“Wear your seatbelt.” “Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” You have probably heard precautions like these hundreds of times.
Yet, no matter what you do to keep your family safe, you cannot control the behavior of others. Each time you drive on Massachusetts roads, you face the possibility of getting into a car accident.
Car accidents are bad enough when two well-insured drivers are involved, but what happens if the at-fault party doesn’t have car insurance? The experienced lawyers at Kiley Law Group can answer your questions for free during your initial consultation.
Insurance Coverage Required by Massachusetts Law
In 2019, there were 334 traffic accident fatalities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Another 2,725 people were seriously injured in all recorded collisions.
Massachusetts requires all drivers to carry auto insurance. Four components comprise the minimum coverage for all registered vehicles.
Bodily injury to others
This coverage covers liability for you or anyone you let drive your car. The minimum is $20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident involving more than one victim.
However, these policies come with conditions that limit their usefulness. For example, if your accident occurs outside of Massachusetts, you are not covered. Also, your minimum policy will not cover legal liability for the death or injury of a passenger in your own car.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
PIP covers medical expenses and 75 percent of lost income (based on your salary for the previous year). You can claim up to $8,000, including replacement services (for essential activities your injuries prevent you from performing).
You can claim replacement services for:
- Child care
- Meal preparation
- Lawn maintenance
PIP provides this coverage for any authorized driver of your car, others living in your household, passengers, and pedestrians involved in the accident.
Bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto
This coverage pays for accidents that fit one of the following circumstances:
- Accidents caused by uninsured drivers
- Accidents in which the responsible party left the scene of the incident (hit-and-runs)
As previously mentioned, state law requires car insurance policies to cover at least $20,000 of bodily injury per person and $40,000 total for multiple-victim accidents.
Damage to someone else’s property
If the accident causes property damage, this coverage pays up to $5,000. For instance, you can use these funds to pay for your car or building repairs.
Drivers can also buy optional features for their car accident policies:
- Transportation replacement (i.e. rental cars)
- Towing and labor
- Accident forgiveness
- Roadside assistance
- Gap insurance for auto loan/lease repayment for totaled or stolen vehicles
- Pet insurance
- Additional coverage to pay higher amounts of bodily injury expenses
- Comprehensive coverage which pays for damage to your car regardless of fault
Every insurance company has its own policies, and the fine print is usually difficult to understand. If you have been in an accident recently, contact Kiley Law Group for a free case review.
Our legal team can examine your policy to ensure you get the maximum benefit from it. Call (888) 435-1321 today to schedule your free consultation.
Understanding Uninsured Auto Accidents
In Massachusetts, it is illegal to leave the scene of a personal injury accident. After a collision, those involved should move their vehicles to a safe location if necessary. Everyone should exchange contact information – names, phone numbers, motor registration numbers, and insurance details.
When someone flees without completing these obligations, it is often referred to as a “hit-and-run” accident. As long as the defendant is unknown, receiving compensation from any insurance policy he or she has is impossible.
Other motorists may never have purchased a policy. In other cases, drivers do not realize that their policies have lapsed until too late. A third possibility is that the at-fault driver happens to be from one of the rare US states that do not require insurance coverage.
What can you do if the at-fault party is not covered by an insurance policy? At Kiley Law Group, we believe you should know your options. When you fill out our case review form, we can let you know whether you have a claim within 2 hours.
The Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured
According to a report by the Insurance Information Institute, 1 in 8 drivers do not carry automobile insurance. About 12.6 percent of US motorists fell into this category in 2019.
Thousands of other drivers have insurance policies, but their coverage is insufficient for the cost of damages incurred. For example, suppose a driver hit a pedestrian, resulting in major injuries. If the motorist carried the state minimum insurance coverage, that policy could cover $20,000 of the pedestrian’s medical bills.
In the United States, medical expenses are known for being among the highest in the world. If the pedestrian requires emergency services, surgeries, and rehabilitation, their bills could easily amount to more than $20,000. The “underinsured” driver could be liable for thousands of dollars of additional healthcare bills not covered by insurance.
Getting Compensation From Underinsured and Uninsured Drivers
If you purchased a Massachusetts auto insurance policy, it should pay for damages caused by underinsured and uninsured drivers. Yet, what should happen is not the same as what usually occurs. Insurance companies are often more eager to turn a profit than to fulfill their promises.
How to leverage the law?
Our experienced lawyers can help you take advantage of laws that protect innocent victims, namely:
- Even if an at-fault motorist doesn’t have coverage, he or she is still liable for accident damages
- In some states, drivers can provide “proof of financial responsibility” in place of insurance coverage to satisfy state regulations; they have funds set aside in a bond or cash deposit in case of an accident
- Uninsured drivers can face fines, jail time, and the loss of driving privileges
- You could still qualify for damages if you were partially responsible for the accident
Massachusetts personal injury law has provisions for innocent parties who acquire permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or the loss of sight or hearing. You can also turn to personal injury lawyers if your medical bills exceed $2,000 or on behalf of a deceased family member.
What you could get?
A successful personal injury case could recover compensation for the following accident expenses:
- Medical bills: Emergency transport, treatment, medication, and aftercare
- Lost wages: Lost income if you were not paid due to injury-related absences
- Property damage: The cost of repairs for your vehicle or other possessions
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for your physical discomfort, emotional distress, and loss of life enjoyment
If you are facing the challenges of dealing with an uninsured or underinsured driver, do not panic. Our law firm has won over $500 million for our clients, and we are still as committed to pursuing justice as when we first opened our doors.
Pay Nothing Until We Win
One of the most common reasons people hesitate to contact lawyers is because they worry about the fees. At our law firm, we never want someone’s financial situation to get in the way of justice. Therefore, we do not charge fees until we win.
You will not pay a penny for your initial consultation. We can discuss your situation and recommend solutions for you without any obligation.
Do not expect insurance companies to waive their strict deadlines while you recover. Schedule your case review with our compassionate legal team as soon as possible, and let us help you defend your rights while you focus on getting better.
Call (888) 435-1321 or click the chat icon at the bottom of your screen to learn how Kiley Law Group can make a difference.