Car accident Worcester

Car Accident Law

Car accident law incorporates the legal rules that determine who is responsible and therefore liable for personal and/or property damages, that occur because of the accident.

Car Accident law primarily falls into the category of personal injury laws and will include the principle of negligence. Car accident law almost always falls under the parameters of State Law.

Car Accident Law in Massachusetts.

Under Massachusetts state law there are three particularly important laws which govern the compensation/damages that can be awarded in a car cash.


The Statute of Limitations.

The Statute of Limitations (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 2A) establishes a time limit between an accident happening and the filing of a lawsuit. The Statute of Limitations sets a deadline for the filing of a lawsuit. In districts like Worcester, Massachusetts, State law defines that deadline as three years.

This same statute and deadline apply to vehicle damage lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits. However, in wrongful death lawsuits, the deadline starts at the time of death which may or may not coincide with the time of the accident.

If an individual tries to file a lawsuit more than three years after an accident, the Massachusetts court system will most likely dismiss the filing.


Limits on Damages

As a general rule, Massachusetts law does not impose a cap on the monetary amount, of damages that may be awarded as a result of a Car Accident. However, there is one exception and that is non-economic medical malpractice claims which have a cap of $500,000. Damages claims are also time restricted by the statute of limitations which gives three years from the time of the accident, to file a lawsuit.


Types of Damages

The types of damages that may be claimed can be categorized as economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the specific costs a plaintive incurs due to property damage, or injury. Some examples of economic damages are, vehicle repairs or replacement, lost salary and medical expenses.


Non-economic damages include theoretical or abstract costs that are incurred because of an accident. Two examples of non-economic damages are mental suffering or loss of spouse or friend as a result of a Car Accident.


The no fault system

Massachusetts state law includes a no-fault system for car accidents and resulting insurance claims. Under the no-fault system, individuals involved in a car accident must file a claim with their own insurance company before filing a damage’s claim against the other party involved in the accident.

The no fault system means that insurance companies are legally compelled to cover certain amounts no matter who is at fault. The no fault rule does not apply if the claimant was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Automatic fault

In certain situations, under Massachusetts law fault is automatically presumed. For example, a driver involved in a Car Accident is automatically presumed to be more than 50% at fault when:

* A driver hits a parked car, whether that car is parked legally or illegally.

* A driver crashes into the back of “rear ends” another drivers car

* A driver is driving outside of the designated lane and is involved in a Car Accident.  This rule is dependent on other individuals involved in the crash driving in their correct lanes.

* A driver fails to signal/indicate before turning or changing lanes and an accident occurs.

* A driver does not obey traffic signs or a driver does not proceed with caution.


Comparative Negligence

To determine liability for damages not covered by insurance, Worcester and the entire state of Massachusetts follow a “modified comparative negligence” approach. The modified comparative negligence rule states that any person who is found to be more than 50% at fault when involved in an accident, that person cannot claim for damages. In other words, when involved in a Car Accident and suing for damages, your amount of fault/negligence must be less than that of the person you are suing.

Under Massachusetts law, the amounts of damages awarded, are reduced in proportion to the claimants’ degree of fault. For example, if the individual is 10% responsible for the Car Accident, the total amount of damages awarded will be reduced by 10%. It then follows that if an individual is awarded $1000 in damages, that individual will receive $900.


The process for denied claims.

As a general rule insurance companies will try to avoid paying damages or at least minimize the amount paid. If an insurance company denies your claim this is the process you should follow:

Step 1: Call your insurance company and ask them to explain the reasons why your claim was denied.

Step 2: Be persistent and try to reach as high a level as possible with your inquiries.

Step 3: Ask for copies of all the relevant evidence and documentation that was utilized by the insurance company when making the decision to deny your claim.

Step 4: If negotiations between yourself and the insurance company have reached a dead end and no satisfactory conclusion has been reached then consider hiring a local attorney who specializes in Car Accident Insurance claims.

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