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What are the Common Types of Car Accident Lawsuits?

Personal Injury Attorneys in Peabody MA

In Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States, car accidents are a leading source of preventable injuries. There’s always a chance of getting into an accident whenever you get in a moving vehicle, whether a car, bus, truck, or motorcycle. After an accident, Massachusetts law allows car accident victims to file a legal claim for financial damages.

The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. has extensive experience handling thousands of claims involving car accidents, motorcycle collisions, and pedestrian accidents, to name a few. Our Peabody injury attorneys take great pride in providing victims and their loved ones with the compassionate and responsive representation they need in legal matters.

Being one of the area’s more prominent personal injury law firms, The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. has earned a reputation for having fierce advocates for the injured. Their mission is to help those hurt in automobile accidents obtain the financial compensation they need to recover.

If you have been injured in a recent motor vehicle accident, look for a Peabody, MA, accident attorney to fight by your side. 

What are the Common Types of Car Accident Lawsuits in Massachusetts?

Car Accident Lawsuit

Every year, car accidents cause the deaths of more than 38,000 people and injuries of 1.5 million more. Some of the worst collisions are brought on by drivers who are speeding, using a cell phone while driving, are very sleepy, are under the influence of alcohol, or have run a red light. 

Accident victims’ ability to work and live as they had intended is often significantly impaired due to the injuries they get in these incidents.

Truck Accident Lawsuit

Trucks account for about 14% of yearly road fatalities. Over 5,000 people are killed, and 150,000 are injured yearly due to accidents involving large vehicles, semis, tractor-trailers, big rigs, and buses. Large trucks have far larger blind spots, turn more widely, and stop much more slowly than passenger vehicles. Truck drivers cause some accidents, but truck drivers may also be injured or killed when other motorists are not careful around their massive vehicles.

Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit

There are about 5,000 annual fatalities and 85,000 annual injuries among motorcyclists in the United States. Motorcycle riders have an accident mortality rate 39 times higher than car passengers, and their risk of injury is eight times higher. Since they are less visible to other cars on the road, motorcyclists are at a greater risk of accidents due to environmental and road dangers.

Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

More than 5,000 pedestrians are killed annually, and 75,000 are injured in motor vehicle incidents. Drivers who don’t correctly yield the right-of-way at intersections significantly contribute to this problem. Pedestrian accidents are more common in urban areas because parked vehicles reduce a driver’s visibility.

Bicyclist Accident Lawsuit

It is estimated that over 800 persons lose their lives each year, and 49,000 are injured due to motor vehicle and bicycle accidents. Bicyclists are more susceptible to being cut off or struck by a car because motorists have more difficulty noticing them.

Car Accident Laws in Massachusetts

In the aftermath of a Massachusetts traffic accident, it is important to know the many laws that may come into play.

  • How Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance system affects some of your decisions after an automobile accident
  • Deadlines to file a lawsuit in Massachusetts courts for a personal injury claim (assuming you qualify to bypass Massachusetts’ no-fault system), and
  • When to file a Massachusetts car accident report.

Massachusetts: a No-fault Car Insurance State

In Massachusetts, regardless of who caused the accident, if you are involved in a car accident injury, you typically would need to claim your personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance policy to be compensated for medical expenses and other financial damages. 

You can bypass no-fault and pursue legal action against the at-fault driver only if the car accident injuries you have sustained are severe enough. 

You can learn all you need about no-fault Massachusetts car insurance from the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C.

What Compensation Am I Entitled to After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?

Following a car accident in Massachusetts, you have the following options for injury compensation:

  • You file a PIP car insurance claim through your insurance carrier following the no-fault statutes of Massachusetts, or
  • You don’t settle for a PIP claim because of your injury’s severity. You may instead sue the driver who caused the collision for your losses.

A PIP claim in Massachusetts will pay (around $8,000 maximum):

  • medical bills incurred as a result of auto accident injuries
  • lost wages of up to a maximum of 75% as a result of the car accident and accident-related injuries,
  • replacement services (for example, the cost of hiring help in the house).

If your car accident injuries are severe enough, you will not be bound to a no-fault claim (PIP claim). You will instead be able to file an insurance claim against the at-fault motorist’s liability coverage or sue the offender in a Massachusetts court. You can seek more compensation at this stage for a broader range of losses (referred to as “damages” in legal parlance), such as

  • compensation for medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident
  • pain and suffering damages (which can be worth a lot and unavailable in a no-fault claim (PIP claim),
  • lost wages and other accident-related economic damages.

Important: Massachusetts’s no-fault auto insurance regulations (such as PIP coverage) are only applicable in car accident injuries and associated out-of-pocket costs, not vehicle damage. In Massachusetts, a car damage lawsuit can always be filed against the liable driver.

The Massachusetts Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

“Statute of limitations” is a legal provision limiting the time you have to file a lawsuit. In case you can go beyond the constraints of no-fault and you file a lawsuit following an automobile accident, you must ensure that you file your claim before the statute of limitations expires. Otherwise, unless a rare Exception happens to push back the deadline, the court will most likely dismiss your car accident case.

According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 2A, anybody injured in an automobile collision, whether a bicyclist, driver, e-scooter rider, motorcycle rider, passenger, or pedestrian, must file a lawsuit within three years of the collision date. The same statute of limitations (3 years)applies to a lawsuit seeking compensation for car damage.

Massachusetts has identified numerous scenarios that exempt injured victims from the limitations. One includes an injured party younger than 18 at the time of the underlying accident or “disabled because of mental illness.” In this case, the injured person will be entitled to three years to bring a personal injury case after they turn 18 or regain competency.

What if someone dies due to the collision, and the deceased’s administrator or executor wishes to bring a wrongful death action against the at-fault driver? In that case, the deadline for initiating the lawsuit is three years under section 2, Chapter 229 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

It should be noted, however, that the “clock” begins to tick on the day of the deceased’s death (the date can vary from the date of the accident).

It’s important to know and follow the statute of limitations in any possible car accident lawsuit. If the statute of limitations deadline is approaching, it might be an opportune time to consult with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury lawyer.

Comparative Negligence in Car Accident Cases in Massachusetts

If you are not limited to filing a PIP claim (you can opt out of the no-fault system of Massachusetts) and the other party is completely to blame for the car accident, the outcome is often predictable. The other party will be liable for your lost wages, medical bills, and other losses. 

But what if you contributed to the collision in some way?

Massachusetts uses a modified comparative fault rule to determine that both parties were at fault in the accident. Most automobile accident cases require the jury to assess two things according to the evidence: first, the total financial amount of the complainant’s damages, and second, the proportion of which each party bears. 

A percentage equivalent lowers the complainant’s damages award to their share of blame under the modified comparative fault rule.

In Massachusetts, however, the complainant’s share of the blame has to be 50% or lower to recover any money from the defendant. If the complainant’s fault reaches 50%, they receive nothing.

The rule of comparative negligence not only binds Massachusetts judges and juries (assuming your automobile accident case goes to court), but it also will guide an insurance adjuster when examining your case. After all, an insurance adjuster decides based on what is most likely to occur in court. However, this should not discourage you to filing a car accident compensation or lawsuit. You should, instead, consult with a knowledgeable attorney concerning your circumstances and the best course of action.

How to File a Car Accident Report in Massachusetts

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 26 states that if a driver is involved in an accident that results in any of the following, they must fill out a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report form and submit it to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles within five days wherein:

  • Someone was killed or injured,
  • If the damage to one car or other property was more than $1,000

The person filling up the report must transmit a copy of it to the local police department where the accident happened.

Get Help from a Peabody, MA, Car Accident Attorney

Knowledge of the various laws that may apply after a Massachusetts car accident is always useful. Still, if you have been involved in a car accident injury, you can never go right by talking to a personal injury attorney about your case and your legal options.

If you’re dealing with the death of a loved one, one of our Peabody wrongful death attorneys can provide a free consultation to discuss your situation and the best course of action for you and your family. 

We are ready to represent car accident victims within and around Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Dedham, Lowell, Newton, Norwood, Peabody, Quincy, Somerville, and Waltham. Contact us immediately to set up an appointment with an attorney!


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