Every day in the United States there are more than 16,000 car accidents, resulting in approximately 90 deaths and thousands of injuries. Of the 3 million people who suffer injuries as a result of car accidents every year, 2 million experience permanent injuries.
The aftermath of a car accident can be a confusing and difficult time. You may be wondering what to do after a car accident and what steps you can take to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation that you deserve.
In this blog post, your expert team at Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers will highlight what you should do after a car accident in Boston. We will also highlight the specific Massachusetts laws that you should be aware of when pursuing a claim. Let’s get started.
What to Do After a Car Accident
To start, let’s take a step-by-step approach to navigating the aftermath of a car accident, from the immediate moments after the collision to speaking to an experienced car accident attorney.
Remain at the Scene
The first thing you should do following a car accident is to get yourself and others to safety. If you are in a position to, move your car to the side of the road and ensure that everyone is accounted for.
You should then check both yourself and (if you are able) others for any injuries. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 immediately. Also, do not provide assistance to anyone that goes beyond your training and avoid moving anyone unless they are in imminent external danger (such as from a fire).
Call the Police
If you have called 911 seeking medical assistance, a police officer will also be dispatched to the scene. In any case, it is important that a police officer attends the scene and files a police report. This report may be very helpful if you are seeking damages later on.
Remember to get the badge number and name of the responding officer and, if possible, the police report number.
Exchange Contact and Insurance Information
When you are able to, identify the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Get their names, driver’s license numbers, contact information, and car insurance details. It is recommended that you take a photograph of the insurance card and license to avoid any transcription errors or the loss of information.
If there were any witnesses to the scene, you should also seek to get their names and contact information as their testimony may be required, either by an attorney or your insurance company.
Report the Car Accident
Under Massachusetts law, you may be required to complete a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report form. You will have to do this if the accident resulted in the death of or injury to any person or if there was damage of more than $1,000 to any one vehicle or property.
This form should be filed with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles within five days. A copy of this form must also be sent to the local police department.
Talk to a Lawyer
What happens next will depend on the nature of the accident itself. Therefore, it is essential that you speak to an experienced Boston car accident attorney. They will help you with every aspect of your claim, including negotiating a satisfactory settlement.
Other steps you should take at this point include notifying your car insurance company, gathering potential evidence, writing out what happened, and keeping careful records (such as medical bills).
Understanding Massachusetts Car Accident Laws
The steps that you take following a car accident in Boston will also be dependent on the state’s specific car accident laws. Here, we will highlight what you should be aware of with regard to these laws after a car accident.
Massachusetts is what’s known as a no-fault state. This means that if you suffer an injury, you typically need to file a claim under your own PIP car insurance coverage to get compensation for financial losses. This is regardless of who caused the crash.
Only in the case where your injuries are sufficiently serious can you bring a direct claim against the at-fault driver. Note that these no-fault rules do not apply to claims for vehicle damage; they can always be made against at-fault drivers in the state.
If limited to a PIP car insurance claim with your own insurer, you can recoup the following losses (up to a maximum of $8,000):
- Related medical bills (related to car accident injuries)
- Up to 75% of lost income
- Replacement services
For claims that are sufficiently serious that an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s liability coverage can be made, you can receive additional compensation, including for:
- Payment of your accident-related medical bills
- Compensation for your mental and physical pain and suffering
- Lost income and other economic losses
Note that Massachusetts follows a modified comparative fault rule in cases where both parties share some blame for a car accident. The plaintiff’s share of the fault must be deemed to be 50% or less in order to collect any damages from the defendant.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Boston
The aftermath of a car accident can be an emotional and painful time. The above information on what to do after a car accident in Boston gives you a good grounding in the steps you should take. We highly recommend that you speak to an experienced attorney when planning to file a car accident lawsuit.
In Boston, your premier choice is Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers. Contact us today to learn how we can help with a free, no-obligation case review.