Experienced Car Accident Attorney, Worcester, Central Mass, Metro West
At the law office of Peter Ventura, Attorney at Law, we handle car accident cases of all kinds — the soft-tissue injuries that could keep you away from work for a few weeks, and the very serious and sometimes catastrophic injury cases which involve permanent injuries and lifelong problems and consequences. We routinely examine all sources of compensation for every claim including the other driver’s liability insurance, and even the client’s own under-insured motorist coverage and any other sources of compensation available to satisfy the client’s damages.
Car Accident Cases We Represent
Personal injury lawyer Peter Ventura investigates and presents claims on behalf of people injured in a wide variety of car accident scenarios:
- Car accidents on the Mass Pike, and any public or private roads
- Crashes involving multiple vehicles or passengers
- Collisions with semi trucks or other commercial vehicles
- Auto accidents involving drunk drivers or hit-and-run motorists
- Accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers
- Bicycle or pedestrian accidents caused by negligent drivers
- Motorcycle accidents
Five Simple Tips for Avoiding a Car Accident
Personal injury cases are often the result of car crash incidents. While there is certainly no way to prevent all accidents from happening, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of you being involved in a wreck that could leave you injured or even worse. Here are a few tips to help you avoid a car crash:
1. Reduce distractions
Distraction is the number one cause of most car crashes. Distractions can range from music being too loud, children fighting in the backseat, talking on the phone, applying makeup, or even looking at a map. Sometimes, people get so comfortable behind the wheel that they think they can multitask. When you are driving you should consider that as your one and only task. Simply remove distractions from your vehicle so that you can clearly focus on the roadway.
2. Check for safety
Before driving your vehicle, remember to check for any safety hazards. Common issues may be things such as a flat tire, leaking fluid, or impaired windows. Make sure that you can operate your vehicle in a safe manner before you drive away. Vehicle malfunction is a common cause of some of worst wrecks in Massachusetts.
It is also important to check for personal safety. Ask yourself how you feel before you start the engine. Do you feel tired? Do you feel sick? Do you have any ongoing health concerns that you should monitor closely? Personal safety is critical as it impacts whether or not you are in the appropriate physical condition to drive your car.
3. No cell phone rule
Cell phones should never be used when you are behind the wheel of a car. It is never safe to text and drive, as your attention is divided when you are talking on the phone. If the conversation is necessary, simply pull off the road safely in order to take the call.
4. Know your surroundings
While there are certain things you can do to help yourself avoid crashes, you have limited control over the outside world. That is why it is important to pay attention to your surroundings. Make a mental note of the weather forecast for the day so you will know if the roads will be icy or wet. Pay attention to the drivers around you. Are they on their cell phones? Does their vehicle have body damage suggesting that they have been in numerous wrecks? Are there emergency vehicles nearby? Listen for the sound of sirens so you may move safely out of the way. The more you know about your surroundings, the more you can prepare and help yourself avoid crashes in Massachusetts.
5. Reduce nighttime driving if you have difficulty seeing
Drivers do not see as clearly in the dark and this can make it difficult to determine road conditions, make quick stops for wild animals, or see other vehicles. These are exacerbated if you have trouble seeing, so if possible, try to reduce or eliminate nighttime driving.
What NOT to Do After a Car Accident
Massachusetts car accident attorneys can provide crucial help following a collision. Among other things, we can thoroughly investigate the accident, help prove who was at fault, defend you against unfair accusations, and help secure full and fair compensation for your injuries.
But we lawyers usually “appear on the scene” days after the crash, if not longer. By that time, you might have unwittingly done as much damage to your legal case as was done to your car! To help preserve your legal rights, don’t do any of the following nine things after an accident:
1. Don’t leave the scene
Under no circumstances should you leave the scene of an accident, even a very minor one. We know that it’s human nature to want to flee from frightening situations, but you must resist this impulse. It is a criminal offense under Massachusetts law to leave the scene of the accident. So no matter how bad the situation seems for you after a crash, it can only be made worse by fleeing.
2. Don’t admit to fault or apologize
After a crash, stunned drivers sometimes pop out of their vehicle and say, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you!” or something similar. Even if you believe the accident to be your fault, you gain nothing by saying so at the time of the accident. Your lawyers and other investigators will examine all the facts surrounding the crash and determine who is responsible. You do, however, have a responsibility to clearly and honestly tell the police the events that led to the crash.
3. Don’t neglect to call the police
You and the other driver might agree to keep the police out of it and allow your insurance companies to handle the claims. But that’s a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First, without police involvement, you won’t have a formal report of the accident, which can be useful for your insurance company or in any subsequent lawsuit. Second, you have no idea whether the other driver is honest. What happens if the other driver provides false information? Or if their insurance isn’t up-to-date? You could end up in a vastly more complicated situation than you’ve bargained for and have to carry more costs.
4. Don’t get chummy or angry with the other driver
You might be infuriated that your brand-new car is smashed thanks to someone else’s negligence, or you might feel guilty that you were fiddling with your CD player at the time of the crash. Either way, say as little as possible to the other driver beyond exchanging essential information. You could easily say something that could be used against you later (e.g., “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not hurt!” or “Well, you jammed on the brakes so suddenly, you made me crash into you!”) Before getting out of your car, take a few deep breaths to clear your head and get your emotions under control.
