Boston Drunk Driving Lawsuit
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Boston, MA 02110
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Boston Drunk Driving Lawsuit
Are you contemplating filing a Boston drunk driving lawsuit? If so, our drunk driving accident lawyers may be able to help. But first, we will need to review your claim to determine whether it meets the minimum threshold set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Fill out this form for a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our legal representatives specializing in car accident cases.
When to File a Lawsuit After a Drunk Driving Accident
In Boston and throughout Massachusetts, the no-fault car insurance system covers medical expenses and other damages regardless of who is at fault for an accident. However, you can bypass this system thanks to a tort threshold that allows individuals to file a claim against the other party's insurance under certain circumstances.
Per the Commonwealth's no-fault insurance system, drivers must have car insurance coverage that caters to medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, regardless of who caused the accident. But this system also has some drawbacks that can affect your drunk driving lawsuit.
For example, your PIP(Personal Injury Protection)) insurance will only cover expenses of up to $8,000. So, if your claim is worth more than that, you'll need to explore other alternatives, and that's where the state's tort threshold kicks in.
This law spells out specific criteria that must be met in order to be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance. In summary, you may be able to file a drunk driving accident lawsuit if the accident:
- causes the death of an individual involved;
- results in the loss of a body part;
- causes permanent and serious disfigurement;
- leads to the permanent loss of sight or hearing; and
- results in a fracture, such as a broken bone.
That said, meeting these standards does not automatically mean that you'll receive compensation with no questions asked. You must identify the parties responsible for the injuries and damages you sustained.
While this may seem like an easy process theoretically, it usually entails a significant amount of work.
Who to Sue After a Drunk Driving Accident
The drunk driver is usually the first liable party in this kind of case. You may be able to sue them for causing the accident and then recover damages through their insurance provider.
Massachusetts has dram shop laws that hold establishments accountable if they serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals or to those who are under 21 years old. Also known as dram shop liability, you may be able to sue the establishment for negligently serving alcohol to the driver when they knew or should have known that the driver was already too intoxicated.
Suing a social host who provided alcohol to the drunk driver might also be possible, but it is unlikely that you will recover considerable compensation from this route, unless the individual is a prominent person with the financial resources to settle your claim.
Car accident investigators will also take a closer look at the specific circumstances that led to the accident to determine whether a third party, such as a car part manufacturer, a mechanic who worked on the vehicle, or even a government entity that failed to set up warning signs on certain areas of the road may be liable for the accident.
Essentially, civil liability can fall on different parties; it all depends on the particularities of your case, and that is also why you should hire a lawyer for guidance.
Common Challenges You May Encounter When Filing a Drunk Driving Lawsuit
Filing a drunk driving lawsuit, especially in a no-fault car insurance state like Massachusetts, comes with many drawbacks. For starters, as mentioned earlier, the damages you can recover are typically limited to what your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers.
Secondly, one would think that in a no-fault system, insurance companies process claims without much of a hassle. That's not how it works; if you want to sue the other party involved in the accident, you still need to prove the elements of a car injury claim. This burden of proof involves proving that:
- the drunk driver owed you a duty;
- the drunk driver neglected this duty;
- you were injured due to the drunk driver's negligence; and finally,
- you suffered damages due to the injuries you sustained in the accident.
It's even more challenging in situations where several parties may be responsible for the accident. For example, if you have a dram shop liability case against a bar or restaurant, and a product liability case against a defective car part manufacturer, pursuing these cases simultaneously, especially without an attorney, can be overwhelming.
Remember, insurance companies will not go down without a fight. They will do whatever it takes to minimize the amount of compensation you are entitled to. They'll even put up a stronger fight if you have suffered serious injuries because they know such cases typically come with substantial medical expenses and other damages they would want to avoid paying.
How a Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help
From the challenges we've discussed above, you now have a rough idea of what to expect when you file a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver or any other party liable for the accident. That also highlights the importance of hiring an attorney to fight for you.
A drunk driving accident lawyer is better placed to demystify the complex no-fault laws in Massachusetts and use them to your advantage. They can explain how these laws apply to your situation and determine if your case meets the thresholds required for filing a lawsuit.
