No one ever wants to experience the frustration and pain that can often accompany a motor vehicle collision. It is really important in this situation to not only know what to do but to know what not to do as well. Here are some things to keep in mind should you have the misfortune of being involved in a car accident in Massachusetts.
Keep in mind that you never want to say anything to the other driver following the motor collision. He or she may try to engage you in dialog, but at this point, it’s just best to avoid any communication at all. The reason for that is that anything you say to the other driver could be misconstrued at a later point by either an insurance company and/or an attorney, so, therefore, it is best to simply not say anything to the other driver.
Instead, what you should do is call the local police department. The responding police officer is the one that you should speak to regarding exactly what happened in the accident. You want to be clear to the officer and detailed in describing exactly what brought about the accident. Equally important at that point in time is to take out your cellphone and photograph any damages sustained to any of the motor vehicles involved in the accident.
As well, be sure to photograph the scene of the accident because that can later prove helpful in documenting the facts of what occurred. The next thing to avoid after the accident is speaking with an insurance company. Assuming you are not at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may be calling you. It is best practice in this situation to simply ignore those phone calls. Nothing positive will accrue to you by speaking with the other driver’s insurance company.
Now, if your own current insurance company contacts you, it is okay to speak with them as you’ll likely need to deal with issues relating to property damage as well as payment for your medical bills. Please note: payment of your medical bills is covered under Personal Injury Protection or otherwise known as PIP Benefits in Massachusetts.
Another thing you should never do following a car wreck is to sign any paperwork sent to you by the insurance company. They may be sending you different documents such as a request to draw out the scene of the accident, or they may be sending you a medical authorization form commonly known as a HIPAA form, or they may be sending you a release. These are documents that, if signed, can later prove harmful to your case. Therefore, in that case, don’t sign or complete any paperwork sent to you by any insurance company. Instead, in that situation, keep all paperwork in a separate file so that you can reference it later when the appropriate time occurs.
The next thing to avoid is to hire just any lawyer that you find. Many lawyers are generalists and do not specifically focus on car accident cases. Therefore, what you want to do is be really diligent in your search for the right attorney. You want an attorney who exclusively handles personal injury cases and specifically car accident cases. You want to find an attorney who is experienced, has good reviews and is trustworthy. The consequences for hiring the wrong attorney can be very significant. That is why it is best to go slowly in your process of selecting and ultimately hiring the right attorney to handle your car accident case for you.
Please note I have written a book called The Truth About Massachusetts Automobile Accidents. This book is a resource you can read to educate yourself on things to do and things not to do following a motor vehicle accident. If my office can be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 617-338-7400, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.