My wife was a passenger in the backseat of her friend's car when they got into a head on collision she has severe bruising very large deep gash on her left leg and now has sever anxiety just getting in a car her friends are trying to just get enough to cover for a new car and lost wages which is quite a bit lost. I've never had a law suit file before first time. The fault is clearly the other person that hit her friend but how does the payouts on a joined suit like this work I was told the person with the most lost get the bigger portion I just want her screwed with lost wages and pain and suffering.
Very wise question. There are situations where you should have separate counsel and situation where perhaps not. Probably best to interview your friends attorney and at least one other attorney. Then you should be able to make an informed choice. Good luck.
How much she will get on her claim depends on her damages, the amount of coverage available, the other party's insurer and her lawyer's ability. Good advice as far as interviewing the friend's lawyer and possibly others that may be recommended by family or friends.
If there is limited coverage on the other car, and if your wife's was even 1% out of 100% at fault, under Mass. law, your wife could collect damages from her friend's insurance company. But if you use the same lawyer, he/she could not make a claim against the friend as it would be a conflict of interest.
I'm sorry to hear about your wife's injuries.
I would suggest she hire her own lawyer. This would eliminate any possible conflicts of interest or perceived favoritism. Each injured occupant of the vehicle will have a claim against the negligent driver's insurance policy. The amount one person recovers in settlement will not affect the amount of anyone else's settlement. The policy limit will determine the maximum each claimant can recover in a settlement or trial. There is also no-fault or PIP insurance, which your lawyer will explain. Other possible coverages include medpay (covers one's own medical bills) and underinsured coverage. The lawyer will discover all available insurance for the accident He or she will gather all needed documents including insurance policies, police report, photographs, witness statements, medical records, medical bills, etc., and fight to obtain the best possible settlement. Your wife should not give a recorded statement to an insurance company. They will use what she says against her if they can. Her lawyer will deal with them directly and protect her interests. She should take pictures of her injuries, have any recommended medical treatment/physical therapy, and follow the instructions of medical providers. The more medical treatment and medical bills, the better for her claim.
Most of us on Avvo offer free legal consultations. Best wishes to your wife with her recovery and with her claim.
I agree with attorney Finnerty.
In the case of negligent-free passengers, there is always the possibility of some type of negligence on the driver, which in this case is your wife's friend. Retaining the same attorney as the driver would be a possible conflict of interest on the attorney, as he would have the fiduciary duty of doing what's best for the driver and your wife but that would be impossible if there is any possibility of liability on the driver.
Your wife's best bet to obtain the maximum settlement amount in this case is to ensure she has completed the necessary medical treatment and consult with an attorney in your area to obtain a more specific answer and get all of her legal options before deciding what to do. The attorney will also investigate all available coverages to ensure she has the maximum amount of coverage available to her. You may have some additional coverages on your own auto policy that can assist her of which you may not have been aware. You can use the "Find a Lawyer" link at the top of this page for names of attorneys in your area. Most offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, so she won’t have to pay anything up front.
Please do not message me for further advice. If you are in need of an attorney to assist you, please search for another attorney in the jurisdiction involved in your case, as I am now retired, and my former law firm is no longer handling personal injury cases. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service at this point.
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Your wife gains nothing by having the same lawyer as her friend and runs the risk of losing a lot. One thing we know for sure, your wife didn't do something (or not do something) that caused or contributed to the wreck. It does not matter that everyone looks at this and says the other driver is at fault. Even if your wife has her own attorney who just sues the other other driver the lawyer for that driver will more than likely sue your wife's friend claiming she was responsible for the wreck. No one on this forum now can tell what is the nature and extent of your wife's injury or the nature and extent of your wife's friend's injury. HOw much coverage is there?? If there is limited coverage and both have significant injuries that money will need to be "divided" in some way. Like it or not that puts your wife and her friend at odds. One lawyer representing both now has a conflict and either your wife or her friend will need new counsel. If you think about it, you have already answered your own question. You are concerned your wife may lose out. That concern is enough to tell you it is time for her to have her own attorney. In that way you will not later question whether right was done by your wife.
If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.
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