They will also assess your damages and determine the value of your claim. Here, your medical expenses, lost wages, future treatment needs, pain and suffering, and other relevant factors will be used to determine the appropriate compensation you should seek in your lawsuit.
Speaking of compensation, a good drunk driving accident attorney is usually a skilled negotiator. That's the professional you need to deal directly with insurance companies and advocate for your rights to a fair and just settlement.
But the truth of the matter is that not every case ends up in a settlement, a scenario the right attorney will always be prepared for. If going to court is the only reasonable option, your attorney will handle all the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
There Is Only One Morgan and Morgan
At Morgan & Morgan, we have a vast network of over 900 attorneys across the country who specialize in different practice areas under the personal injury umbrella. So whether the drunk driving accident includes a product liability claim, wrongful death claim, spinal cord injury claim, or anything in between, there is always a Morgan and Morgan attorney near you prepared to protect your rights.
Our attorneys are never afraid to take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. We have a solid reputation for fighting for the rights of the injured since 1988, and we don't stop until justice is served.
Our track record also speaks for itself; so far, we've recovered over $15 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients, demonstrating our ability to deliver when our clients need us most. With a client base of over 300,000 satisfied individuals, you can trust that we have the experience and skills required to handle your drunk driving injury case no matter its level of complexity.
In addition, our attorneys understand the complex traffic accident laws specific to Boston and the Commonwealth as a whole. From the complexities of no-fault insurance to modified comparative negligence and dram shop laws, we know how to approach these cases, anticipate challenges, and create legal strategies designed to advocate for our client's best interests.
We believe everyone deserves access to justice, regardless of their financial situation. That's why we've lifted the burden of upfront fees and costly legal expenses from your shoulders. Instead, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only receive payment if we win your case.
Finally, anyone who's ever been represented by a Morgan and Morgan attorney will testify that we never settle for less than the best offer. That's because our client's best interests come first over any form of settlement. Needless to say, the fact that we've won many big car accident cases proves that we're just not one of those law firms that are usually excited to settle cases without considering whether the settlement itself is in the client’s best interest.
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Can I Recover Punitive Damages in a Drunk Driving Lawsuit in Boston?
Yes, you may be able to recover punitive damages, but only if you lost a loved one in the accident. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts only allows punitive damages in wrongful death cases, meaning that proving the other party's extreme recklessness or negligence leading up to the car accident may not be enough to warrant this award.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Drunk Driving Lawsuit in Boston?
In Boston, there is a three-year deadline for filing a drunk driving lawsuit. The clock begins to count from the date of the drunk driving accident.
How Long After a Drunk Driving Accident Should I Seek Medical Attention?
We recommend seeking medical attention within the first 72 hours of the accident. Here's why:
To begin with, some injuries may not immediately reveal symptoms. By seeking medical attention within 72 hours, a car accident doctor can conduct a thorough examination to identify and diagnose any underlying injuries that may not be apparent at first, allowing for timely treatment and preventing potential complications.
Not sure where to find a car accident doctor near you? Here's a useful guide worth checking out.
This decision also ensures that your injuries are properly documented in your medical records, which is crucial for proving causation in your personal injury claim. Think about it this way: if you take too long to see a doctor, the other party might claim that you did not get injured in the car accident, and when that happens, it will be your duty to prove that, indeed, the injuries you sustained derived from the accident in question. Without proper documentation, you'll have a rough time proving this point.
In addition, many insurance policies require policyholders to seek medical attention within a reasonable timeframe following an accident. Make sure you are aware of the exact timeframe as provided in your insurance agreement. Failing to do so may provide insurance companies with grounds to dispute or deny your claim.
Lastly, seeking prompt medical attention shows that you've taken a proactive approach to addressing your injuries. The judge or jury may be more likely to believe your side of the case if you sought medical attention within a reasonable timeframe.
Help Filing a Boston Drunk Driving Lawsuit? Contact Us
If you or someone you love and care for has been injured by a drunk driver in Boston, Morgan & Morgan will review your case for free. We'll then contact you to discuss how to proceed. Fill out this form today to get started.