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In an Auto Accident? Five Things You Need to Do First - Boston, Dedham, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

No one expects an automobile accident to happen which means very few people know how to proceed when they actually do. Unless you’ve been in an accident or you’re a personal injury lawyer in Boston, chances are you have no idea how to proceed when one occurs. Here is a list of five things you should do right after an accident:

  1. Take pictures. Not just of your car. Be sure to take pictures of any injuries sustained during the accident. This way you’ll have proof of injury long after the bruises have healed.
  2. Keep a diary. The after effects of an accident might interrupt your life more than you realize. Keep a log of things you couldn’t do because of your accident. Whether it’s missing that 5K you were planning on running, or skipping a day of work to get your car at the shop, these details are important.
  3. Don’t talk to the other person’s insurance company. Just don’t do it. The insurance company has one goal in mind: to avoid paying a claim. Don’t give them any material to work with.
  4. Don’t sign anything! Documents are powerful in court. Don’t sign anything the insurance company gives you as these can be used against you later in court.
  5. Forward all correspondence to your lawyer. The law is complex and filled with loopholes that you might not be aware of. Play it safe by sending all communication, whether it’s with the other person involved in the accident or the insurance company, to your lawyer.

For more information or to talk with a personal injury attorney, contact Brooks & Crowley.

UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED VEHICLES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF - Dedham, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 01, 2016

by Neil P. Crowley

It can happen: you are injured by a vehicle that was not insured. Are you out of luck? The answer is that you certainly don’t have to be. You can protect yourself from this scenario if you carry uninsured/underinsurance coverage on your automobile.  This inexpensive coverage provides help in two important ways.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
Let’s say your car is hit by someone whose insurance has expired or they never had insurance. This driver is considered “uninsured” for purposes of making a claim against your own policy.

Also in this category is a “hit and run” accident or a case where the driver flees the scene without making himself known.  With a UM claim, your own insurance company would honor the claim as though the other party had insurance and pay the value of your claim.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
If you are in an accident and you or your passengers suffer significant injuries, the at-fault vehicle may not have enough insurance to cover the value of the injuries.  This person would be considered an “underinsured” driver because they carry some insurance but not enough.

For example, if you were injured in an accident and the at-fault party carries only the state minimum $20,000.00 policy limit, the claimant could only collect a maximum of $20,000.00 from the insurance policy of the vehicle that caused the accident.

If you purchased and underinsured coverage of $100,000.00, then you could potentially collect an additional $80,000.00 ($100,000.00 minus the $20,000.00 from your own policy).

How Much Does This Type of Coverage Cost?
This sounds like it would be expensive but for most people it only costs a few dollars per month. Also, it covers you when occupying your auto, when you are occupying an auto you do not own, or if you are injured as a pedestrian. It also covers your household members.

We have seen many instances where claimants would qualify for uninsured/underinsured benefits but were unaware that such coverage was available.  Fortunately, we have been able to recover hundreds of thousands of additional dollars for people by accessing this type of coverage.

Of course, in these scenarios, you could still sue the at-fault driver and vehicle owner for your damages, but in many instances, these folks are judgment-proof and the reality is that it is very tough to collect judgments from people instead of insurers.

Insurance coverage provides peace of mind and can protect you from the negligence of others. We continuously see the effects when people fail to plan and the unfortunate happens. We encourage people to have a conversation with an insurance agent to avoid unnecessary risk and potential disaster.

Neil P. Crowley is a partner with Brooks & Crowley LLP, a personal injury and real estate law firm with offices in Boston, Dedham, and Norwood, Massachusetts.  Neil may be reached at 781-251-0555 or neilcrowley@brooksandcrowley.com.

When is Buying Auto Insurance Over The Internet a Bad Idea?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 02, 2016

by Steven J. Brooks

There are several national insurance companies promising to provide the cheapest auto insurance rates. Their ads are everywhere: television, radio, internet, and in print.  The easiest way for them to do this is to simply cut out pieces of your coverage.  Less coverage equals a lower premium.

The standard Massachusetts automobile insurance policy includes several categories of coverage.  Some categories of coverage are required by law (known as “compulsory” coverage), but there are some types that you should really have but that that are not required. Unfortunately, the only time you will ever realize this is if you have a claim.

One trend we are seeing from the national discount auto insurance carriers is that they often issue policies with a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) deductible.  Adding a PIP deductible typically saves a policyholder $34.00 per year.  In exchange for this nominal amount of savings, the policy cuts out a minimum of $2,000.00 in medical bill coverage and up to $8,000.00 in medical bill and/ or lost wage benefits for people involved in car accidents.

There are other traps for the unwary involved with buying discount car insurance.  Your best bet is to consult an independent agent or attorney before buying auto insurance. If you have questions regarding auto insurance, contact Brooks & Crowley, LLP at 781-277-7321 or visit brooksandcrowley.com.

Should Everyone Have the Same Auto Insurance Coverage? - Dedham, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 01, 2016

We don’t think so. Auto insurance coverage needs change with your stage in life. Young drivers starting out may not need as much coverage as people with more assets. Life events such as marriage, having children, home ownership should cause folks to revisit their policy coverages and limits. Insurance coverage is flexible and can be tailored to your individual needs.

Sufficient insurance coverage provides peace of mind, and can also protect you from the negligence of others.  Too often, underinsured drivers on our roadways are responsible for serious injuries or deaths to others.  Their minimal insurance only covers a fraction of what the victims’ injuries are worth.  Unfortunately, the responsible party is often judgment-proof, so suing them for the actual amount of the victim’s injuries does not yield any further recovery for them.  Carrying sufficient underinsurance coverage will provide an additional source of compensation to victims once the responsible party’s insurance coverage is maxed out.

As personal injury attorneys in Boston, we see the effects when people fail to plan and the unfortunate happens. We encourage everyone to have a five minute conversation with their insurance agent to avoid unnecessary risk and potential disaster.

For more information, contact Brooks & Crowley.

In a Car Accident and Had to Use Paid Time Off to Recover from Injury, Now What? - Boston, Dedham, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

by Neil Crowley

I was in a car accident and had to use my sick time and vacation time from work when I was out injured. Now I don’t have any left for a vacation. What can I do?

If your employer has paid you for your sick or vacation time while you were out of work because of an injury from an auto accident, you may be eligible for a “buyback” of this time in accordance with the Massachusetts Personal Injury Protection statute (PIP), Massachusetts General Law 90, § 34.

Depending on the policy of your employer, some companies allow the insurance company to buyback the sick or vacation time caused by injury from an auto accident. In this instance PIP will repay the employer for this time, restoring the sick or vacation time. Some employers do not allow a buyback of sick or vacation time.

If you had to use paid time off to recover from injury as a result of a car accident, contact Brooks & Crowley, LLP.

Hurt in a Car Accident and Don’t Have Health Insurance - Boston, Dedham, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

by Neil Crowley

I was hurt in a car accident and don’t have health insurance. Am I stuck with these bills?

If  you  are injured in a car accident in Massachusetts the Personal Injury Protection statute (PIP), Massachusetts General Law 90, § 34 determines how your medical bills will be paid. If you do not have health insurance, PIP will cover up to $8,000.00 in medical bills caused by an auto accident. This would apply even if you were a passenger and do not have a vehicle of your own.

The exception to this would be if the vehicle owner chose a PIP deductible in order to carry a lower premium. In this case, claimants would have to acquire a certain amount of medical bills before the PIP coverage would pay.

As always, if this issue applies to you, feel free to contact Brooks & Crowley, LLP.

How to Get Your Lost Wages Paid After an Auto Accident - Dedham, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 18, 2015

By Neil Crowley

Your own auto insurance company will pay lost wages suffered as a result of an auto accident under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of your policy, up to $8,000.00. They will pay 75% of your wages tax free, which typically comes out the same as your paycheck. You must show a couple of things:

  1. A note from your medical provider disabling you from work;
  2. A completed form from your employer showing how much time you missed and your pay rate;
  3. You must not have used the PIP money to pay medical bills; and
  4. You must not have been paid during your absence from work, (you must have actual lost wages.)

Lost wages benefits provide a real service to injured claimants. You do not need to wait for the end of your claim to collect lost wages as with a bodily injury settlement. We have obtained lost wages for many injured people. Feel free to contact Brooks & Crowley, LLP with any questions regarding lost wages at 781-277-7321.

How to Best Protect Yourself From Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers – Dedham, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, August 21, 2015

By Steven J. Brooks

Although most people would never consider driving without automobile liability insurance, many people do.  An estimated 30 million vehicle owners in the U.S. drive without any insurance, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), an organization financed by insurance companies. Nationwide, the number of uninsured drivers is about 13 percent. In Massachusetts, the rate is far lower, between 4 and 5 percent.

