Choose the Best Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer to Represent you in Connection with a Serious Accident.
Parker Scheer Provides Expert Legal Representation to Victims of Serious Motor Vehicle Accidents.
Every year in Massachusetts and throughout the country, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed as a result of car accidents. For this reason, claims for injuries and death resulting from the negligent operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and trucks, comprise one of the largest categories of personal injury-related claims.
If you have been injured as a result of a truck, motorcycle, or car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries and financial losses. Compensation may include reimbursement for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, as well as significant compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
The near-ubiquity of mobile phones, GPS navigation devices, streaming music, and other forms of electronic technology currently incorporated into many modern motor vehicles, has led to a dramatic rise in serious motor vehicle injuries and deaths. Simply put, distracted driving occurs when a driver diverts his or her attention from the road to some other activity while driving. Common examples of distracted driving include texting while driving; talking on the phone while driving; entering addresses in a GPS navigation system while driving; adjusting the car radio or streaming music service while driving; eating while driving; and retrieving fallen objects from the floor of the car while driving, to name but a few. Distracted driving is highly dangerous, and laws imposing serious criminal penalties now exist in Massachusetts and New York to help thwart distracted driving, particularly among young drivers.
Driving While Intoxicated or Under the Influence of Drugs
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug known to impair the ability to drive safely. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of certain controlled drugs, such as opiates, may also result in a criminal conviction involving a period of incarceration. Even medically prescribed medication can result in criminal and civil penalties if such drugs are consumed and impair the ability of a motor vehicle operator to drive safely. It is therefore important to check with your physician as to whether any medication prescribed to you may impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Road Conditions Caused by Poor Weather
Poor weather, creating dangerous road conditions, is another common cause of serious motor vehicle-related accidents. In New England, where icy road conditions are common during winter months, drivers must take deliberate steps to reduce speed and maintain control of their vehicles at all times. The failure to abide by posted speed limits, and to operate at below the posted speed limit when dangerous weather conditions exist, is another common cause of serious motor vehicle accidents.
Driving in excess of the posted speed limit is dangerous and a common cause of countless motor vehicle accidents each year. New technology, incorporated into many modern vehicles, now allow police and others to download data from onboard “black boxes” to reveal the actual speed of a motor vehicle at the time of an accident. Surveillance cameras now located at many major intersections and even along smaller roadways, increasingly allow for more accurate forensic evaluations of car accidents to more scientifically determine the speed of a motor vehicle causing the car accident.
Why Should You Hire a Boston Car Accident Lawyer if you Have Been Injured in a Serious Car Accident?
Many people who have suffered serious injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident wonder if they need to retain a car accident attorney in Boston to assist them with their claim. While there is no legal requirement that an injured person retain an experienced attorney to represent their interests, doing so can provide you with enormous advantages in terms of maximizing your recovery from the offending driver’s insurance company.
The most important reason to retain an attorney with significant experience representing persons injured in motor vehicle accidents, is to ensure that your right to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses, is protected. Insurance companies have one – and only one objective: to pay as little as possible (or nothing at all) to resolve your claim. Most people have little to no experience evaluating the value of their own claims. In contrast, most insurance companies have access to troves of data which provide them with a far more accurate valuation of your claim. Lawyers with significant experience resolving serious motor vehicle accident cases have the knowledge and experience to more accurately value your claim, which is vital to obtaining the best possible recovery.
It is also essential that the lawyer you select has a significant number of years of courtroom experience, trying car accident cases to juries. While it is indeed true that most (>90%) of all car accident claims do not resolve by way of a jury trial or bench trial, insurance companies are often well aware as to which lawyers have the skill and experience to take a case all the way to trial and those who will ultimately accept the insurance company’s best offer. Insurance companies generally do not welcome the risk posed to them by way of jury trials. For that reason, lawyers and law firms respected for their litigation and courtroom skills, can often deliver the best results to their clients.
The attorneys at Parker Scheer have decades of experience trying cases before juries and judges in both State and Federal court. That experience has served our clients well in countless instances.
How Do I Choose the Best Car Accident Attorney in Boston to Handle My Case?
There are many excellent car accident lawyers and law firms located in Massachusetts and New York. But how do you go about choosing the best personal injury law firm to undertake your case?
First, do some research. Peruse the websites of various firms to determine which law firms have the most documented track records of success in the area of car accident-related cases. Many of the most outstanding law firms do not advertise on television, radio, or billboards. Rather, many of the leading attorneys and law firms receive the bulk of their cases from other lawyers who are well acquainted with their trial work and claims experience. Clients of Parker Scheer LLP are most often directed to us by lawyers familiar with the quality of our work, or by former Parker Scheer clients who have experienced our work firsthand.
The quality of a lawyer’s legal skill and experience is often reflected in the awards and professional recognition bestowed on a lawyer by his or her peers. The overwhelming majority of Parker Scheer attorneys have received numerous repeated peer recognition from the legal community, year over year. Click here to see examples of the peer recognition earned by Parker Scheer attorneys over the past three decades.
Were you involved in a Car Accident related to Cell Phone use?
As car accident lawyers in Boston, we know that there can be no real dispute but that using a cell phone while driving can be distracting. Drivers must divert their attention away from the road to look up a contact, dial a number, or even answer a phone call. As a result, there has been a steady increase in the rate of car accidents caused by cell phone use. In 2010, the National Safety Council estimated that 1 out of every 5.4 million car crashes in the United States – about 1.1 million – involved drivers who were talking on their phones at the time. Another 3% of car crashes, or 160,000, involved those who were texting while driving.
Because of the increased risk of car crashes, many states have enacted laws to regulate the use of cell phones by driver. In 39 states, including Massachusetts, it is illegal to use text-messaging services while driving. Despite this law, it is very difficult to police this behavior and the law protects those who have been involved in a car crash from turning over their phone, which could incriminate them. As a result, the real statistics regarding the link between text messaging and car crashes will never be known.
In 10 states (not Massachusetts), there is outright ban on the use of cell phones unless the driver uses a hands free system. However, research has shown that in those states that have ban hand held cell phone use, the rate of accidents has not decreased. On July 1, 2008, California banned the use of hand held cell phones while driving. However, data reviewed from 2008 show no decrease in the rate of accident from before to after the ban. There are currently no states that ban the use of cell phones outright for drivers.
In most states, those driving with a junior operator licenses (“JOL”) are barred from using a cell phone at all. In addition, those with JOLs that are caught using a cell phone face a mandatory loss of license and fines to have their JOL reinstated. Studies have shown that while the incidence of car accidents has been lowered since the implementation of these laws, car accidents among teenagers is still the leading cause of death among this age group.
Any evidence of use of a cell phone – lawful or unlawful – can still be used as evidence of negligence in a case relating to a car accident. All operators owe a duty to other drivers to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle. If a driver is shown to have been distracted because of their use of a cell phone while driving, that evidence would be used against them in a civil proceeding. Because of the higher risk of accidents when using a cell phone, the bumper stickers are worth reading “Drive Now, Talk/Text Later.”
Car Accident caused by Manufacturing Defects
In some cases, a motor vehicle accident is not caused by an individual operator, but rather by some product defect in the car that led to the accident. A defect can be a manufacturing defect (where a particular car is defective) or a design defect (where an entire model line is defective). Figuring out the type of defect involved and whether an injured person would be able to prove that the defect caused the crash can be very complex and require the assistance of engineering experts familiar with the manufacture of motor vehicles.
When investigating the cause of a crash after an accident, it is imperative that all the evidence is preserved, including the car. While this may seem obvious, in crashes involving serious damage to the vehicle, all too often the property damage claim will be resolved and the insurer will salvage the vehicle. Once a vehicle – and all the evidence included in it – is gone, it will be nearly impossible to prove that the vehicle was, in fact, defective prior to the crash. Therefore, if you believe that a defective product caused or contributed to a crash, it is important to retain an attorney immediately so as to ensure that all evidence is preserved and maintained in the proper manner. Considerations such as where the vehicle is stored, which individuals have access to the vehicle, and what types of testing are done on the vehicle are all important and can have negative consequences if not followed.
While maintaining evidence as status quo is important, it is also important to be able to perform an investigation into the happening of a crash to uncover whether a viable claim exists. In order to perform some testing while not impacting the integrity of the evidence, the law allows for non-destructive testing to take place. Non-destructive testing includes taking photographs, measurements, and other testings that will not impact the integrity of the vehicle. If a lawsuit is filed and destructive testing needs to occur, the parties can usually agree on a testing protocol that sets forth the exact nature of the destructive testing and ensures that all individuals are present during such testing.
In November 2012 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted three (3) major product recalls involving product defects of vehicles. These include the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser for faulty Toyota racing development kits, the 2013 Cadillac XTS for faulty head restraints that may not lock, and GM recalled certain 2012 Buick and Chevrolet models for faulty driver’s-side airbags. A recalled vehicle is not required to bring a product liability case. In fact, cases brought by injured consumers tend to initiate product recalls by a company.
Car Accident Injury in Massachusetts Common FAQs
Many people who have suffered injuries as a result of a car accident have important questions about obtaining compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What is the first thing I should do after being involved in a car accident in Massachusetts?
If you or someone else is injured in a car accident, contact police or emergency medical personnel immediately. Information about the operators involved in the accident can be obtained after all injured parties are safely in the hands of professionals trained to provide emergency medical care.
As soon as it is safe to do so, you should contact your insurance agent or insurance company representative to report the happening of the accident.
Who will pay my car accident-related medical bills?
In Massachusetts, the first two thousand dollars ($2,000) in medical bills that you incur in connection with a car accident are paid for by the insurance company that insured the car in which you were traveling, at the time of the accident. If you were injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist, the bills are paid by the company insuring the car that injured you. The portion of the motor vehicle insurance policy that pays the first $2,000 in medical bills is called Personal Injury Protection or “P.I.P.”. It is also called “no fault”. If your medical bills exceed $2,000 submit the bills over $2,000 to your health insurance company for payment or reimbursement. If you did not have health insurance at the time of the accident, your bills should be covered under P.I.P. up to a total of $8,000. In some cases, additional medical payment coverage may be available. Your insurance agent or attorney can advise you as to the amount of coverage to which you may be entitled.
Can I recover the value of my lost wages?
If as a result of the car accident you suffer injuries that prevent you from performing your work-related duties, you may be entitled to be reimbursed a portion of your actual lost wages under the applicable P.I.P. policy. Under P.I.P., you may recover up to 75% of your lost wages, provided: (1) you were not paid during your absence from work; and (2) your $8,000 in P.I.P. benefits were not exhausted by the payment of medical bills. Remember that the $8,000 available under P.I.P. includes payment of medical bills and lost wages, unless additional “Medical Payments” coverage is available. In the event you are eligible for partial reimbursement under a disability plan at work, P.I.P. will pay 75% of the difference.
Do I have to reimburse my health insurance company if I recover bodily injury compensation?
If your medical bills exceed $2,000 and your health insurance company pays for medical treatment over the first $2,000 in P.I.P. benefits, your health insurance company may be legally entitled to be reimbursed from any amounts you receive in connection with your bodily injury claim. This right of reimbursement is contractual and is referred to as a “lien”. The rules governing liens involve complicated legal issues that must be addressed by your personal injury attorney before any funds may legally be distributed to you.
What about compensation for my pain and suffering?
