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funeralWhen it comes to car accidents, any type of injury can be devastating and life-changing. In accidents where someone loses their life as the result of another person’s negligence, however, the surviving family members and loved ones face unimaginable pain and loss. Our dedicated team of Massachusetts wrongful death lawyers has assisted numerous families with seeking the compensation they deserve after losing a loved one in a car accident.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court upheld a multimillion-dollar verdict in favor of the estate of a woman who was killed in a car accident involving a convenience store. The plaintiff was walking into the store when she was struck by a speeding SUV. The medics that responded to the crash concluded that the woman died on impact. According to evidence presented at trial, the vehicle was traveling at a high speed across an intersection through the entrance into the convenience store’s parking lot before it crashed into the storefront.

The decedent’s husband was appointed the executor of her estate and brought a wrongful death claim against the convenience store. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the store had experienced hundreds of crashes at its convenience stores and that it was accordingly on notice that customers were at a risk of suffering injuries. The complaint also alleged that the store could have prevented the decedent’s death by constructing protective barriers or bollards along the walkway or closing off the entrance to the parking lot.

car accidentWhen it comes to car accidents, an injured party has many options regarding obtaining a settlement or a judgment. This is especially true where multiple insurance carriers or policies are involved that provide policy limits to cover the injured person’s expenses. If you are coping with painful injuries and this is your first experience navigating a personal injury claim, it can be extremely stressful. Knowing whether to accept a settlement or the right procedures to follow to protect your rights isn’t always straightforward. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we proudly provide legal counsel to Boston car accident victims.

In a recent appeal, a Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered whether a disputed settlement agreement arising out of a car accident was enforceable. The plaintiff appealed from an order from the lower court that allowed the defendant’s motion to enforce the settlement. The parties had stipulated to dismissing the action on September 8, 2016. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court erred by allowing the defendant’s motion to enforce the settlement because the parties had not entered into a valid agreement with the defendant’s insurance company.

According to the plaintiff, the insurance company’s release form, which it sent to the plaintiff in August 2015, that the company sent in response to the plaintiff’s demand for tender of the defendant’s policy limits, was a counteroffer. The demand letter sought the entire $100,000 policy, claiming that the damages exceeded the defendant’s limits. The plaintiff based this off of certain terms in the release that both the defendant and the insurance company would be released from all liability arising out of the accident. The defendant also responded by offering the plaintiff roughly $33,000 as settlement of the claim.

As seasoned Boston car accident lawyers, we often deal with insurance companies on behalf of our clients. As a result, we are familiar with the tactics that they use and the fact that they do not always have your best interests in mind. If you suffered injuries in a car accident and are dealing with an insurance company or multiple insurers, we are standing by and ready to assist you with seeking the compensation that you deserve.car accident

A Massachusetts appellate court recently issued a decision in a claim in which the insureds alleged that special circumstances existed that required an insurance company to recommend that the plaintiffs purchase underinsured motorist coverage. The plaintiffs had brought a lawsuit against the insurer, and the insurer filed a motion for summary judgment in the claim, which the lower court granted.

In general, Massachusetts law states that an insurer does not have a duty to make recommendations about insurance coverage or to provide guarantees that a policy is adequate for the insurer’s needs. An insured can overcome this standard by showing that a special circumstance existed that created a duty between the insurer and the insured. This involves presenting evidence of specific representations or assertions regarding the sufficiency of the coverage provided in addition to evidence showing that the insured relied on those representations or assertions.

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If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts, you may be able to seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance policy. In order to receive benefits, there are several procedures and rules that you may be required to follow, including those surrounding medical examinations. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we have guided numerous injured persons through the claims process while helping them protect their rights.Legal News Gavel

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court considered a case in which the plaintiff was injured in a car crash during 2009. The woman filed a claim with her auto insurer, pursuant to her PIP policy. Next, the insurer arranged for a medical examination of the plaintiff, pursuant to the PIP statute. The heart of the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the insurer was based on the notice that the insurer sent to the plaintiff regarding the examination. It stated that she would be examined by a physician of the insurer’s choosing. According to the record, however, the selected person was not a medical doctor but a doctor of physical therapy. The insurer sent the plaintiff a copy of his report regarding his examination, which identified him as a doctor of physical therapy and a licensed physical therapist.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that she did not file it within the appropriate statute of limitations. According to the judge, the plaintiff was on notice as of the date that the notice was sent listing the individual as a doctor of physical therapy. This gave the plaintiff sufficient awareness that the insurer had not complied with the statute’s requirement that a physician conduct the exam.

