Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

car crashWhen you are seriously injured in an auto accident, there may be many steps involved in getting the compensation you need. You may have legal rights against the other driver, the other driver’s insurance company, or your insurance company, depending on the facts of your case. To make sure that you are pursuing everything you should under the law, talk to an experienced Massachusetts car accident attorney promptly to learn about your rights and your legal options.

Heather was a driver who was seriously injured in a July 2007 auto accident in Bristol County. When you suffer substantial harm in an auto accident, as Heather did, you may very possibly have to litigate extensively to get the compensation you deserve. The other driver or his insurance company will likely contest your case vigorously, since it potentially involves a large sum of damages.

Heather’s case involved two trials and multiple appeals. Eventually, she and the other driver’s insurance company worked out a settlement. Deciding to settle a case, even one in which you have a strong factual and legal position, may make sense for you because it can allow you to achieve finality and compensation without additional delays from ongoing appeals or retrials. In this situation, Heather agreed to settle for $100,000, which was the policy limit on the other driver’s insurance policy, even though the damages award she received at the conclusion of her second trial was much greater.

front of SUVWhen you pursue an injury case, there are several hurdles to clear. There’s filing the lawsuit, collecting and organizing all of the evidence, preparing for trial, and obtaining a judgment or settlement. However, there are many more tasks beyond just these that go into a successful result in an injury case. A knowledgeable Massachusetts car accident attorney can help you make sure that “all of your bases are covered” when it comes to your case.

Sometimes, your injury case may be affected by a person or entity that wasn’t even involved in the accident. A recent example involved a case from Bristol County. Evelyn was an 85-year-old woman who was crossing a street when a vehicle driven by Annmarie crashed into her. Evelyn had dementia before the accident, but the crash made it worse. Eighteen months after the accident, Evelyn died. Her children sued Annmarie, and the two sides settled for $250,000. Annmarie’s auto insurance company paid the judgment, and the family dismissed the lawsuit in January 2014.

This might sound like the end to a successful outcome, and, in some situations, it might have been. For this family, however, there were additional complications. During her final years, Evelyn had received some $18,000 worth of care that was paid for by MassHealth. Massachusetts gives MassHealth the right to pursue repayment of these expenses from the estate of a deceased person in certain circumstances, while others may possibly be exempt from this estate recovery.

handshakeWhen you file a lawsuit as a result of your auto accident injuries, there are several steps in the process. One of these may be exploring the possibility of a mutually acceptable settlement. An important thing to note about settlement negotiations and settlement agreements is that they are much like any other form of contract negotiations and contractual agreements. They require one side to make an offer, and the other side must accept that offer. There must be a “meeting of the minds” about the terms of the agreement. Without those things, a settlement agreement isn’t valid. When it comes to deciding whether to settle or litigate your injury case, it pays to have the advice and representation of a knowledgeable Plymouth County car accident attorney.

The existence (or lack thereof) of a valid settlement was a central dispute in one recent auto accident case. Frances was the driver of a vehicle that was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Edy. As is common in many civil cases, the opposing sides both worked toward trial and discussed the possibility of settling the case out of court. Eventually, Frances’ case went to trial, and the jury found in her favor, awarding her $52,000 in damages.

Edy appealed that judgment. The centerpiece of his appeal was that Frances was not entitled to the damages award handed down by the jury because the two sides had already settled the case, and Edy had been released from liability in exchange for agreeing to the settlement. Edy also argued that, if the court did not throw out the jury’s damages award, it should at least reduce it by the amount that Frances’ auto insurer had already paid out.

car accidentWhen you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may think that your case will be a relatively straightforward matter, decided largely upon each side’s presentation of the facts. Sometimes that is how a case plays out. Other times, your case may hinge upon more technical legal rules and concepts, like consolidation of cases, issue preclusion, and claim preclusion. What all of these things represent is the extent to which any type of legal matter can end up succeeding or failing based upon things that require an in-depth knowledge of the law. To make sure that you are prepared for whatever your case presents, make sure you have a knowledgeable Massachusetts car accident attorney representing you.

An example of such a scenario played out recently in the Massachusetts courts. The underlying incident was a straightforward intersection accident in Weymouth. John was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Kelly. At the intersection, Kelly’s vehicle and a vehicle driven by Noah crashed. The key factual issue in the case was which driver ran a red light to cause the collision. John sued Noah, and, sometime shortly after that, Kelly sued Noah.

Both lawsuits were filed in Brockton. Both John and Kelly had the same attorney. The judge who oversaw the cases decided to consolidate both lawsuits and determined that Kelly’s case versus Noah should be tried first. At the close of the evidence in that case, the jury entered a verdict in favor of Noah. Since the jury found Noah not negligent in that case, the judge reasoned that John could not win his case and entered judgment for Noah on that part too.

pedestrian signalIf you are injured in an auto accident, there are several things that are vitally important to achieving a successful result. Not the least of these things is making sure that the judge provides your jury with instructions that properly frame the issues regarding the law and the rules of the road, in order to give you a fair chance to win. Advocating for proper jury instructions is just one of the many ways that it helps to have experienced Massachusetts pedestrian accident attorneys working for you, giving you a better chance at a proper outcome.

One case from Cambridge was an example of a situation in which jury instructions were very important. Mikel was a pedestrian crossing a street in East Cambridge when a city truck, which was making a left turn, ran into her. The collision caused Mikel to suffer serious and long-term damage to each of her knees. Based upon the harm that she’d suffered, the pedestrian sued the city.

In any type of vehicle-related personal injury case (whether it’s car-versus-truck, car-versus-car, or vehicle-versus-pedestrian), one of the key parts of achieving success is the two-sided issue of fault. You must prove that the person or entity you’ve sued committed some act or omission that caused the accident, and you must establish that you were free from blame or bore only a lesser responsibility for the accident.

cowsThere can be many different ways that you can be hurt in an auto accident in Massachusetts. You may be a passenger in a vehicle whose driver was at fault in an accident, you may be a driver struck by another driver, or you may be a driver who hits some other object, like farm animals. Regardless of how your case begins, there are many ways to achieve a successful outcome, including negotiation and settlement, mediation, or a trial and judgment. In any situation, it pays to have a skilled Massachusetts car accident attorney on your side to protect your rights and help you navigate the system to get a fair recovery for you.

One case that involved mediation and a settlement was the lawsuit filed by Maureen, a driver who suffered serious injuries as a result of a single-car accident in Worcester County. Maureen crashed into two cows that had wandered away from a nearby farm and onto the road. Maureen brought a lawsuit against the farmers – a husband and wife pair – who owned the cows that Maureen’s vehicle struck. In Massachusetts, the law requires owners of livestock animals to keep their animals properly contained inside a pen or fence. Since the farmers’ cows were in the road, Maureen’s case was that they weren’t properly fenced in, that this failure amounted to negligence on the part of the farmers, and that, because of their negligence, the farmers were liable for the damages the accident caused to Maureen.

As occurs in many cases, Maureen’s case against the farmers went to mediation. The mediation was a success, and the two sides reached a set of mutually acceptable terms. Maureen signed the agreement, as did the husband. The attorney who represented both the husband and the wife signed as well.