If the injuries you sustained were caused by another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to additional compensation. This is known as a “bodily injury claim”. Your ability to recover bodily injury compensation is based on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, the duration of your pain and suffering, and the limits of bodily injury coverage available to the party responsible for your injuries. In Massachusetts, you will not be permitted to pursue a bodily injury claim unless your car accident-related medical bills exceed $2,000 or your injury (1) causes death, or (2) consists in whole or in part of permanent and serious disfigurement, or (4) results in the qualified loss of sight or hearing. A lawyer with experience in handling personal injury claims resulting from car accidents can best advise you on how to proceed with your personal injury claim.
What can I expect to recover for my car accident injuries?
Because the value of a bodily injury claim depends on many factors, it may take some time for your lawyer to form an opinion as to the value of your claim. No lawyer can responsibly evaluate a client’s bodily injury claim until the injured person has reached a “medical end result”. A medical end result may not mean that you have returned to your pre-accident condition. It simply means that no change in your condition is anticipated. Once a medical end result has been reached, your personal injury lawyer will advise you as to the potential value of your claim and the process involved in securing a recovery.
How much do Massachusetts car accident lawyers charge?
Because most people do not have adequate savings with which to pay a lawyer in connection with a bodily injury claim, most lawyers who concentrate in the area of personal injury law will work on a “contingent fee” basis. Under a contingent fee agreement, your lawyer agrees to accept a percentage of any sum he or she recovers on your behalf as the full legal fee. In many cases, the contingent fee will be one-third of any amount recovered. So, for example, if your lawyer recovered $9,000 on your behalf, a legal fee of $3,000 would be paid to your lawyer from the proceeds recovered. If no recovery is made, you would not be charged a legal fee for the work performed by your lawyer. A written contingent fee agreement should be prepared and signed by you and your personal injury lawyer before your lawyer begins work on your case. You should review the agreement carefully and make sure you understand all of its terms and conditions.
How long will my Boston auto accident case take?
The amount of time necessary to resolve a claim for personal injury compensation in Massachusetts varies greatly from case to case. A very serious case, involving multiple injuries and complex theories of liability resulting from a car accident, can take several years to conclude. Conversely, a case involving less serious injuries and more obvious liability may be concluded in a matter of months. Your lawyer is in the best position to advise you as to when your case is likely to be concluded.
Will I have to go to court?
While most cases involving claims for personal injury are resolved by way of settlement, a lawyer experienced in the area of car accident personal injury lawyer must be prepared to bring the case to trial if an acceptable settlement cannot be reached. As the saying goes: Lawyers who plan to settle often find themselves faced with a trial, while lawyers prepared for trial more often see their cases settle. Your personal injury lawyer will advise you as to which option is best for you.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, remember:
* Seek the advice of an experienced, auto accident attorney.
* Communicate with your lawyer regularly.
* A properly handled case takes time to prepare. Don’t rush the case.
Fatal Car Accidents in Massachusetts
The sudden and unexpected death of a person in a car accident is a tragedy. Depending on the circumstances involved in the crash, the family of the decedent may learn little information about the cause of the crash until after the investigation is complete. Often the Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit is dispatched to perform reconstruction to determine how the accident occurred and whether criminal charges are warranted.
There is a type of civil case called a wrongful death case that can be brought against the responsible party by the victim’s family. A wrongful death case holds the person liable for the death and compensates the decedent’s estate accordingly for specified damages. These damages can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 229, section 2, and section 6, which provides for the following:
Reasonable Expected Net Income: Not to be confused with lost earnings or a loss of one’s earning capability; this is calculated by starting with the victim’s projected earnings for the remainder of his expected career. Next, deductions are made to find the amount of said earnings the beneficiary would have received had the decedent survived. It is important to note that the surviving beneficiaries are only entitled to the amounts the decedent would have given them or used for their personal benefit if the accident had not occurred. Juries in these cases should consider the life expectancies for both the victim and the beneficiaries.
Consortium-Type Damages: This statute also enumerates elements that describe the many aspects of relationships within families. These elements provide monetary compensation for the lost relationships the decedent had with each beneficiary. Because the statute is purely compensatory and not punitive in nature, Massachusetts courts distinguish the fact that the loss often differs between the various beneficiaries due to the type of relationship he and the decedent shared.
Conscious Pain and Suffering: Under General Laws c. 229, § 6, damages can be recovered for the time between the injury and death of the decedent as compensation for conscious pain and suffering. A claim under § 6 is, as its core, what the defendant could have claimed for their injuries had they survived the accident. In order to recover the involved damages, the plaintiff has to use a preponderance of the evidence to show that the movement, acts, or appearance of the victim after the injury were the product of, or symptomatic of, the decedent’s conscious effort or suffering.
Medical Expenses: Massachusetts’ law states that the victim’s estate can recover any and all reasonable medical expenses arising from the decedent’s injuries that resulting from the defendant’s negligence. Although there is no specific statement about medical expenses within the wrongful death statute itself, a claim for medical expenses will usually last after the death of the injured person and is generally considered recoverable during a wrongful death action.
Punitive Damages: Under General Laws c. 229, § 2, punitive damages totaling $5,000 minimum when the death resulted from “the malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct or by the gross negligence of the defendant” can be recovered. However, this benchmark is quite hard for the plaintiff to attain. In order to demonstrate that the conduct was, in fact, malicious, willful, or wanton, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the defendant’s actions are beyond simply gross or culpable negligence, and that they amount to a quasi-criminal activity that was intentionally committed with the awareness it would likely result in severe injury. If the plaintiff is able to meet this burden of proof, then there is no cap placed on the damages that can be awarded.
Teen Car Accidents in Massachusetts
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of teenagers in the United States. In 2010, seven teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died every day in car accidents. Of those injured and killed, boys are twice as likely to be injured or killed as girls. There is also a correlation between teen passengers and a higher rate of accidents.
Because teenagers are inexperienced drivers, they tend to cause more car accidents because they are more likely to speed, underestimate a dangerous situation, not use a seat belt, and drive drunk or get in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.
