Massachusetts is a no-fault state for car accidents, meaning anyone who suffers losses in a vehicle accident files a claim with their own insurance, regardless of fault. Although the no-fault system is supposed to simplify the process, car accident claims can get complicated.
It makes sense to consult with a Milton car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. Even if you suffered only minor injuries, it is good to know your rights before speaking with an insurance company. The experienced injury attorneys at Colucci, Colucci & Marcus, P.C. are prepared to fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Everyone who registers a vehicle in Massachusetts must have insurance. The state requires minimum coverage of $20,000 for bodily injury to another person and $40,000 for bodily injury to multiple people. A driver also must have uninsured motorist coverage that will pay if they get into an accident with someone without insurance. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 34M requires personal injury protection (PIP) of $8,000.
When someone gets hurt in an accident, they file a claim against their PIP coverage. A Milton attorney could ensure the driver files the claim timely and receives their PIP benefits. If PIP does not fully cover their medical bills, lost wages, and incidental expenses, they may have to claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. The law allows someone to “step out” of no-fault and pursue a claim if:
If there is no dispute about fault, a Milton attorney could notify the insurance company of both the at-fault driver and the injured driver of the claim. The claim typically sets forth a demand for the maximum coverage available under the at-fault driver’s policy. The at-fault driver’s insurer responds with a settlement offer, and negotiations begin. Many cases reach a reasonable settlement without going to court, but some do go to trial. A lawyer could fight for compensation in either scenario.
Massachusetts is a modified comparative negligence state. If a driver is more than 50 percent responsible for a crash, they cannot collect damages from other parties. Insurance adjusters examine witness statements, vehicle damage, and other crash scene evidence to determine responsibility for a crash. Insurers often try to shift responsibility away from their insured and toward other drivers.
Sometimes, insurers deny claims, alleging that the injured driver was at fault. A driver could dispute the fault determination by requesting a hearing before the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. They must file the request for a hearing within 30 days of receiving the fault determination. Working with a seasoned Milton attorney during this process is often crucial to how the rest of the case plays out.
An insurance company will not pay out more than the at-fault driver’s coverage limits. If the at-fault driver has the legal minimum coverage and an injured person has severe injuries, insurance coverage is often not enough. At-fault drivers are personally liable for the damages their insurance does not cover.
If the at-fault driver has assets, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against them. You must prove the at-fault driver was negligent and the negligence was the direct cause of your injuries.
A lawsuit against an at-fault driver might not be worthwhile if they do not have the money to pay a damages award. In many cases, other parties potentially have partial liability in an accident. A driver’s employer, a vehicle manufacturer, and others could have legal responsibility for an accident. A Milton attorney could identify all potentially responsible parties and file claims against them to secure appropriate compensation on your behalf.
Vehicle accidents cause significant stress and inconvenience, in addition to potentially serious injuries. An experienced local attorney could manage the accident claim and allow an injured person to focus on their recovery.
Insurance companies often try to get you to settle for less than your claim is worth, but a Milton car accident lawyer could fight for what you deserve. Contact us to set up your free case consultation.