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Chiropractor doing adjustmentOne 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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bus-300x169A man from the Texas area  alleges he was struck by a driver of a vehicle after exiting a school bus. The complaint was filed against the bus company alleging negligence as well as the operator of the vehicle that struck him.  He sustained substantial bodily injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.  He also alleges he sustained an ongoing permanent impairment.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he was exiting the bus and was injured when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle, who carelessly attempted to pass the stopped bus. He alleges he suffered serious physical injuries that resulted in medical care expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of earnings and mental anguish.

The plaintiff is also alleging the bus driver and his employer is responsible because the bus driver allegedly failed to activate or properly operate the bus’s stop lights and negligently stopped the bus in an unsafe place to unload passengers.  Then the second defendant also acted negligently and failed to stop for the bus and struck the plaintiff pedestrian causing him substantial injuries, damages, medical treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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Drowsy driving is a dangerous mistake. It happens when you drive when you haven’t slept enough, stay up too late, or feel sleepy due to the effects of medications, alcohol, or shift work. When you’re driving drowsy, you’re less able to pay attention to the road, have a slower reaction time, and have a lowered ability to make good decisions.Drowsy driving costs billions, and is responsible for thousands of fatal deaths each year.

The Financial Toll of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is responsible for an estimated $109 billion in societal costs each year. That’s doesn’t include property damage including vehicles, just the cost of emergency services, insurance administration, lost productivity and medical and legal services.

man with handshakeMassachusetts 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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empty flatbed trailerUnderstanding the types of evidence that you need to present in a car accident lawsuit can be confusing. There are many different categories of evidence that you can present, and there are unique rules that apply to certain types of evidence. Although it may seem like liability is clear, it is still essential to present sufficient evidence to meet your burden of proof and to show the jury that you are entitled to relief. As dedicated Massachusetts car accident lawyers, we have assisted numerous accident victims with protecting their legal rights.

A recent appellate opinion demonstrates the necessity of being thorough when presenting evidence in your lawsuit. The plaintiff was driving his vehicle along the Massachusetts Turnpike when a vehicle being transported on a flatbed trailer fell from the flatbed and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the car that slid off the flatbed truck and the individuals who were transporting the car on the flatbed. The lawsuit proceeded to a trial, and the jury returned a verdict for one of the defendants.

The plaintiff appealed the lower court’s entry of judgment in favor of the defendant on several bases. First, he argued that the defendant’s attorney made inappropriate statements during opening argument and that a mistrial should have been granted as a result. Next, he argued that the jury should have been given an instruction about a legal doctrine called res ipsa loquitur. This principle holds that the occurrence of some types of events implies that negligence was involved. The plaintiff can offer circumstantial evidence to show that the harm would not typically have occurred without some negligent conduct. Finally, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in refusing to grant his motion for a new trial.

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Man Holding PhoneIf you are involved in a car accident with a motorist who does not have sufficient policy limits to cover your damages, you may be able to make a claim for underinsured motorist benefits with your own insurer. As seasoned Massachusetts car accident lawyers, we have handled numerous legal actions that involve insurance issues, including underinsured motorist coverage disputes. This coverage is typically optional, and many appellate opinions have discussed whether a party has rejected an underinsured motorist policy explicitly. In a recent opinion, for example, a mother and son were injured in a car accident. The mother sought policy benefits for her son’s injuries, but her insurer denied them. The mother and son appealed the trial court’s decision finding that the insurer was not required to pay benefits to the son. The mother and son filed a timely appeal.

On review, the appellate court first examined the scope of the mother’s insurance policy. In its opinion, the court cited a specific provision in the policy that provides benefits to “any household member . . . while occupying an auto not owned by [the insured].” The provision further provided that the household member was required to be a relation through marriage, blood, or adoption.

In response to the plaintiffs’ claim, the insurance company had provided medical documents, a lease showing that the son did not live in the same apartment unit as his mother, and a driver’s license. The insurance company also referenced a discussion that the mother had with one of its representatives before she purchased her insurance policy. According to the insurer, in that discussion, the mother indicated that her son did not live with her but that he lived in a separate unit downstairs from her unit.

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insurance contract pageThe expenses that are involved in a car accident can add up quickly. Even if the person who caused the collision to take place has a car insurance policy, the policy limits do not always cover the full cost of your expenses, which can include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. If you have your own underinsured or uninsured motorist policy, you can use this coverage to make up the difference. Whether it is your own insurer or the at-fault party’s insurer, insurance companies often make decisions that are in their own best interest and try to interpret their own policy terms to minimize the amount of compensation they are required to pay. If the insurer fails to play fairly, you can bring an Unfair Claim Settlement Practice claim against the insurer in civil court. A dedicated Massachusetts car accident lawyer can assist you in navigating this process.