Massachusetts enacted the Graduated Driver’s License program, which provides for a stepped-up basis for driver’s license from learner’s permit to junior operator’s license to full driver’s license. Learner’s permits are available to teenagers beginning at age 16. At age 16 ½ an individual is eligible to take a road test to obtain their Junior Operator’s License. Once received, they are considered “junior operators” until they are 18 years old. During this time restrictions are placed on who can be a passenger within the junior operator’s vehicle and the times of day that the junior operator can drive a vehicle.
During the junior operator phase, any criminal-related motor vehicle offenses, moving violations, seatbelt violations, or passenger restriction violations shall be an automatic loss of license for a period of time, and stiff penalties are implemented before a license can be reissued. These strict penalties are an attempt to prevent the infractions from occurring in the first place.
Another restriction placed on junior operators is that they are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving. Effective September 30, 2010, any person under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. This includes making or answering phone calls, sending or looking at text messages, sending or looking at e-mails, or anything else that the phone is capable of doing.
Unfortunately, this prohibition has not prevented teenage motor vehicle accidents involving cell phone use. Despite the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone restrictions. In 2007, driver distractions, such as using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Over 60 % of American teens admit to risky driving, and nearly half of those that admit to risky driving also admit to text messaging behind the wheel. Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% every year. Almost 50% of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting while driving. Over one-third of all young drivers, ages 24 and under, are texting on the road. Teens say that texting is their number one driver distraction.
Massachusetts Car Accidents Caused by Negligence
Car Accidents are usually caused when one motorist is negligent. Negligence occurs when a person does something that other reasonable people would not have done, or did not do something that reasonable people would have done. Examples include failing to stop a stop sign or red traffic light. Since all reasonable people would stop their vehicle at a traffic signal, failing to do so is negligent. This is where a Massachusetts car accident law firm can help.
The elements of negligence are duty, breach, and causation between the breach and the injuries. When a person operates a vehicle on a public way, they owe a duty to other motorists to operate their vehicle with due care. Whenever they fail to do so (by running a red light and colliding with another vehicle), they have breached their duty of care. The final element, causation, means that the negligent motorist can be held civilly responsible to compensate an injured person if the injured person’s injuries are causally related to the negligent act.
Injuries that can be considered causally related are injuries that are directly related to the crash. For example, there is no doubt but that a broken arm or leg that occurred during a crash is causally related to the accident. However, causation can become much more difficult when a person had a pre-existing injury at the time of the accident that was made worse because of the crash. For example, a person may have had lower back at the time of the crash, but the person’s pain became worse after the collision. In this scenario, it can be challenging to show the person’s condition at the time of the crash (their “baseline condition”) and then the degree of change after the crash. In these cases, we obtain prior medical records, scans, and reports to show the exact condition at the time of the crash. Then, our personal injury lawyers work with treating physicians to provide reports detailing the nature and degree of the change from before to after the accident. These reports are invaluable in proving the causation of injuries that insurers may try to label as pre-existing.
In some cases, the person injured may have contributed to the happening of the accident. If so, that is called comparative negligence. The existence of comparative negligence will not bar recovery in a civil case, but it can reduce the amount of a person’s recovery. For example, at a trial, if a jury believes that the injured person was 10% comparatively negligent, then the court (not the jury) will reduce the amount that the jury awarded by 10%. So, if $100,000 was awarded to an injured person, the court will automatically reduce the award by $10,000.
Frank Taylor, a 39-year-old firefighter, husband, and father of two teenage daughters, left his house on a cold January morning to pick up some groceries at a nearby convenience store. After exiting the store, Frank noticed his neighbor standing beside her car in the parking lot, unable to start her engine. As Frank looked beneath the hood to investigate the cause of the problem, a second car, operated by a highly intoxicated driver, careened from the road into the parking lot, smashing into the disabled car, and sending Frank traveling through the air before coming to rest on the frozen pavement.
The drunk driver was arrested by police at the scene and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Frank was left with lower-body paralysis, permanently confined to a wheelchair, and permanently unable to support his wife and daughters. Fearing they may lose their home due to Frank’s loss of income and his rising medical expenses, the family turned to a lawyer specializing in serious car accidents to obtain compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company. What the Taylors were shocked to learn was that the driver who had caused the accident had only the minimum insurance coverage required by law, and all of it would likely be paid to the hospital and doctors who treated Frank following the accident.
The Taylors, their lawyer informed them, would not receive any financial compensation for their losses.
For those who believe the Taylors’ experience was an aberration – think again. Insufficient insurance coverage, even by “well-insured” motor vehicle operators, is an increasingly common problem, especially in depressed economic climates where people tend to reduce their insurance costs rather than increase them. What is perhaps most frustrating to the victims of these tragedies is that the insurance coverage they believed they had, and which would have ensured that the Taylor family received the compensation they justly deserved, was the very coverage most people tend to forego.
The example of the fictional Taylor family’s ordeal is an amalgam of countless cases, involving persons badly injured or killed as a result of motor vehicle negligence who never receive as much as a single dollar in compensation due to their own decision to forego “Underinsured Motorist Coverage,” commonly referred to as “U-Coverage.” U-Coverage is a category of automobile insurance coverage available to every insured driver. It pays you, or a member of your household, if the person responsible for the accident does not have enough coverage to fully compensate the injured person. Since anyone in Massachusetts can legally put a car on the road by purchasing the “minimum” liability coverage limits of $20,000, the total compensation available to those who do not purchase U-Coverage may be greatly limited or maybe nothing at all.
By way of example, had Frank Taylor purchased U-Coverage limits of $250,000 from his own automobile insurance company, he and his family would have received at least that amount in compensation, regardless of how little insurance coverage was available from the drunk driver who struck him. And not a dollar of the $250,000 could legally be seized by any health care provider, hospital, or other “lien holder” on account of unpaid medical bills.
