Accidents happen all over Boston and occur under a variety of circumstances. Nonetheless, many folks do not realize that getting in the car may be one of the most dangerous actions a person can take. Insurance industry experts estimate that the average driver will be in a collision about once every 17.9 years. There are an average of 6 million car accidents in the U.S. each year.
In the United States, preliminary estimates released today from the National Safety Council showed that in one recent year, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives to car crashes. In the Boston area in one recent year, there were 4,367 crashes involving nonfatal injuries, which amounts to an average of 12 every day.
A Boston Car and Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Some injuries are minor, but others prove catastrophic or fatal. At first, it may be difficult to determine the long-term consequences of an accident, both personal and financial. The consequences of a serious accident can be shocking. The cost of medical care, loss of income, and unpaid bills due to your injury can quickly add up, especially if you cannot work for weeks or months or perhaps ever again. Knowing when you need professional legal assistance can make the difference between living with overwhelming losses and getting the compensation you deserve.
The greater Boston community deserves an advocate when they sustain a physical injury through the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation. We are a law firm with the financial resources to take on any corporate defendant. In fact, we have successfully litigated lawsuits against Walt Disney World, Walmart, Target, Publix Supermarkets, Amazon, and practically every conceivable auto insurance carrier. Larry Nussbaum heads the Boston office of Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. (hereinafter referred to as “Sibley Dolman Gipe”). However, he has access to all our financial resources and fellow experience gained by handling in excess of 10,000 personal injury claims since the firm’s inception.
Our Only Goal Is To Never Leave Money On The Table
In other words, we pride ourselves on maximizing the value of all personal injury cases with a large focus on injuries from a car wreck. Insurance carriers are well aware of which attorneys and law firms have a reputation for filing lawsuits when an insurance company makes a settlement offer that is unreasonable and not commensurate with the genuine value of the claim. All auto insurance carriers keep data on each injury law firm they have dealt with and whether the firm or individual lawyer settled the case for well under the full value.
Sibley Dolman Gipe is not a settlement mill. We are not a mass advertiser that must cover a very large overhead. Thus, the only pressure we face to resolve a claim comes from our clients. We never feel our own financial pressures when faced with settlement offers. Pursuant to applicable Bar Rules, we simply inform our client of the settlement offer, and then we provide serious advice as to what is in the best interest of our client and never our injury law firm. We are simply an experienced car accident and catastrophic injury law firm.
Understanding Boston Car Accident Lawsuits
A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study reported that “driver error” caused 94 percent of crashes. If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you might recover compensation.
The commonly accepted definition of negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” If negligence is the basis of your lawsuit, you must establish “the existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff, defendant’s breach of that duty, plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury, proof that defendant’s breach caused the injury.”
Statute of Limitations For Boston Car Wrecks
A statute of limitations determines the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. It’s like an expiration date on when you can officially submit a claim.
Car insurance companies have their own rules for filing claims. Typically, insurance companies require you to file a claim within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time after an accident.
However, you should discuss all time limits with your attorney as early as possible to avoid missing any important deadlines. Although Boston’s statutes of limitations are fixed, there are some exceptions and unique circumstances, so a lawyer can help you to understand how the statute applies to your specific case.
Keep in mind that an insurance carrier may have a deadline of their own that applies to your policy. This is part of the contract you signed with your insurance company which stated how long you have to place them on notice of an accident.
The Massachusetts statute of limitations is simply the time period that begins on the date of the car wreck to when you are no longer able to file a lawsuit on your claim. Thus, once the statute of limitations expires you will be barred from pursuing your potential case.
For the majority of personal injury cases in Massachusetts, the statute of limitations is three (3) years. This means you have three years from the date of the accident to begin your lawsuit. However, there are exceptions to the rule as we stated above.
Common Causes of Boston Car Accidents
Several factors may contribute to car accidents in Boston, including:
- Traffic and congested roads. The average Boston commuter will experience 64 hours of delay annually.
