Pursuing A Motor Vehicle Crash Claim In Massachusetts
If you are injured in a motor vehicle crash in Massachusetts, you may be wondering what the circumstances are that would allow you to pursue a claim against the person that caused your injuries. There are two major aspects of the law that come into play regarding this topic.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
The first is negligence. In order to successfully pursue a claim related to your injuries against the at-fault party, you must be 50% or less at fault for the incident. This is called “modified comparative negligence”.
Under this rule, which is found in the Massachusetts statutes as M.G.L. c. 231 sec. 85, the injured party can recover his or her damages so long as the injured party is not 51% or more at fault for the incident.
To illustrate this, let’s say the injured party had a claim that was worth $10,000.00. If the injured party has no liability for the incident, then the injured party would be entitled to the entire $10,000.00.
If, however, the injured party was 25% at fault for the incident, the injured party could collect $7,500.00 as the claim value would be reduced by the percentage of the injured party’s fault.
What Is A Tort Threshold?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash in Massachusetts, your injury claim would be ruled by the above as well as something called a “tort threshold”.
This threshold only applies to losses involving a motor vehicle. This threshold does not apply to other types of losses, such as a slip and fall or dog bite incident. This threshold is defined under M.G.L. c. 231 sec 6D. It states as follows:
“In any action of tort brought as a result of bodily injury, sickness or disease, arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle within this commonwealth by the defendant, a plaintiff may recover damages for pain and suffering, including mental suffering associated with such injury, sickness or disease, only if the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in treating such injury, sickness or disease for necessary medical, surgical, x-ray and dental services, including prosthetic devices, and necessary ambulance, hospital, professional nursing and funeral expenses are determined to be in excess of two thousand dollars unless such injury, sickness or disease (1) causes death, or (2) consists in whole or in part of loss of a body member, or (3) consists in whole or in part of permanent and serious disfigurement, or (4) results in such loss of sight or hearing as is described in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of section thirty-six of chapter one hundred and fifty-two or (5) consists of a fracture.”
The criteria states that unless the injured party has suffered death, any loss of a body part, disfigurement such as scarring, a fracture, or a loss of sight or hearing, the injured party’s medical bills need to meet or exceed $2,000.00.