As of October 2023, there have already been over 89,000 reported motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts this year. A car accident may be a single moment in time, but the consequences can be long-term. You may be left with medical bills, property damage, lost income, and other expenses.
You have rights under Massachusetts state law. However, dealing with insurance companies and navigating the legal system is not always easy.
You will find it useful to have a basic understanding of Massachusetts car accident law and how the system works. This knowledge will help you know what to expect and ease some of your stress if you are involved in a car accident.
The Deadline for Reporting a Massachusetts Car Accident
It is a legal requirement in Massachusetts to complete a Motor Vehicle Crash form and file it with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RVM) within 5 days if one of the following applies:
- A person was killed in the accident
- A person sustained injuries in the accident
- There was damage of $1,000 or more to a single vehicle or property
Failure to report a car accident within 5 days can result in your license being suspended or revoked. Additionally, you are required to send a copy of the report to the police department that has jurisdiction where the accident occurred.
Massachusetts Is a No-Fault Car Insurance State
Vehicles being operated on Massachusetts’ roadways must have car insurance coverage, according to the state’s car insurance laws.
Massachusetts is a no-fault car insurance state. This means that, in the event of a car accident, your own auto insurance covers medical bills, property damage, and some other losses up to a certain dollar amount.
The following types of coverage and policy limits are mandatory in Massachusetts:
- Bodily injury: Minimum$20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident. This coverage protects you from legal liability if you accidentally injure or kill someone while operating your vehicle.
- Property damage: Minimum $5,000 per accident. This covers damage you caused to another person’s vehicle, fence, building, or other property because of the car accident.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This part of your policy means you will be covered up to $8,000 for your own medical expenses. It also covers up to 75 percent of your lost income if the crash prevents you from returning to work.
- Bodily injury caused by uninsured auto: Minimum $20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident. This protects you from losses caused by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance Coverage
Law enforcement asks for proof of insurance from all drivers involved in car accidents. Driving without car insurance in Massachusetts is illegal and not something that is taken lightly. You can incur serious consequences if you are caught driving without a car insurance policy.
Depending on the circumstances, you could face one or more of the following penalties:
- A $500 up to $5,000
- Your driver’s license is suspended for up to 60 days
- Up to 1 year in jail
How Soon Should I File a PIP Claim After a Car Accident?
It is important to follow all procedures when filing a PIP claim with your insurance company to ensure your claim is paid. You should notify your insurer as soon as possible after your crash. The adjuster may ask you to explain how the accident occurred, what injuries you sustained, and what medical treatment you have received so far.
While it is recommended to contact your car insurance company shortly after your accident, you have up to 2 years from the date of the crash to submit your paperwork.
Can I File a Lawsuit After a Massachusetts Car Accident?
When you are injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, your first step in recovering compensation is filing a claim with your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage provider. Under your PIP insurance policy, you can receive compensation for medical expenses and other damages – regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
However, if you suffered serious injuries, you may need to pursue additional compensation by filing a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. In order to file a lawsuit, you must have incurred over $2,000 in medical bills, suffered disfiguring injuries, or permanently lost your vision or hearing in the car accident.
If your injuries qualify, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties or their insurance companies.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts?
A “statute of limitations” determines the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. If your car accident injuries are severe enough that you qualify to receive additional compensation, you must file a personal injury lawsuit before this deadline expires.
In Massachusetts, if someone was harmed in a car accident, he or she has 3 years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. Filing past the allowed statute of limitations will most likely result in your case being dismissed by the court.
One exception to this rule is if the injured party is under the age of 18. If a minor was harmed in a car accident, the statute of limitations will not start to run until the victim turns 18 years of age; from then on, he or she will have only 3 years to file a lawsuit.
Types of Damages Available to MA Car Accident Victims
If you have sustained serious injuries in a car accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. Knowing what types of compensation are available to you can ensure you receive complete coverage for any losses incurred due to a car crash.
A personal injury attorney can investigate your case and explain which damages you may qualify for and how much compensation you may be able to recover.
Common economic damages awarded to car accident victims in Massachusetts are:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Vehicle rental fees
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Rehabilitation costs
Non-economic damages that may be awarded are:
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one in a car accident, Massachusetts law allows you to file a claim for wrongful death damages. This could include compensation for burial costs, funeral expenses, loss of inheritance, and other damages.
Our Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you are not familiar with Massachusetts car accident laws, recovering compensation for your injuries can be confusing. But that’s why our car accident attorneys are here to help. We can investigate the cause of your accident and let you know which state laws apply to your specific situation.
Our legal team is not just knowledgeable in Massachusetts car accident law; we have been building success upon experience for decades. Kiley Law Group has been helping car accident victims recover compensation for their losses for over 40 years. We can help you recover the maximum amount of money you are entitled to for your injuries.
Call us today at (888) 437-2584 or complete the online form to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to take your call.