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Accidents happen! People get hurt every day. Doctor’s offices and emergency rooms are filled with people needing medical care after injuries from accidents. Injuries may be minor aches and pains or severe cuts and bruises or even worse. Daily life is complicated and dealing with medical care and treatment and insurance coverage after an accident that causes personal injury is hard.

commerce-acts-books-477966-mBoston and the North Shore have a number of outstanding medical care facilities, hospitals and Doctors.  How do you pick the right one?  Who should pay for the doctor bills? What if you have lost wages from missing work because of your injury or because of time spent in the emergency room? How do you deal with the insurance company and what should you say to them and sign for them?

These questions and more will come up after an injury from an accident.

Speak with an experienced injury lawyer, the sooner the better.

Maybe the accident was partly someone else’s fault and partly yours. A knowledgeable injury lawyer can inform you of your rights and how best to recover your losses for your injuries. This can include ambulance bills, x-rays and scans, doctor’s bills, hospital bills, pain and suffering and more. In Massachusetts there is a comparative negligence law that allows you to recover if you are injured in an accident and the other person is more at fault than you. M.G.L. c. 231, §85.

Dealing with a comparative negligence situation can be complicated. Here are a couple of examples:

In Hanlon v. Sandman, 70 Mass.App.Ct. 1110 (2007). Becky was driving in Worcester when her car collided with a motorcycle operated by Stephen. Stephen was severely injured in the accident, hired an injury lawyer and sued Becky for negligent operation of a motor vehicle. At the trial questions were asked about the speed of the motorcycle and if Stephen rode carefully or not or maybe caused the accident himself by being careless or reckless. The evidence at trial showed that Becky had been driving under the influence and from how the accident happened the jury found that she was 90% at fault in causing it. The jury then awarded Stephen damages in the amount of $19,500,000.00.

In Rose v. Highway Equipment Company, 86 Mass. App. Ct. 204 (2014), there was a bad accident involving a worker whose hand and forearm were caught in truck equipment and badly mangled. The injured worker filed a lawsuit to recover for his injuries that included a claim for negligence against the manufacturer of the broadcast spreader he was using. The jury heard very different accounts of how his hand became caught in the spreader. Mr. Rose testified that he was kneeling or crouching between the cab of the truck and the spreader, using a bottle to spray oil on the chain. Then suddenly, he felt a pull on the sleeve of his sweatshirt and could not free himself from the spreader before his right hand and forearm were pulled into the mechanism. He claimed that the spreader was defective and caused his severe injuries. However, the equipment company argued that something very different had happened. They presented evidence that Mr. Rose, after drinking beer earlier that afternoon, lost his balance while on a ladder on the operator’s side of the truck and fell into the spreader. The jury found Mr. Rose to be 73% negligent and the company to be only 27% negligent. And, under the comparative negligence law in Massachusetts, the worker was not allowed to recover for his injuries because he was more than 50 % at fault in causing the accident.

With two unrelated accidents, both involving bad injuries and both involving alcohol, the outcomes were entirely different.

If you are injured in an accident on the North Shore, the Boston area, or anywhere in Massachusetts, it is a good idea to speak with an injury lawyer as early as possible to make sure your rights are protected and defended.

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