it’s difficult to calculate the value of the non-economic damages like emotional trauma and pain and suffering. Our team of car accident lawyers will help you establish the true value of your damages. An attorney will also give you details about what determines the total value of your case.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
In Brockton, Massachusetts, you are able to pursue the following types of damages through a car accident claim:
Economic damages, also known as special damages, include all the out-of-pocket expenses you incur after the accident. They include things like treatment and medication costs, hospital stays, emergency room bills, rehabilitation, and any other medical expenses. Also factored in economic damages are the lost wages incurred from time spent away from work, and any property damage incurred in the accident.
Non-economic damages include compensation for things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life from permanent or temporary disability or disfigurement suffered. The emotional trauma caused by disability or disfigurement resulting from the accident are all calculated under non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are meant to serve as an additional punishment to the defendant for seriously malicious or negligent art. They are also meant to deter the defendant and the members of the public from committing such acts. However, they are quite rare and won’t always be awarded. Punitive damages are more common in cases involving DUI and hit-and-run offenses.
How is Fault Determined in Massachusetts Car Accident Cases?
Massachusetts is a contributory negligence state, which means you can only recover damages if the degree of causality on your side was less than 50%. If you were more than 50% responsible for the accident, you will have forfeited your rights to recover compensation.
If your contribution to the accident was less than 50% but more than 0%, your compensation award will be decreased by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you were 40% responsible for the accident, and you were awarded $50,000 in damages, you would only be eligible to recover 60% of the $50,000, which would amount to $30,000.
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
In Massachusetts, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the crash. This is regardless of who was injured in the accident; whether it’s the driver, a cyclist, a motorcyclist, a passenger, or pedestrian.
If you fail to meet this deadline, the court would still accept your case, but the defendant would have the right to ask the court to dismiss the case. And unless you can produce some extraordinary evidence to explain why you failed to meet the deadline, the court would most likely dismiss your claim.
What Can I Do If Insurance Denied My Claim?
While people trust the insurance companies to treat them fairly in the event of a crash, especially when they know they are not to blame for the accident. However, in reality, the insurance companies don’t make money by paying out claims. As such, it’s in their best interest to deny claims.
While some denials are legitimate, our lawyers have consistently come across cases where the denial of claims was baseless. If an insurance company denies your claim, you should fight back to challenge their claim denial. It will be up to you to take some action after the initial denial. By the time the claims investigator formally denies your claim and therefore refuses to pay for your property damage and your injuries, they will have already collected enough evidence to support their position in court.
Do I Have A Case?
You might be wondering if you really have a case. It’s normal. If you or a loved one suffered injuries or damages in a car accident, it’s normal to have overwhelming thoughts going through your mind. Your best bet is to contact a lawyer as soon as you can so that they can help you determine if you have a case. The more time passes, the more difficult it becomes to investigate and pursue a case.
Our lawyers will try to determine whether you have a case or not as early as possible. In most cases, we usually won’t know at the time of the initial meeting whether or not you have a case. We’ll have to conduct an investigation and review the available evidence and the circumstances surrounding your case.
What If The Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Under Massachusetts law, all drivers are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury sustained by you or anyone else that is covered under your policy, if injured by a hit-and-run or an uninsured driver, capped at a minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 total per accident.
If you are found at fault for the accident and the damages the injured parties suffered exceed the limits of your car insurance policy, you might find yourself personally responsible for making up for the difference.
Types Of Car Accidents We Handle
At Robert Shea Law, our lawyers have helped car accident victims successfully recover compensation for the following kinds of car accidents:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Accidents
- Rideshare Accidents
- Distracted Driving
- Hit & Run Accidents
- Reckless Driving
- Uninsured Motorist
Contact Our Brockton Car Accident Lawyers For A Free Consultation
In case you or your loved one got injured in a car accident, you have the right to get a lawyer. At The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C., we have a team of experienced personal injury attorneys in Brockton that have the knowledge and the skill to diligently review and investigate your claim and assess whether you do have a case. We are always ready to answer any concerns or questions you may have.
We provide big city quality legal representation in our Brockton office, without the commute into the city. We also provide free on-premises and validated parking. Call us today at 508-506-5681 to discuss your case with us. All our initial consultations are free with no obligations.