Can I Claim Personal Injury in Boston If I Was at Fault?
Every state has different laws when it comes to determining fault for a car accident, and some plaintiffs are able to secure compensation for their car accident damages even though they bear partial responsibility for causing those accidents. If you cause a car accident, you generally do not have grounds for a personal injury claim. However, if you only bear partial fault for an accident, Massachusetts law may allow you to secure a financial recovery through a successful personal injury claim and the help of a Boston injury lawyer. Additionally, some types of car insurance may cover some personal injury damages regardless of fault.
Comparative Negligence in Boston Injury Claims
If you or a loved one suffered injury in an accident in the Boston area, it is essential to determine liability for the accident and assess whether you bear any fault for causing it. Massachusetts follows a comparative negligence law that allows a plaintiff to recover personal injury damages even when the plaintiff bears fault for the accident. However, the plaintiff’s fault may not exceed the defendant’s.
For example, if an investigation into an accident claim determines the plaintiff was 40% at fault and the defendant was 60% at fault, the plaintiff would still be able to recover compensation. However, the plaintiff would lose 40% of the case award to reflect his or her fault. In a $100,000 claim, the plaintiff would lose $40,000 for a net recovery of $60,000 instead.
In the event a case involves multiple defendants, the plaintiff’s fault may not exceed the combined fault of the defendants. For example, if a plaintiff was 40% at fault, and three defendants shared the other 60% of the fault, the plaintiff could still recover even if each individual defendant’s fault percentage was less than the plaintiff’s 40%. Massachusetts law also allows an injured plaintiff to file separate claims against each defendant in an accident claim, and accepting a settlement offer from one defendant does not release the other defendants from their individual liability.
The No-Fault States and Other Insurance Options
Some injury claims do not require determining fault. Ten U.S. states follow no-fault laws when it comes to car accidents, requiring injured drivers to file injury claims against their own Personal Injury Protection policies after accidents regardless of who caused those accidents. If you cause a car accident in a no-fault state and the resulting damages fall within the scope of available coverage, you can file an injury claim against your own policy for recovery. However, you should expect your premium rate to increase in response.
Drivers in states with fault-based laws for handling car accidents may still be able to file injury claims if they cause accidents. For example, if a driver causes an accident with another driver and his or her auto liability coverage pays for the other driver’s damages, the at-fault driver could secure recovery for his or her own damages if the at-fault driver has collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, or any other “catch-all” coverage that applies regardless of fault.
Ultimately, if you cause an accident you should expect to absorb liability for the resulting damages and face minimal options for your own recovery. However, the location where the accident took place and the behavior of the other parties involved could influence your options. When shopping for auto insurance, be sure to consider adding optional coverage that can apply regardless of fault and try to find a healthy balance of premium affordability and coverage. Insurance could be what saves you after causing an accident, but you should expect to pay for your actions in some way. For example, if you are fortunate enough that insurance covers your damages, you should still expect a premium increase after receiving your claim settlement.