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Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers No-Fault Guide

 

A. LAWYER ASSISTED CLAIMS: Bodily Injury Claims

Our Law Office handles Bodily Injury Claims for Personal Injury Claims on a contingency fee basis. Generally, you will be eligible for a bodily injury claim when you have reached Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) in medical expenses or have suffered a broken bone or permanent disfigurement from car accident related injuries. This is money that will go to you rather than to doctors, etc. This is an adversarial claim against the person who was at fault and their insurance company. You will need legal representation for this claim.

B. CLAIMS YOU CAN PROCESS DIRECTLY: No Fault and property damage

Other Benefits/Claims you may have which you can often resolve without an attorney include:
1. No-Fault Claims
     a. Medical Bill Claims
     b. Wage Loss Claims
2. Car Damage Claims
3. Car Rental Claims
4. Towing, Storage Claims

The following are instructions to help you handle these other claims.

1. NOTICE REQUIREMENTS:

Notify your insurance carrier immediately and request a no-fault or Personal Injury Protection "PIP" Form if you have been injured or have seen a doctor. HIT & RUN accidents should be reported immediately. Cases involving a car that hits you that does not carry enough insurance must be reported promptly to your insurance company.

2. PIP BENEFITS OR NO-FAULT CLAIMS:

These claims are paid regardless of fault so these are often claims you can process yourself. In fact, some companies actually try to audit claim payments where legal representation is involved. These are reimbursements for medical bills and wage losses. These are paid by your insurance company (or the insurer of the car you were driving in if you were a passenger.) These include:

a. Wages and Earnings Lost: Please keep an accurate record of all days lost from work because of your injuries. You have up to $8,000.00 in combined wage loss and medical benefits.

b. Medical Bills: Obtain and keep duplicate copies of all medical, hospital and prescription bills and records. Also keep records of any other expenses you may have in connection with your accident, such as the hiring of household help or transportation to and from the doctor's office. Submit bills to your insurance company promptly, along with the accompanying medical records and doctor's notes. Once you have done this, the insurance company must pay within thirty (30) days by Massachusetts law! Keep a diary of medical visits and costs. Send copies of all bills to your insurance company and keep copies for yourself.

You have $2,000.00 in No-Fault medical benefits if you also have health insurance. If you have a health insurance policy, they must pay the bills after the first $2,000.00. Health carriers usually require reimbursement to them when you settle your bodily injury claim. If you do not have health insurance, the No-Fault benefit for medical rises to $8,000.00.

In order to receive these benefits, you must complete a Personal Injury Protection "PIP" Form which is usually a long form on yellow paper sent to you by your insurance carrier.

Keep a record of all calls to the insurance company (note the date and who you talked to.) Sometimes there are delays in processing these claims. You should feel free to call the insurance company directly to expedite payment of bills or wages you are concerned about. Request to speak to a supervisor if bills aren't paid promptly. Some insurance adjusters do not like talking to policyholders so be persistent and take note of unreturned phone calls.

3. CAR REPAIR:
a) IF YOU HAVE "COLLISION" COVERAGE: Have your insurance carrier repair your car. YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR TOWING, STORAGE, REPAIR AND CAR RENTAL.

b) IF YOU DO NOT HAVE "COLLISION" COVERAGE: The insurance carrier for the person who caused the accident must be notified immediately about your property damage claim. They will ordinarily settle promptly. Tell them the location and condition of the car. You do not and should not discuss any other aspects of the case with the opposing insurer or adjuster however.

4. CAR RENTAL:

The law requires the person at fault to pay for your substitute transportation. You, however may be required to pay the rental bill when turning the rental in. Legally you will be entitled to be reimbursed by the person who caused your accident but that may take months. Cars may be rented for "reasonable" amounts of time usually until a fair offer is made to you for your property damage claim. Do not assume that because another person caused the accident it will be automatic to obtain reimbursement for the car rental charges. Even if you have collision coverage with your own insurance company, you may have to get rental reimbursement from the company of the person who hit you.

5. TOWING AND STORAGE: Unless the other person's insurance company or yours agrees to pay, you are liable for these charges so you should not allow these to accumulate. Be sure that you, the insurance company and the garage are on the "same page" regarding storage fees.

6. ACCIDENT REPORTS: Submit a copy of any and all accident reports to the police after you have completed them. You ordinarily should not fill out accident reports requested by the adverse party's insurance company. Call our attorneys if you have questions on this.

7. YOUR INSURANCE POLICY: Please immediately find your policy (Coverage Selections Page) and deliver a copy to your attorney. You may have important benefits waiting for you such as additional medical payments and underinsurance coverage.

OTHER POINTERS:

8. PHOTOGRAPHS:

You should take pictures of damaged cars and of personal injuries. This is important evidence.

9. YOUR DOCTOR: You should return to each of your doctors as often as required and should always tell him about all of your complaints.
 

10. TALK TO NO ONE: Talk only to your own insurance company. If they want a recorded statement, call an attorney.

11. CONSUMER RIGHTS: General Law's ch 93A and 176D Massachusetts Laws specifically states (General Laws of Ch. 176D Sec. 9), " an unfair claim insurance settlement practice shall consist of any of the following acts or omissions":

(a) Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverage's at issue;

(b) Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;

(c) Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies;

(d) Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information.

(e) Failing to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear,

(f) Compelling insureds to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insureds;

(g) Attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled by reference to written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application. Chapter 176D has been incorporated by Statute into M.G.L. ch 93A.

 If you have a dispute over a claim with your own insurance company, our attorneys are available to handle them for you on a fee basis, or you can report the insurance company to the Insurance Commissioner by contacting: Complaint Form Mass Division of Insurance

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