FAQ

1. YES, CALL THE POLICE AND MAKE AN ACCIDENT REPORT

No matter how minor the accident is, you need to call the police and make sure they make a report. If the other driver leaves the scene of the accident you may lose important rights and benefits if you do not have a report.

 

2. YES, TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEOS

The old saying “one picture is worth a thousand words” is never more true than after an accident. The same goes for videos. Videos can also be very helpful in proving what actually happened or what was said. Just make sure whoever you are video recording knows they are being recorded. The photos you take may be used as proof that the accident occurred as well as showing the severity of the accident.

3. YES, CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AND REPORT THE ACCIDENT

Contact your insurance company to report the accident, even if you are at fault. Your insurance may attempt to disclaim and reject any claim you have and may not defend you if you are sued if you do not report the accident.

 

4. YES, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION

If you are injured you must seek medical attention immediately. Even if you think your injuries are minor, you should see a doctor and document your injuries. If the pain goes away that is terrific, but if the pain doesn’t and you wait too long to seek treatment, the insurance company may use that to deny your claim and refuse to pay benefits to you or pay your medical bills.

 

5. YES, CONTACT ATTORNEYS RICHARD RAVOSA OR MICHELLE COTE

Whenever you are involved in a car accident or other incident causing you injuries, you should contact our office immediately. We will file the appropriate paperwork with all required insurance companies to protect and preserve all the rights you may have. A consultation with our office is FREE, but the benefits we preserve could be PRICELESS.

 

6. HOW ARE MY MONEY DAMAGES CALCULATED?

In a personal injury case, compensatory damages typically can cover all economic losses caused by the injury, including past, current and likely future medical expenses, loss of the earnings that you would have earned “but for” the injury, and, if the disability is permanent, the loss of future earnings. For those without a wage history, such as children, courts may take into account probable earning capacity. You may also be entitled to recover for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional anguish.

 

7. WHAT ABOUT MY VEHICLE DAMAGE AND PERSONAL PROPERTY?

Further damages may be recovered for any property that was damaged, such as your vehicle, the cost of hiring someone to do household chores when you could not do them, for any permanent disfigurement or disability, and any other costs that were a direct result of your injury.

 

8. WHAT BENEFITS DOES MY CAR INSURANCE PROVIDE ME WITH?

In Massachusetts, insurance companies are required to provide their own customer, or insured, with certain basic benefits. These are called PIP benefits. PIP stands for “personal injury protection.” They are designed to cover you for a certain amount of medical bills and lost wages related to your accident, if you get injured in a motor vehicle crash – even if the crash is your own fault. This is why it is sometimes called “no-fault” coverage. 

 

9. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RESOLVE MY CASE?

The simple answer is, it depends. If your injury is significant and there is only a small amount of insurance money available, the settlement could happen quickly. In many situations, the insurance company, once they learn of the severity of the injury, is actually calling to see if they can pay their policy limits and settle the case. In situations where your injury is not as severe, or where the policy limits are high, then the claim will generally take longer to resolve. In these cases, we may wait to see what the full scope of your medical treatment is, including waiting until we have all of your medical bills. If your treatment looks like it will extend into the future, we may ask your doctor to give us an opinion letter outlining the expected costs of those procedures.

 

Sometimes your treatment might end fairly quickly, such as within a few months. However, in some cases it can take over a year. Sometimes over two years. It really depends on the nature of your injury and the medical treatment you get. Generally speaking, cases involving a “soft tissue” injury resolve quicker than cases involving broken bones, that can be seen on an X-ray or MRI.

Once we have a handle on your case, we will package up all the documentation regarding it and send it to the insurance adjuster with a demand for a fair settlement. This may be considered the start of the negotiation period. In the demand, we ask the adjuster to contact us and will usually will get a response in 30 days. The negotiation can sometimes go very quickly or can drag on for a while. It can go quick if the insurance company comes to the table with what we feel is an above-average offer for that kind of case – which is the goal that we have for our clients: to get them every dollar they deserve for the injuries and damages they have suffered.

 

Negotiation often continues at this point by our making a counter-offer. The insurance company then responds with their counter-offer, and so forth. Depending on how easy it is to contact the adjuster, this process might take a few days, or if the adjuster is hard to contact, weeks.

 

In situations where the insurance company is paying less than what we feel is fair value, then the whole process will take longer. If necessary, we will arbitrate, mediate or file a lawsuit and request a jury trial if we, or you, feel we never received a fair counter-offer.

 

Jury trials may take a significant portion of time, and in some cases it can take years because the courts are very busy. In other instances, filing a lawsuit is just what it takes to push the opposing party into offering more money for your injuries. No two cases are the same, and we handle each clients case and provide individualized attention tailored to each client’s unique needs.

 

10. HOW IS FAULT FOR THE ACCIDENT DETERMINED?

A person who carelessly operates a vehicle may be required to pay any damages caused by that carelessness, either to the victims or to their property. Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise “reasonable care under the circumstances.” Failure to use reasonable care is the basis in most lawsuits for damages caused by an automobile accident. This is what is also known as “negligence.”

However, in Massachusetts, you do not have to be completely blameless in order to recover. As long as you are less than 50% responsible for your injuries, the other party at fault can be held liable for their share of the blame. 

 

If you have been injured using a consumer product, the manufacturer or the seller of the product may be responsible under a “products liability” legal theory.

In these cases, we would need to prove that: (1) the product had some sort of defect or it did not have adequate warnings; (2) the defect or lack of warnings caused your injury; and (3) you suffered damages. 

 

11. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE MY CASE IN COURT?

In Massachusetts, generally, you only have three years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. Some types of cases have different time limitations, so it is best to consult with us quickly to make sure important deadlines are not missed that will permanently bar you from bringing a claim. If your lawyer has not been able to come to an agreement with any involved insurance companies, you will definitely want to file a lawsuit before the typical three-year statute of limitations runs out.

 

There are other time limits as well, including certain notice requirements to entities and the insurance companies involved. If your case involves a claim against a federal, state or local government, then there are very strict rules that must be followed when filing a claim against a governmental entity.

 

The most important thing to do is to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that you do not waive any of your rights. 

 

12. MY CAR HAS LITTLE OR NO DAMAGE, SO CAN I STILL MAKE A CLAIM?

Yes. Many insurance adjusters will try and convince you that because the vehicles sustained little or no visible damage, then the occupants could not have been injured. This is not necessarily true. While cars are designed to handle low speed impact forces, the human body is not. Serious injuries can result from what may appear to be a minor impact.