Type of Claims (Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Defective Product, Etc.)
Car accident lawsuits in Massachusetts tend to be more complex than they appear on the surface.
At the core, it may be about two vehicles colliding. But from that singular incident resulting in injury, there could be a host of varying claims brought against numerous defendants.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our accomplished Boston injury attorneys are prepared to thoroughly analyze each case and formulate the most effective strategy for ensuring our clients receive compensation.
It is important even before a claim is filed to gather information, analyze all potential sources of fault and pursue action against all viable defendants.
All claims of negligence will assert:
- A duty of care owed by the defendant
- Defendant’s breach of that duty
- Breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff
Plaintiff sustained damages as a result.
The Types of Claims that could be available to pursue in Boston car accident litigation include:
- Personal Injury. This type of claim asserts a physical or mental injury to someone as the result of another party’s negligent, grossly negligent or intentionally harmful conduct.
- Wrongful Death. This is a type of claim brought by a surviving spouse or close relatives that alleges liability for decedent’s fatality due to a traffic accident.
- Product Liability. This is a claim in which the manufacturer or seller is accused of designing, manufacturing or distributing a defective product, and is therefore responsible to cover the cost of injuries resulting from that defect.
- Insurance Bad Faith. This is a type of claim in which a person alleges an insurance company acted in bad faith in addressing the injury or wrongful death claim, either in the course of settlement talks or in litigation.
Each of these requires differing amounts and types of research, and also an attorney who understands which claims are applicable to your own unique circumstances.Personal Injury
A personal injury lawsuit may be filed in Massachusetts following a traffic collision assuming:
- The injured person has accrued more than $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses AND/OR
- The injured person has suffered serious or permanent disfigurement, loss of vision or hearing and/or at least one broken bone
Although Massachusetts adheres to a no-fault insurance system as it pertains to car accidents, these are the circumstances under which one can step outside of that system and pursue further compensation.
Personal injury claims must be filed in three years, and damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Some cases will also be ripe for punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and deter future acts of wrongdoing.
In order to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff will need to prove negligence. In some instances, such as where the alleged at-fault driver was a police officer or some other government worker, one may need to show “gross negligence,” which is recklessness or wanton disregard for the safety and well-being of others.
Also, the plaintiff must overcome or at least limit any assertion of comparative negligence, which is an accusation that the injured party is at partially or totally to blame for the crash. Massachusetts adheres to a 51 percent Bar Rule, which means an injured person can recover damages so long as they were not more than 50 percent responsible for what happened. However, if the injured party is deemed partially at-fault, his or her damage award may be reduced by that percentage.Wrongful Death
A loss of a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by the carelessness or recklessness of another is something no family should have to endure. Sadly, it happens more than 30,000 times annually in the U.S. Hundreds of families in Massachusetts each year endure this sudden heartache.
In addition to the emotional wounds, many are grappling with financial instability as a result of losing an important, contributing member of the family.
Damages in these cases may include:
- Loss of earnings and financial support
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Compensation for loss of love, companionship and moral support
These claims must be filed three years from the date of decedent’s death. Spouses, children, and parents are given priority in a wrongful death claim, though other relatives may be able to file a claim if the decedent left behind no other immediate family.Product Liability
Defective vehicles and defective vehicle parts can be a key contributor to the cause of a crash.
In fact, in 2014, the auto industry initiated a record number of recalls due to vehicle defects, some dating back more than a decade.
Such claims in recent years have included:
- Faulty ignition switches
- Defective tires
- Exploding or defective airbags
- Vehicles prone to roll-over
- Defective car seats and seat belts
Claims for product liability can be brought against the manufacturer of the defective vehicle or part, the car dealership or auto supply store or the shipping company. Pretty much any company that was part of the distribution chain from the manufacturer and the retailer can be held responsible.Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance companies have a duty to deal with policyholders and those who file claims against their policyholders in good faith. This includes making an effort to settle the claim within a reasonable amount of time and for a reasonable amount of compensation.
Insurance companies do have a right to make an offer that may be less than what you feel is warranted. Unfortunately, though, insurance companies too often try to strong-arm claimants into settling for less than they deserve or dragging out cases for longer than necessary.
Some examples of bad faith failure to settle may include:
- Not advising within a timely fashion if coverage is available
- Failing to give an explanation for the denial of claim (or giving a reason that isn’t supported by the facts)
- Refusing to return calls or respond to letters
- Providing misleading information about coverage
- Making an extremely low offer that gives you no choice but to initiate litigation
The statute of limitations on insurance bad faith actions is four years for actions that involve unfair or deceptive business practices, as defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A or Chapter 176D.
Damages for bad faith insurance claims may include not just the value of your claim, but additional damages, plus coverage of attorneys’ fees.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL