Category: Personal Injury

Beware the Preferred Shop!

In Massachusetts it is illegal for an insurance company to steer people to body shops. The insurance company is required to give you a list of all the “registered shops” in your county. A registered shop is one that has a licensed appraiser on premises, and thus can compel the insurance company to negotiate with it in good faith to determine the proper price of a repair, and can compel the insurance company to arbitrate any disagreements. As such, the person getting their car fixed after a collision can be assured that the repair will be done completely and, with few exceptions such as deductibles, the damage, at the sole expense of the insurance company.   The insurance company is not allowed to tell you which shop on that list you should go to. That is called “steering” and it is...

Read More >

Finally! Technology solutions to distracted driving!

Distracted driving is a large and growing problem. In my own office, the typical motor vehicle collision involves a person who is stopped at a place where it is pretty obvious that they should be stopped or would be stopping, such as a red light, a stop sign, or in heavy traffic, and someone is slamming into them. This fact pattern describes a majority of the accidents in my office. 10 or 15 years ago, that would have been less than 25%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that nine people die every single day from car accidents that result from distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 people were injured by distracted drivers in 2015. As disturbing as these figures are, they almost certainly understate the problem. While most accidents in my office were probably caused by distracted driving, very few of them are directly attributed to distracted driving in the police...

Read More >

I HAVE BEEN INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT, WHO WILL PAY MY MEDICAL BILLS?

At first glance, the answer to the question “I have been injured in a car accident. Who will pay my medical bills?” is a simple one. Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state, so at least initially the car insurance is required to pay your medical bills and wage losses that resulted from the car accident. There are numerous exceptions to the rule, many of which I will discuss in the body of this article. Some of the exceptions are intentional, such as the absence of the coverage for injuries resulting from the injured person’s drunk driving or drag racing and the lack of coverage for motorcyclists. Others derive from the fact that Massachusetts is not a pure no-fault system, but instead a hybrid system. Medical expenses need to be coordinated with private health insurance. Wage loss claims are subordinate to disability insurance and other payments, including payments by the employer. The most gnawing exceptions derive from complications involved in administering a hybrid system...

Read More >

Are Auto Insurers Putting The Bottom Line Ahead Of Safety?

A recent WCVB expose asked the question “Are auto insurers putting the bottom line ahead of safety?”.  You  The answer is a resounding the YES!!  You can link to that article and broadcast here. The insurance companies are putting profits before safety in auto repairs. It is very easy for them to do this when there is a unitized frame. At this point almost all cars and many small trucks and SUVs have unibody construction. It saves the insurance companies a lot of money, and it does result in unsafe cars being on the road. I discussed this issue at some length three years ago in my blog “Car Accidents and the Importance of Auto Repair and...

Read More >

The Insurance Adjuster Is Not Your Friend

The insurance adjuster is not your friend. The Insurance adjuster may seem nice. Many of them actually are nice, but they are still not your friends. Adjusters may tell you that they are trying to help you. Some might even seem to be helping you. For example, they might get you into a rental car quickly, or get you to their body shop. However, they are not helping you. They are not paying for anything they are not required to pay for anyway. What they are trying to do is “keep the case under control”. What does it mean to keep a case “under control”? It means keeping you from seeing a lawyer, so that the insurance company remains in “control”. While they have the case under control, they will try to do all manner of things to harm your case in the long run. Almost immediately, they will seek to take a recorded statement. Many of my clients have already given a recorded statement before they have come to see me. They tell me that it was no big deal. All they did was...

Read More >

Accidents Where The Government Is At Fault – There Are A Lot Of Rules And They Generally Do Not “Just Settle”

It is becoming increasingly common that accidents involve the government. If you get hit by a police cruiser, have a slip and fall in a government office or are a victim of medical malpractice in a VA Hospital, your defendant is not the individual at fault, but the relevant government entity. Right off the bat, identifying that government entity can be challenging, but it is important to identify the right one. For example, in Massachusetts if you are in an accident with a police cruiser, then the entity is the town that the police officer works for. If it is a state trooper, then it is the Commonwealth. If the cruiser belongs to a Sheriff’s Department, then it is a county government that is responsible, unless it is Middlesex County. If you are in an accident with a Lowell Regional Transit Authority bus, then the Lowell Regional Transit Authority is your defendant, but if it is an MBTA bus, the MBTA is responsible. I recently had a case in which my client was involved in an...

Read More >

What You Should Do If You Have Been Injured In An Auto Accident – The Unabridged Version

On the car accident page of my website I have a section called “What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured In An Auto Accident?” and that begins with a section of what to do at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. There, I briefly describe eight things to do while at the scene once you have established that it is safe for you to do so. In this article, I will discuss those eight things more in depth. Those eight things are: Stop Check for injuries Identify Witnesses
Read More >

Two Good Reasons Why You Should Always Exchange Information, Even After A Minor Collision

Sometimes when you are involved in a “minor” accident, you might not feel it is necessary to exchange information. You should do it anyway. There are two good reasons for this. The first reason is that even if you are uninjured, you may still have a property damage claim. The property damage claim may be much larger than you expect. I have written a blog on Car Accidents and the Importance of Auto Repair and Registered Shops and it discusses the fact that property damage is often much worse than it appears. Automobiles are designed to hide their damage. However, if you cannot identify the car that hit you, then your insurance company will not waive your deductible. If you do not have collision coverage, then there is no one to collect from at all. This can be an expensive...

Read More >

Save Your Prescription Receipts

I tell all my clients that if they have been injured in any kind of an accident or slip and fall to save their prescription receipts. I assure them that if they bring me their receipts, I will get them their money back. After all, the at-fault party is required to reimburse you for the full cost of your prescriptions and the automobile no-fault or PIP Carrier is required to reimburse you promptly for your prescription co-pays. From time to time my client will tell me that the prescription “only” cost them ten dollars ($10.00) and that they do not want me to worry about it. I tell them that the ten dollars can go to them or the ten dollars can go to the insurance company. I would much prefer that the ten dollars go to them. However, that is not the real reason I want the prescription. The real reason is that it helps me to demonstrate how badly they were hurt. How badly were they hurt? They were so hurt that they had to take prescription...

Read More >

Reasons For Calling The Police After You Have Been Involved In A Collision

  1. It proves that a collision actually occurred. You would be amazed at how often this is an issue. It is not uncommon for the other driver, even drivers who have apologized and said it was their fault, to deny even being in an accident. I even had a case in which the driver repaired his own vehicle at his own expense, in an effort to obscure the fact that he had been involved in an accident. We actually had to have the car inspected to prove that it had been repaired.
  2. It identifies the other driver and his insurance. As discussed above, it is not uncommon for the other driver to deny being in an accident that they were in. What is more, it is not uncommon at an accident scene to get incomplete information about the other driver. As such, even if you do exchange information, you may not be able to identify the other driver or locate his insurance...

    Read More >