Articles Posted in Car Accident

shutterstock_614637563-300x200Those who travel by car understand that there is a certain level of risk that driving entails, because, despite safe driving habits, motorists cannot control the behavior of other drivers. However, in some cases, drivers can modify and adapt to traffic conditions to ensure their safety or mitigate their harm. In contrast, passengers usually maintain a total lack of control to avoid an accident. Those who suffer injuries as a passenger in a Massachusetts car accident can file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. In some instances recovering compensation is more straightforward for passengers because they usually do not share liability for the accident.

Massachusetts law provides passengers with rights and remedies if they suffer injuries because of another’s negligence. In effect, passengers maintain the same rights as the non-negligent driver, and in some cases, they have additional rights. Generally, a passenger in a car accident may be able to sue the at-fault driver for damages. Further, if the driver of the vehicle the passenger was traveling in was responsible, that driver may be held liable as well. In essence, a passenger can file a lawsuit against any responsible party that contributed to the accident or damages.

Drivers will often claim that the passenger somehow contributed to the accident or their damages. However, in most cases, a passenger cannot be responsible for the driver’s negligent actions. For instance, a driver may claim that they became distracted because the passenger was talking to them. Even if that is the case, responsibly hinges on the driver’s decision to take their attention off the road.

shutterstock_643457788-300x168Hit-and-runs are accidents in which the at-fault party leaves the scene of the incident without providing identifying information or rendering care to the victim. Massachusetts hit-and-run victims often face severe and potentially life-threatening injuries as well as significant expenses. The inherent nature of these accidents leaves victims and their families in a precarious position because the victim may face a long road of recovery with little recourse against the culpable driver.

For example, recently, a local news source reported a Massachusetts hit-and-run accident resulting in a fatality. The police department is asking the public to help identify the driver that hit the pedestrian. Grainy security footage depicts the driver crashing into the pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident. The 54-year-old pedestrian was taken to a local hospital but has since tragically succumbed to his injuries.

Hit-and-run accidents are more complicated than typical collisions because victims often need to undergo significant medical procedures and extended rehabilitation. Insurance coverage rarely meets the treatment costs that victims accrue. Many victims decline appropriate treatment because they cannot afford these expenses.

shutterstock_738975676-scaledSpeeding is one of the most common causes of Massachusetts car accidents. Speeding occurs when a motorist drives over the posted speed limit or drives too fast for the weather or road conditions. Massachusetts speeding collisions often result in serious and potentially fatal injuries due to the significant forces involved went the cars collide. The faster a car is traveling, the more force it creates upon impact. Additionally, speeding drivers have less time to prevent a crash when they are traveling at accelerated rates.

For instance, recently, a Boston news source reported that the District Attorney identified the teen who died in a speeding accident. When officers arrived at the accident scene, they discovered a mangled car wrapped around a pole. Emergency personnel transported a young girl to a local hospital, and an 18-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The vehicle was split in two, and the utility pole cracked, causing a power disruption for several hours. Given the vehicle’s state, local mechanics estimated that the car was likely traveling over 100mph at the time of the accident. Local residents explained that despite the stoplights, people often speed down the stretch of roadway where the accident occurred.

There are many reasons drivers speed; however, these individuals should be held liable for their actions despite the reasons. Drivers often speed because they do not pay attention to posted speed limits or are otherwise distracted. Further, drivers may speed when they are engaged in road rage or emotional situations. Drivers also speed when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

michael-jin-ipHlSSaC3vk-unsplash-300x200Auto accidents can devastate lives. A collision can lead to death or life altering injuries in the blink of an eye. What happens if the person who has changed your life forever does not have insurance? What if they speed away without a word while you are incapacitated? What if you’ve been severely injured and they have minimum insurance coverage?, Fortunately, there are insurance policies designed for these events.

In Massachusetts, insurers offer two types of coverage options to provide individuals injured in auto accidents a means of recovery when the driver causing the accident is unavailable, uninsured, or underinsured. Ensuring you have enough coverage under both types of policies is imperative to protect you in the event of an accident involving one of these types of drivers.

Uninsured Motorist insurance, referred to as ‘UM’ coverage, is mandatory under Massachusetts General Law c.90, s.34A-34R regarding Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance. If you are injured by a driver that does not carry insurance, which is against the law, your UM coverage will provide you benefits for bodily injury. Similarly, if after an accident, the responsible party drives off before being identified, the UM coverage stands in the shoes of the absent party, paying claims for bodily injuries.

