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Recently, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito introduced a new piece of legislation that would affect when drivers can use their cell phones behind the wheel. The measure is called “An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth” and it was inspired by the roughly 15,000 people who suffered serious injuries in Massachusetts traffic accidents during the period between 2012 and 2016. Almost 2,000 people lost their lives, which includes 14 roadside workers.

The proposed law changes a number of statutes based on recommendations from the Strategic Highway Safety Plan and updates a number of laws that were created before different types of mobile technology became widespread. According to Gov. Baker, the bill includes “common sense proposals to substantially reduce distracted driving, stiffen penalties associated with operating under the influence, improve safety requirements for certain trucks and to begin establishing a regulatory framework for new forms of transportation.”

Perhaps the biggest impact for most Massachusetts drivers would be the requirement to use hands-free devices while driving. Sixteen other states currently have a hands-free technology law. This means that drivers are prohibited from touching or holding a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle except to perform a tap, swipe, or activation of the hands-free mode. It would also allow law enforcement officials to stop and cite individuals who are not wearing a seatbelt.

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Car accidents can be incredibly stressful for the victim when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and knowing whether you are being treated fairly. Our experienced team of Boston car accident lawyers is well versed in the rules that apply to insurance companies when it comes to settling accident claims and tendering policy limits. Contact us today to start learning more about whether you are receiving the fair treatment that you deserve following a car crash.

In Hopkins v. Liberty Mut. Ins., the court concluded that the insurer violated clear Massachusetts laws requiring insurers to make a good faith and prompt attempt to resolve insurance claims. Following a jury-waived trial, the judge concluded that the insurer engaged in knowing and willful violations of Massachusetts laws prohibiting insurers from engaging in unfair and deceptive claim settlement practices. More specifically, the statute deems it an unfair claim settlement practice if the insurer fails to make a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims where liability has become reasonably clear. The plaintiff sought compensation for injuries that she sustained in a five-car accident involving a work truck owned and operated by an employer and driven by an agent-employee. This driver caused the first impact, which unleashed a chain reaction series of accidents involving the other five drivers.

The judge awarded the plaintiff damages for her injuries and the statutory violations as well as attorney’s fees. The defendant appealed on the basis that the statute that prohibits insurers from delaying settlement of claims does not allow recovery for each alleged act or omission and that the statute does not allow for an award of multiple damages and attorneys’ fees.

Auto insurance policies take many different shapes and forms. It can be difficult to understand the extent and limits of your coverage, especially if your policy is written in legalese. Although it is best to have a clear understanding of your coverage before an accident occurs, sometimes questions come up following an unfortunate crash. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we have assisted numerous individuals and families with understanding whether they are entitled to coverage following a car accident and we are standing by to assist you.

Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case where the plaintiff filed suit against an insurance company seeking coverage as a household member under a policy held by the mother and step-father of his partner. The plaintiff and his long-term partner had a child together. The court was asked to interpret the phrase “related by blood” when it comes to people who do not share a blood relation but who share a blood relationship through a third party.

At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was living with his partner and her mother and step-father. He was injured while riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by a third party. The injuries were severe, resulting in several days of hospitalization, long-term disabilities, and medical bills exceeding $40,000. The plaintiff settled with the at-fault driver for her policy limits in the amount of $100,000.

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Auto insurance can come in handy when you are involved in an accident, but only if your insurer treats your claim fairly and provides you with the coverage that you deserve. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we have seen countless cases involving insurance companies who refuse to provide their insureds with the response that the insured is owed based on the provisions in the policy. If you were injured in a car accident, we are standing by and ready to assist you with all aspects of your claim, including ensuring that your insurer plays by the rules.

Recently, the Court of Appeal considered an appeal in Martin v. Hanover Ins. Co. 92 Mass. App. Ct. 1104 in which the plaintiff, an insured, alleged that her insurance company engaged in unfair claim settlement practices in violation of Massachusetts law. The plaintiff was injured in a car accident where the at-fault driver made a U-turn and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. The parties did not dispute that the other driver was at fault and the plaintiff received the total policy benefits for the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. The plaintiff then filed a claim for underinsured motorist benefits with her insurer.

The insurer did not provide a settlement offer and the plaintiff filed a civil claim against the insurer demanding arbitration. The complaint also alleged that the insurer engaged in unfair claim settlement practices and that the plaintiff deserved damages as a result. The matter proceeded to arbitration and the arbitrator concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to $50,000 in damages related to the accident. A civil court affirmed this ruling and the parties moved on to litigating the unfair settlement practices claim.

A major aspect of any car accident is dealing with insurance companies. There are many different policy provisions and protocols that you may need to review to ensure that you are making your claim appropriately and that you receive the coverage that you deserve. Even if you are doing your best to follow all of the proper steps, insurance companies usually don’t have your best interest in mind. This means that they will try to do whatever they can to avoid paying you the coverage that you deserve. The dedicated Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith are prepared to help you assert your rights to the fullest extent.

