Assigning fault for an accident is a cornerstone of personal injury law. When an individual’s negligence causes another person to suffer an injury, the negligent individual is liable for the victim’s damages. In other words, if you’re injured because somebody else behaved in a negligent manner, that person is responsible for covering your injury-related expenses. 

Sometimes, it’s clear who was at fault for a car accident. A drunk driver who drifts out of her lane and collides with another vehicle is clearly in the wrong and thus liable for the victim’s damages. But not all car accidents are this clear-cut. Sometimes, both drivers are negligent in some way. In other scenarios, neither driver was negligent and instead, the accident happened because of factors beyond their control like extreme weather or an animal darting onto the highway. 

Negligence Isn’t Always Clear Cut

When the word “negligence” is used in a discussion about car accidents, it refers to any action a driver takes that breaches his duty to maintain a safe roadway for himself and others. Any kind of careless, reckless or outright dangerous driving is an act of negligence. Examples of negligence that can lead to a car accident include:

  • Speeding
  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • Knowingly driving a faulty or unreliable car
  • Disregarding posted traffic signs
  • Driving aggressively

Sometimes, car accidents happen because two or more drivers were negligent. For example, a speeding driver might collide with a driver who didn’t yield to oncoming traffic. In this scenario, both drivers are at fault.

An At-Fault Driver Can Recover Compensation 

After determining that you were partially at fault for your accident, you might be worried you can’t recover compensation for your related expenses. This simply isn’t true. In Massachusetts, any car accident victim who is less than 51% at fault for her accident can recover personal injury damages. 

Let’s say you glanced down at your phone to check a message while you were driving and crashed into a car that didn’t come to a complete stop before entering the highway. In this scenario, you were both negligent. But if you can demonstrate that the driver who blew through a stop sign holds more than half the responsibility for the accident happening, you can still recover damages from that driver’s insurance provider. Demonstrating another driver’s negligence requires clear evidence showing how she was at fault, like photographs of both vehicles immediately following the collision, a copy of the official police report, eyewitness testimonies and any video surveillance that captured the scene. 

In Massachusetts, Drivers are Required to Carry No-Fault Coverage

Massachusetts is one of the 12 states that require all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Often known as “no-fault coverage,” PIP coverage pays an injured car accident victim’s medical expenses, a portion of his lost wages and the cost of hiring domestic help to handle household chores while he recovers regardless of who was at fault for his accident. 

If you’re injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, filing a PIP claim is your only option unless:

  • You broke a bone in the accident 
  • You suffered permanent or extreme disfigurement 
  • You suffered permanent hearing loss or eye injury
  • You’re facing more than $2,000 in medical expenses

Meeting one or more of these criteria means you are eligible to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. When this is the case, work with an experienced car accident lawyer to craft a claim that clearly demonstrates not just the other driver’s negligence, but how his negligence directly caused you to suffer severe financial damages. 

Injured? Discuss your Case with a Boston Car Accident Lawyer Today

When you’re facing steep medical expenses, mounting lost wages and other damages after being injured in a car accident, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you need to cover these costs. Learn more about your rights and legal options during your free consultation with Lovenberg & Associates, P.C. Don’t wait to get in touch, call us at 617-973-9950 today.