Massachusetts Car Accident Claims and Lawyers
When one considers the founding of America and the Revolutionary War, it is Boston, Lexington, and Concord – all towns in Massachusetts – that immediately come to mind. Aside from its Revolutionary War and colonial roots, Massachusetts’ location on the Atlantic coastline means the state is a place of significant commerce as well. For its size, Massachusetts also carries political clout as well: Several important politicians and political families have ties to Massachusetts, and Massachusetts is the home to Martha’s Vineyard, an island retreat favored by the rich and influential. According to a 2013 census, Massachusetts ranked at the 13th most populated state in the United States with a population of 6.692 million people.
Some of Massachusetts’ roadways were originally built to carry foot traffic and carriages, not automobiles. This, coupled with the state’s population and the fact that many people in Massachusetts are sharing roadways that may not be designed to accommodate large volumes of traffic, mean that a car crash in Massachusetts can occur – oftentimes without any warning or prior indication. What can injury victims expect after a Massachusetts car crash?
Data Concerning Massachusetts Car Crashes
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation maintains statistics concerning the occurrence of traffic collisions within the state. These statistics reveal that:
- In 2010, there were 347 traffic-related fatalities, 4,858 serious injury reports, and 116,696 total crashes;
- In 2011, although the total number of crashes decreased to 107,267, the number of serious injury incidents held steady at 4,853 and the number of fatalities jumped to 374;
- In 2012 (the most recent year for which statistics are available, the number of crashes increased to 108,379. However, the number of fatalities decreased to 349 and the number of serious injury incidents decreased to 4,384.
This downward trend in the number of fatalities and serious injuries may continue of Massachusetts drivers and those using the roadways in the state avoid engaging in careless or reckless behavior while behind the wheel of a car, truck, or other vehicle. Careless behavior can include:
- Texting while driving or driving while distracted (i.e., eating food, applying makeup, reading a newspaper, book, or e-mail, etc.);
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other impairing substances;
- Disregarding traffic laws, speed limits, or the “rules of the road”;
- Driving a vehicle knowing that the vehicle is dangerously defective (i.e., the vehicle’s tires, brakes, and/or steering mechanism do not function as they should).
Massachusetts is a “No Fault” Insurance State
Massachusetts drivers must have a “no fault” insurance policy that meets the state’s requirements in force before they can legally drive a vehicle. “No fault” insurance pays the insured’s claim for compensation in the event of a crash without regard to which driver was at fault in causing the crash. This arrangement (which is followed in about 12 states) means that injury victims are typically able to receive compensation more quickly than they would if the insurance companies needed to first determine fault.
“No fault” insurance states typically limit the ability of an injury victim to pursue a lawsuit for compensation following a car crash. There are exceptions for certain cases, especially in cases where the at-fault driver acted intentionally or with something more than mere carelessness. Where a car crash lawsuit is permissible, an injury victim may be able to recover compensation even if he or she was partly to blame for the accident. Only when the injury victim’s share of responsibility for causing the crash exceeds that of the other parties (the injury victim is 51 percent or more to blame for the crash) will the injury victim be precluded from any recovery in court.
Massachusetts Statute of Limitations
If a car crash lawsuit is permitted under the circumstances, an injury victim will need to file this lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. Massachusetts’ three-year statute of limitations acts to ensure claims that are brought before the court are not so old that evidence supporting or opposing the claim cannot be found or witnesses essential to the resolution of the claim cannot be located. Here, too, there are exceptions to the general rule that injury cases may not be filed after three years have elapsed. However, these exceptions are very narrow in scope and do not apply in many cases. It is better for injury victims to plan ahead and file their lawsuit well before the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Call Stern Law, PLLC for Additional Assistance and Counsel
If you or a loved one was injured in a Massachusetts car crash, you may have questions about your rights and what you should do next. Stern Law, PLLC is able to help answer your questions and take the steps you need to take to obtain compensation for your injuries. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529.