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What You Need to Know About Auto Accidents in Massachusetts

Quick Action Is Required After an Accident

There is never a good time to have an accident. Depending on the circumstances, an accident can be a minor inconvenience or a life-altering calamity. Recent studies suggest that the average driver will have a collision three or four times over a lifetime, or about one collision every eighteen years. We all hope and pray that any collisions we are involved with are minor and result in no serious property damage and–even more importantly–no real harm to people. Yet even a minor “fender-bender” can ruin more than an ordinary afternoon of errands and a perfectly polished bumper–whiplash and other injuries can develop in the days after an accident.

When you are in an accident, no matter how minor it may seem, it is important to take action in order to protect your interests in case the damage to you and your vehicle, or the other parties’ persons and vehicles, is more substantial than originally thought.

Reporting Requirements

Massachusetts law requires that an accident be reported to the Registry of Motor Vehicles within five days if:

  • The accident caused more than $1000 in property loss or damage
  • Any person suffered injury or death

As discussed above, the full extent of injuries can take days and a doctor’s diagnosis to be known. Similarly, it is difficult to assess the cost of car repairs while standing on the side of the road with adrenaline running. To be on the safe side, always report an accident.

Statute of Limitations

If someone chooses to file suit following injuries or property loss in an accident–whether they were driving, riding as a passenger, or a pedestrian–the time limit to do so is three years from the date of an accident. If a death occurs as the result of an accident, the three-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death suit begins on the day the death occurred, even if that was weeks or months after an accident.


Massachusetts relies on a system of comparative negligence to determine liability for an accident. Being found even partially liable for an accident can result in inflated insurance rates and points on one’s license. An appeals process is available.

As a no-fault state, Massachusetts requires parties to an accident to file claims for out-of-pocket expenses, lost income, and medical bills. There are exceptions if medical bills exceed $2000 or an injury caused permanent disability or disfigurement.

If a lawsuit arises, the court will seek to determine the percentage of fault held by the parties to an accident as well as the total financial loss accrued by the accident. As long as a plaintiff is found to be less than half (fifty percent) responsible for an accident, the plaintiff may be awarded damages.

Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys

If you were injured in a car accident, you need skilled legal representation to help rebuild your life and obtain fair compensation for your physical injuries and financial damages. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, call our office today to discuss your unique case and the compensation you need and deserve.

Steven M. Houde

Steven M. Houde

Attorney Houde is a top rated personal injury lawyer serving the Greater Boston region. With law offices in Medway, Attelboro, Needham, and Wellesley, Massachusetts, he will travel to meet clients at their home, hospital, or work. He is skilled at handling all facets of a successful injury claim, from proving liability to looking into all possible sources of insurance coverage to dealing with insurers and defense counsel.

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