Bodily Injury Claim Process in Massachusetts


1. Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

  • Client Interview: Gather detailed information about the accident, injuries, and any immediate medical treatment received.
  • Case Assessment: Evaluate the facts to determine the potential for a successful claim. This includes reviewing police reports, medical records, and any available evidence like photographs or witness statements.

2. Investigation

  • Collect Evidence: Obtain all relevant evidence, including medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and any available video footage.
  • Document Injuries: Ensure comprehensive documentation of the injuries sustained, ongoing treatment, and the impact on the client’s daily life.

3. Notify the Insurance Company

  • Notification: Inform the at-fault party’s insurance company about the claim. This is accomplished through a formal letter outlining the details of the crash and injuries.
  • Communication: Establish communication with the insurance adjuster handling the claim.

4. Medical Treatment and Documentation

  • Ongoing Treatment: Advise the client to continue with all necessary medical treatment and keep detailed records of all medical expenses and treatments.
  • Expert Opinions: If necessary, obtain expert opinions from medical professionals to support the claim.

5. Demand Package Preparation

  • Assemble the Demand Package: Prepare a comprehensive demand package that includes:
    • A detailed account of the accident
    • Documentation of injuries and medical treatment
    • Evidence of lost wages and other economic damages
    • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering
    • A demand for compensation

6. Negotiation

  • Initial Offer: The insurance company will respond with an offer, which is typically lower than the demanded amount.
  • Negotiation: Engage in negotiations with the insurance adjuster to reach a fair settlement. This may involve multiple rounds of offers and counteroffers.

7. Settlement or Litigation

  • Settlement Agreement: If a satisfactory settlement is reached, draft a settlement agreement for the client to sign. Ensure all terms are clear and that the client understands the agreement.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: If a settlement cannot be reached, prepare to file a lawsuit. This involves:
    • Drafting and filing a complaint with the appropriate Massachusetts court
    • Serving the defendant with the complaint and summons
    • Engaging in the discovery process, including depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents
    • Preparing for trial if the case does not settle during the pre-trial phase

8. Trial

  • Trial Preparation: Develop a trial strategy, prepare witnesses, and gather all necessary evidence.
  • Trial: Present the case before a judge or jury, aiming to prove the defendant’s liability and the extent of the plaintiff’s damages.

9. Post-Trial

  • Verdict: If successful, ensure the verdict is enforced and the client receives the awarded compensation.
  • Appeal: If necessary, prepare for any appeals that may be filed by the defendant.

Important Considerations

  • Statute of Limitations: In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally three years from the date of the accident. It is crucial to file the claim within this period to avoid dismissal.
  • Comparative Negligence: Massachusetts follows a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning the plaintiff can recover damages if they are less than 51% at fault. However, the compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault.