Answers To Commonly Asked Questions About Car Accidents
It is perfectly understandable to be filled with questions after being injured in a car accident. On this page, I’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions prospective clients ask me and other attorneys. After reading, I invite you to contact The Law Offices of Joseph Lamy and ask me your own questions in a free consultation.
The insurance company offered me a settlement right away. Should I accept it?
It is your legal right to accept a settlement at any time. However, it is unwise to do so without consulting an attorney. Insurance companies are not primarily concerned with your well-being. They want to protect their own bottom line, which means closing claims as quickly and cheaply as possible (and denying payouts altogether when they can).
When an insurance adjuster offers a quick settlement, the amount is likely to be far less than what you need and far less than what your case is worth. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you assess the real value of your claim and can aggressively negotiate or litigate to help you obtain it.
Can I still seek compensation if I was partially at fault for the crash?
Yes, you can. Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts are “comparative negligence” states. Under this legal doctrine, a plaintiff can still seek compensation from the defendant even if they were partially at fault for the accident or their own injuries in the accident. If you win or settle your case, your compensation will simply be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
The two states’ negligence laws differ in one significant way. Massachusetts recognizes modified comparative negligence. This means you can only seek compensation if you were less than 51% at fault for the crash. By comparison, Rhode Island doesn’t limit your ability to sue based on your assigned percentage of fault.
Because Massachusetts is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents, does that prevent me from suing the other driver?
Most states, including Rhode Island, are “fault” states. This means that after a car accident, the at-fault driver and their insurance company are responsible for paying for medical expenses, property loss and other damages. Massachusetts is among a minority of “no-fault states.” This means that all car insurance plans must include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Both drivers can file claims against their own PIP policy, regardless of who caused the crash.
This may seem convenient, but PIP policy minimums are currently around $8,000, which is not nearly enough to cover the costs of even a moderately severe crash. Thankfully, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver if your reasonable medical expenses will exceed $2,000 and if your injuries are permanent or severe enough to impact your quality of life. In short, you can file a personal injury lawsuit for a Massachusetts car accident unless the accident was quite minor in nature.
Can I afford to hire a personal injury attorney?
When you contact my firm, the answer is yes. I offer free initial consultations and take cases on a contingency basis. That means you don’t pay any legal fees if I don’t help you recover money in a settlement or court judgment. When successful, my fees are deducted as a predetermined percentage of the money I help you obtain. Hiring me for your personal injury case is financially low-risk and affordable.
Have Additional questions? Contact Me For Knowledgeable Answers.
Based in Cranston, The Law Offices of Joseph Lamy serves clients throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. To take advantage of a free initial consultation about your legal options, call me at 401-740-3122 or send me an email.