Articles Posted in Auto accident

One 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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Dealing 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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Following 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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There 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.

Rear-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.

Teen drivers are among the most high-risk drivers when it comes to fatal car accidents. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we pride ourselves on providing zealous and dedicated legal counsel to individuals who are involved in car accidents with teen drivers. Our Boston car accident lawyers can help you navigate the unique issues involved in teen driver accidents and ensure that you are treated fairly at each step of the litigation.

In a recent appellate decision, the Massachusetts appeals court considered the allocation of liability in a tragic teen driver accident involving multiple fatalities. Two cars of teenage friends were traveling to a common destination. One young man and a young woman were in a sedan that was leased by the young woman’s parents for her use. The other car was driven by a second young man and contained three passengers. The second young man lost control of the car while attempting to pass the sedan and hit a tree. Two of his passengers were killed as a result of the crash, and the third was injured severely.

Multiple claims were filed following the accident. The representative of one of the decedents filed a lawsuit against the young man driving the sedan, seeking compensation for negligence and loss of consortium. The lawsuit also filed a claim against the parents who leased the vehicle. The lawsuit also included a claim for negligent entrustment against the young female passenger of the first car. The mother of the other decedent brought a similar action against the driver of the first car, containing similar causes of action. The insurer for the leased sedan filed for a declaratory judgment, seeking a determination that it was not required to indemnify or defend the young man in the litigation.

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If you are involved in a serious accident with another motorist, there are several different ways that you can obtain compensation for your damages and injuries. One of the most common methods that parties use is a settlement. This is a quick and efficient way to resolve the legal dispute and avoids the arduous and costly process of having to go to trial. When it comes to settlements, however, there are many specific rules that the parties must consider and follow in order to ensure that the agreement is valid. These rules may also affect whether seeking a settlement is the best option for dealing with your claim. The dedicated and experienced Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith are prepared to help you determine a strategic course of action for recovering compensation after an accident.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently considered a case in which the estate of a car accident victim was ordered to make payments to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, otherwise known as MassHealth.

In the underlying dispute, the estate and the at-fault driver reached a settlement agreement. The plaintiff was an elderly woman who suffered from dementia at the time of the accident. The accident caused a serious aggravation in the plaintiff’s condition. She died before the matter was resolved, and her estate brought a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking damages. Before her death, however, MassHealth made payments exceeding $18,000 for her treatment and injuries. Once the estate and the at-fault driver reached a settlement of $250,000, MassHealth asserted an $18,000 lien against the settlement amount to reimburse it for the medical expenses that it paid.

Car accidents happen for many reasons, including defects in the vehicles themselves. It can be nearly impossible after a car accident to know what or who was to blame, which is why having a seasoned Boston car accident lawyer on your side can make all of the difference in ensuring that you maximize the recovery that you obtain. There are many legal theories from which you may have to choose when determining the best course of action for your recovery. A recent appellate opinion demonstrates the importance of selecting your legal theories prior to commencing the litigation.

In the case, the plaintiff suffered serious injuries that rendered her paralyzed in a one-car accident. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the accident was a direct result of a sudden loss of steering in the vehicle. The plaintiff’s husband had a degree in mechanical engineering and conducted an investigation regarding potential defects. The husband concluded that the defect resulted from two parts in the vehicle that were defective as a result of tampering by the car manufacturer.

The plaintiff’s lawyer refused to pursue this theory and instead pursued a theory alleging that operator error and a malfunctioning airbag were the direct cause of the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. Although the plaintiff sought new counsel, they decided it would be unwise to change legal theories during the litigation. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the auto manufacturer. The plaintiff appealed, and the reviewing court upheld the verdict. The plaintiff’s post-trial motion alleging fraud was also denied, and her case was dismissed.

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One of the most complicated aspects of a car accident case is ensuring that you will receive the treatment that you need and deserve for your injuries. While your insurance company may provide coverage, the policy provisions can be complex, and when multiple insurers are involved, disputes can arise regarding which insurer must provide reimbursement to your doctors for your treatments. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution regarding payment, you may find yourself receiving a hefty bill. As seasoned Boston car accident lawyers, we have assisted many victims with ensuring that their insurance coverage is applied fairly and appropriately to their claim and that they receive the reimbursement that they deserve.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court discussed a dispute between insurance companies regarding payment for treatments that a car accident victim received in 2010. The victim had a Massachusetts auto insurance policy and a health insurance policy from two different insurers. From the period of the accident until 2011, the victim received treatment from the plaintiff’s office, which offered chiropractic treatment. During each treatment, the plaintiff was billed for multiple treatments, including a hot and cold pack treatment. The parties did not dispute that the treatments that the plaintiff received were medically necessary.

The auto insurer paid the first $2,000 of the medical expenses that the victim suffered, and thereafter the auto insurer instructed the plaintiff to provide the medical treatment payments to the health insurance provider for payment. The health insurance provider made partial payments to the plaintiff but denied reimbursement for all of the hot and cold pack treatments. According to the health insurer’s payment policy, these were expressly excluded from coverage. The plaintiff did not object to the health insurer’s decision in this regard.

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Massachusetts requires drivers to maintain an insurance policy. This means that if you are involved in an auto accident, you will probably have to deal with your insurance company, the other party’s insurance company, or both. There are certain practices and procedures that an insurance company must follow in order to treat the involved parties fairly. As experienced Boston car accident lawyers, we have seen that many insurers attempt to cut corners in bad faith or to ignore these rules entirely in an effort to save money.

In a recent appellate case, the court examined whether an at-fault party’s insurance company made a reasonable settlement offer before the matter proceeded to a jury trial. The underlying accident involved in the appeal occurred when a woman was struck by a motorist while walking. The insurance company for the motorist deemed the woman more than 50 percent at-fault for her injuries, based on information suggesting that she stepped out from between two vehicles during the early morning hours and while wearing dark clothing. A witness to the accident stated that he saw a car driving at what he described as an excessive speed and that the car left the scene after the impact. The driver indicated that she circled the block after the accident and did not leave the scene. She also stated that she was not given a citation by the police.

The injured pedestrian made a demand for the plaintiff’s policy limits, but only if the parties entered into a settlement before filing a lawsuit. The motorist’s insurer offered $5,000 to settle the claim, instead of the $100,000 available under the motorist’s policy. The injured pedestrian filed a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist. The driver’s insurer attempted several times to take testimony from the witness but was unsuccessful until reaching him immediately before trial. After the close of evidence, the jury returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff $414,500 in damages and assigning 35 percent of the fault to the plaintiff. The driver’s insurance company paid the policy limit of $100,000.

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