Persons interested in learning more about the motor vehicle insurance coverage they own or may wish to own are strongly advised to consult with their insurance agent when renewing coverage. Parker Scheer can also assist persons interested in learning more about the different forms of motor vehicle insurance coverage available in Massachusetts, and what these coverages provide in the way of benefits.
If You or Someone You Know Has Been Seriously Injured in a Car Accident in Massachusetts, Contact Us As Soon As Possible
If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact us to obtain a free case evaluation. You can expect to receive a response from one of our highly experienced car accident attorneys within hours. We can be reached seven days a week by telephone at 617-886-0500 or by filling out the form here. There is never a fee charged to discuss your potential case and all information provided to us is maintained in strict confidence.
Massachusetts Car Accident Settlement Amounts
Head-on Collision; $1.125 Million
The plaintiff, then 17 years old, was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle. The operator of that vehicle crossed over the double yellow lines and struck another vehicle head-on. The force of the front impact was significant. The plaintiff lost consciousness at the scene and had obvious severe injuries. EMTs arrived and transported her to the nearest hospital, but when imaging studies revealed an L5 burst fracture, she was emergently transported to a Boston Children’s Hospital. The plaintiff had other serious injuries including a compound fracture to her right ankle, dislocated right ankle, displaced fracture to her left ankle, pulmonary contusions, right kidney injury, and a large laceration to her left thigh. She underwent surgery to repair her ankles the following day. Both ankles required open reduction with internal fixation; yet, her right ankle fractures required pins, screws, and wire to fixate the fractures in place. Also, given the open nature of her right ankle fracture, an Irrigation and Debridement was carried out in the OR at the same time. The plaintiff was admitted to the ICU following her orthopedic surgery to monitor her spine injuries. The plaintiff was taken to the OR four days later to repair her spine injuries. She underwent a fusion from L4-S2 with L5 vertebral decompression. During the procedure, it was noted that she had tears of the dura (the protective covering around the spinal cord), and she was re-admitted to the ICU following her surgery for continued monitoring of her neurological status. Her post-operative recovery was extremely difficult given her multiple injuries. Physical therapy worked with the plaintiff twice daily to help her learn to safely transfer using her left leg. She was non-weight bearing on her right side for several weeks following her surgery. Pain management was a problem and concern during her post-operative hospital stay. She was discharged to Spaulding after nearly 2 weeks in the ICU for further rehabilitation and therapy. She remained in-patient at Spaulding for two weeks during which time they helped prepare her for her discharge, including how to safely bathe, dress, and make transfers. She initially required assistance with all these tasks. Following her discharge from Spaulding Rehab, she received daily visits from a visiting nurse association, and then eventually, she was well enough to receive outpatient physical therapy. At the time of the crash, the plaintiff was entering her senior year of high school. Because of her injuries, she missed almost the entire fall semester and had to work very hard to make up her missed work, so she could graduate on time with her friends. This was extremely difficult since she was also managing chronic pain from her injuries and various medical appointments and therapy sessions as well. The plaintiff worked very hard at therapy to regain as much mobility as she could in her back and ankles despite all the hardware that was implanted. However, despite her best efforts, she still has significant limitations with many physical activities due to her implanted hardware. This resolution of this claim was complicated by the fact that there was another seriously injured claimant seeking compensation from the available insurance. Mediation was conducted between the plaintiff and the other injured party in an attempt to reach consensus on the division of the available insurance limits, which was successful. Trial report for this car accident / motor vehicle negligence casePedestrian Struck by Motor Vehicle; $202,000
One evening, the plaintiff, a 34-year-old, self-employed construction worker, finished a contracted job at a client’s house in Wilmington. In an attempt to help one of the trucks pull out of a driveway onto the busy main road, the plaintiff walked to the end of the driveway and stood on the side of the road. He then began to direct the truck out of the driveway and onto the main road. As he was standing on the side of the road, a vehicle operated by the defendant struck the plaintiff. The defendant denied seeing the plaintiff prior to the impact. As a result of being struck by the defendant’s vehicle, the plaintiff suffered serious injuries to his left foot.Motor Vehicle Accident – Motor vehicle accident in New Hampshire; $100,000
The plaintiff was operating her vehicle with the right of way along Rte 102 in New Hampshire when a vehicle operated by the defendant, which was pulled over to the side of the road, attempted to re-enter traffic, causing the vehicles to collide. The plaintiff’s vehicle was totaled as a result of the accident.Woman Suffers Severe Head, Neck and Knee Injuries, Resulting in Payment of $1.35 Million
While at a complete stop with her turn signal activated, preparing to execute a left turn, the plaintiff, a 50-year-old, child abuse prevention counselor, was struck from behind by a passenger van operated by the defendant. The impact forced the plaintiff’s vehicle into a nearby ditch, abutting the main roadway. Police and emergency personnel arrived at the scene and the plaintiff was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Although no loss of consciousness was reported, the plaintiff was confused and disoriented, heightening the suspicion of a closed head injury. In addition to her cognitive complaints, the plaintiff also complained of severe neck, back, wrist, and knee pain. Subsequent diagnostic studies revealed large posterior disc herniations at the C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7 levels, with impingement upon the thecal sac and proximate spinal cord, with bilateral C5-6 radiculopathy, right greater than left, with superimposed bilateral median neuropathy (carpal tunnel syndrome) at the wrist. In addition to her cervical herniations, the plaintiff also suffered a complex tear of the posterior horn of her medial meniscus, and a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, requiring surgical repair. The plaintiff ultimately went-on to require a total knee replacement, which was complicated by a post-operative wound infection (staph aureus) of her left knee, resulting in multiple subsequent surgical procedures, including an explanation of her total left knee arthroplasty and implantation of antibiotic cement and a spacer blocker. In addition to the foregoing, the plaintiff also suffered from profound depression and memory impairment following the accident. Medical bills totaled approximately $230,000. The case was successfully resolved following two days of extensive mediation presentations by both parties.Car Accident – Head-On Collision by Unlicensed Motorist; $1.02 Million
