There are laws in Massachusetts that can help you during the auto accidents insurance claim process, which add certain protections to accident claims with injuries – if handled properly. These are in addition to the standard procedures used by an insurance company in dealing with your accident. Consulting an attorney can often help you avoid the many pitfalls which can arise during the auto accident claims process.
In auto accidents, there are usually two insurers – one for the vehicle you were in and one for the other vehicle. You are only obligated to cooperate with your own insurer.
In addition to reporting the claim to your insurer as soon as possible by telephone or online, you must file a Crash Report with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the local Police, and your insurance company within five (5) days of the accident. Seeking advice from a personal injury attorney first will insure that the proper information is provided and procedures followed.
Once you’ve filed an injury claim, your insurance company will first look to see if your accident is covered, based on your policy. They’ll also ask you for a copy of the Police Report so an investigation can start on who was at fault. Unless the liability is clear in the Police Report, they will usually contact the other driver and interview him/her. If there were any witnesses to the accident, they’ll also be interviewed. Retaining an attorney at the outset will protect your interests in the statement you give to your insurer, as well as the statements from the witnesses before they speak with the insurers.
Handling of the Claim
You are obligated to provide medical releases to your own insurer but should not provide them to the other insurer. It is best if you control which of your records the other insurance company has access to, so that they cannot obtain records which might be harmful to your case against their driver.
Your case should not be settled until you are finished with medical treatment – so that you can be sure that all your injuries and damages are included. Some elements of your damages are your medical bills, your lost earnings, and your pain and suffering. An attorney can best assist you in evaluating all of those factors and in persuading the insurer to compensate you for all of them.
Dealing with the Settlement
Once an insurance company comes to a conclusion, it may not be what you want based on the available evidence – both in terms of fault and the amount of damages. If you have not had an attorney helping you until then, the insurer’s position may be difficult to change. Most first settlement offers are negotiable but have limits.
What is the “No-Fault” Law in Massachusetts?
Keep in mind that in Massachusetts, you have limitations if you’re filing a personal claim against another driver who caused injuries in a car accident. You can only file a lawsuit against that driver if your medical expenses are at least $2,000; there are certain exceptions, such as fractures or permanent disfigurement.
Note the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations
All states have a statute of limitations which define how much time you have to file a claim or lawsuit after a car accident. In Massachusetts, you have three years to file – in most instances. Because there are certain exceptions with shorter periods, you have to be very careful or you could lose your right to recover forever. There are also shorter periods and specific requirements for certain claims against government employees.
If you’re in need of an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney, contact us for help with a claim or filing a lawsuit against someone in a car accident.