Articles Posted in Car Accidents

When driving, everyone’s biggest fears is getting into an accident. But what if you see the person that hit you driving away?

First, don’t chase the other driver. That only puts you at risk for being in another accident.

Instead, take a picture of the car, including the license plate. If you don’t have a camera handy, you write down the car’s license plate number. Even if you only get part of the license plate, it’s better than nothing.

There are many different parts of a car insurance policy. One of the cheapest is underinsured motorist coverage. This covers you if you’re injured and the responsible person does not have enough insurance. A common example is when a college student causes a car crash, but only carries the minimum amount of insurance. Many times, it won’t be enough to cover medical bills and lost wages.

So, whenever you decide what coverage is right for you, always make sure you have as much underinsured coverage as you can get (known as Part 12 Coverage). It is relatively inexpensive and can pay big dividends should you need it.

When a car runs a stop sign and causes an accident, it usually means the driver is at fault. But, what if there’s no driver? This is a major question that needs to be answered as self-driving cars change from theory to reality.

For over 100 years, we have created a legal landscape that is able to compensate people for losses from unintended consequences from driving. From laws that deal with getting a license, registering a car, and insurance requirements, we have created rules to keep people on the roads safe. We’ve also created rules to compensate the victim if a driver damages a person or a person’s property.

But, when there’s no driver, it can be more difficult to find out who is responsible. Was the owner of the self driving car doing something wrong, or was there something wrong with the car itself? Just the possibility of that kind of finger pointing can mean that resolving claims will take longer and be more difficult.

With the holiday weekend coming up, all of us at Marcotte Law Firm would like to remind everyone to not drive if you’ve been drinking. In 2016, over 10,000 lives were taken because of car crashes involving a drunk driver. When it’s as easy as ever to get a cab or order a rideshare (or assign a designated driver) please think before you get behind the wheel.

Many believe that unless they’ve had a few drinks, it’s safe to drive. In reality, one drink can affect one’s ability to think and coordinate movement. When you’re driving a car, these two abilities are very important to ensure that you’re safe behind the wheel.

At the same time, if you’re having a party where people are drinking, keep an eye out to make sure no one else is over-indulging. If you think someone else has had too much, make sure he or she isn’t driving home. It may be an awkward situation, but it’s much better than finding out later that there was a car crash that could have been prevented.

When a vehicle is totaled, our clients are first worried whether everyone is okay. For some, it goes from bad to worse when they realize that they owe more on the car than it’s worth.

We often have to explain to our clients that insurance companies are only required to pay what the car is worth, which is called fair market value. If a loan is more than that, you’re going to owe the finance company the difference.

This is why the first question we ask our clients in this situation whether they have Gap Coverage. This is insurance that covers you if you owe more on your vehicle than its fair market value.  It could mean the difference between being able to get a new car and having to take the bus for a while.

One of the worst situations we deal with at Marcotte Law Firm is when someone is seriously injured in an accident, but there’s no insurance to compensate them for their losses. People who are in this situation are usually worried about who is going to pay for their medical bills and lost wages.

This is why it’s mandatory for Massachusetts car insurance policies to have coverage for this situation. It protects you if you’re injury in a car accident by someone who has no insurance. Your insurance company steps into the shoes of the person that hits you and is responsible for reimbursing you for your harms and losses, including medical bills and lost wages.

In some respects, pursuing a claim for uninsured motorist benefits is easier than a normal case. This is because insurance companies are required to agree to arbitration. A case can be decided by an arbitrator in the matter of months, instead of waiting many years to have a case decided by jury.

With nearly everyone having a smart phone, distracted driving has become an epidemic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed over 3,000 lives and injured almost 400,000 people in 2015. At Marcotte Law Firm, we see the effects of that firsthand. Many of our clients are injured due to the distracted driving of others. Looking down at a cell phone was more important than looking at the road.

What many do not realize is that distracted driving is more than just texting. Drivers can be distracted by a radio, food, or even by other passengers. These activities can be just as dangerous to yourself or others on the road.

This is why it’s important to be vigilant in keeping distractions to a minimum when you’re behind the wheel. Before you start the car, put your cell phone away, make sure you’ve already finished your lunch, and set up some pre-sets on your radio. While it might take a few extra seconds, it could end up saving you from being part of a statistic.

A trip in an ambulance can cost more than $1,500.00. If you’re injured in a car accident, these medical costs can add up. Luckily in Massachusetts, almost everyone has coverage to cover some of these expenses. This is called Personal Injury Protection benefits, or PIP for short.

With this coverage, the insurance company of the car that you were in will pay the first $2,000.00 or $8,000.00 of your medical expenses. How the bills are processed depends on whether you have health insurance, and what type you have. However, when you combine your car insurance and health insurance, getting your medical bills paid properly can get very tricky.

Often, hospitals and doctors are either unable or unwilling to navigate this insurance maze. So, we spend much of our time making sure that our clients’ medical bills are all paid before settlement. It’s this attention to detail that is important to make sure that an unpaid hospital bill doesn’t get sent to collections.

A recent article discussed how almost 80% of workers in the United States live paycheck to paycheck. This means that things can get tough if you’re in injured in a car accident and can’t work. Luckily, most are eligible for lost wage benefits from their car insurance that can get paid in as little as a few weeks.

When you can’t work because of a car accident, your insurance will pay 75% of your lost wages under Personal Injury Protection benefits. While the most an insurance company will pay is $8,000.00, it’s at least enough to keep you on your feet while you’re dealing with an injury.

One thing to keep in mind is that most insurance companies will require a note from your doctor saying that you can’t work. So, it’s important to discuss any limitations you have with your doctor that will keep you from working.

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