- Boston has more young drivers than the national average.
- Poor road conditions. 42% of Suffolk County roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
- Distracted driving smartphone ownership has increased over 175% in the past seven years,
- Summer visitors unfamiliar with the roads.
However, unsafe driving can happen anywhere.
- Speeding – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is a primary factor in accidents in the U.S. In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for more than a quarter (26 percent) of all traffic fatalities that year. Some crashes result from breaking the speed limit. Other drivers were going too fast for conditions.
- Distracted driving – Approximately 20 percent of Virginia traffic accidents each year are related to texting and driving or other in-vehicle distractions. Whether you are eating, fooling around with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system, or doing anything that diverts your attention from driving, you are taking a huge risk. Texting is especially risky. A driver who is texting is 23 times as likely to crash.
- Driving while impaired – Alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. There was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 48 minutes in one recent year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 people die on a typical day in accidents caused by drunk drivers. Virginia has strict laws and penalties governing impaired driving.
- Tailgating and aggressive driving – There are many aggressive drivers on the roads. They follow too closely, swerve in and out of lanes, cutting off other cars, or drive recklessly. NHTSA found that more than half of the drivers in a survey admitted to driving aggressively.
- Failure to yield – These accidents happen in many types of situations, such as when a driver making a left turn fails to yield to oncoming traffic, a flashing yellow or red light, or a driver is entering the street from a private driveway. Often the injury victim drives into the car that failed to yield.
- Drowsy driving – Everyone is under pressure to work harder and do more in a day, so driver fatigue is no surprise. Approximately 7.5 million drivers in the United States admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel within the past month. A fatigued driver may experience the same level of cognitive impairment as someone impaired by drinking or drugs. Fatigued drivers often do not try to stop or avoid the accident, leading to more serious injuries.
- Vehicle defects – If a defective vehicle or component caused the accident, the manufacturer and others in the chain of distribution might be legally liable.
Common Boston Car Accident Injuries
About 4.4 million people were injured seriously enough to require medical attention in crashes last year. Common injuries include:
Neck or Whiplash Injury
Whiplash is a term for a neck injury caused by the violent forward and backward motion of the neck and head. It may injure the neck joints, nerves, muscles, and discs. This injury is often the result of a rear-end accident, in which your neck is suddenly thrust forward, past the normal range of motion. Symptoms may include headache, neck stiffness, dizziness, and nausea. Insurance adjusters may call whiplash a fake or a minor injury; however, it can be painful and have a long-term impact.
A back injury may include a herniated or ruptured disc, crushed vertebrae, a fractured spine, a lower back injury, or paralysis. These tend to be complicated and may be very serious. Victims who suffer lower back injuries typically experience sciatica, which causes radiating pain, tingling, and numbness in the buttocks, legs, and feet.
Car accidents often result in fractures and broken bones. These injuries may sound simple but can have serious consequences. Commonly broken bones include skull fractures, fractured legs, arms, wrists, ribs, hips, and pelvis. In some cases, broken bones lead to impaired mobility, infections, inadequate healing, metal plates, and screws. Broken bones can also affect connective tissue, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The victim may temporarily or permanently lose work, or need extensive rehabilitation. In the case of a child, bone fractures may affect growth or development.
Head Injury or Concussion
Those who suffer head or brain injuries sometimes suffer from the effects for the rest of their lives. Unlike more obvious injuries, such as broken bones or cuts, head injuries may not be apparent right away, but they can be devastating. Therefore, accident victims should receive immediate medical care. Car accidents are among the leading causes of head injuries or brain trauma. In a collision, a driver or passenger’s head may hit an object such as a steering wheel or windshield, causing bruising, bleeding, tearing, and swelling of the brain. Symptoms such as headaches, confusion, nausea, impaired vision or speech, mood swings, and difficulty with concentration may indicate a head injury or traumatic brain injury.
Internal injuries caused by car accidents occur for two reasons: either blunt force trauma or penetrating trauma when an object punctures the body.
A severe blow to the midsection might result in damage to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, pancreas, and stomach. A broken rib may puncture the lung, causing the lung to collapse. As with brain injuries, one of the dangers is that the victim may not know how badly they are hurt. Delaying treatment may lead to internal bleeding or other potentially-life threatening health problems.
Common symptoms of an internal injury include abdominal pain and/or swelling, which may be a result of a liver or spleen injury, a large area of discoloration of the skin, clammy skin, light-headiness, or dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness, shallow breathing, or general weakness.
In the fast, violent impact of a car accident, someone’s knee may hit the dashboard, steering column, or the door, damaging bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Knee injuries include a broken knee cap, or tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), or torn meniscus. A knee injury may require surgery, such as knee replacement, as well as long-term physical therapy.
Common symptoms of a knee injury include a popping sound or snapping feeling at the time of the injury, swelling, pain, limited mobility, and instability. Victims can’t work for a long time and suffer high medical costs.
Shoulder injuries can affect your daily life, from performing self-care to doing chores around the house. Victims may experience a loss of range of motion in the shoulder, pain, or weakness. These injuries often occur due to rear-end crashes because the victim tenses up, and the shoulder absorbs the brunt of the impact. Shoulder injuries may include dislocated shoulders, muscle tears, rotator cuff tears, or require arthroscopy surgery. A shoulder injury typically involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Wrist injuries are also common in car accidents. Victims typically experience pain as well as swelling and bruising of the wrist and numbness in the hand or fingers. Wrist injuries may require the placement of devices, rods, and pins. If not promptly treated, the bones may not heal properly.
Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries
Many people involved in accidents have pre-existing injuries. What if the car accident aggravates pre-existing injuries? A previously manageable pre-existing condition may become a serious complication. Medical experts can support a victim’s claim that the car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement from car accidents can lead to profound psychological trauma and social challenges. In some cases, these are more difficult to overcome than physical challenges. Lacerations from accidents can leave permanent scars. A car accident may result in burn injuries, which result in devastating scars. Treatment may include skin grafts, surgical removal of built-up scar tissue, or reconstructive surgery.
Damages in a Boston Car Accident Case
The purpose of damages is to compensate someone injured due to the negligent actions of another party. Economic damages commonly include medical expenses, lost wages, future economic losses. Non-economic damages refer to pain and suffering, which is the physical and emotional distress resulting from the accident.
The family or heirs of someone killed in an accident might be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
In cases of egregious conduct on the part of the wrongdoer, the court may award punitive damages. The intention here is to punish the defendant and deter others from similar bad conduct in the future.
What to Do After a Boston Car Accident
After an accident occurs, you may not be thinking clearly. Your first instinct may be just to drive away. However, you must not panic and drive away after an accident. Leaving an accident scene is almost always against the law. If the other driver leaves the scene of the accident, stay, and report the incident to first responders.
Assess the situation.
Any accident, even a minor one, is traumatic, but for your safety and the safety of others, you must remain calm. First, assess the situation. Are you injured? Is anyone in the car with you injured? How about anyone else involved in the accident? Even if you are angry at the other driver, everyone’s safety is the priority.
If you or someone else is injured, call for help right away. Injuries may not be obvious at first, masked through either shock or adrenaline. If anyone is experiencing back or neck pain, do not move them unless they are in danger or a medical provider tells you to. It is always best to obtain medical attention because some injuries or symptoms do not appear until some time after the accident.
Once you have checked on yourself and others, take a look at the scene of the accident. Where did your car come to rest? Are there dangers such as downed power lines? If so, remain in the vehicle until help arrives. But if the car is smoking or burning, get everybody out of the vehicle and to a safe area quickly.
Move to a safe area.
The accident scene may be a dangerous place to wait. If possible, move to a safe area and put on your warning lights.
