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If you have been in a car accident in the state of Massachusetts, you may be unsure what your legal rights are. Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult, and you may be wondering if you need MA car accident lawyers to help you negotiate or sue. Obtaining the services of a Massachusetts car accident lawyer can make your negotiations easier and Massachusetts car accident lawyers are skilled in getting the best award for your case. This guide can help you understand the role of MA car accident lawyers and the laws that your MA car accident lawyer must abide by when negotiating your case.
What Your Lawyer Can Do For You
Most people visit Massachusetts car accident lawyers because they expect to file a lawsuit. However, even if you have no intention of suing, a Massachusetts car accident lawyer can act as your representative with insurance companies. Because insurance companies have skilled legal negotiators, you need a MA car accident lawyer to give you the best possible settlement.
Your Massachusetts car accident lawyer can aid you by breaking down legal concepts and helping you to understand your rights and options. MA car accident lawyers understand that you may not be able to interpret “legalese” and can make sure you are informed and advised in language that makes sense. If your MA car accident lawyer negotiates a settlement deal, he or she can help you understand and interpret that settlement before you sign.
Insurance companies don't always play fair. Without a Massachusetts car accident lawyer, you're likely to receive a very low settlement offer that doesn't take all of your damages into account. Even when Massachusetts car accident lawyers are hired, sometimes insurance companies still don't want to pay. If that happens, your MA car accident lawyer can help you file a lawsuit at the trial court level and argue on your behalf in front of a judge or jury.
Limits On Your Lawyer
MA car accident lawyers have years of experience negotiating, and can advise you about whether they feel a settlement is reasonable. However, when you and your Massachusetts car accident lawyer disagree, your wishes must always be respected. State ethics rules prohibit your MA car accident lawyer from forcing you to accept or reject a settlement.
Your Massachusetts car accident lawyer is also required by law to represent you in the way you request. If you want aggressive representation, Massachusetts car accident lawyers are required to respect your wishes (within the bounds of professionalism and courtesy).
MA car accident lawyers must also keep your information confidential, and avoid conflicts of interest (like working both sides of a case). This means that you can trust your MA car accident lawyer with sensitive or embarrassing personal information. Your Massachusetts car accident lawyer must respect your wishes as to whether to bring up a topic at trial.
The most important thing to remember about the ethical standards for Massachusetts car accident lawyers is this: your MA car accident lawyer is there to represent you and your wishes to the best of his or her ability.
Do I Need To Hire a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer Right Away?
When you have just been injured, looking through MA car accident lawyers may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, your MA car accident lawyer can talk to your hospital and defer your medical bill payments, so contacting Massachusetts car accident lawyers may save you money right away.
The other reason to look at MA car accident lawyers soon after your accident is the Massachusetts statute of limitations. A statute of limitations limits the length of time you or your Massachusetts car accident lawyer has to sue after your accident. Massachusetts sets the statute of limitations at three years, so your MA car accident lawyer will only have three years to begin legal proceedings after your accident. If more than three years have passed, it is unlikely that Massachusetts car accident lawyers will be able to take your case.
Can I Afford a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer?
If your medical bills are piling up, you may think that hiring a MA car accident lawyer would just be another bill to pay. You may be surprised to learn that most MA car accident lawyers will not charge you anything up front if they have good reason to believe they will win your case.
If your Massachusetts car accident lawyer thinks you have a good chance of winning an award, he or she is likely to offer you a contingency fee arrangement. Massachusetts car accident lawyers working on a contingency basis do not charge you anything if you lose your case, and if you win you pay only a set percentage of your winnings.
MA car accident lawyers are limited by law as to how big a percentage of your award they can take. Massachusetts law limits your MA car accident lawyer to a fee of 40% of the first $150,000, 30% of the next $250,000, and 25% of damages over $500,000. This protects your award and ensures that Massachusetts car accident lawyers are rewarded fairly but not excessively for their services.
Tort reform efforts in Massachusetts mean that your Massachusetts car accident lawyer is limited in the amount of damages that he or she can seek for you. While MA car accident lawyers can seek out any amount of economic damages (the amount of money the accident cost you overall), damages for non-economic reasons, like pain and suffering, are limited. Unless your injury was catastrophic, Massachusetts car accident lawyers are not allowed to seek non-economic damages in excess of $500,000.
If your injuries were catastrophic, your MA car accident lawyer is allowed to seek any reasonable amount of non-economic damages.
The state of Massachusetts also bans MA car accident lawyers from seeking punitive damages. Punitive damages consist of money that your Massachusetts car accident lawyer would seek as a punishment for negligence rather than to recompensate you for your losses, but tort reform efforts have banned Massachusetts car accident lawyers from seeking these damages.