Posts tagged with "Car accident victims"

2 men looking at car accident damage

Injured by an Uninsured Driver – What’s Next?

Being in a motor vehicle accident can be a stressful and traumatic experience. The first and most immediate concern is, of course, ensuring that any injuries suffered by the driver and passengers are treated. But regardless of whether the accident was serious or just a minor fender bender, at some point, the insurance companies get involved.

Under normal circumstances, if there is a clear case of who was at fault, then the responsible party’s insurance company will end up footing the bill for the accident and additional resulting expenditures. In some cases, if the insurance claims adjusters are offering a seemingly unfair amount, you may want to retain a personal injury attorney to help settle the case and ensure just compensation.

But what happens if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver? You certainly can’t file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company if that person has no insurance, but there is no reason you should have to handle the financial costs on your own, no matter how minor or huge.

Of course, in most states, including Massachusetts, automobiles are required to have insurance, but many people still manage to drive without it. This could be because they have allowed their insurance to lapse or they simply never acquired any in the first place. Regardless, if a negligent party was at fault for an accident, you are entitled to compensation, and there are steps you can take when dealing with a driver who does not have insurance.

What to do when you are injured by an uninsured driver

Many of the initial steps that you would follow when in an accident caused by an uninsured driver in Massachusetts are the same as what you would do if the driver was insured. First, call the police. You will want an accident report, as it can help you with a personal injury claim later on. Besides, the individual driving without insurance was also breaking the law.

Even if the driver doesn’t have insurance coverage of any type, that person may still be liable for paying for some of the damage to your car out of his or her own personal assets due to at-fault laws. The police report will be an important document in determining fault.

Get all the information you can

Make a note of the driver’s contact information, the license plate number on the car, and the car make and model. Write down all the details of the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. And even though the information may be on the police report, it is a good idea for you get the contact information of any witnesses as well.

Additionally, use your cellphone to take pictures of both cars and the area where the accident happened so that you can better describe the details to a personal injury attorney.

Call your insurance company

It is always important to call your insurance company in a timely manner. Some policies may have a time limit on how long you have to make a claim. Additionally, you may want to consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your policy. This protects you in case of an accident with an uninsured driver. And since Massachusetts doesn’t require a high amount of coverage for drivers, the insurance will also protect you if the negligent driver is underinsured — that is, doesn’t have enough coverage to adequately compensate you for damages and injuries.

If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may have a collision or personal injury protection part of your policy that provides compensation for your medical bills in addition to the damage to your car. It is always wise to know everything your insurance policy covers so that there are no surprises after an unfortunate accident.

Call a personal injury attorney

If, after speaking with your insurance agent, you have been left without a means of compensation for the damages and injuries you’ve suffered, it would be a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you file a claim with your insurance company against the negligent driver and attempt to recoup monetary compensation from the driver’s personal assets.

Recovering funds may be difficult, especially if the negligent driver doesn’t have much in the way of personal assets. However, there may be other avenues that can be pursued. The driver might actually have insurance coverage under someone else’s policy, or more than one party may be responsible for the car accident, leaving you other options to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact Us

An experienced personal injury attorney in Massachusetts can help research and discover all possible avenues leading to potential sources of compensation. At the Boston law firm of Colucci Colucci Marcus & Flavin, PC, our attorneys help clients recover the maximum possible compensation for their injuries. For a free initial consultation with one of our professional and experienced personal injury lawyers, call (617) 698-6000, or contact us online via our email form.

Texting and Driving Dangerous and Illegal

Texting and Driving: Dangerous and Illegal

While it is safe to say that everybody knows that using a mobile device for texting while driving an automobile or other vehicle is illegal, thousands still engage in the act every day. In fact, current statistics state that at any given time in America, nearly 700,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving.

Texting while driving falls under the Distracted Driving umbrella, and is the cause of over 1,000 daily accidents resulting in injuries and unnecessary and unfortunate deaths. So why is it that even when everyone knows that texting while driving is dangerous and illegal, drivers still do it? Most likely because the majority of people who text or use mobile devices while driving do not realize the inherent dangers.

Additionally, the majority of those texting while driving are younger drivers; teens and those in early to mid-twenties. This generation typically rationalizes that they won’t get in an accident. Even powerful statistics, such as the one that states nearly 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015, seem to have little power to sway those who regularly text and drive.

 

A Loss of Focus

Distracted driving is not a new term—it essentially refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s focus from the road and other drivers and objects around them. Before rampant cellular phone use, distracted driving could have referred to eating while driving, applying one’s makeup, adjusting the car radio, fiddling with a GPS or turning one’s focus away from the road to speak to passengers.

Any of the above activities is an unsafe distraction, but in recent years, it has been determined that texting while driving is actually the most unsafe and dangerous driving distraction of all. What people don’t seem to realize is how far they actually travel along the road while sending or reading a text for just a few seconds. Traveling at 55 mph for only 5 seconds, a driver can traverse the length of a football field. Distracted driving is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed, and driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed provides lots of opportunity for accidents.

