What are common Massachusetts’ determinations of fault for car accidents?

Massachusetts – January 23, 2023

Drivers who are determined to show that another person was at fault for a motor vehicle accident in which they suffered harmful losses may benefit from effective Massachusetts car accident legal representation. Massachusetts is a “no fault” state regarding car accidents, allowing individuals to seek compensation for medical costs and related damages with their own insurance company.  As a modified no fault insurance state, accident victims can sue for damages if an injured person shares less than 50 percent of the fault, but a victim’s insurance must pay up to the policy limit before other means are addressed.

Common driver fault.

Drivers can be identified as “at fault” for common accidents that may include:

  1. Failure to use turn signals, obey traffic signals, yield to emergency vehicles, or obey state driving laws resulting in collision.
  2. Collision with a parked car.
  3. Rear-end collision.
  4. Out-of-lane, wrong side of road, or driving in wrong direction collision.
  5. Collision at an uncontrolled intersection.
  6. Collision while driving in reverse.
  7. Collision while making left turn or U-turn with right of way driver.
  8. Leaving a parking spot, parking lot, or driveway resulting in collision.
  9. Opened vehicle doors resulting in collision.
  10. Single-vehicle collision.
  11. Unattended vehicle collision.
  12. Collision while merging.
  13. Noncontact operator causing collision.
  14. Collision at a T intersection entering from side road.

 Severe loss valuation.

Car accident lawyers understand the necessity of securing a financial court award, or insurance settlement that will fully cover the negative impacts to an accident victim’s life requiring property replacement, long term medical care and professional career changes that may reduce household income.  The requested award can include compensatory and punitive damages.  Fault will need to be proven by building a case through:

  • Sending investigators to the accident scene,
  • Reviewing police reports, witness testimony and medical reports,
  • Hiring appropriate financial personnel to make valuations of loss,
  • Determining the cause of the accident,
  • Supporting victim’s rights against aggressive insurance companies,
  • Drafting and filing complicated insurance and legal documents.

Recoverable damage compensation.

A Massachusetts car accident attorney will review the damage valuation determinations for auto insurance claims, to determine the payment of compensatory damages for economic losses including lost wages, medical bills, medical care, and treatment, plus household expenses and non-economic losses that include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or companionship.  In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded when a car accident lawyer can prove that a defendant deliberately, with reckless disregard, acted in a manner to cause harm to another person, and in accordance with state law. Massachusetts law rarely allows punitive damages that are meant to punish a defendant for egregious behavior unless gross negligence, or actual malice can be proven, apart from medical malpractice awards capped at $500,000.

Wrongful death claims. In Massachusetts, family members, or legal representatives must file a wrongful death claim within three years from the date of the death caused by the negligent, reckless, or deliberate act of another. Damages under this section shall be recovered in an action of tort by the executor, or administrator of the deceased.

 Hire a lawyer.

Auto accident insurance claims and personal injury litigation necessary to recover car accident damages, requires the services of competent lawyers. Experienced  car accident lawyers at the Neumann Law Group can build strong cases with supporting evidence, and objectively speak on a victim’s behalf in court, or with an insurance company’s legal team to yield a positive result.

 The Neumann Law Group

Prudential Tower
800 Boylston St 16th Floor
Boston, MA 02199

Phone: (617) 918-7790
Fax: (231) 221-0051


  1. General Law – Part III, Title II, Chapter 229, Section 2 (malegislature.gov)
  2. General Law – Part I, Title XIV, Chapter 90, Section 34M (malegislature.gov)
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