An automobile accident is a frightening and life-altering experience, especially when you suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Collisions are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With accidents occurring every day, it’s essential to know what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries as a result of another driver’s careless behavior, you may have legal options. Jim Glaser Law, an experienced personal injury law firm in Boston, Massachusetts, is familiar with the complex nature of vehicle accident cases. To learn more about your legal rights after an automobile accident, contact a Boston car accident lawyer today.
The Four Most Frequent Causes of Vehicle Accidents
While vehicle accidents occur for countless reasons, the four most common causes include:
1. Distracted Driving
The CDC reported, “Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.” Distracted driving happens every day and has caused many people to lose their lives.
Any activity that requires you to direct your attention away from the road is considered distracted driving. Here are the three categories:
Any distraction that takes your mind off the road falls under this category. Some examples of cognitive distractions include daydreaming or talking with passengers while driving.
Distractions that cause your eyes to drift from the road are known as visual distractions. Some common visual distractions include applying makeup, adjusting the climate control settings, and reaching for items in your vehicle.
Anything that requires you to take your hand or hands off the steering wheel is considered a manual distraction. Some examples of manual distractions are smoking, eating, and drinking.
2. Driving While Intoxicated
Drinking and driving significantly affects your ability to safely operate your motor vehicle. Driving while intoxicated places your life in danger as well as those around you on the roadways.
Alcohol reduces your coordination skills, decreases your vision, and damages your ability to respond quickly to situations on the road. All of these factors are vitally important to safe driving.
3. Adverse Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions directly affect the safety of roadways. Heavy rain, snow, and ice, for example, create dangerous road conditions that frequently lead to accidents. If the weather is not clear, it may be best to avoid driving, if possible. However, if you do find yourself driving in adverse weather, it’s important to stay alert and drive slowly.
4. Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
States implement traffic laws for a reason – safety. Speed limits and right-of-way laws are enforced to keep everyone safe on the roads. Ignoring traffic laws puts yourself and others at risk of being involved in an accident.
Although these are the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents, there are many other reasons collisions occur on the roadways. If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, it’s important to understand how to proceed.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
The moments immediately after a collision can either support or damage your claim. For this reason, our team has provided some tips for how to best proceed after an accident.
The first step you should take following a collision is to check if you or anyone else is injured. Once you have checked for injuries, you should contact emergency responders and notify them that you have been involved in a crash. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and any injuries you sustained. Additionally, it’s vital to have a police report filed because it can later be used to support your claim.
Filing a claim and/or seeking compensation for damages is not always straightforward. Insurance companies may give you a difficult time in order to avoid paying your claim. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney if your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of another motorist.
Modified Comparative Negligence
The state of Massachusetts follows the modified comparative negligence law. This means that in order to obtain any compensation for damages, you must be less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. However, any compensation you’re eligible to receive will be reduced by your percentage of negligence. For example, if you’re awarded a $100,000 settlement but are found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced to $80,000.
If you’re found to be more than 50 percent at fault, then you will likely not be able to receive compensation. Determining who is legally responsible after an accident is not always clear. For this reason, it’s best to contact an attorney to discuss your claim.
Massachusetts Is a No-Fault Insurance State. What Does That Mean?
In many states across the U.S., if you’re involved in an accident that was not your fault, you would file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company for damages.
Massachusetts, however, is a ‘no-fault’ insurance state, which means if you suffer injuries in an accident, you will file a claim with your personal insurance company, despite who is legally responsible for the wreck.
If you’re involved in an auto accident in Massachusetts, car insurance will be vitally important, especially if you decide to seek coverage for damages. However, insurance companies are not always on your side and may try to avoid paying for your claim. In this case, having an experienced attorney on your side who is prepared to fight back will be to your advantage.
Massachusetts Car Insurance Requirements
Every state has specific car insurance requirements that residents must adhere to in order to drive their vehicle. In the state of Massachusetts, drivers are required to have four types of coverage. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), all drivers must possess at least the following minimum coverage amounts:
The type of medical treatment required for your recovery will depend on the severity of your injuries. After an accident, the cost of surgeries, rehabilitation, and prescription medications, can become overwhelming. If you were injured through no fault of your own, compensation can help cover any medical expenses related to your accident.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to medical bills, you deserve to be compensated for any emotional pain you’ve endured. However, it can be difficult to assign a dollar amount to the mental trauma you experienced as a result of your accident. A knowledgeable attorney will know how to calculate a reasonable settlement amount on your behalf.
If your injuries prevent you from working, it’s essential to keep a record of the time you missed from work to attend doctor’s appointments and receive treatment. You may be compensated for any lost wages as a result of your accident.
Contact Jim Glaser Law to Learn More About Your Legal Options
At Jim Glaser Law, we understand the devastating effects an accident can have on the victim and their family. For this reason, we are dedicated to providing injured victims with the legal representation they need.