A Brief Overview of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Insurance and Liability Law
Despite riding in cars, motorcycles or bicycles on a daily basis, most people are unaware of their rights when they are injured in a motor vehicle or car accident.
SUGARMAN’s personal injury lawyers have put together a brief overview of just some of the issues that may arise once a person is injured in an auto accident.
In order to hold someone else responsible for injuries sustained in a car or motor vehicle accident, you must prove that the accident was caused by that person’s negligence. In most car accident cases, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle. This is a very broad standard and what constitutes reasonable care can be a complex determination based on the actions of all parties involved and the surrounding environment. Common examples can include speeding, running through a red light or stop sign, changing lanes without signaling, stopping short and causing a rear-end collision or taking a turn across a lane of traffic without first making sure that it is safe to do so.
Violation of Traffic Rules and Laws:
Under certain circumstances, a driver’s violation of traffic rules and laws can be used to prove negligence in a car or auto accident case. An example of this is the Massachusetts Texting While Driving Law, which makes texting while driving illegal. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and the driver of the other car was texting on a mobile device at the time, such evidence can be very compelling at trial.
Some of the applicable Massachusetts law relating to auto accidents:
LAW OF THE ROAD
MOTOR VEHICLES & AIRCRAFT
No Fault Insurance:
When you are injured in a Massachusetts motor vehicle accident, one of the first things you are entitled to is No-Fault benefits (or Personal Injury Protection benefits). These are provided by the insurer of the car that you are in at the time of the collision, or, if you are a pedestrian, by the insurer for the car that hits you, regardless of whom is at fault for the accident. A person injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to collect up to $8,000 in No-Fault benefits for reimbursement of medical expenses and loss of wages. The payment of medical expenses is coordinated with the injured person’s health insurer, and lost wages can only be recovered if you are not compensated while out of work by your employer.
Underinsurance and Uninsured Coverage:
All too often when someone is injured in a car accident, the person responsible for causing the accident has too little or no insurance, even in a Massachusetts, where car insurance is mandatory. When this occurs, the person injured can turn to their own insurance company for help.
What many people do not realize until they are injured is that your own automobile insurance policy can provide coverage to you, your family and anyone in your car when the responsible driver does not have enough insurance or has no insurance at all. This kind of coverage, called underinsurance and uninsured coverage, is optional coverage on the standard Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Policy that is generally available to those who wish to purchase it.
How much of these insurance benefits you are entitled to is a complex calculation based on many factors, such as how much insurance was purchased, how much was recovered from the negligent driver, and how many different people are making claims. The personal injury lawyers at SUGARMAN routinely investigate all motor vehicle accident cases for the availability and coordination of underinsurance and uninsurance benefits.
SUGARMAN’s attorneys regularly handle car and auto accident cases, no matter how big or how small.