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 go to resolve your claim for damages. Under the Statute of Limitations, suit must be filed within three years from the date of the collision! After this time, a court is likely to refuse to hear a suit.
Second, Massachusetts law stipulates that car accidents are adjudicated under modified comparative fault. This means that any damages the court orders are decreased by any percentage of fault you are found to have in the accident. For example, if a jury deems the other driver 85% at fault and you to be 15% at fault, and the award is $10,000, you will receive 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 less than 50% at fault for the accident. This is quite different than many other states in the U.S. Many states operate under a pure comparative fault rule, which means that a plaintiff can be awarded whatever percentage of damages a jury has decided they are not at fault. In the example above, for instance, if a jury found a plaintiff 60% at fault and the other driver 40% at fault, the plaintiff could still receive 40% of any award 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 my law office and speak directly to an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney.