Frequently Asked Questions
After you are hurt in a car accident, bicycle accident or truck accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you will likely have some very important questions. It may be your first encounter with a personal injury attorney or car accident lawyer and you may feel anxious or nervous after experiencing a stressful event like a car crash. At Tapalian Law, our personal injury lawyers understand you are going through a difficult time and have a lot of questions. As a potential client, you need answers to these questions in order to determine the best personal injury lawyer for your case. Below, is a basic guide to some of the most common questions our clients ask us, and some key questions you should ask after you are involved in a car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. All accident and injury claims vary, so please contact our RI & MA personal injury lawyers for a case-specific, free consultation, at 401-552-5000, or complete our easy, online contact form.
- Car Accident FAQ
- Do I need an injury attorney for my car accident? Or can I just handle this myself?
- I was just in a car accident. What should I do first?
- The car accident was partially my fault. Do I still have a claim?
- I have medical payments coverage (Med Pay) on my auto insurance policy. What does that mean?
- What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Massachusetts?
- What is mandatory pre-suit arbitration in the state of Rhode Island?
- The other driver’s insurance company said the accident is my fault. Is this a waste of time?
- How long do I have to contact an injury lawyer after a Rhode Island or Massachusetts car accident?
- How do I choose the best injury lawyer for my Rhode Island car accident case?
- I don’t have any health insurance. Can I still treat for my car accident injury?
- The insurance company wants a statement from me. Should I talk to the insurance company after an accident?
- The driver who hit me has no insurance. Can I still file a claim?
- What is my car accident or injury claim worth?
- I was hurt in a hit-and-run accident and the driver fled the scene. Can I file a personal injury claim?
- Choosing & Affording an Accident Attorney FAQ
- I don’t have the money for an attorney. How can I afford one?
- I’m not happy with my attorney. Can I change injury lawyers?
- Why should I choose Tapalian Law as the best attorney for my personal injury or car accident claim in Rhode Island and Massachusetts?
- What does it cost to speak with Personal Injury Lawyer David Tapalian about my case?
- I heard that if I hire an attorney for my personal injury claim, it can take years to receive a settlement. Is this true?
- Dog Bite Injuries FAQ
- Slip & Fall Accident FAQ
Do I Need an Injury Attorney for my Car Accident? Or can I just Handle this Myself?
When you are injured in a car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, it is essential to obtain expert legal representation. The reason we strongly recommend professional legal advice is because the insurance companies view your accident claim differently when you have a personal injury attorney representing your interest. With an auto accident lawyer acting on your behalf, the insurance company knows they must place proper monetary value on your accident injury claim or they risk arbitration and/or litigation. In addition, each time you have a discussion with an insurance company on your own without expert legal representation, you risk devaluing your claim. With a personal injury lawyer like Tapalian Law on your side, the insurance companies know they need to treat your claim seriously.
I was Just in a Car Accident. What Should I do First?
If you just got in a car accident, or after any type of accident, the most immediate issue is to seek medical treatment. Then contact a competent and well-respected personal injury attorney in RI or MA to work on your behalf. This isn’t a time to “wait and see” if your injuries will get better on their own. Seemingly minor aches and pains can manifest significant problems which can get worse if untreated. Time destroys personal injury cases, so even if you have slight pain, don’t wait to seek medical attention. Delaying treatment may significantly lessen the value of your case and you also risk bypassing the deadline for filing a personal injury claim, making your claim invalid. Get medical treatment right away and seek out an experienced personal injury attorney immediately following your Rhode Island or Massachusetts car accident.
The Car Accident was Partially my Fault. Do I Still have a Claim?
When a car accident is partly your fault, you may still have a valid personal injury claim. The fault laws vary among Rhode Island and Massachusetts auto accidents. In Rhode Island, pure comparative negligence is the law. As long as you are not found to be 100% at fault for the crash, you can still submit a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. In Massachusetts, the rule of law is comparative negligence. Generally speaking, this means in order to put forth a claim, you must be found to be no more than 50% at fault. Remember, you can’t analyze fault on your own and there are many contributing factors best left up to the experts to negotiate. Regardless of whether you think you may be partially at fault for the accident, contact a Rhode Island or Massachusetts car accident lawyer immediately to discuss your accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can begin negotiating on your behalf with the insurance company to accept fair fault for the accident caused by their insured.
I have Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay) on my Auto Insurance Policy. What Does that Mean?
Medical payments coverage, often referred to as Med Pay, is additional coverage you purchased on your automobile insurance policy. Med Pay covers medical expenses related to the accident for you and your passengers. Med Pay varies based on the amount of coverage purchased but typically, Med Pay coverage ranges from $2,500 up to $10,000 in Rhode Island. This is coverage that you can use to pay your, or your passengers, medical expenses. Med Pay does not provide coverage for pain and suffering, disability or any other type of compensatory damage relief to you.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Massachusetts?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP), is required by law to be on every personal auto insurance policy in Massachusetts. PIP coverage can be quite confusing. PIP coverage will pay for medical expenses, lost income and some other related expenses due to a car accident. The first $2,000 in PIP approved expenses or lost earnings will be charged to your auto insurance policy. After the first $2,000 in personal injury protection payments are made, your health insurance (should you have coverage) will kick in to pay the medical bills. Depending upon your health insurance coverage, your medical insurance will pay for those bills, or will refer them back to your PIP carrier. Your PIP carrier will then pay up to $8,000 in medical expenses and other related personal injury protection charges and expenses. It is essential to have a Massachusetts car accident attorney well-versed in personal injury law like David Tapalian representing your interest when navigating the complexities of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
What is Mandatory Pre-Suit Arbitration in the State of Rhode Island?
Mandatory pre-suit arbitration in Rhode Island (Rhode Island General Law § 27-10.3-1 - Arbitration provision), provides that every auto insurance policy issued within the state of Rhode Island shall contain an arbitration provision. Any person suffering a loss resulting out of the use or ownership of a motor vehicle may at his or her election whenever the amount claimed is $50,000 or less submit the matter to arbitration. Arbitration is a useful tool that Rhode Island personal injury lawyers use often to educate a stubborn insurance company on the proper value of an injured client’s claim. This is often a very quick process and still allows you to stay out of court.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Said the Accident is my Fault. Is this a Waste of Time?
If the other driver’s insurance company claims the accident is your fault, don’t fret. The insurance company’s liability determination is not the last word and frequently, we have been successful in changing the liability determination of an insurance company. Based upon accident reconstruction, witness testimony, and other tools available to us as auto accident lawyers, there may be circumstances where we can successfully change liability determinations made unfairly by the other insurance company.
How Long Do I have to Contact an Injury Lawyer After a Rhode Island or Massachusetts Car Accident?
Contact a RI or MA personal injury attorney right after your car wreck. Statute of limitations and notice requirements can vary depending upon who the prospective defendant may be and where the accident occurred. However, the general rule of thumb is that you have three (3) years to file a claim for personal injury and auto accidents in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. That rule can vary should the prospective defendant that caused your injury be a municipality and/or a federal entity. Many times, municipalities and other entities require specific notices to occur much sooner. The best way to find out if you have a valid personal injury or auto accident claim is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately following your Rhode Island or Massachusetts accident.
How do I Choose the Best Injury Lawyer for my Rhode Island Car Accident Case?
When looking to hire the best personal injury lawyer or auto accident lawyer in Rhode Island for your injury or accident case, consider many variables. Ensure that you meet in person with the lawyer who will be handling your Rhode Island personal injury claim or car accident claim. At Tapalian Law, you will meet face to face with Attorney David Tapalian during your free consultation to discuss your case, at no charge to you. When deciding on the best personal injury or auto accident lawyer for you, it’s essential to check online reviews on sites like Justia, Google, and Yelp, amongst others. Attorney David Tapalian, a top-rated Rhode Island personal injury lawyer, takes great pride in helping his clients and ensuring a positive experience, which shows in Tapalian Law’s reviews and ratings. A crucial quality to look for when searching for the best injury lawyer for your Rhode Island or Massachusetts claim, is a law firm that is responsive to your questions, responds to phone calls and emails in a timely manner, and speaks with you at your convenience. Attorney David Tapalian, an accident attorney and personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, has the experience and the reputation for filing civil actions and/or arbitrations and will aggressively fight for your legal rights.
I don’t have any Health Insurance. Can I still Treat for my Car Accident Injury?
Even if you don’t have health insurance, you can still seek medical treatment for your injuries relating to your auto accident claim and/or personal injury claim. After a free evaluation of your case with Attorney David Tapalian, he may be able to suggest medical care providers based on Tapalian Law’s strong relationships and extended network of medical providers within the Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities. Some healthcare providers commonly work with uninsured people suffering from personal injury and are willing to provide medical attention regardless of health insurance.
The Insurance Company wants a Statement from me. Should I Talk to the Insurance Company After an Accident?
After a car crash, do not give any statements to the insurance company without first speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney about your case. A skilled car accident lawyer will determine whether or not a statement is necessary or beneficial to your auto accident case. There are some situations where it is not beneficial to provide a statement to the insurance company and other situations where we must cooperate with our own insurance company and where a statement is necessary. Speak with an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Tapalian Law if you’re involved in an accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts to determine appropriate actions.
The Driver who Hit me has no Insurance. Can I still File a Claim?
If the driver who hit your car has no auto insurance, you can still file a claim. At Tapalian Law, our legal team is skilled in finding insurance to cover you for your personal injury claim. How can you be sure the other driver doesn’t have insurance? Never assume that because a police report states there’s no insurance, or because an insurance company states that there is no coverage for the other driver, that there isn’t. If in fact, the driver who hit you has no insurance, we will explore alternative options to cover your claim. There are other types of insurance coverage and you may have a type of coverage on your own auto insurance policy called Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). UIM can compensate you for injuries caused through the negligence of another driver. Don’t give up if you are hit by an uninsured driver, allow our skilled car accident lawyers to make the final determination of insurance and find a way to help you.
What is my Car Accident or Injury Claim Worth?
Compensation is different for every accident or injury claim and there are a number of factors that affect your case value. In order to properly evaluate your claim, it’s important that you follow the treatment protocol suggested by your medical providers. Some of the variables involved in determining the monetary value of your case are:
- percentage of fault, if any
- lost income or lost earning capacity
- loss of future earnings due to some type of permanent impairment.
- Reimbursement of medical expenses
- pain and suffering due to your injuries
- any type of permanent scarring
- posttraumatic stress due to the accident
For the great majority of auto accident claims, we are only able to apprise you of monetary value once your treatment is concluded. Generally speaking, the more extensive your treatment, the greater the value of your claim. Typically, the greater your compensatory damages, the greater amount you will be entitled to recover for your personal injury claim. In other types of cases involving significantly severe injuries or death, we are able to give you a better estimation of compensation upfront. Contact us for a free case evaluation.
I was Hurt in a Hit-and-Run Accident and the Driver Fled the Scene. Can I File a Personal Injury Claim?
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you may still be able to file a successful personal injury claim for your automobile accident. Unfortunately, we see this type of crash very often and hit and-and-run vehicle accidents in Rhode Island often result in personal injuries. If you’re in a hit-and-run crash, it is essential that you contact the police right away. Many police departments have a hit-and-run division that will aggressively pursue the at fault driver. However, even if the driver cannot be located, depending upon your auto insurance policy you may still be able to file a personal injury claim for your hit-and-run auto accident in Rhode Island. As with all issues involving personal injury, time is the enemy so it’s imperative to seek medical attention and contact the car accident attorneys at Tapalian Law immediately to see if you have a case.
I don’t have the Money for an Attorney. How Can I Afford One?
Many people delay filing a personal injury claim because they don’t think they can afford an attorney. Don’t be one of them. There is no fee to hire Tapalian Law for your personal injury or car accident claim. There are no upfront costs, no hourly rates, and no retainer fees to hire us. We don’t get paid until we win your case and a settlement for compensation is reached. Only after we win your case is a contingency fee deducted from your settlement.
I’m not Happy with my Attorney. Can I Change Injury Lawyers?
You can switch injury lawyers, and we receive this question often. After an auto accident, it is common for an injured person to retain a lawyer for their personal injury claim and then change their mind. This is not unusual. You may find the lawyer is not a good fit for your needs for various reasons, perhaps the firm is not responsive to your phone calls and emails or has not achieved a settlement that you feel is proper and fair. For whatever reason, feel free to contact the injury lawyers at Tapalian Law for a free evaluation of your claim, even if you have previous counsel for an auto accident in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Should we decide to handle your case, we will handle the changeover from your previous attorney without you having to deal with the additional burden. Tapalian Law does not require any upfront attorney fees and we do not get paid until we win your case.
Why Should I Choose Tapalian Law as the Best Attorney for my Personal Injury or Car Accident Claim in Rhode Island and Massachusetts?
Choosing the best attorney for your RI or MA personal injury or car accident case is extremely important. When you are hurt in a serious accident caused by the negligence of another person, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law want to help you. Personal service and responsiveness are the hallmarks of our injury law firm. We understand getting hurt is a stressful time in your life and we take the time to listen to each individual client and treat your injury case with the respect, care, and sensitivity you deserve. To us, you are not just another number, we want to help you and will strive to meet your individual needs whether that means coming to the hospital to discuss your case or accommodating a phone call during your lunch break. Attorney David Tapalian, a graduate of Brown University and Roger Williams University School of Law, has over 20 years of personal injury experience in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and is ready to handle your accident case. He will personally meet and discuss your claim with you and following your free consultation, will recommend the best way to proceed with your legal case. Personalized service is important to us and we pride ourselves on our responsiveness to your phone calls, emails, and inquiries. We know that when you are hurt and need advice, you need answers fast from the best attorneys. Serving Rhode Island and Massachusetts, call the personal injury professionals at Tapalian Law and let us begin helping you today.
What Does it Cost to Speak with Personal Injury Lawyer David Tapalian About my Case?
There is never any cost or fees to speak with Attorney David Tapalian about your personal injury and/or auto accident claim in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Tapalian Law offers a free, personal, consultation directly with Attorney Tapalian and together, you and he will decide the merits of your personal injury or car accident case. Call us at 401-552-5000, or contact us online.
I Heard that if I Hire an Attorney for my Personal Injury Claim, it can Take Years to Receive a Settlement. Is this True?
Every personal injury case is different and the amount of time it takes to receive a settlement varies due to many factors including, but not limited to, the severity of the injuries and duration of medical treatment. The vast majority of our cases settle within a couple of months of your last medical treatment for the auto accident injury claim. However, particular cases can take more time to resolve due to complexities or unfair offers from the insurance company. Though the large majority of our cases settle without any litigation, sometimes it is necessary to file suit against the negligent party which may extend the duration. Should that be necessary, we will always keep you informed every step of the way. At Tapalian Law, we pride ourselves on resolving claims quickly, but fairly, and for the maximum compensation you deserve.
I was Bitten by a Dog. Can I Hold the Dog Owner Responsible?
If you are bit by a dog, the dog owner, or keeper, may be held responsible for your dog bite injuries. Depending on what state the injury took place, the dog bite laws vary in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as to the liability of a dog owner. Seek immediate medical treatment for your injury and contact an experienced dog bite attorney in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as soon as possible. A number of elements come into play when determining liability of the dog owner for your injuries.
I Fell and Hurt Myself at a Store (or Other Public Space). What Should I do After Slip and Fall Accident?
If you fell and got hurt in a public place, such as a grocery store, the most important thing to do is seek immediate medical attention after a Rhode Island slip and fall accident. Slip and fall accidents are some of the toughest cases in which to prove the liability of the store. First and foremost, we must prove notice; meaning that the store had notice of the defect and had an opportunity to make appropriate amends. After the incident, if medically able file a claim with the store immediately. Photographic evidence is key in order to prove your claim that the store was negligent in not maintaining a safe condition which caused your RI or MA slip and fall accident. You, or a friend or family member, should photograph exactly where you fell, what you fell on, and the surrounding area where the fall took place. Then, seek out the advice of an experienced slip and fall attorney serving Rhode Island and Massachusetts.