5. Don’t forget to document evidence
Get key information from the other driver such as their name, address, telephone number, driver license number, license plate number, vehicle description, and insurance information. But don’t forget to obtain the name and telephone number of witnesses, as well. Take numerous pictures of the crash scene from different angles. Also, at first opportunity, write down all the facts you can remember about the crash, including weather conditions and the state of the road.
6. Don’t refuse medical evaluation and attention at the scene
Refusing medical attention at the scene might bring more suffering later. You may think you’re fine, but some injuries are not immediately apparent or you might fail to recognize certain symptoms as dangerous. In addition, turning down a medical once-over or basic medical evaluation could affect your future legal claim. The other driver’s attorney and insurance company might argue that in refusing medical treatment at the scene, you weren’t seriously injured or that any injuries identified later were unconnected with the accident.
7. Don’t talk to an insurance adjuster without your lawyer
Just as casual chatting with the other driver can inadvertently harm your case, so can a seemingly simple conversation with an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies are looking for ways to limit or deny your claim, and any off-the-cuff statement you make to them (“I feel fine, thanks”) may be used against you later.
8. Don’t forget to file a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report
Under Massachusetts law, if you’ve been involved in a collision that caused injury, death, or over $1,000 worth of damage, you’re required to file a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator report within 5 days of the accident. You must do this even if police were on the scene.
9. Don’t try to represent yourself
Crash victims who represent themselves after car accidents tend to accept financial settlements too early and for too low a sum. This can have unfortunate consequences. For example, sometimes injuries arising from the accident (such as spinal cord or neurological damage) are diagnosed weeks or months after the incident. If you accept a settlement too early, you could preclude yourself from receiving compensation for injuries identified later. A Massachusetts car accident attorney can help you preserve your rights and receive the full compensation that you deserve.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Side-Impact, or “T-Bone” Car Accidents
Side-impact collisions, also called T-bone collisions, refer to accidents in which a vehicle is struck on the side by another vehicle. Due to the bio-mechanics of injury associated with these accidents, these kinds of cases create a greater risk of serious injury because an occupant of the vehicle which is struck is generally subject to considerable forces in which an occupant is minimally protected.
While many newer vehicles have side airbags, some older model vehicles do not. Because of the potential damage to protective door and window structures in these accidents, vehicle occupants in this kind of impact often suffer significant, if not catastrophic, injuries. Many of these incidents occur at intersections and are the result of a driver’s failure to yield at a stop sign or other traffic control light.
Car Dealership Liability after a Car Accident
There’s often more to a car accident that meets the eye. A rear-end accident might seem to be caused by an inattentive driver, but in reality was caused by faulty brakes. A head-on collision might raise the specter of drunk driving, but a malfunctioning steering wheel might be the real issue.
When a car accident is caused by a defect in the car, the manufacturer of the car or its parts may be legally obligated to compensate you for your injuries. But they might not be the only ones responsible: sometimes the car dealership or the person from whom you bought the vehicle is also liable.
How a Dealership May be Liable for Your Injuries
A seller of a vehicle could be legally responsible for injuries sustained due to a defect in the vehicle under two circumstances:
- when the seller made a fraudulent statement about the vehicle that you relied upon to your detriment when purchasing it, or
- when the seller made negligent misrepresentations about the vehicle that caused you to buy it.
What does this mean? Let’s start with fraud. If the seller intentionally makes a false statement about the car that prompted you to buy it, and you were later injured as a result of that false statement, the seller may be liable for your injuries.
For example, let’s say that you were interested in a particular used car but didn’t want to buy a car that had been involved in an accident. You informed the dealer of this and he assured you, either directly or implicitly, that this was not the case. Based on this assurance, you bought the car. Subsequently, you become involved in a crash and learn that your car had previously been involved in a wreck, after all. You may then be able to seek financial compensation from the seller of the car.
What If You Can’t Prove Fraud?
You may still be able to recover for your injuries if the seller made a negligent misrepresentation about the vehicle and you relied on that misrepresentation when deciding to purchase the car. A negligent misrepresentation is a statement that recklessly disregards the truth.
To illustrate: a vehicle seller may say that a used car’s brakes are in great condition, prompting you to buy it. Later you are injured in an accident due to the car’s faulty brakes. If the dealer made his statement without knowing that the brakes were in good condition, or without having examined the brakes to assess whether they were in good condition, the dealer may be as responsible as if he had knowingly lied about the brakes’ condition.
Expert Legal Representation for Car Accident Insurance Claims
Our law firm is known throughout the region for our attention to detail on insurance coverage issues and proof of damages on Massachusetts car accident injury claims. In any case where the nature or extent of your injuries comes into dispute, we can assemble a team of experts tailored to the demands of your case.
Peter Ventura’s ability to work effectively with experts on complex damages claims can enhance your recovery of damages (and protect you from mistakes or defects in the presentation of evidence less experienced lawyers might make) on the different parts of your claim: bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, impaired earning capacity, pain and suffering, and future losses.
Our experience with hundreds of auto accident claims can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Below is a review from our past client Andrea:
Call 508-755-7535 in Worcester or Metro West
Contact our office in Worcester for a free consultation about your legal and practical options for recovering the full amount necessary to cover your losses after a serious car accident. No matter how severe your injuries happen to be, you’ll find Peter Ventura and his staff to be prompt, knowledgeable, accessible and fully committed to helping you collect fair and just compensation for your injuries and other losses.