If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident in Massachusetts, and the accident was caused by someone else, you may have the legal right to pursue financial compensation for the injuries and losses suffered in the accident. This general legal principle applies to many different types of accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents and slip and falls.
A critical step and one that must be taken early on in a personal injury claim or case is the investigation. We all know what an investigation is, but often associate it with criminal cases. The investigation, however, is a very important step in civil matters, such as a personal injury case. In many cases, the investigation can make or break the case.
About Investigations in Accident Cases
In a Massachusetts personal injury case, the injured party (often referred to as the claimant in an insurance claim or plaintiff in a lawsuit) has the burden of proving that the other party was negligent in order to successfully obtain compensation for the injuries suffered and losses incurred in the accident. Because the plaintiff has the burden of proof, the investigation into the accident is very important to obtain enough evidence to meet his or her burden.
Investigation is defined as the observation or study by close examination or an efficient legal inquiry. In accident cases, the legal inquiry or examination involves discovery and preservation of necessary evidence. The necessary evidence generally includes:
- the identity of the parties or businesses involved;
- the identity of witnesses;
- statements of witnesses;
- photographs of the accident scene;
- accident reconstructions;
Obtaining these discovery items may be the difference between getting the money you deserve for your injuries and not getting anything at all. Let’s look at a few examples:
Car Accident: A young woman our office represented was seriously injured in a car accident in Brockton, Massachusetts. The accident took place in an intersection that our client was driving straight through with a green light. The other driver took a left-hand turn in front of our client and our client collided with the other car. The other driver claimed that our client was speeding through the intersection and caused the accident. Based upon this, the insurance company denied the claim. Fortunately, we conducted an immediate investigation into the accident with the use of our investigators. We were able to obtain a statement from a witness that completely contradicted the other driver. Armed with this information, we were able to successfully resolve the case.
Car Accident: A hard-working father of two young children was badly injured in a car crash in Framingham, Massachusetts. The issue in this case was that the other driver fled the accident scene and because our client was injured he didn’t get the identity or license plate number of the other car. So, you may be thinking, Well, isn’t that what uninsured motorist coverage is for? While you are correct, a more important inquiry is how much insurance coverage is there. You may recall from our other blogs and articles that Massachusetts law requires uninsured motorist coverage, but the minimum amount required is $20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident. Unfortunately, that is what this client had, only $20,000 worth of uninsured coverage. His injuries and damages far exceeded this insurance coverage. This is where the investigation saved the day. Our office conducted an immediate investigation into this crash. After speaking with witnesses and residents who lived in the area of the crash, we were able to determine the other car involved and the driver. The other driver admitted being involved in the accident. He had $100,000 worth of bodily injury insurance coverage, which was enough to compensate our client for his injuries.
Personal Injury Case: An elderly woman was knocked to the ground in Roslindale, Massachusetts by a deliveryman as he exited a business. Our client suffered a fractured hip in the accident. The deliveryman took off from the accident scene and no one could identify him or the business he worked for. Without knowing who the deliveryman was or the business he worked for, there would be no one to seek compensation from. We acted right away on this case. We went to the scene of the accident with our investigator to locate witnesses. After initially being unsuccessful, our persistence paid off. We spoke with an employee of the store where the delivery was made and learned the name of the deliveryman. Our investigator was then able to obtain the address and phone number for the deliveryman. We learned who the deliveryman worked for and he eventually admitted that he accidently knocked our client to the ground. This was critical and one of the main reasons we were able to secure a $225,000 settlement for our client.
The Investigation Must Be Conducted Right Away
In many cases, the chances of successfully recovering the money you deserve for your injuries and losses depends upon the investigation. In many accident cases, the person blamed for being negligent will deny that they were responsible for causing the accident. Often, they will give a completely different explanation of how the accident happened. In these situations, the other person’s insurance company is most likely to side with their insured and deny a claim. This is where the results of an investigation come into play as you can see from the above examples.
Personal injury cases require an immediate, thorough and legally-focused investigation into the circumstances of the accident. This is because as time goes on witnesses are harder to locate, they tend to forget specific facts, skid marks fade and damaged vehicles or property are fixed. Investigations must be conducted right away. The investigation should preferably be led by an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney or law office. An experienced accident lawyer or lawyers will have the necessary experience, knowledge and skill of accident investigations that will considerably increase the chances of proving your case and securing the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP is a personal injury law office centrally located in Framingham, Massachusetts that serves victims of accidents in Boston, greater Boston, Worcester and all other surrounding towns. We have decades of experience representing people injured in accidents and conducting investigations. Our lawyers work closely with investigators that we selected based upon their skill, experience and results. In many accident cases, choosing the right Massachusetts injury lawyer is very important. If you have been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident or a slip and fall accident, we are here to help you and fight to get you the fair compensation you and your family deserve.
Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
We understand the stress of being injured and can help guide you through the personal injury claim process and take the immediate action needed. If you, or a loved one, has been injured in an accident, please contact us online or call (508) 879-3500 to schedule a free case evaluation.