Massachusetts car accidents, especially those involving motorcycles, can have long-lasting and potentially fatal consequences. After an accident, victims and their families must understand how Massachusetts procedural and substantive rules will impact their claim to recovery. One of the most critical rules that may affect an injury victim’s claim to compensation is the state’s comparative negligence statute.
Historically, most states followed the contributory negligence theory, which acts as a defense to liability in a car accident or other injury lawsuit. Under the original theory, plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation if the defendant in the case could prove that the plaintiff contributed in any way to their own injuries. In addressing the inherent unfairness of this statute, Massachusetts lawmakers moved towards comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a modern alternative to contributory negligence.
Comparative negligence allows the trier of fact to evaluate all evidence that each party presents and assign fault on a percentage basis. Massachusetts’s modified comparative negligence rule allows plaintiffs to recover as long as their portion of responsibility was less than 51 percent. In situations where a plaintiff is more than 51 percent responsible, they generally cannot recover. Further, it is important to note that under this rule, a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault.
This theory comes up in most accident cases, especially in cases where there is a lack of evidence, one party dies, or there are conflicting accounts. For example, recently, a news report described a tragic accident involving an 18-year-old driver and a 19-year-old motorcyclist. According to the report, the 18-year-old driver was turning into a private driveway when the motorcyclist tried to go around her. The vehicles collided, and the motorcyclist was thrown from his bike and ended up underneath a tractor-trailer. An accident reconstruction expert indicated that the motorcyclist might have been speeding at the time of the incident; however, they are continuing to survey the evidence.
In accidents such as these, it is crucial that plaintiffs contact an attorney to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. Plaintiffs must understand that in addition to at-fault drivers, in many cases, insurance companies act as adversaries, as well. Insurance companies will often try to avoid paying a policyholder’s claim or offer an insufficient payout. An attorney can assist plaintiffs in pursuing their claims against the responsible party and insurance companies.
Discuss Your Case with a Massachusetts Motorcyclist Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know suffered injuries in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, or any other type of motor vehicle collision, contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C. The attorneys at our law firm have over 25 years of experience advocating on behalf of Massachusetts injury victims against negligent motorists and insurance companies. Our attorneys have successfully represented victims in various claims stemming from inattentive motorists, defective products, and negligent healthcare providers. We possess the unique skills, experience, and knowledge to provide our clients with top-notch representation. Contact our office at 800-262-9200 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney at our law firm.