Process of a Motor Vehicle Case in Massachusetts
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts as a result of the negligence of another driver, you would most likely want to know how long the case will take. This is particularly true if you are dealing with insurance claims, medical costs, doctor’s appointments, missed work time, recovery, and the loss of your car.
Some steps must be taken to be successful in your case and to help you determine whether it is better to settle the case or to file a lawsuit. Our Massachusetts car accident lawyers explain the procedure of a motor vehicle case in Massachusetts.Understanding the Process of Massachusetts Car Accident Cases
Irrespective of fault, Massachusetts wants your insurance provider to pay for your injuries up to the extent of your policy. Nonetheless, state law grants people the legal right to sue the at-fault party for non-monetary damages (such as pain and suffering) if those damages reach the $2000 threshold.
Since this framework is heavily based on assessing responsibility and keeping people who do not drive safely accountable for their conduct, Massachusetts has stringent rules for determining fault and ensuring that safe drivers obtain justice.
Massachusetts drivers are required to have auto insurance plans that provide $20,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $40,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident for accidents incurred by the insured party’s automobile. Any policy must also provide at least $5,000 in property damage insurance coverage per accident for damage incurred by the covered party’s vehicle (M.G.L.A. 34A).
Drivers have the option of increasing their coverage limits for maximum protection in the case of an accident. Our auto accident attorneys will examine your insurance policy as well as the policies of the other drivers involved in the accident to help assess the maximum coverage available for your car crash damages.Who Can Be Held Liable for a Motor Vehicle Accident?
An individual is considered negligent if he or she fails to exercise reasonable care. In Massachusetts, the term “reasonable” refers to a level of conduct that the group would consider good in a risky situation. The following elements must be met to establish negligence:
Duty of Care
The very first task when determining negligence is assessing if the defendant owes the injured party a duty of care. Any driver on the road, for example, has a responsibility to avoid injuring other drivers, pedestrians, and bicycles.
Breach of Duty
Having a duty does not suffice to establish negligence. The injured party must demonstrate, through facts and evidence, that the defendant’s conduct breached his or her legal duty. For instance, a driver who fails to stop at a pedestrian crossing violates his or her duty to protect pedestrians.
The third stage in assessing negligence is showing that the defendant’s actions caused the injured person’s injury. In other words, it needs to be established that without the defendant’s conduct, the plaintiff may not have been injured. Causation happens when the driver strikes a pedestrian who is crossing at a crosswalk. If the driver does not hit the pedestrian and the pedestrian tripped and fell after crossing the street, alleging that the driver caused the accident would be difficult.
The major requirement in establishing negligence is demonstrating that the plaintiff has caused actual injury or property damage. Even if the defendant acted without reasonable care, negligence cannot be proven until actual damages are incurred. There are no damages if the driver stops short of the pedestrian, distracting him but not touching him, and no one is injured.
In the case of personal injury, Massachusetts has implemented the modified comparative negligence rule, as specified in Mass. Ann. Laws. ch. 231, 85.
Contributory negligence is a type of comparative negligence. It is a legal defense that claims the injured party bears some blame for what occurred. A finding of comparative negligence can reduce the total amount of damages that a car accident victim is entitled to receive
Although a claim of comparative negligence may prohibit recovery of damages in some states, this is luckily not the case in Massachusetts. The law enables a person who was comparatively liable for an injurious accident to still claim compensation – as long as his or her share of the blame was not greater than the overall amount of negligence against the person or persons from whom recovery is sought.
In general, this means that an accident victim will also obtain compensation if his or her percentage of blame was greater than 51 percent. If the court decides that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent, monetary damages would be reduced by the plaintiff’s share of fault.Deadline to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts
The statute of limitations is the period under which you can file a lawsuit. In Massachusetts, most car accident and personal injury lawsuits must be lodged within three years of the date of the accident. If you do not file your lawsuit within the time frame prescribed, the court may refuse to hear your case.Settling the Case or Filing a Lawsuit
When it comes to determining whether or not to file a case or settle the claim, the lawyer’s advice is possibly the most relevant.
Insurance regulation in Massachusetts can be puzzling. Any insurance settlement you obtain from the insurer or the insurer of another driver will be determined by the insurer’s assessment of who is at fault. This involves deciding whether you share more than 50 percent of the blame for the accident.
Allocating each driver’s share of the blame is partially a judgment decision that can be influenced by negotiating with the insurance provider, appearing before the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, or going to court with the insurance company. If you have an experienced auto accident lawyer working on your behalf, you would be at an advantage in almost every situation.
If you or your loved one got injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, you must get in touch with our car accident attorneys at the earliest to discuss your case.