Motorists in all states, other than New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, are required to possess auto liability coverage. In Massachusetts, state law mandates that you have minimal coverage of $20,000/$40,000. This means that in any accident injury claim the injured party can recover no more than $20,000 from your auto policy. If there are multiple claimants, then $40,000 is to be apportioned among the claimants with no one person being able to recover more than $20,000.

As a no-fault state, Massachusetts provides PIP benefits to injured motorists, passengers or pedestrians injured in car accidents in an amount up to $8,000 for medical expenses and lost earnings regardless of who was at fault. Before you can bring an injury claim against the liable driver, however, you must meet certain thresholds such as at least $2,000 in medical expenses, or have suffered a serious or permanent injury or disfigurement or death. You must also have possessed auto liability coverage or you will be barred from pursuing an injury claim against the liable party.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

No driver is required to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM). However, UM operates as a safety  net from which you can collect compensation if the liable party was uninsured. Nationally, about 13% of all cars on our roadways are driven by uninsured motorists, though Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates at 6.2%. But if you happen to be injured or suffer property damage with one of the 6% and you lack UM coverage, then you will have to personally bear the cost.

You should consider that the average injury claim in the U.S. is between $10,000 and $25,000. But if you are in a serious car accident, you will face thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost earnings, lost earning capacity, and months or years of pain. To protect yourself against a cataclysmic loss, you should have adequate UM coverage of at least $100,000.

UM coverage also applies in hit-and-run accidents, and in pedestrian accidents that constitute about 1 in 5 of all hit-and-runs. You will have to prove that a hit-and-run occurred by providing testimony from eyewitnesses or displaying the property damage, as well as a showing that you were not at fault.

If you do bring a UM claim, then you are asking that your insurer pay your damages. This becomes an adversarial relationship with your insurer where you have the burden of proving that the uninsured driver was at fault, and that you can provide sufficient proof of your damages. You will want to retain a competent and experienced Boston car accident lawyer to handle your claim from the outset. Studies show that claimants who retain legal representation obtain substantially higher settlements in personal injury claims than those who represent themselves, even accounting for legal fees.

A UM  case is similar in all respects to a typical claim brought against the liable party except that the matter is resolved at binding arbitration rather than at trial if the parties are unable to settle.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Along with UM coverage is underinsured or UIM coverage. This protects you in cases where an insured driver who was at fault has minimal or low coverage. You do have to settle with the liable driver for the policy limits or obtain a verdict for at least the limits before you can look to your own policy, provided you did purchase UM/UIM coverage, which is offered in tandem with UM.

An example is a driver with coverage of $30,000 that you are able to obtain. If your own UIM coverage is $100,000, you can bring a UIM claim against your insurer and collect up to $70,000 in additional compensation. You cannot bring a claim if your UIM is equal to or less than the policy limits of the liable party.

An added protection is umbrella coverage that can take effect once your UIM limits are exhausted. Many such policies are $1M to $2M. If you are a high earner, you might consider purchasing such coverage.

Damages in UM and UIM Cases

Your damages in a UM or UIM case are the same as in claims brought against an insured party. They typically include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma
  • Spousal claim for loss of consortium

Liability and damages are the key issues in any car accident claim. Having a dedicated Boston car accident lawyer advocating for you is key to your obtaining the most compensation for you injury claim.

Retain Lovenberg & Associates

Be assured of quality legal representation by a Boston car accident lawyer at Lovenberg & Associates. With decades of legal experience handling the most complex cases, our attorneys have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our injured clients and their families. Call us today at (617) 973-9950 for a free consultation.