Traffic collisions cause millions of dollars in losses and millions of injuries every year.
Whether a result of negligence, inclement weather, impaired driving, or another factor, collisions can have a significant and long-lasting impact on victims. From the financial burden of medical costs and lost wages to the emotional weight of trauma and stress, the aftermath of a wreck can feel overwhelmingly bleak. There is hope, however.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, a Massachusetts car accident lawyer can help. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm’s personal injury attorneys can support you in this challenging time. Call (800) 794-0444 to speak with a staff member to discuss your situation and determine if you have a case.
Common Causes of Accidents
Massachusetts utilizes traffic laws and road signage to prevent car accidents from happening. Unfortunately, drivers do not always abide by the rules of the road. When a motorist does not drive responsibly, they put themselves, their passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists at risk. Negligent or reckless driving can also jeopardize businesses and other properties in the vicinity.
The most devastating collisions often involve driving too fast or driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs or prescription medications, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Failure to yield or keep in the proper lane also contributes to thousands of accidents every year. Other common causes of accidents include:
- Going the wrong way on a road or highway.
- Passing or switching lanes unsafely.
- Failure to use turn signals.
- Failure to yield or running a stoplight or stop sign.
- Drowsiness, a prevalent issue among long-haul truckers and people who work the night shift or irregular hours.
- Distracted driving – including texting or making a phone call, using a GPS, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, or minding children in the back seat.
- Defective vehicles.
- Dangerous weather or road conditions, including fog, snow, or rain that can decrease visibility, ice and snow on the roads, potholes, broken guardrails, or faded dividing lines.
This list is not exhaustive. Other factors can contribute to collisions. Regardless of the cause, parties involved in a collision are expected to stop at the scene and exchange information. Filing a report is essential to comply with the law, but it is also important when filing an insurance claim or civil suit.
Massachusetts’ No-Fault Insurance Policy
States can take a “fault” or “no-fault” approach to insurance claims for vehicle collisions. In a “fault” state, victims can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for personal injury damages the policyholder caused.
In contrast, no-fault states like Massachusetts require victims to first seek compensation from their own insurance providers before pursuing damages against someone else. Motorists can, however, pursue vehicle damage claims with the other party’s insurance company before seeking compensation from their own provider.
Motorists are required by law to carry a minimum amount of insurance. When you purchase insurance, you have the option to buy no-fault or Personal Injury Protection coverage. This can cover losses such as emergency and ongoing medical costs, for an amount up to the coverage limit. Generally, you can utilize this coverage even if you were partially at fault, with exceptions for drunk or intoxicated driving.
However, PIP policies do not cover non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering. You may also suffer more significant monetary losses than your insurance policy can recoup. In this situation, a Massachusetts car accident lawyer can help you pursue a civil case against the other party.
Comparative Negligence Rules
Car crashes can be solely caused by one irresponsible or reckless driver or multiple drivers. In some cases, both parties neglect to exercise proper driving techniques. If law enforcement responds to the collision, an officer typically determines who was at fault at the scene. Massachusetts takes a “modified comparative negligence” approach, according to 211 CMR 74 Standards of Fault. This policy states a person is only eligible to receive compensation for damages if they are not more than 50% liable for the collision. If a victim is partially at-fault, the payment they receive will correspond to their degree of liability. For example, if you are 20% at-fault and the other driver is 80% at-fault, if you sue and are eligible for an award of $1,000, you will receive $800.
Legal Options for Car Accidents
If you are struggling with property damage, physical injuries, emotional anguish, or mounting bills after a car accident, you may have a legal right to pursue compensation. If a family member died in a car crash, you might also be eligible for financial awards to recompense you for your loss. A lawyer can support you in seeking redress for the following losses:
- The cost to repair or replace property. For example, if your car is damaged in the accident or a vehicle crashes into your home or place of business.
- Lost wages or reduced earning capacity due to your injuries.
- Current and reasonably anticipated healthcare expenses.
- Financial awards for pain and suffering.
- Cost to hire staff to perform tasks for you.
- Funeral and burial costs if a loved one passed away from their injuries.
This list is not exhaustive. An attorney can help you identify the damages specific to your case. The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can also support you by:
- Compiling evidence to prove who was at fault.
- Gathering proof of injuries, property damage, and other losses.
- Designing a strategy to pursue compensation on your behalf.
- Communicating and negotiating with insurance providers and other parties on your behalf.
- Advocating for a fair settlement or representing you in a civil courtroom, if necessary.
Contact a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer Today
Car crashes can cause significant losses from which it may take weeks, months, or even years to recover. For the family members of those who die in collisions, the wounds may never heal. While monetary rewards cannot heal wounds, financial compensation can help you to recuperate and rebuild after a tragedy.
The attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are prepared to support you. Call the office at (800) 794-0444 to speak with a staff member. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your situation and determine if you have a case.