Question

Do I need a Massachusetts personal injury attorney to handle my car accident case?

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Answer

Motor vehicle accidents are an unfortunate fact of our modern lives. Statistics say that someone in the United States is involved in a motor vehicle accident every ten seconds! The fact that accidents are so common and so numerous, may lead to the perception that any attorney, regardless of area of specialization, can handle a case involving injuries from a motor vehicle accident. Nothing could be further from the truth. Properly handling a motor vehicle accident case requires a thorough understanding of the potential issues to look for and investigate, experience navigating the myriad of insurance issues involved, and the skill to successfully prosecute and either settle the case or bring it to court if necessary. Each motor vehicle accident cases is as unique as the driver behind the wheel. The scenarios in which the accidents occur are different, the injuries the victims suffer are different, the insurance that may or may not be available to cover such accidents also differs from case to case. Only an attorney who has extensive experience handling a wide variety of motor vehicle cases can adequately assess your situation and give you the guidance you need to make informed decisions.

Each motor vehicle accident case involves at least two very basic questions that must be answered: who was at fault and what are the specific injuries caused by the accident? Sometimes the answer to the first question is simple such as when someone is stopped at a red light and is struck from behind. However, even in a simple case like this there are often challenging issues that must be addressed by your lawyer. For example, sometimes the insurance company for the at-fault party may take the position that the force of the impact was not severe enough to produce the injuries you and your medical providers say you sustained. In this case, an experienced attorney will know that he/she may need to obtain the assistance of an expert to establish that the force was sufficient to produce your injuries. Other times the parties to the accident have different versions of how the accident happened and disagree on who is at fault. These cases require extensive investigation oftentimes requiring finding and interviewing witnesses and hiring accident reconstruction experts to establish and support the client's case.

Once an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney has established that you are NOT more than 50% at fault for the accident he/she must now establish and prove the exact nature of your injuries and your prognosis going forward. Once you have reached a medical endpoint (meaning you have fully recovered or you have reached a point where you will not recover any further) your attorney will attempt to settle your case if possible, or with your consent file a case in court and sue the at fault party for your damages. An experienced attorney will establish good communications with your medical providers and seek to get their opinions on your injuries, treatment, prognosis and any permanent and residual effects your injuries have left you with. Only after all this work has been done can your lawyer give you a valid opinion on the merits and estimated value of your case.

One final thought on why it is so important to retain an experienced and skilled motor vehicle accident attorney. Sometimes an at fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured. This means that the value of your case EXCEEDS the amount of available insurance the at fault party has. This is often a sad dilemma injured drivers find themselves in. An experienced motor vehicle attorney will know how to exhaustively search for all available insurance coverage, as well as all available assets the at fault driver may have available to satisfy their financial obligation to you for your injuries. You do NOT want to accept a settlement in this situation UNTIL you are satisfied your attorney has conducted an exhaustive search.

Answered 07/18/2017

Disclaimer: This answer was provided by an attorney selected to Super Lawyers, and is intended to be an educated opinion only. This answer should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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