Hit and Run Accidents
Since 1985 I have represented victims of hit and run motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts. These types of cases are generally caused as a result of a collision between two vehicles, however, we have often represented Massachusetts pedestrian hit and run victims and Massachusetts bicycle hit and run victims.
Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24, it is illegal for someone not to stop and provide his or her information following a motor vehicle collision in Massachusetts where there is property damage or personal injury. The penalty is up to $1,000, two years in jail and one-year loss of license. Nevertheless, it happens quite often.
What to Do
If you are the victim, you need to report the collision to your insurance company. They will likely undertake some type of investigation. That may include taking photographs of your vehicle and the scene, and also, taking a statement. The statement you give is critical because quite often the insurance adjusters take a skeptical view of a collision. The reasons for this may vary, but one important reason is that YOUR insurance company will be responsible for all the damages. Those damages include Personal Injury Protection, or no fault, medical and lost income coverage; motor vehicle damage; and pain and suffering.
How Does it Work
How does it work when you can’t file a claim or sue the person who caused your injuries? There is a portion of all insurance coverage called Massachusetts uninsured coverage which covers medical bills, pain and suffering, disfigurement and lost earnings. It is a requirement for all policies that there be a minimum of $20,000 in “U” coverage. We would recommend that clients secure vastly more coverage, however, if you were in a vehicle insured in Massachusetts, you will have that $20,000 in minimal coverage. Claims against your own insurance company do not generally require filing any lawsuits in court. Rather, there is a mechanism within the policy that requires that you arbitrate your claims.
Massachusetts Uninsured Arbitration
What is uninsured arbitration in Massachusetts? Arbitration is when both sides agree upon an arbitrator, or “judge” who will listen to all of the evidence and make a decision. The rules of arbitration are generally less complex than a trial, however, you want a Massachusetts lawyer experienced in arbitration because it is critical that all of your medical records and bills are presented; it is critical you’re your witnesses are prepared for the hearing; and, it is critical that all of your damages are explained and documented so that the arbitrator can make the best possible award to you.
What we have found important is that our personal attention to our clients’ cases helps remove ambiguity and helps guide them through the process. As mentioned above, when insurance companies want to take a statement, they are undertaking their obligation to investigate. However, they are also ready, willing and able to use what victims say against them. Further, if the case doesn’t settle and an arbitration is planned, the insurance company will often engage an insurance trial attorney who will then take a second statement, the focus of which will be to find contradictions from your first statement, get your life’s medical history, check your criminal record and prepare the insurance company to cross examine you at the arbitration. We are aggressive in representing you every step of the way in this process.