Personal Injury – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

     

     

    1. How long does a personal injury case take to complete in order to receive compensation for a personal injury?

    The length of time a personal injury claim takes to process generally depends on the length of time the person requires medical treatment for their injuries. Upon conclusion of the medical treatment, medical records must be obtained and provided to the insurance company that is reviewing the claim, after which negotiations can start. This process generally takes 3 to 6 months after completion of medical treatment. If a matter is complicated (there are questions of who is at fault for the accident or incident or whether the injuries were caused by the accident or incident), then additional time may be necessary to conclude the case. The same is true if a law suit is filed, as the timing will be subject to the court’s schedule.

    2. What do I do with medical bills I receive as a result of the accident?

    There is generally coverage for medical bills from the insurance companies that are involved. For example, many states require a “no-fault” provision to be included in motor vehicle insurance policies, which provide coverage for medical expenses. Please note however, that there are often times limits on the amount of bills that will be covered. Any additional medical bills will be submitted to your health insurance provider and you will be subject to your health insurance co-payments, deductibles, and limits. It is also very important to understand the provisions of your health insurance coverage, as many health insurance policies require a person to reimburse the health insurance company for any expenses incurred as a result of an accident, once there is a settlement. To establish the best strategy to handle medical bills, you should review these provisions with the attorney representing you in the case.

    3. When is it worth to litigate/fight your personal injury case in court?

    A case is usually taken to court, when a settlement offer does not adequately compensate for the suffering you have endured due to the accident or incident or when the other party is not willing to accept its liability/responsibility. Our Boston personal injury lawyers will review the circumstances surrounding your case to recommend the best alternative for the most successful result. After all, our compensation is directly tied to your success and our business depends on our satisfied clients referring us new clients.

    4. I am an undocumented immigrant in the U.S., will I get in trouble if I bring a claim if I have been injured/hurt in a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or by a defective product or a dog bite?

    If a person has a right to bring a claim because they have been injured by the negligence of another in an accident,the law generally does not discriminate against persons because of their immigration status.

    5. What happens if I need to go to court because of a personal injury or accident and I am an undocumented/illegal immigrant?

    In civil proceedings to obtain lawful compensation as a result of an accident by the negligence of another, one’s immigration status should not be relevant to the claim or proceedings and all individuals in the US have the right to access our justice system regardless of their immigration status.

    6. As a passenger in an automobile who has been in a car accident, can I still bring a claim for my injuries resulting from the auto accident?

    Yes, any individual who has been injured in a car accident can bring a claim. Sometimes a claim may be limited to reimbursement for certain medical expenses if you are responsible for the accident, however, as a passenger you are generally not at fault for the accident and therefore you would be eligible to bring a complete claim for medical bills, pain and suffering compensation and property damage.

    7. What happens if my car insurance is in another person’s name because I am an undocumented immigrant, can I still bring a claim due to a car accident?

    If you are not responsible for the accident, you may be able to bring a claim, however, if the insurance company providing coverage for your vehicle determines that the policy is not valid because of the improper use of a third party name in the policy, there may be limitations as to coverage and compensation.

    8. Can I receive compensation from a personal injury case if I do not have a driver’s license?

    Yes. Operating a motor vehicle without a license, generally does not impact who is responsible for the automobile accident, and an individual who was injured in a motor vehicle accident who was not responsible for the accident can bring a claim for medical bills, pain and suffering compensation and property damage.

    9. Can I receive compensation from a personal injury case if the car is not mine?

    Yes. Generally, the ownership of a car does not impact whether or not a claim for injuries can be presented. If a vehicle is not “properly” registered then some of the insurance coverage may not be available. Insurance policies have complex rules about car registration that impact coverage.

    10. How will my medical bills be paid if I am injured in a car accident and I have medical insurance?

    If you have medical insurance and you have been injured in a car accident, the payment of your medical bills will depend upon the state law, the terms of your medical insurance policy, and the terms of the car insurance policies. In general, in Massachusetts, all cars are required to have an insurance policy that includes medical coverage that will pay up to $2,000 in medical bills from a car accident. After the car insurance has paid the initial $2,000 in medical bills, any additional medical bills are submitted to your health insurance company for payment according to your health insurance policy, and you will be subject to your health insurance co-payments, deductibles, and limits. It is important to understand the terms of your health insurance policy, because many policies allow the health insurance company to take a portion of your settlement as reimbursement for their coverage. Also, some car insurance policies provide for additional coverage for medical bills beyond the mandatory $2,000.

    11. How will my medical bills be paid if I am injured in a car accident and I do not have medical insurance?

    If you do not have medical insurance and you have been injured in a car accident, the payment of your medical bills will depend upon the applicable state law and the terms of the car insurance policies. In general, in Massachusetts, all car insurance polies must provide coverage for medical bills for people without medical insurance, for up to $8,000. After the car insurance has paid $8,000 in medical bills, any additional medical bills will be paid from the settlement of the case. Also, some car insurance policies provide for additional coverage for medical bills beyond the mandatory $8,000.

