If you’ve ever been curious about how “fault” is determined in traffic collisions, keep reading. If you’re injured by a negligent driver in Massachusetts, you’ll need to know how fault is determined, and you’ll need to be advised and represented by a Boston personal injury lawyer.
In a personal injury case arising from a car accident, fault is usually assigned to the motorist who was negligent. Negligent driving includes distracted and fatigued driving, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.
If a driver’s negligence causes someone else to be injured, the negligent motorist is considered at-fault and may be held liable for the accident victim’s injuries.
If You’re Injured By Negligence, What Steps Should You Take?
In Massachusetts, what steps should you take if you become the injured victim of negligence in a car accident? And what will a Boston car accident attorney do on your behalf to recover the monetary compensation that a victim of negligence is entitled to by law?
If you’ll keep reading, you will learn the answers to these questions, and you will also learn more about your legal rights and options as an injured victim of negligence in this state.
What Are the Statistics Regarding Massachusetts Car Accidents?
More than 14,000 confirmed traffic-related injuries were reported in Massachusetts in 2020, along with 334 traffic accident fatalities. The injuries that negligent drivers inflict on innocent victims are sometimes catastrophic or permanently disabling.
A traumatic brain injury may be the outcome of a jolt or blow to the head. Spinal cord injuries happen frequently in auto accidents. A driver or passenger can suffer whiplash when a vehicle’s rear is violently and unexpectedly impacted.
The most severe injuries can keep you from returning to your job and even impair your capacity to perform everyday tasks like dressing, bathing, and cooking. And although physical injuries may heal, the emotional injuries that a negligent driver inflicts can last a lifetime.
How Do Attorneys Help Car Accident Injury Victims?
If another driver’s negligence injures you in Massachusetts, a personal injury attorney will:
- investigate what happened
- determine which party or parties may be liable
- protect your rights
- explain your options – which may include filing a personal injury lawsuit
If you are injured in a car crash because the other motorist was negligent, that motorist’s auto insurance provider may challenge your personal injury claim, so it’s imperative to have strong evidence of the other driver’s negligence.
Take photos of the damage to the vehicles – and your own visible injuries – at the accident scene. If there were eyewitnesses, ask for their contact information. In a personal injury dispute, photos and eyewitness statements can be powerful evidence in your favor.
What Automobile Insurance Does Massachusetts Require?
Massachusetts law requires motorists to carry four different types of auto insurance coverage with these minimum coverage limits:
- Bodily injury to others: $20,000 for each person, $40,000 for each accident
- Bodily injury caused by uninsured drivers: $20,000 for each person, $40,000 per accident
- Damage to another’s property: $5,000 for each accident
- Personal injury protection: $8,000 for each person in an accident
When Should You Speak to an Attorney?
Because Massachusetts is a “no-fault” car insurance state, your own personal injury protection insurance will cover the first $8,000 of your medical costs if you are injured in a car accident, and it doesn’t matter which motorist was responsible.
If your total injury claim exceeds the coverage that your own personal injury protection insurance offers, you must speak at once with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer. Never speak to the other driver’s insurance company without obtaining your own lawyer’s advice first.
If you’re contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, direct their inquiries to your lawyer. Anything you say to that insurance company could be misinterpreted or twisted and used against you, so silence is the wisest strategy. Let your lawyer do the talking and negotiating for you.
When Should You Take a Settlement Offer?
If you’re offered a quick settlement, don’t be quick to accept it. Consult your attorney first. You can’t settle your claim until you’re sure that you will be fully compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and related damages.
Your attorney should be an aggressive negotiator who knows the car insurance companies and the tricks they use to avoid or delay making payments to injured negligence victims. Most personal injury cases are resolved privately through out-of-court negotiations.
What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial?
It happens rarely, but if your claim is disputed and no reasonable settlement offer is made in the private negotiations, a Boston car accident attorney will take your personal injury claim to court, explain what happened to a jury, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
To succeed in a personal injury trial and demonstrate that the other motorist has liability, an injury victim or “plaintiff” and his or her attorney must prove:
- The other motorist (the defendant) owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- The defendant instead acted negligently and breached that duty.
- The defendant’s negligence was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury or injuries.
- The plaintiff sustained quantifiable damages, and justice demands that the defendant pay.
Your attorney may seek a statement from an accident reconstruction expert to establish exactly what happened and who should be held liable. Your attorney may also ask a medical expert to provide a statement about the extent of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery.
What Will It Cost to Seek Justice?
Your first consultation with a Boston personal injury lawyer is provided with no cost or obligation. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn how the law applies to your own case and to receive the personalized advice you will need.
If you and your attorney move forward with a legal action, you’ll pay nothing upfront. Car accident lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so you’ll owe your attorney nothing unless and until you obtain an out-of-court settlement or you are awarded damages by a jury.
In 2020, an average of thirty-eight people were injured every day in Massachusetts traffic accidents. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver in this state, put the law to work for you, and get the legal help you need – immediately.