Report the accident to the police.
Even if it was a fender-bender, call 911. After an accident, everyone is emotional. The other driver may ask that you not report the car wreck because they have problems with an expired driver’s license, car insurance, an expired driver’s license, or other circumstances. However, the information in the police report will be important for an insurance claim or future legal action, particularly when the collision was not your fault. If an officer questions you, answer the officer’s questions as calmly and clearly as possible. If you do not know the answer, just say so.
Everyone involved in the accident should exchange information, including:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers;
- Driver license numbers;
- License plate numbers;
- The vehicle makes, models, and years;
- Car insurance information;
- Location of the accident.
Do your best to take pictures of all the cars, from several angles, including the interior. Also, take photos of the debris and surrounding area, such as traffic signals, signs, or hazards. Pictures may be valuable evidence later if the other driver’s version of the facts changes.
Do not discuss fault.
You may have the impulse to argue, explain, or apologize immediately after the accident. Many people post the details and photos of the accident on social media. However, pictures or comments on social media may damage your claim in the future. When talking with others at the scene, or when discussing such with an insurance representative, do not discuss who may have been at-fault with anyone except your own attorney.
Consult our Boston car accident attorneys.
Always speak with an attorney before discussing the accident with other parties, particularly representatives of an insurance company, or signing any papers or release forms. Try to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident occurs and definitely before reaching a settlement with the insurance company.
What Can a Boston Car Accident Attorney Do for You?
Massachusetts, like all states, has time limits for filing lawsuits, called statutes of limitations. If you or a loved one were injured in a car wreck, consult an attorney right away.
For more information, contact Sibley Dolman Gipe at 833-55-Crash.
Boston Car Accident FAQ
When a motor vehicle accident occurs, life can change in an instant. Accidents can have far-reaching personal and legal consequences. A car crash raises a great many questions. The following car accident FAQ provides general information on collisions in Boston However, each case is different, and you should always consult with a Boston accident attorney for advice on your situation. Sibley Dolman Gipe offers a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options and how we can help.
How Does Massachusetts Law Impact My Boston Injury Case?
Each case is different. The facts and circumstances determine how the law affects your case. There may be more than one party, and insurance companies involved so that the whole process may be confusing and overwhelming. Massachusetts law, your automobile insurance policy and the other driver’s automobile insurance policy or policies all play a part in your case. You may have claims against the other driver and their insurance company. You may also have claims against the manufacturer of the car or its components or other business entities.
What are personal injury protection (PIP) benefits?
Massachusetts is a no-fault auto accident state, so drivers must buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage when purchasing auto insurance. With PIP coverage on your auto insurance policy, you can receive benefits up to your policy’s maximum to cover damages, such as medical costs and lost wages, regardless of whether you caused the car accident.
What if your PIP benefits are exhausted?
After your PIP benefits run out, the private or public health insurance you have will typically pay for all future medical treatment, just as it would normally under the insurance policy. However, you can’t recover lost wages resulting from the accident until either the case settles or the court awards compensation. These circumstances may further harm injured individuals who have to go without income.
If your medical bills are greater than the amount covered by PIP, you may file a claim against the person liable for the accident provided you meet the tort threshold under Massachusetts law.
What Is The Tort Threshold For Boston Motor Vehicle Collisions?
In Boston, you must meet the tort threshold to file a claim for damages against the party who is at fault for the crash.
An injured person may bring a claim for injuries, including pain and suffering, against a person responsible for a collision only if the claimant’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses are over $2,000 unless the injury resulting from the accident meets one of the following exceptions:
- Causes death, or
- Loss of a body member, or
- Permanent and serious disfigurement, or
- Loss of sight or hearing, or
- Consists of a fracture.
Do I Owe My Health Insurer For The Cost of My Medical Treatment Related to My Boston Car Wreck?
