Personal injury cases are complicated. And, they tend to unfold at a difficult time in your life – right after an unexpected accident and as you’re struggling to recover from painful injuries.
So, it’s entirely normal – and to be expected – that you’d have questions. The Boston personal injury lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP are here to help. Here, you’ll find answers to some of the questions we receive most often from prospective clients and clients alike at different stages in the personal injury claims process.
If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Boston law office to schedule a time to sit down with a member of our team at no charge.
We’re always here to help – 24/7/365.
A personal injury case arises when one person suffers an injury for which another person is legally and financially responsible.
Personal injury cases can take different forms, including claims for insurance benefits (including workers’ compensation) and civil personal injury lawsuits.
The person who initiates a personal injury case is known as the plaintiff, and they’re the person who has suffered an injury of some sort.
The person against whom the personal injury case is filed is known as the defendant, and they’re the person that is being blamed for causing the plaintiff’s harm.
By filing a personal injury case, the plaintiff is asking to be compensated for the injuries, harm, and suffering they’ve endured. The compensation that can be awarded in a personal injury case varies, depending on the circumstances, but often includes money for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
In Massachusetts, there are several grounds on which a personal injury case can be based, including negligence, negligence per se, gross negligence, and strict liability.
It’s possible that a personal injury case could be based on one or more of these legal theories.
After reviewing your case, our experienced attorneys will be able to explain your options for pursuing compensation.
There’s no hard-and-fast answer to this question.
Its value will ultimately depend on a multitude of factors and the specific circumstances of your case.
Questions that will be relevant in attaching a value to your personal injury case might include:
As a general rule of thumb, cases involving catastrophic injuries and deaths will be valued higher than those involving moderate and mild injuries. The more pervasive your suffering, the more your case will likely be worth. You can count on our Boston injury attorneys to fight to ensure that you are awarded full compensation for your present and future damages.
It’s very possible – it ultimately depends on how much fault you share. Massachusetts operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means that everyone who contributes to an accident – including victims – share responsibility for the consequences. You can seek compensation as long as your proportionate responsibility doesn’t exceed 50 percent. If you’re allocated 51% of the blame or more, you’ll be barred from recovering money for your injuries.
Keep in mind that sharing some of the blame will affect how much money you can secure. Your financial award will be reduced in direct proportion to your share of the blame. Let’s say your damages after an accident in Boston total $100,000. You’re apportioned 25% of the blame. As a result, your damages will be capped at $75,000 (the total, less 25%).
Insurance companies will almost certainly try to blame the victim. Getting an attorney involved in the early stages can help to protect you from these underhanded tactics and safeguard your ability to secure a meaningful financial award.
Massachusetts has “no-fault” laws on the books when it comes to car insurance.
If you’re injured in an accident, you’re required to seek benefits from your own insurance provider first – regardless of who’s at fault.
There are four types of coverage that must be purchased – including at least $8,000 of something called “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) benefits.
After an accident, these PIP benefits are used to pay for medical expenses, replacement services, and 75% of lost wages.
Even though you’ll be seeking benefits from your own insurance provider, don’t expect the process to be easy. After all, your insurer is a for-profit entity with one primary goal – to make as much money as possible. Paying you the full amount of your claim (or anything at all) is at odds with that goal. So, you’ll have to be aggressive and back your claim with solid evidence and arguments. Our attorneys can help you seek maximum benefits.
Medical Payment (MedPay) is a form of optional coverage that allows you to recover “reasonable expenses for necessary medical and funeral services incurred as the result of an accident.”
MedPay is not a required form of coverage (unlike PIP) and is usually sold at an added cost. Depending on the amount of coverage elected, MedPay typically ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.
There is a dispute in the case law in Massachusetts as to when MedPay is applied. Insurance companies typically argue that it is not applicable until the full $8,000 in PIP coverage is exhausted. We, however, take the position that medical expenses that don’t qualify for PIP coverage (even when PIP is not yet exhausted) are covered by MedPay.
While insurance companies are eager to sell insurance policies affording MedPay coverage at a higher annual premium, they do seem to not fully understand the extent of the coverage they have contracted to sell.
This is a sticky issue that requires precise legal argument as it pertains to contract law and consumer protection rights afforded by Chapter 93A. Should you have a question about whether it is worth paying a higher premium for MedPay coverage or about how MedPay applies in your case, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Medical bills can rack up quickly after an unexpected accident. That can add a lot of stress to an already overwhelming situation. Our attorneys will coordinate the payment of your bills – which might include securing maximum PIP benefits, obtaining coverage through your health insurance provider, or pursuing those responsible through a personal injury lawsuit.
Our law firm will take care of everything. You no longer need to stress about whether your bills will be paid. Instead, your only job is to follow your doctor’s orders and focus on getting better. Forward all of your medical bills to us.
As with every case we handle, we will provide a complete account for all medical expenses, with the goal that all balances will be paid in full, which maximizes the settlement/verdict value to you.
Like most personal injury law firms in Boston, MA, Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP works on contingency.
It’s simple: you pay us nothing unless we win your case. There are no hidden costs or upfront fees. We cover all aspects of your injury case, including administrative costs, filing fees, retaining experts, and the cost of litigation.
Our attorneys only get paid if and when we recover compensation on your behalf. When we are successful in negotiating a settlement or win a jury verdict, we recover a percentage of your net award (agreed upon before we’re hired). Your net award is your total compensation package, less the costs incurred as we handled your case.
By structuring our fee this way, you don’t have to stress about the cost of pursuing compensation that you rightfully deserve.
There are several paths that a personal injury case could take, depending on the type of claim involved and the specific circumstances that are present.
However, here’s a broad overview of what you might expect when you initiate a personal injury claim.
At Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, our Boston personal injury lawyers have 100+ years of experience helping accident victims navigate the personal injury claims process. We know what you’re up against and appreciate how important a financial recovery can be for you and your family.
Give our law office in Boston, Massachusetts a call to arrange a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you fight for the money you deserve.