Finally – winter is behind us. The sun is out and warm, there is a nice breeze off the harbor and the long snowy Massachusetts winter make this spring and summer that much sweeter. As the ballparks, beaches and vacation spots on the North Shore and throughout Massachusetts heat up – so does traffic.
On the weekends, Cape traffic s*cks. Routes 93, 95 and Route 1 fill up with cars every day. The backup on Saturday morning on Route 128 north is frustrating. Gas prices are down and more folk are on the road, every day. For your safety, drive defensively and wear your seat belt. Even when you do everything right and safely, there are so many cars on the road, always in a hurry; that you can’t control what the other drivers do. Through no fault of our own, you may get into a car accident and may be injured or lose work because of it.
Motor vehicle accidents occur every day on the Massachusetts and North Shore roads. Some are minor but others are serious and traumatic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are at least 10 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States per year, at least 33,000 of which are fatalities. Massachusetts alone counts for at least 330 of those fatalities. When you are driving and an accident occurs, or even if you are a passenger in the car and are injured from a car accident, it can be difficult to understand what steps to take and what rights you have.
Each person: the driver, passengers, pedestrians and bike riders who has been hurt in a car accident in Massachusetts may be entitled to pursue a bodily injury claim for medical costs and for pain and suffering caused by the crash. If any one of the following occurs, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering:
- The accident results in serious injury or death;
- The accident causes a permanent and serious disfigurement or scar;
- A bone is fractured;
- The loss of sight or hearing
- The loss of a body member or body part;
- Medical, surgical, x-ray and dental services including prosthetic devices, and necessary ambulance, hospital, professional nursing and funeral expenses in excess of $2,000.00
The fair amount of compensation for loss can be difficult. The nature of the injury, the extent of necessary medical treatment and recovery time, and the permanency of injuries all factor into the analysis. In addition, lost wages, time away from work and future lost earnings also factor into the value of the loss. Your own insurance may help a bit for some lost wages or medical expenses but you may also be entitled to recover for wages that are not covered by your own insurance company and for any future lost earnings caused by injuries from a car accident.
An experienced personal injury attorney can be helpful in navigating these tricky waters and make sure that you recover fairly. In Massachusetts, lawyers who regularly handle personal injury cases are often paid under a contingent fee arrangement. This means that you do not pay your lawyer until your case is successful and your lawyer gets paid only if the lawyer recovers money for you from the accident. The attorney will be entitled to a percentage of the amount recovered for you, as the entire legal fee. If no compensation is obtained, your attorney does not receive any legal fees.
Typically, during the course of handling your claim, your attorney will advance costs and pay expenses to prepare your case. For example payments for medical records, expert witnesses, court filing fees and Doctor’s reports. Expenses and costs advanced by your attorney are usually deducted from any settlement or verdict in your favor. Most car accident cases and personal injury claims are settled before they go to trial. However, sometimes settlement cannot be reached and then the case will go to trial. An experienced accident lawyer, who will go all the way if necessary, is the way to go.