Articles Posted in Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Claim Process

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Similar to buying a car, or even renting an apartment – there are many things to consider when hiring an attorney. Just as important it is to hire the right lawyer, it is equally important to avoid hiring the wrong one. Here’s some things to look out for as you search for the right lawyer to handle your case

To begin with, does the lawyer have a history of receiving ethical complaints? If so, maybe it’s time to look for another lawyer. There’s an abundance of lawyers that do not have any disciplinary charges filed against them. Always, always check out to search for an attorney that you were interested in hiring. If he or she has a spotty disciplinary history, that may be a red flag. 

Secondly, is the attorney promising you a quick settlement? That too may be a red flag to look out for, there is no question that personal injury and workers’ compensation cases can take a considerable time to settle. Sometimes the process can take many months and sometimes even many years to settle a case. Any lawyer who tells you differently, is not being upfront and honest with you. 

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Getting Lost Wages Paid After A Massachusetts Automobile Accident

If you were involved in a car crash in Massachusetts, the insurance company that insures the car you were in at the time of the accident will pay for your no-fault benefits.  Payment for medical bills and lost wages are the two no-fault benefits you are entitled to.  No-fault benefits are called Personal Injury Protection benefits in Massachusetts, or PIP.

However, before you may collect PIP benefits, you must complete and sign a PIP application that the insurance company sends to you.  Also, in order to verify your lost wage claim, the insurance company will require your employer to complete a Lost Wage and Salary verification form before they pay you for lost wages.

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How Insurance Companies Value Personal Injury Cases

How insurance companies value personal injury casesAlthough no two insurance companies have the same approach, there are some common elements on how insurance companies value personal injury cases.  Here are some, but not all of them:

1) Is liability on the part of the insured person(s) or company clear, and if not, is there any liability at all? An example would be a a slip and fall accident claim.  The insurance adjuster will closely analyze and evaluate whether or not the insured could be considered negligent in causing, or contributing to the accident.

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Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases and Settlement Funding

This is a topic I deal with quite frequently when representing personal injury victims. Often, my clients will call me and tell me the accident they were involved in has financially harmed them so much, they are willing to take a loan out.  For example, suppose the client was riding a bicycle and was hit by a car.  The person may be really injured, racking up medical bills, and maybe lost wages, too.  Sometimes the client will see an ad on television from companies that provide funding to people injured in an accident and that have an open case pending with an insurance company.

The loan is typically financed by a pre-settlement funding company. When my clients ask me about this option, I try very hard to persuade them not to take out such a loan, because the interest rates can be very daunting.  Basically, the way it works is this: the pre-settlement funding company will closely analyze the client’s case, and loan application, and then decide whether or not the case is strong enough to guarantee the company will recoup their money, once the case settles.

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Each and every day Massachusetts auto insurance companies, upon learning of an auto accident in which they may have to pay out money damages, will send an insurance adjuster to the home of the injured party and attempt to have him/her sign a release.  The insurance adjuster shows up, big smile, and explains there is no need to get a lawyer.  Then, as is very common, the adjuster will offer some small money, maybe $500, maybe $1000, to the injury victim in order to settle the case as quickly as possible. 

This scenario gets me upset - and I see it all the time - because most people, after an accident, don't know their rights, unless he/she first speaks with an attorney.  The insurance adjuster know this, and capitalizes on it, in order to save the insurance company money (better for the insurance company to get rid of case fast before it has to pay out much more money when an attorney becomes involved in the case).

By signing a release without first speaking with an attorney basically guarantees that you are severely limiting your rights and potential compensation.  Do not sign ANYTHING the adjuster gives to you.  When the adjuster (still with the big smile) tells you there is no need to get a lawyer, tell him or her that you disagree.  End the meeting, and find a lawyer to consult with about your rights, should you be injured in a car accident in Massachusetts. 

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Health Insurance Liens and Your Personal Injury Case

If you have been involved in a personal injury accident in Massachusetts, and your health insurance company has paid some, or all of your medical bills relating to your accident, then they are entitled to be paid back if you receive a settlement.  The money they are paid back comes out of the settlement.

This is often referred to as a ‘lien’ or a ‘right of recovery’ that your health insurance carrier has, by law, against the money that you recover from the accident.  Often, your attorney can reduce the amount that you owe to the health insurance carrier.  Many times, the health insurance carrier will take a 1/3 reduction of their lien to reflect the attorney’s fee that you must pay out of the settlement.  At times, the 1/3 reduction of the health insurance lien can be reduced even more by your attorney.

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I found a great answer to this question over at the Texas Injury Law Blog.  Here it is:

If you have been injured in an accident, you may benefit greatly from the services of a personal injury lawyer. First and foremost, a personal injury lawyer can determine whether or not you have a case. Your attorney will be able to determine who was at fault for your accident and inform you of whether you have a strong basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

A personal injury attorney can help ensure that you do not lose your right to bring your claim by making sure you file your personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations has run. Your lawyer will be an expert on Texas’s personal injury law and can make certain that you do not lose your legal right to compensation because of a procedural error.

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One of the first questions I ask a potential personal injury client is whether he has made any claims in the past. Whether it be a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall or some other claim, it is important for me to know this information. The reason is that the claims adjuster and the defense attorney (if the claim goes into suit) has access to a claims index. If you have made claims in the past, they will appear in the claims index and will come up on a search.

Therefore, before meeting with your attorney for the first time, think back to any claims you have made in the past and write them down on a piece of paper. Write down the approximate date of the accident, the type of accident it was, and any injuries you suffered as a result.

It is better that your attorney learn of these accidents at the beginning of the case, rather than during your deposition when the defense attorney will be sure to bring them up to weaken your case.

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