Motor vehicle accidents are a constant menace on Boston roadways. Traffic collisions occur daily, leaving a trail of injuries and death in their wake. A 2019 report disclosed that there were 321 fatal crashes in Massachusetts, resulting in a total of 334 deaths.
These accidents stem from several causes and factors that are within or outside the control of road users. When the fault driver could have prevented the accident by taking necessary precautions but failed to, a victim can sue to recover damages. The money would cover financial losses, including medical expenses and mental anguish.
It is best to get financial compensation with an auto accident lawyer from Kelly & Associates. But before we delve into that, let’s take an in-depth look at car accidents in Boston and the damages available to an accident victim.
What Factors Contribute to Car Accidents in Boston?
Accidents happen at the least expected times, and being careful on the road doesn’t guarantee you will not end up in a traffic collision. This is because while you might follow all the rules, you can’t control others’ actions. Negligent drivers would always create situations that would result in a crash and cause injuries to other parties.
Below, we examine the top factors that cause traffic accidents in Boston.
Before 2017, the default speed limit in Boston was 30 miles per hour. But that year, the city’s government reduced it to 25 mph. The reduction came from the recognition that speed plays a vital role in motor vehicle accidents. When a vehicle travels faster than it should, it cannot brake in time to avoid a collision.
Thus, most collisions resulting from speed cause severe injuries. Also, most fatal car accidents and truck accidents are from driving over the speed limit. This is because the higher the speed, the more at-risk drivers and car occupants are.
In Boston and other parts of Massachusetts, it is an offense to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers must keep their blood alcohol content below .08% when in transit. This is because alcohol negatively affects a person’s cognitive ability and results in reckless driving.
Victims of drunk driving accidents can file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to the criminal charge the fault driver would face. This way, they would hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence and get the maximum compensation for their losses. An experienced attorney from Kelly & Associates can help with this.
Most injury claims have distracted driving as a cause of the collision. Distracted driving entails a driver taking their eyes or mental concentration off the road. When this happens, an accident will likely occur that would injure or cost a person their life. It’s rare for distracted driving to result in a minor accident; it is mostly severe.
Some common distractions are:
- Adjusting mirrors while driving
- Changing radio stations
- The sudden appearance of animals on the road
- Looking at banners or billboards
- Eating, calling, or texting
Running Red Lights
No matter how often traffic agencies warn drivers against running red lights at an intersection, they keep doing it. This disobedient act is one of the most common contributors to head-on collisions and side-impact crashes. Not only does running a red light lead to injuries or death, but it also ends in significant property damage. Consequently, accident victims have no other option than to make an accident claim against the fault party.
Lastly, other known factors contribute to auto crashes asides from these four. They are:
- Mechanical problems
- Manufacturers defect
- Road rage
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Underlying medical condition
What Are the Types of Injuries Sustained in Boston Car Accidents?
As mentioned earlier, most people leave an accident scene injured or in a body bag headed for the coroner’s office. Those with injuries may never return to the quality of life they had before the crash if their wounds are devastating. This is why personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims often accompany traffic accidents.
The following are the types of injuries sustained in a Boston auto accident:
- Soft tissue injuries like whiplash
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries affecting the organs
- Internal bleeding
- Chest injury
If you sustained any of these physical injuries, you must receive treatment quickly. Even if you feel fine, still go for a checkup immediately after you finish filing the police report. Any treatment you undergo would appear in your medical record and help in proving your injury claim.
What Damages Are My Entitled to After a Boston Car Accident?
Accident victims are entitled to fair compensation. They can make a valid claim against the fault party’s insurance company or through a lawsuit with the help of a dedicated lawyer. You need a skilled attorney to get the proper compensation and ensure insurance adjusters don’t cheat you.
Generally, you can claim accident compensation for bodily injuries and property damage. The different settlement options available to Boston car accident victims include:
- Hospital Bills: It covers past and future expenses resulting from the treatment of the accident injuries. If there is a permanent injury, it would include medical equipment and prescription medication. This compensation ensures that you do not have medical debt and can cover all future medical expenses.
- Loss of Income: Most accident victims cannot return to work immediately after the incident due to their injuries. Those who have permanent injury may never return to their previous employment. Thus, loss of income compensation gives them a little financial security while figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives.
- Pain and Suffering: Accidents result in pain and suffering for victims, and the law recognizes that they should be compensated for it. It falls under non-economic damages and is commonly covered in insurance negotiations and court judgments.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Some accidents are so traumatic that victims lose all sense of enjoyment. They no longer care about things that used to make them happy and may become very fearful. For these reasons, the court orders liable parties to pay fair compensation.
- Loss of Consortium: This is for spouses of those who become bedridden following an accident. The law recognizes the toll loss of consortium has on marriages and provides for you to get compensated.
- Out of Pocket Expenses: The cost of medical care is not the only thing crash victims worry about. They can spend money on other things in their quest to pursue an auto accident claim. As long as the bill connects to your injury, you can get compensated for it.
- Emotional Anguish: Motor vehicle accidents can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of mental and emotional distress. To this end, the responsible party pays emotional damages.
- Punitive Damages: The court awards this compensation; auto insurance coverage does not cover it. It is only awarded when there’s evidence of gross negligence and serves as a warning to other drivers.
Note that the fault party’s auto insurance provider would avoid a high settlement at all costs. Most times, they try to shift the blame to you to avoid paying compensation. The one way to protect yourself is by working with an auto accident attorney.
How Does Comparative Negligence Law Affect My Compensation?
As a general rule, the driver who caused the accident is meant to compensate the victim. However, if the victim shares fault in the crash, it would affect the amount they get. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 Section 85, the modified comparative fault rule applies in such cases.
When the court applies this law, the compensation amount you get would be based on your degree of fault. It means that if your fault is 50% or less, you will get damages to the percentage of fault. For example, if you’re entitled to $100,000, you’ll only get $50,000 if you have 50% responsibility. If your liability is higher than 50%, then you’ll go away with nothing.
Does the Statute of Limitations Affect My Claim for Damages?
The simple answer is YES. You can lose out on the opportunity to get damages if you do not begin the claim process timeously. Under the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations, you have three years to file your auto accident claim for physical injuries. The limitation period also covers pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
The same time frame applies to vehicle damage claims. The time starts counting from the time you sustained the injury. If the accident victim dies, their family has three years to commence a wrongful death action against the fault driver. In this case, the time starts running from when the victim died. Once you miss the time frame, you will be statute barred from bringing a claim for damages.
Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers Can Help You Get Damages!
As an award-winning firm representing several clients in accident claims, we understand how difficult recovery can be. Not only will you have to deal with healing from your injuries, but you also have bills piling up from car repairs to medical treatment. It’s worse if your vehicle got totaled or you suffered a permanent injury.
This is where we come in! By employing our services at Kelly & Associates, we will work to get you the maximum compensation. All you have to do is focus on your recovery while we handle the fault driver and their insurance provider. We work on contingency fees, so you don’t have to pay us until we win.
Since time is of the essence in injury claims, we would love to begin working on your case today. Contact us for a free case review.