The plaintiff was a 33-year-old public school teacher who was struck head-on by an unlicensed automobile operator, traveling in the opposite direction at a high rate of speed. The plaintiff suffered scarring to his face, fractures of his maxillary sinuses, a fractured nasal plate, and a left frontal skull fracture. The case was settled by Parker Scheer following two days of mediation.Pedestrian Car Accident – Hit While Crossing The Street; $725,000
On an early winter morning, the plaintiff’s decedent was walking in her suburban residential neighborhood in Massachusetts. At approximately 6:00 A.M., a witness recalled seeing the defendant’s vehicle accelerate as it passed him. The witness was familiar with the vehicle from his routine early morning walks and – on several prior occasions – motioned to the driver to slow down. A short time later, the witness heard a loud crash.Auto Accident – Partial Thickness Rotator Cuff Tear; $105,000
The plaintiff injured her shoulder in an auto vehicle incident in which she was rear-ended by the defendant in Newton, Massachusetts. Diagnostic testing confirmed that the plaintiff had sustained a partial thickness rotator cuff tear. The plaintiff underwent several months of courses of physical therapy, which was unsuccessful in managing her pain. As a result, the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon recommended surgical repair, and the plaintiff underwent the surgical procedure. Although the procedure was largely successful, the plaintiff, an avid tennis player, continues to some residual pain. The case settled prior to trial.Car Accident Resulting in Closed-Head Injury; $150,000
The plaintiff, an 11-year-old boy, was struck by the defendant while riding his bicycle through a residential neighborhood in Malden. The plaintiff sustained a closed head injury and underwent several months of rehabilitation and occupational therapy. The defendant disputed liability as both he and a neutral eye-witness were prepared to testify that the plaintiff turned suddenly to the left and into the defendant’s path of travel. The defendant also disputed that not all of the plaintiff’s neurological injuries were related to the accident, but rather attributable to a prior cognitive disability diagnosis. The case settled after one day of mediation.Car Accident Resulting in Torn LT ligament, Requiring Surgical Repair; $135,000
The plaintiff was the restrained front-seat passenger in a Dodge Caravan auto operated by her husband, traveling South on Neponset Street in Norwood, Massachusetts. At the same time, the Defendant, in the course of his employment, was operating his vehicle westerly on Access Road in Norwood, Massachusetts. As the plaintiff approached the intersection of Neponset Street and Access Road, the defendant proceeded through a stop sign and directly into the plaintiffs’ path of travel. As the defendant’s auto struck the Plaintiff’s auto, the plaintiff braced herself for the impact by placing her feet on the dashboard. The impact was violent, causing the plaintiff’s upper body to be thrown violently forward into the dashboard. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff’s vehicle was declared a total loss. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed as suffering a torn retinaculum; a torn lunotriquetral ligament and a partial tear of her ulnar collateral ligament, requiring two surgeries to repair. Medical expenses resulting from the auto accident totaled $13,343.Car Accident Involving Pedestrian – Fractured Leg; $270,000
The Plaintiff, a 58-year-old Brighton, Massachusetts woman, was a pedestrian lawfully crossing Winship Street, within the marked crosswalk, at the intersection of Union and Winship Streets in Brighton. At approximately 1:54 p.m., while the plaintiff was within the marked crosswalk, the defendant’s auto made a left turn from Union Street onto Winship Street and struck the plaintiff as she crossed. At the time of the incident, the defendant was operating her personal auto pursuant to her work-related responsibilities. As a direct result of the impact, the plaintiff’s body was thrown over the top of the defendant’s auto before landing on the roadway. Boston Police arrived on the scene and EMS transported the plaintiff to the hospital. Thereafter, the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon determined that the plaintiff had suffered severe trauma to the lateral side of her left knee, resulting in valgus stress and a depressed tibial plateau fracture. According to the operative report, the plaintiff had sustained a central depressed tibial plateau fracture. Plaintiff’s surgeon performed an open reduction with internal fixation, elevation of the plateau, and an allograft on the injured left knee. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff was unemployed and the primary caregiver to her 90-year-old mother. Total incident-related special damages were approximately $29,000.Auto Accident Resulting in Fractured Ankle; $660,000
The plaintiff was an automobile operator, traveling northbound on Route 1A in Walpole, Massachusetts. At the same time, the defendant, a temporary employee of the defendant truck rental company, was operating a rental truck southbound on Route 1A. As the two vehicles approached one another, the defendant made a sudden left turn, directly in front of the plaintiff, causing the two autos to collide. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff suffered a pilon fracture of the right distal tibia with multiple fracture fragments, a non-displaced fracture of the right fibula, and a compression fracture of the medial dome of the talus. The plaintiff was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital where he underwent open reduction with internal fixation of his right tibial pilon fracture with the plating of the fibula and the application of uniplanar external fixator. Following his discharge from MGH, the plaintiff was immediately admitted to Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital where he underwent a two-week course of physical and occupational therapy. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff earned approximately $570 per week as an accounts receivable administrator. As a result of his auto accident-related injuries and treatment, the plaintiff remained out of work for approximately seven weeks. Total medical bills resulting from the auto accident were approximately $87,000. The case settled just before trial for $660,000.Car Accident Resulting in Fractured Clavicle; $170,000
