Frequently Asked Questions About Massachusetts Car Accidents
Each one of us at some time will likely be involved in a car accident. The accident may be the fault of the other driver involved, it may be your fault, or a combination of the two. If you recently had a car accident and you were injured, you may be considering filing a claim for your damages. Below are some FAQ’s about these types of personal injury accidents in Massachusetts that hopefully will assist you.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
If you were injured in the accident, you may be receiving medical treatment. But who pays the medical bills? Since Massachusetts is a no-fault auto insurance state, PIP, or Personal Injury Protection, is what pays for your medical bills. The car insurance company that insures the car you were in at the time of the crash will pay your PIP benefits. Legally, they are responsible for paying the first $ 2000 in your reasonable and necessary medical bills stemming from the accident. If you have private health insurance, your health insurance will pay any medical bills once PIP pays the initial $ 2000 in bills. Then, whichever bills your health insurance does not pay, are resubmitted back to PIP for payment. Keep in mind PIP can be used not just for the payment of medical bills, but for payment for lost wages, as well. The most that can ever be recovered in PIP is $ 8000.
Can I Get Pain And Suffering?
If your medical bills are at least $ 2000, you may file a claim for pain and suffering damages. This claim is filed against the insurance company for the at-fault driver. If your medical bills are less than $ 2000, then you may still file a claim for pain and suffering, only if a broken bone or scarring resulted from the accident. If you were completely at fault for the accident, you cannot collect pain and suffering. However, if you were partially at-fault for the accident, you can still get pain and suffering as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for causing the car accident. Pain and suffering damages are not taxable under either Massachusetts or Federal law.
What Is The Auto Accident Claim Process?
Once your medical treatment has concluded is when the case can settle. Once the demand package is reviewed by the insurance adjuster, an offer will likely be extended. If after negotiations the case settles, then a release will be signed, and the insurance company will send you the settlement check. But if the case does not settle, then a lawsuit will have to be filed. This is when it really helps to have a car accident lawyer in Massachusetts that can go to bat for you.
How Much Is A Case Worth?
This is a very common question, as car crash injury victims want to know what their case will likely settle for. It is impossible to tell you exactly what your case is worth, but here are some common factors that are considered when placing a value on a car accident case:
1) How much are the medical bills? Generally, the higher the medical bills, the higher the offer. Keep in mind the medical bills have to be reasonable and related to the actual crash.
2) How much are the lost wages? Like with medical bills, the higher the lost wages, the higher the settlement offer will be.
3) What type of injuries were sustained? If it is a soft tissue case (sprains and strains) the case will likely have a low settlement value?
4) Are the personal injuries permanent? If the injured claimant has permanent injuries, the case will settle for a higher amount. For example, if the auto accident resulted in a permanent loss of function of a body part, that will likely result in a substantial settlement.
How Much Do I Have To Pay A Lawyer To Represent Me?
Nearly all Massachusetts car accident lawyers handle these claims on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that the lawyer only gets paid if the case settles. The typical fee is 33% of the gross settlement. This means you don’t have to pay any upfront money, and you don’t have to worry about paying hourly fees either. With this system, the attorney is motivated to recover for you a just and fair settlement for your claim. It really helps to have a lawyer representing you for these cases. The lawyer brings experience that will result in a higher settlement. Studies have shown you will recover more money for your case (even after the lawyer is paid) than had you handed the case on your own.