After a Car Accident: Three Facts About Massachusetts Law

If you have been injured in a car accident, there are several things you should know.

First, if you suffer personal injuries or damaged property caused by a car accident, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court for damages. After this time, known as the statute of limitations, a court is likely to dismiss the lawsuit.

Second, Massachusetts law provides that car accidents are adjudicated under modified comparative fault. This means that the amount of your damages is decreased by any percentage of fault you are found to have had in the accident. For example, if a jury finds the other driver 85% at fault and you 15% at fault, then the total damage award of $10,000 gets reduced to 85% of $10,000.

Third, modified comparative fault in Massachusetts also means that a plaintiff can only be awarded damages if he or she is found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident. This is quite different from many other states in the U.S., which operate under a pure comparative fault rule. That rule means that a plaintiff can be awarded whatever percentage of damages a jury has decided they are not at fault. For example, if a jury found a plaintiff 60% at fault and the other driver 40% at fault, the plaintiff would still receive 40% of any total damages under pure comparative fault. That is not the case in Massachusetts, where the plaintiff would not be entitled to any damages.

If you have been injured in car accident and would like a free case evaluation to learn your options, please call our Worcester law office and speak directly to an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney.