1. The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, such as auto accidents, is 3 years. That means you must file a lawsuit within 3 years or you forever lose your right to pursue that claim!
2. If you think your lawyer is not doing a good job on your case, you can switch at any time. Your current lawyer’s fee is probably a Contingent Fee, typically 33%. What this means is that your lawyer only gets paid if you settle your case or receive an award. The attorney’s fee is contingent on recovering money for you. When you change attorneys, the fee is still 33% with the new attorney. Your new attorney will have to reimburse your prior attorney for expenses incurred and for the time spent on the case OUT OF HIS/HER 33%. So there is no harm in switching lawyers, you will still only pay 33% as a fee.
3. If your case is worth more than $25,000, your case should be filed in Superior Court. If your case in worth less than $25,000, your case should be filed in District Court. Recently, in Massachusetts, the Small Claims Court limits were increased to $7,000. So if your personal injury claim is not worth more than $7,000, you can file it in Small Claims Court.
4. In Massachusetts, in order to be eligible to bring a claim for personal injury related to a car accident, you must incur at least $2,000 in medical bills. This is typically referred to as being “tort eligible” in Massachusetts. If you do not incur at least $2,000 in medical bills, you are not tort eligible and you cannot bring a claim for pain and suffering. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as if you have a permanent scar or a broken bone you automatically are entitled to bring a claim as these are considered serious injuries.
There are many rules and pitfalls in personal injury claims in Massachusetts. Having practiced personal injury law in Massachusetts for over 21 years, I am well aware of how a claim should be pursued and the rules that govern personal injury law.