Understanding liability in a Massachusetts car accident can be confusing, especially because the state recognizes both a no-fault system, as well as a comparative negligence rule, which at first glance may seem to contradict one another. Indeed, why would a driver need to carry both no-fault car insurance and liability insurance? Here’s an overview about what you need to know about fault, and when it has an effect on the amount of money you recover in a Worcester car accident claim–
Massachusetts’ No-Fault Law
Massachusetts recognizes a no-fault system of insurance, which means that when a crash occurs, both drivers, regardless of fault, will turn to their own car insurance first for damages. These damages are paid through the policyholder’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which is required in an amount of no less than $8,000 in the state, and pays for medical expenses.
No-fault insurance prevents injured parties from bringing forth a civil lawsuit against another party to seek compensation for pain and suffering. However, this ban is lifted in the event that the injured party suffers serious injuries, or more than two thousand dollars in medical expenses (Chapter 231, Section 6D of Massachusetts General Laws).
But Fault Still Matters
While injured drivers may be barred from filing a lawsuit to recover damages for pain and suffering unless they meet the injury threshold described above, fault still has a role in the insurance claims process. As explained by the Division of Insurance, when one driver is more than 50 percent at fault for an accident, that driver’s insurance company is responsible for the losses and expenses incurred by others who were affected in the accident.
In other words, while driver’s will turn to their no-fault insurance to recoup damages to pay for medical expenses, the rules of comparative fault still determine which party pays for property damages. Further, an at-fault party’s premiums could increase after an accident, and if a lawsuit is filed, fault will be a significant factor in awarding damages.
Making Sense of Fault and No-fault Laws in Worcester
If you have been involved in a crash and have more questions about Worcester car accident laws and who will pay for your losses, call the office of Tetzel Law, LLC today. Our attorneys will review your case for free, and help you to understand your options. You can request more information by sending us a message using the online form on our website, or calling us directly at (617) 933-3858.