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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 on a moving vehicle of any kind, whether it’s 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 a wide range of claims involving cars, bicycles, and motorcycle collisions. Our firm takes great pride in providing victims and their loved ones with the compassionate and responsive representation they need in legal matters.

One of the most distinguished personal injury law firms in the country, the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. serves clients all around the state of Massachusetts. Our team of accomplished personal injury attorneys has earned a well-deserved reputation as fierce advocates for the injured. Our mission is to help those who have been hurt in automobile accidents in obtaining the financial compensation they need to make a full recovery.

If you have been injured in a car accident, our Peabody, MA, car accident attorneys will fight for you. We’re here to help you get the medical care you need and the financial compensation you deserve. Call us now to schedule a free consultation!

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 fatigued, are under the influence of alcohol, or have run a red light. Accident victims’ ability to work and live their lives as they had intended is often significantly impaired due to the injuries they get in these kinds of incidents.

Truck Accident Lawsuit

Trucks account for about 14% of yearly road fatalities. More than 5,000 people are killed, and 150,000 are injured every year as a result of 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.

Motor 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 that is 39 times higher than that of 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 being involved in accidents due to environmental and road dangers.

Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

Every year, more than 5,000 pedestrians are killed and 75,000 injured in incidents involving motor vehicles. Drivers that don’t properly yield the right-of-way at intersections are a major contributor 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 each year over 800 persons lose their lives, and 49,000 are injured due to motor vehicle and bicycle accidents. Bicyclists are more susceptible to being cut off or struck by a vehicle because motorists have more difficulty noticing them.

Car Accident Laws in Massachusetts

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

  • How Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance system affects some of your decisions after an automobile accident
  • the deadlines to file a lawsuit in Massachusetts courts for a personal injury claim (assuming you qualify to bypass Massachusetts’ no-fault system), and
  • when you have 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 make a claim through your own personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance policy to be compensated for medical expenses as well as 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.

Learn all you need to know 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 own insurance carrier in accordance with the no-fault statutes of Massachusetts, or
  • You don’t have to 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 (an $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) and 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: The no-fault auto insurance regulations of Massachusetts (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.

What is Massachusetts’ Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?

A statute of limitations is a legal provision limiting the time you have to file a lawsuit. In case you are able to 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 3 years of the collision date. The same statute of limitations (3 years) applies to a lawsuit seeking compensation for car damage.

Wrongful Death

If someone dies as a consequence of the collision and the deceased’s administrator or executor wishes to bring a wrongful death action against the at-fault driver, the deadline for initiating the lawsuit is likewise 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 deadline for the statute of limitations is approaching, it might be an opportune time to consult with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury lawyer.

What is 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 (via their insurance company) will be liable for your lost wages, medical bills, as well as other losses. But what if you contributed to the collision in some way?

Modified Comparative Fault

Massachusetts uses a “modified comparative fault” rule when it determines 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 be able to recover any money from the defendant. If the complainant’s fault reaches 50%, he or she receives nothing. (See Section 85, Chapter 231 of the Massachusetts General Laws).

Assume the jury decides that your total award for the damages should be $100,000. (including your car damage, lost wages, medical bills, and “pain and suffering”). However, the jury decides that you have 20% blame for the accident (perhaps you were driving 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit). According to Massachusetts’ law of comparative fault, you have the right to 80% of the total $100,000, or $80,000—still a sizable sum, but not as much as the total of your losses.

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 makes a decision based on what is most likely to occur in court. However, this should not discourage you from 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 is required to 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, but if you have been involved in a car accident injury, you can never go wrong by talking to a seasoned personal injury attorney about your case and your legal options.

Our seasoned legal team provides 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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