A recent case discussed the application of an underinsured motorist policy and the arbitration provision included in the insured’s policy. The plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident and eventually obtained a settlement for the amount of that driver’s policy limits. The plaintiff’s insurance company was not a party to that settlement but provided consent to it.

The plaintiff then sought underinsured motorist coverage from her insurance company, which invoked the arbitration provision in the plaintiff’s policy. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution in which the parties agree to let a neutral arbitrator resolve the matter. The outcome of an arbitration is binding on the parties in the same way that a court judgment is binding.

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Establishing that another party operated his or her vehicle negligently is a critical aspect of any car accident personal injury claim. This requires providing evidence that establishes the standard of care that the defendant should have used at the time of the crash. A failure to provide evidence of the standard of care can be fatal to your claim. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we are well versed in personal injury law and will ensure that you put forth the strongest case possible.

The recent case of Cacchiotti v. Parry demonstrates how important it is to establish the applicable standard of care as part of a motor vehicle accident lawsuit. In the case, the plaintiff was driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike when a vehicle slid off of a flatbed trailer and struck his vehicle. The defendant had attached the vintage muscle car to the flatbed trailer with four chains and come alongs. The trailer was secured to a pickup truck owned by one of the defendant’s helpers.

The plaintiff filed a claim for negligence, seeking damages from the defendant. After the trial, the jury concluded that the defendant was not negligent. The plaintiff appealed on three separate grounds.

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Car accidents are always stressful, but Boston hit and run collisions are particularly problematic. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we have assisted numerous motorists throughout Boston with understanding their legal rights and navigating the insurance claims process following a crash. We are ready to put our extensive experience to use for you to ensure that you receive the just outcome that you deserve.

In a recent case (Christian Cardona v. Encompass Insurance Company, No. 17-P-358), the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his mother when the vehicle was struck from behind by another car, which then fled the scene. The mother followed the car as it fled the scene and the plaintiff was able to record the vehicle registration number. After reporting the accident, the plaintiff obtained the identity of the vehicle’s owner from the Registry of Motor Vehicles database. The plaintiff filed a claim for insurance benefits with the registered owner’s insurer. The insurance company denied the claim, indicating that its insured was not responsible for the crash and that the owner denied being involved in the accident.

The plaintiff then sought uninsured motorist benefits from the insurer that provided a policy for his mother’s vehicle, stating that because the other insurer denied the claim he was the victim of a hit and run accident. This insurer also denied the claim and the plaintiff filed an action compelling arbitration. The insurer filed a motion to dismiss and a motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The reviewing court granted the insurer’s motion to dismiss and the plaintiff appealed.

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Many individuals know that lawsuits can take a long time to resolve. There are many different phases of litigation and there are many opportunities to file an appeal. Understanding the procedural options available to you during your legal battle is incredibly important and could make a huge difference when it comes to receiving the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we have guided countless injured victims and their families through the court system and we are prepared to put our knowledge and experience to use for you.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court discussed two key concepts of procedural law. The plaintiff was injured in a car accident and brought a suit against the responsible driver seeking compensation for medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. The jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor, but the plaintiff felt that the award was greatly lower than the amount of medical expenses that she sustained as a result of the crash. Accordingly, the plaintiff moved for additur or a new trial on just the issue of damages.

An additur is a request by the plaintiff to the trial judge to increase the amount of damages that the jury awards to the plaintiff. If the judge agrees that the jury awarded an inadequate amount of damages, then the judge can increase the amount. The judge also has the option of holding a new trial on the issue of damages alone to determine the amount of damages that the plaintiff is entitled to receive based on the evidence presented at trial.

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There are several rules that apply to a personal injury trial, including rules about the evidence that a plaintiff must establish when seeking pain and suffering damages. As experienced Boston car accident lawyers, we are familiar with these rules and will ensure that they are applied appropriately and fairly in your claim every step of the way. This can help avoid unnecessary delays in your case as well as ensure that you do not waive any critical rights. Whether you were involved in a minor crash or a severe, life-altering collision, you deserve compassionate and dedicated legal counsel.

A recent Massachusetts appellate opinion discusses G.L. c 231, Section 6D, which governs when a victim of a motor vehicle accident can seek pain and suffering as an item of damages. According to this provision, the plaintiff must show that the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred from treating the injuries associated with the crash exceed $2,000, subject to some exceptions. These exceptions include instances where the crash results in death, results in the loss of a body part, results in disfigurement, or results in the loss of sight or hearing.

The plaintiff filed suit against a wheelchair and van transport company as well as its employee-driver for personal injuries that she suffered in an accident. She was traveling in the defendant’s handicap accessible van when it came to an abrupt stop causing her to fall out of her wheelchair. Her knees hit the floor and the wheelchair fell on top of her.

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When 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.