A recent appellate opinion demonstrates how this process works. The plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident. The other driver’s liability was not at issue, and the plaintiff accepted the at-fault driver’s policy limit of $25,000 to settle her claim. She then filed an underinsured motorist claim with her own insurer, but the insurer did not offer a settlement. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit, seeking an order to compel the insurer to proceed to arbitration regarding the amount of damages that she sustained in the crash, as well as a claim for unfair settlement practices as a result of the insurer’s failure to offer a settlement. The court compelled the insurer to proceed to arbitration about the damages issue, which was adjudicated to be $50,000.

The matter proceeded to a bench trial regarding the unfair settlement practices claim. A bench trial is a trial that proceeds before a judge without the assistance of a jury. The parties waived their right to a jury trial in this instance. After hearing evidence regarding the unfair settlement practices allegations, the trial court first noted that the plaintiff provided substantial evidence about her accident-related damages, but she did not offer any evidence about the insurance company’s investigation or evidence about the type of negotiation discussions that happened between the parties. It also concluded that the plaintiff did not sufficiently demonstrate which damages were linked to the insurer’s failure to offer a settlement promptly. The plaintiff responded by arguing that the trial court erroneously granted the insurer’s motion to exclude three witnesses that the plaintiff wanted to examine who were employees of the defendant. The trial court reached this conclusion based on the plaintiff’s late disclosure of her intention to present and examine the witnesses.

Yellow Semi TruckThere can be several different complications and unexpected events that arise in a personal injury lawsuit, and it’s not uncommon for defendants to attempt to use these situations to their advantage. Some of the most complex issues that arise involve evidence, including identifying witnesses and establishing that the offered evidence is appropriate and should be submitted to the jury. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we are well versed in how to handle these situations so that your right to recovery is protected. A recent appellate court opinion discusses how evidentiary issues can become complicated.

The plaintiff sustained injuries during a car crash in 2014. He filed a negligence lawsuit against the operator of the large semi truck that hit his vehicle and against the company that employed the driver and that owned the semi truck. According to his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the truck rear-ended his vehicle, causing him to lose control and causing him to strike the median.

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiff filed an opposition brief. The defendant filed a motion to strike the plaintiff’s statement of facts in the plaintiff’s opposition brief. The defendant also asked the court to strike two reports from experts attached as exhibits. The magistrate granted the defendant’s request, finding that the plaintiff did not comply with a local procedural rule that requires the party opposing a motion for summary judgment to include a concise statement of material facts in the record. The trial court ultimately granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Cows on RoadSuccessfully litigating a negligence cause of action against a careless driver who caused your injuries is a challenging and often time-consuming task. Unfortunately, even when the trial is over and you’ve secured a judgment in your favor, it can be even more challenging to enforce the judgment and to obtain the compensation that you deserve. As seasoned Boston car accident lawyers, we can handle all of the aspects of your claim from gathering evidence before filing to helping you enforce a settlement agreement or judgment in your favor.

A recent appellate opinion highlights the issues that can arise with enforcing a settlement agreement. The plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries when her car collided with two cows that had wandered from the defendant’s farm onto the road. The plaintiff and her husband filed a negligence lawsuit against the farm owner. The parties eventually agreed to mediation, which resulted in a settlement agreement. The defendant’s wife was not present at the mediation and did not sign the settlement agreement. Once the parties to a lawsuit reach a settlement, they must report this to the court.

After executing the settlement agreement, the defendant did not perform their obligations. The plaintiffs asked the lower court to enforce the settlement contract, and the defendants were given notice to attend a hearing. The defendants failed to appear, and the judge issued an order adopting the settlement agreement and providing for civil penalties against the defendants for failing to comply with its terms. The court also entered a judgment against the defendants and included a provision allowing the defendants to finalize a judgment against an unrelated third party and allowing the plaintiffs to satisfy the judgment against this unrelated party.

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Tour BusMassachusetts car accidents can lead to a wide variety of injuries. Although car safety technology has improved over the years, the impact from a collision can have life-changing consequences. One of the more common injuries experienced by those who are involved in car accidents is back injuries. The injuries to a woman from an auto accident involving a tour bus in Massachusetts demonstrate the injuries that can result from a driver’s alleged negligence.

The plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a car when the car was struck by a bus. Her complaint alleges that when the accident occurred in February 2013, she suffered back injuries. The accident occurred while their vehicle was sitting idle in a turn lane when the tour bus pulled into the turn lane next to the plaintiff. Both vehicles attempted to make the turn at the same time, but while both of the vehicles were turning, the vehicles collided with each other. The plaintiff alleged that the resulting injuries involved her cervical and lumbar discs and required extensive surgery in order to repair the damage.

Massachusetts law establishes a duty of motor vehicle drivers to act reasonably while navigating the roadways. Similar to other types of negligence claims, a driver is required to drive with reasonable care under the circumstances. Courts often define reasonable care as the care that an ordinary and prudent individual might exercise under the circumstances. In the context of auto accidents, a driver owes a duty to exercise ordinary care to avoid causing an auto accident. It is generally a question for the fact-finder at trial to determine whether a defendant breached his or her standard of care and acted negligently while on the public roadways.

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