 

Texting While Driving: Illegal in Massachusetts

Some states have banned all cell phone use while driving. In Massachusetts, it is not illegal for drivers to use their cell phones to make and receive calls while driving, although hands-free devices are preferred. However, texting while driving is strictly prohibited. Additionally, junior operators of a vehicle are prohibited from using mobile devices or other handheld electronic devices at all, except for navigation systems and emergency assistance controls. Bus drivers are also prohibited from using mobile phones completely while driving.

Massachusetts State Law will levy fines for the first and additional repeated offenses, and junior operators will also have their license suspended for a period of time. And because the texting while driving law in Massachusetts is considered a “primary law”, a police officer can pull you over simply for witnessing or appearing to witness texting while driving. The act is also completely illegal even if the car is stopped in traffic, so it is both a wise and safe idea to simply wait until some point that you can pull over and stop the car to read or send messages.

 

Practicing Safe Driving in the Cell Phone Age

No one can deny that cell phones are a major part of our lives, and we are all guilty of interrupted anything we might be doing to glance at our mobile devices whenever we hear those telltale tones indicating a call, email or text message alert. But the one place where you need to strive to avoid cell phone use is behind the wheel of a car.

In fact, in April 2017, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month was declared, and a “Drive Present” campaign was launched, focusing on teaching drivers to be more engaged in the driving moment, and less distracted by other actions and objects, especially mobile phones.

In order to cut down on accidents, injuries and fatalities related to distracted driving, and more specifically texting while driving, drivers are encouraged to follow certain guidelines when getting behind the wheel of a car.

  • First and foremost, the best thing to do is to simply turn off the phone when driving, or at the very least, turn the sound off so that you aren’t distracted by any tones that alert you.
  • If you are expecting emails, texts or phone calls, then when you do receive them — find a place to pull over. It will only take a few minutes of your time to pull over and review and send any messages, while it only takes a few seconds to wind up in an accident resulting in injuries or death.
  • If you are driving with a passenger, ask them to handle any messaging for you so that you can continue to focus on the road.
  • Because many often use their mobile phones as a GPS navigator as well, prepare your maps and directions before you start driving, or, if possible, use the phone voice commands to get directions, rather than using your hands.

Remember, anything that takes your eyes and concentration from the road, pedestrians and other drivers is a potential hazard. It simply isn’t worth it to risk your life and the lives of others to answer a text that can certainly wait.

 

We can help

Have you or a loved one been injured by a distracted driver? Give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and possible next steps.

Jury members and judges are supposed to keep their emotions out of settlements in the courtroom. We don't let them.

The Power of Infuriating a Courtroom

Years ago I sat through a criminal trial where a judge threw the book at two young men who casually murdered a house cat.

That’s not what the charges read for the case. Officially, they were tried for an armed robbery case. There were no animal cruelty charges in the trial. The two men allegedly held up a corner store, then piled into an old car to get away. Right after they left the store the passenger aimed his gun out the window and shot someone’s kitty cat that was lounging on a porch.

Like I said, officially they were tried for the hold up, but it was clear that what really motivated the judge to issue the maximum sentence was knowing that they killed that cat.

There’s a lesson for us in the personal injury world. Most people absolutely despise people who text behind the wheel. If someone causes a car accident while texting, a judge or jury may respond differently than they would to a driver who reached down to pick up a CD off the floor boards.

This is an example of the human factor coming into law and impacting court results in way not intended by the law, unless there is a specific law that distinguishes texting while driving from other forms of distracted driving. It’s not supposed to work that way, but in practice it does.

It’s often irrelevant what distracted a driver. They could have been looking at birds or just not paying attention. The opposing counsel doesn’t have to prove what distracted the driver, but that they drove negligently. Drivers have an obligation to look at the road ahead of them, read street signs, obey traffic lights and leave space between vehicles. That is the most important thing to prove.

But if we can prove they were texting, we will. That involves subpoenaing the phone company’s meta data on when texts were sent from the other driver’s phone. We know that texting while driving can infuriate a courtroom and help our case. Even if we don’t plan to take the case to trial, we know opposing counsel or the insurance company will make a more generous settlement to avoid risking a wrathful courtroom.

Don't waste any time calling a lawyer if you've been hurt in a car accident

Distracted Driving Lawsuits – Why Victims Need To Contact a Lawyer Within 10 Days

After going through a serious car accident, most people naturally want to focus on healing and are not focused on their future distracted driving lawsuit. Some people need time to recuperate or may be stuck in a hospital bed for months. Family members may need to care for the victim at home. Survivors of fatal accident victims will need time to mourn. Many of these people will struggle to figure out how they’re going to pay their bills with one less paycheck coming in.

Because of the unexpected tragic nature of these issue, it’s common for people to put off contacting a lawyer. That’s a big mistake when filing a distracted driver lawsuit or any other kind of personal injury lawsuit.

You really want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Not only are there potential deadlines to file legal documents, but as time passes it becomes harder to gather evidence to demonstrate what caused the car accident. Skid marks fade, damaged cars get destroyed. Witnesses scatter to the wind.