In some cases, insurers will keep records of all medical expenses they have paid related to the injuries you suffered in your motor vehicle accident. They will then place a lien for that amount on the compensation you receive following a successful car accident lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit Against The Driver Who Caused The Collision?
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including automobile accidents, in Massachusetts, is three years. This means that you must file any lawsuit within three years from the date of the wreck. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Consult a licensed Massachusetts attorney as soon as possible after your accident so that you do not miss any deadlines.
What Issues Will I Face In Filing A Claim For The Injuries I Sustained In A Boston Auto Accident?
Claims for car accident injuries are usually based on negligence, or in some cases, on an intentional or reckless act. The primary issue after a motor vehicle accident is liability.
Fault is usually clear when a driver has engaged in intentional or reckless actions, such as drunk driving. But when it comes to general negligence, such as fender-benders or driver errors in judgment, establishing fault becomes more difficult. For example, a driver may have been driving within the speed limit, but if driving at that speed was dangerous due to traffic conditions or weather, they might be liable for an accident. More than one driver may be at least partially responsible.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive In My Vehicle Injury Claim?
Compensation is also known as damages, which are compensation for injuries or losses caused by the accident. After an accident, most people have no idea how much they should receive. Some injuries are not immediately apparent and may not show up for some time after an accident. Your losses may go far beyond medical bills. They may include such losses as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, there are different types of compensation available to help compensate for your losses, such as:
Compensation for the cost of medical bills arising from all injuries caused by the defendant
What If A Boston Car Crash Results In A Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death lawsuits aim to hold the responsible party accountable for the car accident victim’s death. The law may entitle the victim’s family members, or beneficiaries to recover monetary damages due to the defendant’s negligence. Massachusetts has very specific laws regarding these lawsuits and who may file them.
How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Vehicle Injury Case?
Each case is unique. Factors such as the available insurance, the number of persons in the accident, and the medical treatment needed may influence the time frame. In a Boston car accident, the victim can collect compensation from the negligent person in two ways. The defendant or insurance company offers a settlement that the plaintiff accepts, or the plaintiff takes the case to trial. The opposing side may make a settlement offer before the injured person files a lawsuit, during the trial process, and even while a jury is deliberating.
If the parties reach a settlement agreement, the plaintiff signs a release and gives up claims arising from the incident. Boston car accident cases often settle outside of court. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 4 percent to 5 percent of the personal injury cases in the United States go to trial.
However, from the date a victim files a lawsuit through the date of trial, it often takes several years to resolve the case, depending on which court is involved. There is a strict time limit to file a claim, but there is no specific time limit for the parties to reach a settlement agreement.
Should I Settle My Car Accident Claim?
In many cases, insurance companies will offer a lump sum payment for you to release them from liability for your injuries. You need to consider whether the settlement offer is fair and provides full compensation for your injuries.
If not represented by an experienced car accident attorney, individuals may not know what damages they are entitled to. Therefore, if the insurance company is dealing directly with the injured person, before an attorney is involved, they often make an unreasonably low offer.
When Do You Need Representation For An Accident Injury Claim?
You may be wondering if and when you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Your case may seem simple and straightforward to you. However, the question is whether it is in your best interest to have an attorney. Car accident cases and the resulting injuries often involve complex legal or medical issues. Insurance companies have teams of attorneys and adjusters who evaluate injury claims every day.
Waiting too long to consult a lawyer is risky because you may make mistakes that could affect your claim. Your own attorney has the skills and resources to guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf.
Consider seeking advice from a car accident attorney if:
- It is unclear who is responsible for the accident.
- If more than one party may be liable for the accident.
- You have severe injuries.
- You do not know how to determine your damages, especially for your medical bills.
- Your recovery process is going to be long or difficult.
- There are special circumstances that may affect your compensation.
- It is difficult to prove lost wages, perhaps because you are a salesperson or entrepreneur.
- The insurance company tries to make you an offer right away.
- The insurance company wants to see your medical records from before the accident.
