If you’re injured in a motor vehicle or premises liability accident, there are a few things you (or someone on your behalf) can do (or not do) to help maximize your recovery. Obviously, any of these things are secondary to your staying safe and seeking emergency medical treatment.

  1. Call 911, briefly describe what happened and request that police and paramedics respond. Keep in mind that this call is recorded and will be subject to discovery in your case. The police officer will take statements and contact information from witnesses while the information is fresh in their minds and the report will be helpful, if not necessary, for any insurance claim you file. It also ties the at fault driver (i.e., not you) into a version of events before they have the benefit of legal counsel. Car Accident!For the same reason, choose your words carefully and avoid any concessions of fault. Also be sure to point out to the officer any damaging statements the other driver may have made. The police can and will issue citations based on what people say at the scene. In an accident due to either snow and ice or a dangerous condition on a property, police involvement may be helpful to document possible code or statutory violations.

  2. Ask any witnesses to stay until the police arrive. If the police don’t respond (or if the witness has to leave before they do), then ask the witness for his or her contact information yourself. This changes your case from a “he said, she said” scenario to a case in which your version of events is corroborated by independent witnesses with nothing to gain.

  3. For a car accident, file a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report, which will be requested by your insurance company and is required by law. Ideally, you should run your description of the car accident by your attorney, as this will be a public record and subject to discovery during your case. For a premises liability accident, immediately report the accident to the store manager, landlord, homeowner, or person in charge of the premises where you were injured. Most businesses, in particular larger chains, will have incident reports that, once completed, will result in an internal investigation and some form of written report. This report will be subject to discovery in your case and will often contain helpful information, including the identity of store employees and admissions as to the cause of the accident.

  4. Take pictures of any physical evidence at the scene. Photographs of the scene of a car accident will indisputably document things such as the damage to and position of the vehicles, potential impact points, skid marks, road and lighting conditions, etc. Photographs of the scene of a snow and ice slip and fall will establish the amount of snow or ice and, possibly, help to determine its source or how long it had been there. Photographs of a defective condition on the premises of a business or other property will protect against that condition being inevitably being repaired or removed (as it should be), thereby making it more difficult to properly evaluate. These are things that will not only, again, corroborate your version of events, but which may also be helpful in the event that an expert is retained in your case.

  5. If applicable, take pictures of your injuries early on and then regularly throughout your treatment. Likewise, if you’re super-motivated, keep a periodic written or video diary of how the injuries are affecting your activities of daily living. This will help a jury better understand the extent of your injuries and the pain you’re suffering, and can be useful to refresh your own memory prior to any future testimony.

  6. Do not speak or communicate with the insurance company of the other party (you have a duty to cooperate with your own). A claims representative from the other company will call you to take your statement or send you forms asking for information, but do not respond and let your attorney handle it. Likewise, car-accident-attorney-60pxif your injuries are serious enough, the insurance company will often send a private investigator to obtain your statement before you are represented by an attorney and, believe it or not, attempt to get you to settle your case for short money. Do not give any such statement and do not sign anything. You do not have any obligation to them and they are not trying to help you. They are doing their job, which is to save their employer as much money as possible by paying you as little as possible.

  7. As always, call an attorney as soon in the process as possible. A good attorney will guide you through the process and be available to answer any questions you may have.
  • Andrew is an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who represents individuals in all criminal matters, including…

    • Attorney Berman represents individuals and businesses in all civil matters, including…
    • Personal Injury
    • Product Liability
    • Premises Liability
    • Social Host Liability
    • Automobile Accidents
    • Attorney Malpractice
    •  

    • Commercial Lease Disputes
    • Property Damage Claims
    • Construction Site Injuries
    • Dram Shop Liability
    • Wrongful Death
    • Victims of Sexual Assault
    • Victims of Assault and Battery
    • Commercial Vehicle Accidents
    • Negligent Security
    • G.L. c. 93A (Consumer Protection)
    • Contractor and Homeowner Construction Disputes
    • Business Disputes and Contract Actions
    • Fiduciary Trustee and Estate Litigation
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    • Prospective Client Calls

      Individuals considering retaining Attorney Berman can contact the firm through the Contact form or by calling 617.723.4163. Please include in your message a short statement of the reason for contacting the office, as well as the best method and time to contact you.  Attorney Berman will return your message promptly to learn more about your case and, if appropriate, schedule an initial consultation.

      IF YOUR MATTER REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, PLEASE CALL OR PUT “URGENT’ IN THE SUBJECT BOX OF THE CONTACT FORM.  You will be contacted immediately.

    • The Initial Consultation

      The goal of the first meeting is for Attorney Berman to gain a clear understanding of the situation and for both attorney and client to determine whether to enter into a longer, more substantial attorney-client relationship. You should bring with you any documents and paperwork relevant to your case or, if possible, provide them beforehand. During this session, Andrew will gather relevant information, ascertain your objectives and provide you with a preliminary assessment of your situation, including possible strategies and tactics. If the decision is made to move forward, future fee arrangements and a retainer agreement (if applicable) should then be discussed.

      The initial consultation will generally last 30 to 60 minutes and is free of charge.

    • Fee Agreements

      Below is a general description of the various types of fee agreements considered by Attorney Berman. Ultimately, the type of agreement entered into, and the amount charged, depends on the nature of your case.

      Flat Fee

      A flat fee is a set amount of money that is decided upon at the beginning of the representation, before any work is done on the case. This type of agreement is generally used for certain criminal offenses or in situations that require a limited number of court appearances.

      Hourly Rate

      To state the obvious, in an hourly case, the fee you pay is calculated by multiplying the hourly rate by the number of hours the attorney spends working on your case. Hourly rate agreements are generally used in serious criminal matters, civil defense (representation of an individual or company being sued in Civil court) and certain plaintiff cases (representation of an individual or business suing someone else in Civil Court). The hourly rate and the required retainer will vary depending on type and complexity of the case.

      Contingency Fee 

      A contingency fee agreement is standard in personal injury matters (where an individual brings claims in Civil court for his or her personal injuries) and may also be used in certain other types of plaintiff cases.  The fee your attorney earns is, as the name suggests, contingent upon there being a monetary recovery in your case and there is no fee due unless we win your case.   A fairly standard percentage for a contingent fees is one-third of the total recovery.   These types of agreements are not ethically permitted in criminal cases.

    • Client Bill of Rights

      1. You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by Attorney Berman and the other lawyers and non-lawyer personnel in the office.

      2. You are entitled to have Attorney Berman and any other attorney handle your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession.  If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to discharge your attorney and terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time.

      3. You are entitled to Attorney Berman’s independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.

      4. You are entitled to be charged reasonable fees and expenses and to have Attorney Berman explain before or within a reasonable time after commencement of the representation how the fees and expenses will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You may refuse to enter into any arrangement for fees and expenses that you find unsatisfactory.  In hourly cases, you are entitled to request and receive a written itemized bill at reasonable intervals.

      5.  You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed promptly and to receive a prompt reply to your letters, telephone calls, emails, faxes, and other communications.

      6.  You are entitled to be kept reasonably informed as to the status of your matter and are entitled to have Attorney Berman promptly comply with your reasonable requests for information, including your requests for copies of papers relevant to the matter.  You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter and make informed decisions regarding representation.

      7.  You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected.  In particular, the decision of whether to settle your matter in a civil case, or enter into a plea agreement in a criminal case, is yours alone.

      8.  You have the right to privacy in your communications with Attorney Berman, and anyone working for him or on his behalf, and to have your confidential information preserved to the extent permitted by law.

      9. You are entitled to have Attorney Berman, and anyone working for him or on his behalf, conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Responsibility.

      10.  You may not be refused representation on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.

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Please include in your message a short statement of the reason for contacting the office, as well as the best method and time to contact you. Attorney Berman will return your message promptly to learn more about your case and, if appropriate, schedule an initial consultation.

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