    12. If the police says I am responsible for the automobile accident, can I still bring a personal injury claim?

    In order to obtain compensation for injuries from a car accident you must not be at fault for the accident. In most instances, a police determination is not a final determination of fault in an accident. A police determination can generally be reviewed by court or an administrative board and the operator of the motor vehicle can present evidence that he or she was not at fault for the accident. However, it is determined that you are at fault for the accident you will not receive compensation for your injuries. It is important to review any citations or reports issued by the police with your attorney promptly.

    13. What happens if I do not complete my medical treatment for the accident? Does this affect my personal injury case?

    Not completing medical treatment will generally have a negative impact on your personal injury claim. In Massachusetts, there is a requirement that an individual have at least $2,000 in medical bills to present a claim for personal injuries. If your medical treatment is stopped before you have incurred $2,000 in medical bills you generally will not be able to make a personal injury claim in Massachusetts.

    If you have already incurred more than $2,000 in medical bills but your medical treatment is stopped before the doctor determines that treatment is complete, this will reduce the value of your claim and your compensation, as your injuries could be considered less serious due to the fact that treatment was stopped prematurely.

    14. Can I sue the city or state if I fall in public (government) property?

    You may be able to bring a claim against a city, state, the federal government or any governmental entity, if they are responsible for an accident. However, the law provides significant protection to the government against claims, including strict notification deadlines. There are also may be limitations in the amount of money that can be paid for such a claim.

    15. Can I sue the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) if I have an accident using public transportation in Massachusetts?

    Yes, if you are injured in an accident on the MBTA, you may bring a claim for personal injuries. However, generally there is a shorter statute of limitations (the deadline to file a claim in court which is 2 years instead of 3 years) to bring your claim.

    16. Who can bring a personal injury claim as a result of a car accident in Massachusetts?

    If you have sustained injuries in a car accident, whether you are the driver or a passenger, and the cost of the medical treatment is $2,000 or more, you are eligible to bring a claim for compensation for your injuries in Massachusetts. There are limitations under the law as to how long after the accident you can bring your claim (generally 3 years in Massachusetts, with certain exceptions). If you were the operator of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, you must also demonstrate that you were not at fault for the accident in order to obtain compensation for your injuries.

    17. What are the steps involved in a personal injury claim and how is my personal injury claim processed?

    The following are the general steps our firm follows in processing a personal injury claim:

    • Evaluate the case to determine who is liable for the accident or injuries
    • Notify the responsible/liable parties of the existence of the claim
    • Provide notice to the appropriate insurance companies
    • Request medical bills and records form all hospitals, doctors, or treatment centers that have provided care to the injured person
    • In Massachusetts, if the injury happened as a result of a motor vehicle accident, we may be required to complete and submit an application to have the medical bills paid by the insurance company responsible for providing PIP (personal injury protection) benefits
    • If loss wages coverage is available, and the injured person has lost time from work, we will request documentation from the employer and submit a loss wage claim to the appropriate insurance company.
    • An important element of the process is that the client receives all of the medical treatment required. This may take a significant period of time.
    • Once all the medical treatment has been completed, we will obtain the medical/treatment records and submit a demand for compensation to the appropriate insurance company.
    • Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and present a recommendation to our client on whether or not to accept or reject a settlement offer.
    • In the event that negotiations do not result in an acceptable settlement offer, we may take additional legal action in court or through arbitration in order to obtain compensation or resolve the claim.
    • Once there is an acceptable offer of settlement or a judgment, we prepare the necessary documents (release) to provide to the insurance company so that they may issue the compensation check.

    18. What can you expect when you work with our firm to represent you in your personal injury claim?

    At FitzGerald Law Company, LLC, our Boston personal injury lawyers are experienced litigation lawyers not only in the personal injury field, but our trial experience encompassing immigration and criminal defense, at the State and Federal levels, give us an edge in court and a clear advantage when it comes to obtaining the best results for our clients, whether is negotiating a settlement or litigating the case in court. Litigation is at the core of our firm and you only stand to benefit from it.

    When you work with FitzGerald Law Company, you can expect to receive not only top notch negotiation and litigation expertise that will help us obtain the favorable personal injury compensation your case deserves, but also the highest quality of bilingual customer attention and care (our entire team, including all attorneys are fluent in Spanish). The multi-cultural background of our team members and our experience serving a clientele of different backgrounds allows us to have a greater level of empathy, closeness and understanding of our clients than other firms. We forge a collaborative working relationship with our clients through open communication from the start of the case, which reduces the stress and uncertainty that usually accompanies these types of cases (hear our client testimonials/review and read our client success stories).

    Specifically, as a client you can expect that our firm will:

    • Conduct a thorough evaluation of your personal injury case and provide you the appropriate recommendation as to the best way to proceed with your personal injury case based on your needs and the merit of the case.
    • Manage your case expeditiously and will keep you informed as to the progress of your case at each step in the process.
    • Answer your questions and calls in a timely and professional manner.
    • Negotiate firmly and effectively on your behalf with the insurance companies involved and in certain cases with medical providers.
    • Effectively litigate your case in court if appropriate.
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