Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to statistics compiled by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, there were 108,379 motor vehicle crashes and collisions in 2012 alone with 349 of those crashes resulting in death and 4,384 resulting in serious injuries.

The lawyers at Curran & Desharnais, P.C. provide legal representation for victims of motor vehicle crashes and will fight vigorously to help crash victims receive full compensation for their injuries and losses.

The first step in any motor vehicle accident case is finding out who is at fault. The rule in Massachusetts is that a driver must use caution and must maintain control of his or her vehicle at all times. A driver that fails to use reasonable care while driving a motor vehicle, may be found liable for negligence. Below are a few examples of negligent conduct that could subject a driver to liability:

  • Ignoring or failing to obey traffic laws
  • Not using turn signals when turning
  • Driving recklessly
  • Not following the speed limit
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Using a smart phone or electronic device while driving
  • Texting
  • Following too closely
  • Failing to yield the right of way

In addition to a driver’s negligence, motor vehicle crashed can be caused by other factors such as defectively designed roads or bridges, or lack of adequate traffic signs or lighting.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about car crashes:

What's Covered When I Have an Accident?

Medical Bills: Typically, the first $2,000.00 in medical bills is paid by the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance carrier of the car you were in. This also covers pedestrians who are hit by car or a bicyclist. If you have private health care insurance, Massachusetts Law requires that medical bills in excess of $2,000.00 be submitted through your provider for payment. If you do not have private health care insurance, or if your health care insurance company refuses to pay your medical bills, you may be entitled to up to $8,000.00 in PIP medical coverage.

Lost Wages: If you lose money because of your inability to work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to collect 75% of your lost wages, based on your average weekly wage, from the PIP carrier, up to $8,000.00.

Insufficient Insurance: It is important to note that collisions caused by hit and run drivers can still lead to claims, even if the driver of the car who caused the crash is not identified. If the person who caused your injuries cannot be identified, or the person does not have insurance to cover your damages, you may be entitled to collect uninsured or underinsured coverage from your own automobile policy or a family member's automobile policy. For example, if you were injured by a motorist who has a basic policy (typically $20,000 in coverage) and your damages exceed $20,000, then you would be entitled to collect uninsured or underinsured coverage from your own automobile insurance carrier.

Bodily Injuries and Wrongful Death: If you have more than $2,000 in medical bills, a fracture, or other serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries, including scarring, pain and suffering, permanent or partial disability, and loss of ability to enjoy life. Wrongful death claims are also compensable under Massachusetts motor vehicle laws.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for My Auto Accident?

Massachusetts law requires that any claim for damages or injuries resulting from an auto accident be brought within three (3) years of the date of the crash which caused the injury. This is known as the Statute of Limitations. Failure to file a lawsuit within the three (3) year statute of limitations may result in the case being dismissed.

How Much Can I Recover for My Auto Accident?

The amount of any potential settlement, or case “value” will depend on a number of factors including the severity of any injuries, the length of treatment that is required, the amount of medical bills that have been incurred, and the degree of any future impairment or disability that was caused by the collision. Other factors that are often considered by insurance carriers when discussing a potential settlement include whether or not the victim has lost work as a result of the collision and how the accident may have impacted other areas of their life such as one’s ability to care for their family or their inability to do activities that they once enjoyed such as recreational sports, gardening or other hobbies. All of these factors can make a difference in the value of any claim and must be explored by legal counsel and used to further advance a client’s case.

Can I Recover if I Have a Pre-Existing Injury?

Yes. Just because a victim may have suffered from an underlying or pre-existing medical condition prior to the accident will not prevent recovery for injuries caused by the car accident, or for conditions that may have been made worse by the accident. Massachusetts law provides that a defendant must take a plaintiff as he or she finds them, meaning that a person who suffered from a condition or a pre-existing injury prior to the crash should be able to recover just as much as someone who was healthy prior to the accident could recover.

Choosing a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer

Your legal rights need to be protected after a car accident. You should hire an experienced car accident attorney to evaluate and handle your case. Immediate action may be required to preserve all of your rights. All motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts are governed by a Statute of Limitations. Some accidents also have shorter notice provisions which may be very strict.

For more information on selecting a Massachusetts car accident lawyer, please see our page on Choosing a Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer. Read more about truck accidents on our Massachusetts Truck Accident Lawyer.

If you feel you have a car accident case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights. Please call us at 781-277-3262, or use our contact form to send us an e-mail. Get your FREE legal consultation today with Curran & Desharnais, P.C.

Finally, make sure you are protected! Have adequate insurance for yourself and your family.

If you have been injured in a car, truck, tractor trailer, motorcycle or other motor vehicle accident as a driver, passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian, and it was the result of someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages for pain and suffering, payment or reimbursement of reasonable medical expenses incurred or which will be incurred in the future, and lost wages.