- The insurance company has denied your claim.
- The insurance company has made an offer you believe to be unfair.
- The insurance company is offering a structured settlement, rather than a lump-sum payment.
- The other party has filed a lawsuit against you.
- Your case may require expert witnesses.
- You need help handling settlement negotiations.
What does a Boston car accident lawyer do?
That depends on the circumstances of the case and the current status of the case. Delays and errors in the early stages of a case can weaken your case or diminish its value. It is best to have experienced car accident lawyers involved early to protect your rights. Unexpected issues may arise, making a case that appears to be simple become incredibly complex.
Work performed by your car accident lawyer may include:
Our car accident lawyers offer a free case evaluation. If they accept the case, we will investigate every aspect to identify all possible responsible parties.
We give our experienced Boston car accident lawyers the resources needed to gather evidence. Gathering evidence may include obtaining police reports, locating witnesses, taking pictures, and locating any available video footage of the accident. The lawyer will also obtain medical evidence, such as medical reports, as well as expert testimony, to establish the long-term consequences of the plaintiff’s injuries. The evidence will help determine damages and support the victim’s claim.
Negotiating with insurance companies.
An experienced car accident lawyer can review all the details of the insurance policy so that they know what compensation may be available in a particular case. The lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company and handle all communications with the insurance company. This protects the injury victim from accidentally damaging their claim and also relieves a great deal of stress.
Preparing and filing legal documents.
If the insurance company refuses to settle, the lawyer may draft a complaint and file a lawsuit in the appropriate court within the legal time limits. The complaint states the reasons for the lawsuit and the number of damages the injured person is requesting. There are many detailed procedural rules involved in starting a lawsuit.
Go through the discovery phase.
Discovery is the process by which the parties exchange information about the witnesses and evidence they intend to produce. It is a critical part of trial preparation. Discovery is usually wide-ranging in car accident cases. After the parties have completed the discovery process, they may reach a settlement agreement. There are four key types of discovery.
- Interrogatories are written questions which the opposing party must answer.
- Requests for production ask that the opposing attorney produce documents for review.
- Requests for admission are written discovery requests that ask parties to a lawsuit to admit or deny certain statements while under oath.
- Depositions are testimony recorded out of court, for later use.
Representing clients at trial.
If the case proceeds to trial, a Sibley Dolman Gipe car accident lawyer provides representation in court. Your lawyer will use all the evidence to prove the facts of your case. An enormous amount of preparation goes into any trial. Your accident attorney will advise and support you throughout the process. The steps in a complete trial (unless the parties reach a settlement agreement during the trial) include:
- Selecting a jury
- Making opening statements
- Examining or cross-examining witnesses
- Making closing arguments
- The final steps are the jury deliberation and the verdict
Why Choose Sibley Dolman Gipe for your Boston Car Accident?
- Our car accident lawyers have a combined 115 plus years of experience handling personal injury claims.
- We have handled over 10,000 car accident and injury claims.
- We have recovered over $175 Million for our clients.
- We are an award-winning personal injury law firm.
- Four of our car accident lawyers have been previously selected by their colleagues as a Super Lawyer.
- Sibley Dolman Gipe has had twelve individual cases resolve for over $1 Million.
Sibley Dolman Gipe a team of lawyers that are zealous, aggressive, and take great pride in being the best and beating the best.
Matthew Dolman is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which he achieved by getting his client an excess of $1 Million and $2 Million respectively.
Larry Nussbaum is a talented and experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer. National Trial Lawyers named Mr. Nussbaum one of America’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers in 2018. He also earned recognition from Super Lawyers, has a perfect score on AVVO, and Expertise.com named him as one of Boston’s top law firms.
Call Our Boston Car Accident Attorneys Now
The dedicated, experienced Boston personal injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe can guide you through all of the above processes and more as we work zealously to protect your rights and recover the compensation you need. You can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or contact us online.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
76 Canal Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114