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How Fault and No-Fault State Laws Apply to Auto Accidents

Diligent Attorney Serving Boston Victims of Motor Vehicle Collisions

Determining which party is at fault following a car accident can be a complicated matter. There are multiple factors that go into this determination and sometimes the evidence isn’t clear. Many drivers involved in accidents are curious about how the insurance policies involved in the accident may apply and whether or not being at fault is a component of obtaining policy benefits. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., we have over 25 years of experience handling motor vehicle accidents on behalf of injured Massachusetts residents. Our team will handle each component of your claim, and has a good understanding of how fault and no-fault state laws apply to auto accidents. We work hard to gather evidence and negotiate with insurers, which don’t always have your best interests in mind. Contact us to have an experienced Boston car accident lawyer assess your claim and answer your questions about your legal rights.

The Role of Fault in Insurance Claims

Massachusetts is one of the few states in the US that take a no-fault approach to auto insurance following an accident. Massachusetts requires drivers to carry a Personal Injury Protection policy of at least $8,000 that provides compensation for lost wages and medical bills in the event that you are involved in an accident. Your insurer will provide you with these benefits regardless of whether you were ultimately at fault for the accident or not. Massachusetts describes itself as a modified no-fault state because it requires an insurer to pay you the policy limits on your insurance policy if you are injured in an accident regardless of who is at fault, but allows you to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party for any non-monetary damages like pain and suffering if the damages exceed $2,000 or if other criteria are met.

The majority of states apply a fault-based approach to determining which party is liable for the damages and injuries that result following a car accident. In the fault-based system, the driver who is deemed responsible for the crash is the one who is responsible for paying for the other party’s injuries and damages. Fault may be easy to determine in some types of crashes like rear-end collisions, but it can be more difficult in complex cases. Also, there are many situations where both drivers are at fault for the accident.

Bringing a Lawsuit After a Car Crash

If you are injured in a car accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the accident to happen. A knowledgeable injury attorney can answer any questions you may have about how fault and no-fault state laws apply to auto accidents. In the litigation, you will need to show that the other driver failed to operate his or her vehicle with adequate care and skill like a reasonable and prudent driver would when faced with a similar situation. This includes paying attention to the road, driving appropriately for current roadway and weather conditions, and not engaging in distracted driving activities like texting or checking social media. Obtaining a copy of any police reports prepared regarding the crash is a great way to determine whether the other driver breached the standard of care.

The next step in the lawsuit requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant’s failure to use the appropriate level of care was the direct and foreseeable cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. If the defendant can show that some other factor was the cause of your harm, the defendant may not be required to provide you with compensation. Massachusetts has adopted the comparative negligence doctrine, which takes into account any negligence on the part of the plaintiff at the time of the crash. Under this standard, the plaintiff will be barred from recovering any compensation if the plaintiff is deemed to be 51 percent or more at fault for the accident and his or her injuries. The last phase of the legal matter involves determining the amount of compensation that the plaintiff is entitled to receive. There are many different types of damages that you can claim, including past and future medical bills, lost earnings, diminished future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. A seasoned car accident lawyer can explain how fault and no-fault state laws apply to auto accidents like yours, and help you seek the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

Meet With a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer Serving Boston

There are countless different types of car accidents that can arise in a bustling metropolitan area like Boston. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., we have provided reliable and compassionate legal counsel to Boston residents and their families for many years, which means we have the knowledge and experience it takes to help you pursue resolution of your claim as efficiently and promptly as possible. Our legal team serves clients throughout Cambridge, Lowell, Newton, Waltham, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, and Peabody. To set up your free consultation call us at 1-800-262-9200 or contact us online.

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