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In the event of the tragic death of a loved one, the surviving family members can bring a wrongful death claim against the person who they believe to be at fault for the accident. Massachusetts’s wrongful death statute allows a plaintiff to bring a claim against a defendant who negligently causes a person’s death, or who, “by willful, wanton or reckless act” causes the person’s death in a way that would have allowed the person to recover compensation if the person were still alive.

Under the statute, the following people can recover damages from a Massachusetts wrongful death claim:

hit and run

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Massachusetts motorists must stay at the scene of a crash to provide their information to injured parties—the failure to do so carries serious civil and criminal consequences. Under Massachusetts law, the crime of leaving the scene of an accident involves leaving the scene after “knowingly colliding with or otherwise causing injury” to another vehicle, person, or property, or “to avoid prosecution or evade apprehension” after a collision resulting in death, and without stopping and providing the driver’s name, residence, and vehicle registration number.

Massachusetts car accident victims may be able to use another driver’s act of leaving the scene as evidence of that driver’s negligence in a subsequent civil lawsuit. A criminal conviction for leaving the scene of an accident might be used to show the driver was at fault for the crash or as other evidence. Even for drivers that fear the consequences, leaving the scene is illegal and is never a good idea. Police are often able to track down hit-and-run drivers through video and witnesses.

Massachusetts personal injury cases involving more than one potentially liable party can become complicated when it comes to determining each party’s liability. A defendant’s negligence does not need to be the sole cause of a plaintiff’s injury for the defendant to be legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injury. As long as a defendant’s negligence contributed as a proximate cause of the p

motorcycle accident

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laintiff’s injury, the defendant is liable. In a Massachusetts negligence case,  joint liability is appropriate when two or more parties negligently contribute to the injury of another through their acts, which operate concurrently, in a way that the damages are inseparable. In such cases, the parties are jointly and severally liable.

pedestrian

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Whenever someone is injured in a Massachusetts car accident, they can pursue a claim for compensation through a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit. When the allegedly at-fault party is a government employee, however, certain additional rules apply.

Historically, government entities were not able to be sued by private citizens. However, over time, lawmakers realized that this rule led to unfair results in that accident victims were denied compensation for injuries that were clearly due to the wrongdoing of government employees. Thus, lawmakers across the country passed laws called “tort claims acts,” which waived government immunity in certain situations.

Anyone who has lived in Massachusetts over the winter season knows that the state gets it fair share of winter weather. Whether it be snow, freezing rain, or black ice, Massachusetts roads can get ugly between December and February, increasing the likelihood of a Massachusetts car accident. These conditions can present a challenge to motorists who may not have a choice but to brave the conditions to get to work or take their children to school.

Winter highway

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Under Massachusetts law, all drivers must operate their vehicle at a speed that is “reasonable and proper”. In areas where there is a posted speed limit, the posted speed limit is considered the maximum speed that is reasonable and proper. Thus, if a motorist causes an accident while speeding, the fact that they were traveling in excess of the speed limit at the time of the accident creates a rebuttable presumption that they were not traveling at a reasonable and proper speed. However, there are certain situations where traveling at the posted speed limit would not be reasonable and proper, and motorists must adjust their speed accordingly.

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Massachusetts personal injury victims can suffer devastating consequences if an insurance company rejects their claims for coverage. In a recent case before the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, the court had to determine whether the plaintiff was considered a “household member” in order to be eligible for coverage.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured in a serious car accident while he was a passenger in a vehicle. The plaintiff was hospitalized for four days, and incurred medical bills of more than $40,000, as well as a long-term disability. The plaintiff accepted a settlement with the driver for the full extent of the driver’s insurance policy of $100,000.

Evidently, at the time of the accident, the plaintiff lived with his girlfriend and their minor son in a home with his girlfriend’s mother and stepfather. The mother and stepfather had an insurance policy that covered two cars used by residents of the plaintiff’s home. The policy provided $250,000 of coverage per person in underinsured motorist coverage for damages caused by a person who does not have sufficient insurance to cover someone’s damages. The plaintiff filed a claim under this policy.

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