Those without insurance typically don’t carry it because they can’t afford the cost. Those who do buy insurance often buy the minimum compulsory limits, which in Massachusetts are $20,000.00 per claim, and $40,000.00 total per accident (regardless of how many people are hurt). The compulsory minimums apply not only to private vehicles, but surprisingly also apply to taxicabs. Unfortunately, the mandatory coverage amounts are insufficient for any serious car accident. This is because on average, medical treatment for a non-incapacitating injury from a car crash costs $23,400.00, and the average cost of more severe incapacitating injuries comes in at about $72,700.00.

Each year, many people suffer serious injuries, only to discover that the responsible party has insufficient auto insurance coverage to compensate them. Not surprisingly, people who are insufficiently insured rarely have any additional assets available to satisfy a judgment against them.  In such instances, the injured person must either take what is available from the responsible party, or make a claim against his or her own insurance company if their own coverage is sufficient.

How to protect yourself

The best way to protect against uninsured and underinsured drivers is to buy uninsured motorist (“UM”) /under­insured motorist (“UIM”) coverage.  Your UM/UIM coverage stands in place of the other person's missing or insufficient liability coverage, if he or she is at fault.  This can be important because your own liability insurance might not pay for injuries to you and your passengers if you’re not at fault in the accident.

With this in mind, we highly recommend that you purchase UM/UIM coverage with the same limits as your own liability coverage. This is ideally at least $250,000.00 per claim and $500,000.00 per accident. At a minimum, you should purchase $100,000.00 bodily injury per claim and $300,000.00 bodily injury per accident, and $100,000 property damage. The additional UM/UIM coverage costs far less than primary bodily injury coverage, so choosing the right amounts will not break the bank.

If you have questions about insurance coverage or have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact Brooks and Crowley. We’re happy to discuss your options.

A YEAR PASSES BEFORE JAPANESE POLICE SEEK CHARGES FROM THE 10-CAR LUXURY LINE CRASH

Steven Brooks - Saturday, March 30, 2013
More than a year has passed since the world’s likely most expensive car crash took place in Japan. On December 4, 2011 a 61 year old man driving a Ferrari on a freeway in Shimonoseki in western Japan. He was followed by 9 cars of similar price and prestige; 8 Ferraris, a Lamborghini and a Mercedes Benz. The man lost control of his ride and the 9 subsequent drivers failed to put on their breaks in time to avoid collision.  The drivers were on their way to a super car event in Hiroshima. On March 14, 2013 police sent the case against the 10 drivers to prosecutors for suspected violations of traffic laws. Prosecutors in Japan will have the final say about whether or not to bring charges but police stated that the ten drivers were either exceeding the speed limit or not paying close enough attention to the road in front of them. The unusual nature of the crash don't end at the 10 luxury car line smash up, but also that police have waited more than a year to attempt to bring charges. Read the original article here on Business Insider and read the article from 2011 from CNN here. If you find have the unfortunate luck to get into a car crash, call Brooks & Crowley LLP for a free consultation. Let an experienced personal injury attorney make sure you get the recovery you are entitled to.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Top Five Important Things to Remember After an Auto Accident

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 14, 2013
Motor vehicle accidents can wreak havoc on your wallet, your body and your life. When a motor vehicle accident wasn’t your fault you may want to make a claim for financial damages. Remember that sometimes it can be months or years before you litigate a car accident case in court, but everything you do starting from the day of the accident can make difference. Listen to Attorney Neil Crowley explain these five itemshere.  Below is a short summary of the most common do’s and don’ts for anyone after an accident; things that can help or hurt your chances of full financial recovery for your losses.
  1. Make sure you take pictures at the scene of the accident before anything else happens if you can.
  2. Begin keeping a diary related to your injuries. Write down what pain you feel specifically, and for how long. Write down all the activities you can’t participate in or daily tasks you need help with because of your injuries. Months later when the pain is gone (hopefully) its easy to forget about these frustrating moments.
  3. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company. They will often send you information and call you in order to take your statement in order to minimize your recovery.  You should decline their attempts.
  4. Do not sign any papers that the other insurance company sends you. Remember for points 3 and 4 that the other driver’s insurance company is not working in your best interest.
  5. Send all correspondence from anyone or any company (including your own insurance company) to your attorney. A lawyer is the only person who is actually and legally completely on your side after an accident. A win for you is a win for them.
When clients come to Brooks & Crowley LLP after an accident, we understand that you are in crisis. Let us help you with our many years of experience in litigation and our results-oriented approach. Contributed by Laura Martin  

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Brooks & Crowley LLP serves clients throughout Massachusetts, and has offices in Dedham, Boston and Norwell


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781-277-7321

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Tel. 781-277-7321 | Fax 800-625-9021

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