Say you were struck by someone who was texting while driving, it is important to pursue distracted driving lawsuits within 10 days. The victim’s attorney can subpoena the phone company for a record of when texts were sent from that phone. If the crash happened on a highway 10 miles from the nearest exit and the driver who caused the crash was alone in the vehicle, and the driver’s phone had sent messages every 30 seconds right up to the crash, that’s a great piece of evidence for distracted driving. That helps the distracted driving lawsuits and cases remarkably.

But there’s a hitch. The phone company usually deletes text message data 10 days after it is sent. It’s expensive for the company to store that much information. Some companies wait 30 days, but most wipe the information in 10 days. If the victim waits too long to call a lawyer that evidence is lost in distracted driving lawsuits.

We fully understand how a personal tragedy can dominate someone’s priorities and that people need time to grieve. No matter what your situation is, if you do need to contact an attorney, you should to do so immediately to best protect your family and loved ones. It won’t be the disruption that you may imagine it to be, and what’s more, It’ll allow you to concentrate on your family while someone else handles the legal issues.

 

Most people don't understand Massachusetts no fault car insurance laws that have given way to Personal Injury Protection plans for car accidents

How Massachusetts Car Insurance Laws Can Limit Your Settlement

 

We handle a lot of car accident cases here in the greater Boston area. They’re fairly common because they can happen to anyone, even people who consider themselves safe and responsible, and the cars involved have both a large capacity for destruction and are driven frequently. That’s why you see a lot more people who have been hurt in car accidents as opposed to crashes from smaller, less frequently used vehicles like bicycles or snow mobiles.

Massachusetts does have some limits on what car crash victims can receive in settlements. If you’re injured by someone else’s dangerous driving in Massachusetts, you can attempt to receive compensation for your medical bills, damages to your vehicle and for your pain and suffering. However, you won’t be able to receive any medical reimbursements if your medical bill comes under $2,000.

Massachusetts has a minimum threshold of $2,000 for medical expenses from crashes. If one of our case comes under that threshold and no money ends up exchanging hands, we handle that case for free. We only get paid when our client receives a settlement and we’re willing to use the experience for outreach so people know they can trust us the next time they need a lawyer.

To get a little more technical, in Massachusetts we have Personal Injury Protection, or n- fault insurance, where the insurance company will pay for damages regardless of who caused the accident. Part of the idea behind the law is to make insurance available for policy holders even when the are struck by an uninsured driver.

If the injuries of all the people in your vehicle during an accident exceed $2,000, your auto insurance will pay that first $2,000 of medical bills. Not your health insurance company, but your car insurance.

A Personal Injury Protection plan  in Massachusetts will pay for costs after $2,000 but before $8,000, and that can include lost wages, medical copays and funeral expenses. If you have health insurance, PIP will pay up to $2,000 for medical expenses. If you lack health insurance, PIP will pay whatever is needed until it reaches that $8,000 cap.

There is one wrinkle that can have a big impact on a case. When a car crash victim receives a settlement, the health insurance company can take some of that money for reimbursement for the medical bills. PIP benefits do not need to be reimbursed from a settlement. This won’t make much of a difference if the settlement is for $1 million dollars and the medical expenses were $5,000, but it will if the medical expenses are $5,000 of $15,000 settlement.

PIP insurance is confusing and obtuse to most people, and we’re happy to walk people through their options. Our firm will also deal with the insurance companies directly for you so you can concentrate on your recovery.

Our firm takes on small cases, not just big ones, even minor car accidents.

Why We Take on Even the Smallest Car Accident Cases

Car crash injuries are the most common type of car accident cases we take, and they can happen to absolutely anyone who so much as steps near a public road.

Our firm is eager to take on any of these cases and make sure people are compensated for the losses and injuries they suffer, which can make a crucial difference to a working family who suddenly can’t pay the bills with their breadwinner unable to work. Some people unfortunately assume that we only want to take on the big cases where large amounts of money are at stake and that we pass over smaller cases.

That’s absolutely wrong. We are eager to take on any case with merit, no matter how small. It’s good business for us, as there’s more at stake than the settlement fee.

We only accept payment for cases that we win, and while the profits from these cases helps us keep the lights on in our office near Boston, the cases also help us train new attorneys.

We put a partner from the firm and an associate attorney on every case, and these smaller cases give our younger lawyers valuable experience that only comes from pursuing real cases. We’re not leaving the client solely in the hands of a rookie, as an experienced partner collaborates on the case and provides insight and guidance when needed. These cases are good for our firm’s skill level.

They also act as a referral service for the firm. We’re confident that the solid results and attention to detail that our clients receive will make an impact. We know that if one of our clients ever gets into a situation where they need help or know someone who does, they’ll remember us.

There are no small cases for us. Our reputation is made, for better or for worse, by how we treat the latest client. We believe anyone who comes to us will come back if a future need arises. That’s why we’re eager to take on cases regardless of size.