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Legal News GavelMassachusetts has a dram shop liability statute which allows an individual harmed in an accident involving a drunk driver to seek damages from any establishment who over-served the patron. This statute raises many complex legal issues. As seasoned Boston car accident lawyers, our firm has addressed many legal claims involving drunk driving accidents.

In a recent case, a Massachusetts court considered whether an affidavit submitted pursuant to the dram shop statute needs to be a sworn statement that is based on personal knowledge. The case arose from an accident in which the decedent was killed in a one-vehicle accident. The decedent had been drinking at a bar owned by the defendants. The reports prepared following the accident indicated that the defendant was driving on a clear and straight road at roughly 9 pm and that he was driving approximately 79 miles-per-hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone.

Witnesses interviewed regarding the crash stated that the decedent was at the restaurant from about 2 pm until 9 pm. Some of these witnesses indicated that the decedent consumed several alcoholic beverages and began acting loud and gregarious. Receipts at the restaurant showed that the decedent purchased 12 drinks. Other evidence suggested that the decedent was frequently served by an unnamed bartender who would engage in conversation with the decedent and who continued to serve him even when he was clearly intoxicated.

Legal News GavelOne of the most complex aspects of a car accident claim is working with insurance companies and ensuring that you are treated fairly. Having an experienced and tenacious Boston car accident lawyer on your side can help ensure that you receive the outcome that you deserve. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered the application of an exclusion in an insurance policy. In the case, the driver suffered serious injuries in a car accident that occurred in an intersection. She was taken to the hospital where she received treatment for her injuries. The records indicated that the driver’s breath had an odor of alcohol and that she was intoxicated at the hospital. The police report that was prepared for the accident did not state anything regarding intoxication, however. It also lacked an explanation of how the accident occurred or where the vehicles were traveling before colliding.

The medical provider who treated the driver sought reimbursement from the driver’s auto insurance company. The insurer paid the first claim for reimbursement, but refused to pay any remaining amounts on the basis that the insurance policy contained an alcohol exclusion. The medical provider filed a lawsuit and the insurer moved for summary judgment based on an affidavit from its employee and hospital records. The plaintiff opposed the motion on the basis that there was a genuine issue of fact in the case regarding whether the driver was driving under the influence at the time of the crash and whether this contributed to her injuries. The lower court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and an appellate division affirmed. The plaintiff appealed.

On review, the appellate court first noted that PIP benefits are required for all motor vehicle insurance policies in Massachusetts. These benefits are designed to cover all reasonable expenses that the insured incurs within two years from the date of the accident for any necessary medical services. The insurer must pay them regardless of fault. Statutes in the state also allow insurers to avoid paying PIP benefits if the insured contributed to his or her own injuries, including while under the influence of alcohol. Based on this, to prevail on summary judgment the insurer needed to show that the driver’s conduct contributed to her injuries.

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Legal News GavelDealing with insurance companies is one of the most difficult aspects of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, our seasoned team of Boston car accident lawyers has the experience and tenacity to stand up to big insurance companies that don’t always have your best interests in mind.

A recent appellate decision illustrates how important it is to assert your rights when dealing with an auto insurer. The plaintiff was involved in a car crash while riding in a taxi. The taxicab driver drove down a freeway ramp and through a yield sign into the rear end of a van that was waiting for traffic to pass on the road where the offramp merged. The drivers of each vehicle communicated briefly and then got back into their respective vehicles and drove away. The taxicab driver took the plaintiff to her home. She did not obtain his information. The plaintiff could not identify the driver of the taxi or the person driving the other vehicle involved in the accident.

The record at trial contained conflicting information regarding the exact date that the plaintiff became aware of her injuries. The physician’s report indicated, however, that she started experiencing pain immediately after the crash. The plaintiff consulted with an attorney, who sent a letter to the cab company providing notice of the plaintiff’s claim for personal injuries. The notice said that the plaintiff was injured on the date of the accident as a result of the driver’s negligence. The cab company responded, saying that it was only a dispatch service and that it did not have the identity of the cab driver without the driver’s name or the name of the owner of the vehicle. The plaintiff’s lawyer did not provide any additional information to the cab company. Over the next eight months, the plaintiff did not seek to identify the driver of the cab.

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Legal News GavelFollowing a car accident, it can be difficult to know exactly which steps you should take in order to preserve your rights and to ensure that you will receive the compensation that you deserve. As seasoned Massachusetts car accident lawyers, we have guided many victims through the legal process following a crash, and we are ready to assist you. Having the right lawyer on your side will ensure that you follow all of the rules while holding the opposition accountable as well.

A recent appellate decision demonstrates the complexity of rules that govern issues about evidence and findings of fact in a personal injury lawsuit. The plaintiff was injured in a highway accident when she veered to avoid a car that was making a left-hand turn across traffic. The plaintiff’s vehicle veered off the roadway and onto the shoulder, where it smashed through the guardrails. The vehicle flipped over and eventually landed on the roof. The vehicles did not make contact, but the plaintiff suffered serious injuries, resulting in the disfigurement and loss of use of his left arm.

There was an issue in the case regarding the plaintiff’s pre-existing medical condition. The plaintiff had offered a videotape of a deposition of a physician who treated the plaintiff into evidence. The defendant objected to an answer from the physician during the deposition on the basis that the physician had not been deemed an expert witness. The judge overruled the defendant’s objection. Before the jury was allowed to see the part of the videotape to which the defendant objected, the judge dismissed the jury and reversed his original decision to allow the evidence. The judge concluded that the plaintiffs failed to provide a certain report that would have allowed the physician to testify about expert witness matters. The defendant did not object, however, to the deposition or to the absence of the report from the plaintiff.

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Legal News GavelThere are many pieces of evidence that you must obtain when bringing a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident. Witness testimony can be helpful, but in some situations, multiple witnesses provide conflicting testimony. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, our Boston car accident attorneys have substantial experience assisting injured Massachusetts residents with preparing a strong case, and we are ready to do the same for you.

A recent appellate decision involving a car accident demonstrates this. The man was driving his vehicle in the late afternoon on Interstate 84 in Manchester. He exited the interstate, and when the left arrow turned green for his lane, he entered the intersection. The defendant was traveling east and slammed into the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing a T-bone collision. The defendant alleged that she applied her brakes in an attempt to stop the crash but that she was unable to react in time. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained severe injuries that were life-threatening. There were a number of individuals who witnessed the accident. They provided statements to the police and later testified at trial, but the information that they provided varied substantially. Some of them indicated that the defendant did not yield to a red light, while others stated that the plaintiff ran a red light.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the person driving the other vehicle. He also filed a lawsuit against the driver’s employer, alleging that the employer was vicariously liable because the accident happened while the other driver was working. Among the defenses that they asserted, the defendants claimed that the plaintiff was also negligent at the time of the accident, including by failing to yield the right of way to the other driver. The plaintiff denied these allegations and claimed that he had the right of way.

Legal News GavelRear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents that Boston residents face. They can happen virtually anywhere, whether it is a quiet suburban area or a crowded freeway during rush hour. Fortunately, the seasoned and dedicated Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith are prepared to help you ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve after this type of accident.

In a recent appellate court decision, the plaintiff was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. She later filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle. In the complaint, she alleged that the accident resulted in her suffering from a severe aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions. She claimed reimbursement for medical bills that she incurred as a result of the collision. The date of the trial was postponed on several occasions at the plaintiff’s request. When the trial date finally arrived, the plaintiff failed to show up at the courtroom. The judge then dismissed the case for the plaintiff’s failure to prosecute it.

The plaintiff sought three continuances for the trial. After the third continuance, the court stated that it would not provide any additional continuances. Despite this, the plaintiff sought an emergency continuance after the fourth trial date, stating that her daughter was due to give birth when the trial was scheduled. The court denied this motion, and the plaintiff’s lawyer asked the court whether the matter could proceed without the plaintiff in attendance at trial. The plaintiff’s lawyer also asked the judge for an opportunity to explain to the jury that the plaintiff was not in attendance because of the birth of her grandchild. The court agreed to this.