he plaintiff, a 30-year-old professional consultant, was traveling northbound on Route 3 near Hingham, Massachusetts in his 1997 Range Rover Discovery auto. At the same time, the defendant’s auto vehicle, traveling in the same direction as the plaintiff, lost its rear axle, causing the defendant to lose control of his vehicle and strike the plaintiff’s vehicle at high speed. The impact caused the plaintiff’s auto to roll over several times before coming to rest in the left lane of Route 3. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff sustained multiple trauma, including a left clavicular fracture. In addition, the plaintiff sustained an abrasion to his left cheek and left elbow and a distal tip abrasion with flap avulsion to his right fourth finger. Over the months that followed, the plaintiff continued to experience marked weakness in his left arm and was ultimately diagnosed as suffering traumatically induced, left axillary nerve palsy with resolving paralysis of the deltoid musculature. The plaintiff’s total auto accident-related medical bills were approximately $16,000.Auto Accident Resulting in Closed Head Injury; $340,000
The plaintiff, a 76-year-old Chinese immigrant, suffered a closed head injury after being struck by the defendant’s auto vehicle while crossing Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton, Massachusetts. The plaintiff was prepared to offer evidence at trial that the plaintiff was struck while crossing within the pedestrian crosswalk and was nearing the sidewalk when he was struck by the defendant’s car. The defendant contended that he (the defendant) had a green light controlling traffic in his direction and that the plaintiff violated the defendant’s “right of way”. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff suffered a closed head injury as well as a fractured left fibula. The case was settled just prior to trial.Car Accident involving Pedestrian, Multiple Bone Fractures; $575,015.22
The plaintiff, an 84-year-old Haitian immigrant, attempted to cross Washington Street after exiting church services in Hyde Park in order to return to her husband’s parked car. While in the process of crossing the Street, she was struck by a car, forcing her body over the hood of the car before landing on the roadway. The plaintiff suffered fractures of her left femur, tibia, fibula, left humerus, clavicle, and scapula, as well as fractures of her 1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th ribs; a right AC joint separation; and a post-operative pulmonary embolism. Medical bills incurred by the plaintiff as a result of her accident-related injuries totaled approximately $75,000. An award of $575,015.22 was entered by the court following a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion for assessment of damages.Auto Accident Resulting in Broken Leg, Broken Finger; $250.000 (policy limits)
The plaintiff was struck by a traveling car while lawfully crossing a road within a marked crosswalk. The force of the impact caused the plaintiff to be thrown over the hood of the defendant’s car, before landing on the pavement several yards from the point of impact. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of his mid-fibular shaft and a comminuted fracture of his tibia.Car / Truck Accident Resulting in Death; $850,000
The plaintiff, a 57-year-old retired firefighter, who had recently taken a job as part-time auto parts delivery-man to supplement his retirement income, was struck from behind while stopped in traffic waiting to make a left turn. The defendant, a commercial trucker, operating a large gravel truck, apparently never saw the plaintiff and slammed into the rear of the plaintiff’s pick-up, at full speed, forcing the plaintiff’s car forward and into a nearby tree. The force of the impact resulted in mechanical asphyxia due to compression of the chest caused by the impact. The deceased was entrapped in the wreckage in a position that severely compromised chest wall movement, leading to cardiac arrest and death. State and local police investigations into the happening of the incident revealed that the defendant simply never saw the plaintiff’s vehicle prior to impact, and accident reconstruction experts reported no evidence of braking prior to impact. The plaintiff left behind a wife, four adult children, and five grandchildren.Car Accident – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy of lower extremities; $100,000 (policy limit)
While assisting a stranded motorist, the plaintiff, a 39-year-old husband, and father of two teenage daughters suffered serious injuries after being struck by a heavily intoxicated Massachusetts state employee, who was operating a personal vehicle on a day off. The injuries resulting from the car accident left the plaintiff confined to a wheelchair, with a diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (R.S.D.). Despite the implantation of a spinal cord simulator, the plaintiff continues to experience debilitating pain and is not expected to walk again. The case was settled prior to litigation for the limits of the defendant’s bodily injury coverage. The plaintiff had no additional under-insurance coverage.Car Accident involving a Bicycle – Wrongful Death; $250,000 (policy limit)
The decedent, an 18-year-old freshman at St. Lawrence University, and lifelong resident of Newton, Massachusetts, set out with his 20-year-old brother on their daily bike ride. As the decedent proceeded West on Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, at the intersection with Morton Street, a car, operated by the defendant, executed a left turn from Commonwealth Avenue onto Morton Street, resulting in a collision between the defendant’s car and the decedent, killing the decedent on impact. According to statements given by the defendant to the police at the scene of the incident, the defendant had executed his left turn after being waived-on by a second motor vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction on Commonwealth Avenue, and operated by the second defendant. The plaintiff contends that defendant No.2, who waived-on defendant No. 1, was jointly liable in that defendant No.2 failed to take reasonable and necessary steps to observe the presence of the plaintiff’s decedent before waiving the plaintiff’s “right of way” in favor of defendant No. 1. In short, defendant No.2 had no legal right or authority to compromise the plaintiff’s decedent’s right of way over Defendant No. 1, and doing so was a substantial contributing factor in the death of the plaintiff’s decedent. The plaintiff reached an agreement in principal to settle all claims as against defendant No. 1, for the full limits of defendant No. 1’s policy limits of $250,000. The plaintiff’s claims against defendant No. 2 are pending.Auto Accident involving Pedestrian – Right Tibial Shaft Fracture; $100,000 (Maximum Coverage Available)
The plaintiff, a 22-year-old female pedestrian, suffered a right tibial shaft fracture after being struck by a motor vehicle in Chelsea, Massachusetts. As a result of this accident, the plaintiff underwent an open surgical procedure at which time a LISS plate was placed to stabilize the fractured tibia.Auto Accident – Exacerbation back pain; $250,000
The plaintiff, a 61-year-old female, was the restrained operator of a motor vehicle traveling Southbound on Concord Street in Framingham, Massachusetts. As the plaintiff proceeded straight on Concord Street, the Defendant, operating a commercial van, cut directly into the plaintiff’s path of travel and struck her vehicle. The force of the collision resulted in a “roll-over” of the defendant’s vehicle, and significant damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle.Auto Accident – Fractured Fingers; $110,000
One night, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the plaintiff, a 21-year-old, graduating Harvard College senior, was a restrained front-seat passenger of a motor vehicle operated by the defendant. Upon entering a controlled intersection in Cambridge, the defendant negligently disregarded a red traffic signal, causing his vehicle to collide with a second vehicle which was in the process of making a left-hand turn. Upon impact, the passenger-side airbag deployed, causing injury to the plaintiff’s hands and her right arm. She was transported by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital for emergency medical treatment.Auto Accident involving Pedestrian – Multiple Fractures; $100,000 (policy limit)
The pedestrian plaintiff, a 59-year-old male, suffered a comminuted fracture of the left distal tibia and fibula after being struck by an automobile in Quincy, Massachusetts. As a result of this accident, a permanent intramedullary rod was placed in the plaintiff’s left lower leg to stabilize the fractured tibia. Plaintiff’s counsel successfully convinced the liability carrier of the seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries and was able to have the proceeds from the liability carrier disbursed long before any health lien was placed on the case, thus maximizing the net proceeds to the plaintiff. The case in its entirety was resolved within three and a half months of the auto accident. Auto accident-related medical expenses totaled approximately $10,000.Motor Vehicle Negligence- Emotional Distress; $155,000
The plaintiff, a 31-year-old woman, was a front-seat passenger in a motor vehicle that was struck from behind by another vehicle. The force of the impact caused her to hit her head and she may have lost consciousness for a brief period of time. When she came to, she felt as though she was in a haze and had difficulty hearing people that were right next to her.Motor Vehicle Accident; Subdural hematoma; multiple fractures; $600,000
The plaintiff was struck by a motor vehicle while walking home on an unlit road on a rainy night after drinking at a local tavern for most of the night. He was transported to a local hospital where he was found to be in grave condition: in need of brain surgery, which the hospital was not equipped to perform. He was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital, where his life was saved. He was subsequently discharged to a rehabilitation hospital where he remained for several weeks before his discharge home. He subsequently was able to resume his employment in his father’s bakery. The driver of the motor vehicle testified at her deposition that she had little to drink that night. Plaintiff’s attorney, however, obtained copies of her medical records from the same hospital as she was injured in the subsequent crash of the vehicle. These records indicated a blood alcohol content of more than the legal maximum, several hours after the accident in question. The insurance company for the vehicle involved brought a declaratory judgment action seeking to avoid coverage on the grounds that the used car dealer had improperly registered the car to the mother of the driver’s boyfriend and, therefore, remained the owner of the vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel then added that dealer to the lawsuit alleging that it was vicariously liable under M.G. L. c. 231, 85A. The cases against all of the parties settled for $ 600,000.00 after a full day’s mediation.Motor Vehicle Accident / Products Liability; Ruptured lumbar disc; $400,000
The employee was a 35-year-old truck driver whose brakes failed as he was nearing “deadman’s curve” in Florida, Massachusetts. He was able to roll the tractor-trailer onto to its side but in so doing suffered fractured ribs and a broken pelvis. It took nearly two hours to remove the employee from the cab as it hung over the guard rail nearly 100 feet above a cliff. He was transported to Bay State Medical Center where he underwent surgery to stabilize and repair his pelvic fractures. Claims were filed against the lessor of the truck, the manufacturer of the brake system, and the repair facility which did the vehicle’s most recent brake repair. After nearly two years of extensive discovery, the case was settled following mediation. In addition to this settlement, the truck driver’s workers’ compensation claim was settled after receipt of 3 and ½ years of benefits for $ 60,000.00.
Closed Head Injury; Premises liability; Failure to safely off-load construction materials.; $300,000
The plaintiff, a 33-year-old freight truck operator, had been contracted to deliver two large, steel trusses, from Easton, Massachusetts to a construction site less than an hour away in Marlboro, Massachusetts. After arriving at the construction site, the plaintiff attempted to locate the steel contractor who was responsible for the off-loading of the trusses. According to the terms of the delivery agreement, the delivery was considered a “no-touch load.” This means the steel contractor was solely responsible for removing the trusses and the plaintiff driver was not supposed to participate or assist with the task. After locating the steel contractor at the construction site, the plaintiff returned to the flatbed truck and stood beside it. The plaintiff watched as the steel contractor began to off-load the trusses from the truck. Several tall, steel support beams, designed to prevent the load from falling off the side of the flatbed during transport, were removed from the sides of the truck to allow the steel contractor to access the trusses. One of these tall, steel side poles was leaned against the truck’s “headboard”, which is the area that separates the flat bed from the rear of the cab. In order to off-load the trusses from the flat bed, the defendant steel contractor placed two, large, wooden planks against the flat-bed. He intended to move the steel trusses from the flat-bed by hand and then to the ground using the inclined wooden planks as a ramp. While the defendant was in the process of shifting the load toward the inclined planks, one of the steel side poles, which had been placed against the headboard, suddenly fell and struck the plaintiff on the head, resulting in a serious closed head injury. The plaintiff filed a claim against the defendant to recover compensation for his severe head injuries. In the claim, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant steel contractor was ill-prepared to off-load the steel trusses. This fact was confirmed by the defendant’s deposition, where he stated that off-loading steel trusses was not typically done using wooden planks as a ramp, which is what he attempted to do in this situation. The defendant stated that the steel trusses should have been removed from the truck with the use of a crane. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in deciding to move forward with the off-loading process once it was determined that a crane was unavailable to him. The plaintiff argued that the defendant should have known that it was not safe to proceed with off-loading until he had access to a crane. The case was settled outside of the courtroom. The plaintiff was awarded a total of $300,000.
Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident in Massachusetts?
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