Car Accidents in Boston
Our team of legal experts is here to help you through any Boston MA car accident. Whether you find yourself in a car accident in east Boston, a jam in south Boston, or a pileup downtown, CarAccident.Law has all the information and resources you need to recover.
From gathering evidence to filing claims for compensation, CarAccident.Law is your one-stop-shop for all your car accident needs. Talk to our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers today for a free consultation about how we may be able to help in your situation.
Boston Car Accident Statistics
As Bostonians are well aware, auto accidents are unfortunately common in the city proper, as well as its environs. With its winding, historic streets and heavy congestion, driving in Boston presents many opportunities for accidents to occur. Busy highways like 93, 95 and route 1a in east Boston are often scenes for multi-car pileups, and during winter months when the roads may be icy or covered in snow, Boston traffic gets even worse.
Recent MassDOT statistics show that Boston appears five times in the top 100 crash locations of Massachusetts.
Crash clusters were rated based on property damage levels and injury rates. The only crashes included were ones involving police reports where the officer specified that the accident took place at one of the following four intersections:
- Four-way intersection
- Five-point intersection
Some of the most dangerous intersections in Boston include:
- Morton Street and Harvard Street
- Gallivan Blvd. and Adams Street
- Gallivan Blvd. and Granite Avenue
- Massachusetts Avenue Connector and Frontage Road
- Gallivan Blvd. and Dorchester Avenue
- Morton Street and Gallivan Blvd
- Riverway and Longwood Avenue
According to Allstate insurance reports, Boston has long been considered home to some of the worst drivers in the nation, second only to Baltimore in terms of higher accident rates per city over a four year period. While the average American driver reports being involved in a car accident every 10 years, Boston typically sees 12 to 13 accidents a day, and the average Boston driver files an accident report every 3.6 years, according to an Allstate survey. In other words, Boston drivers experience car accidents more than twice as often as the average US driver.
Despite the high rate of car accidents in Boston, Suffolk County reports a relatively low rate of car accident fatalities compared to surrounding areas, according to NHTSA data. Experts hypothesize that the low rates of fatal car accidents in Boston may be due to expanded public transportation options in the city, compared to the options available throughout central or western Massachusetts.
Over a five year period, there were 135 reported Suffolk County fatalities due to car accidents. However, the surrounding counties of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth accounted for 55 percent of all traffic fatalities over the same period of time. These five counties account for high percentages of commuters into the Boston area.
Perhaps the largest contributing factors to auto accidents in Boston are colder weather and hazardous roadway conditions caused by sleet, snow, or ice. However, while crashes may be more common during the winter months, they are not always more deadly. The aforementioned NHTSA report states that the warmer months of April through September tend to report more fatal crashes than the colder months of October through November.
Common causes of car accidents in Boston include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Congestion and longer commutes, as well as fatigued driving
- Inexperienced drivers
One of the more unexpected common causes of motor vehicle collisions in Boston is familiar conditions. While you may think that car accidents only happen on unfamiliar winding roads, many accidents happen in parking lots and on streets close to home. Drivers who are in “auto-pilot,” so to speak, may pay less attention behind the wheel and find themselves in an accident within minutes from their final destination.
Boston Car Accident Laws
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning every Boston driver is required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance.
This no-fault insurance helps ensure that every driver is covered in the event of a car accident to a certain minimum standard, and that car accidents involving uninsured or unidentified parties do not cause undue harm.
When you are involved in an accident, you will file a claim through your own insurance first under Massachusetts no-fault law. Your own insurance company is primarily responsible for covering easily quantifiable costs associated with your Boston car accident, such as damage to property, a portion of your lost wages, and medical bills you may have incurred. Otherwise, it may be possible to recover additional damages through the other driver’s insurance.
All Boston drivers must carry the following minimum liability insurance, according to state law:
- $20,000 per person (or $40,000 per accident) for injuries to others (not including passengers in your vehicle)
- $8,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for your own accident related medical expenses and a portion of your missed wages (this extends to anyone you let drive your car, anyone living in your household who was in the car, passengers in your vehicle, and injured pedestrians)
- $20,000 per person (or $40,000 per accident) in Bodily Injury caused by uninsured auto
- $5,000 in damage to someone else’s property
Furthermore, in the event that you are involved in a crash in Boston MA, do not leave the area. You must stop your vehicle and identify yourself. If you leave the scene of the crash without doing so, you may be charged with an illegal hit-and-run. This involves possible criminal charges in the State of Massachusetts that may entail:
- Up to $200 or up to two years imprisonment, or both, for leaving the scene after a crash that causes damage to another person’s car or property
- Up to $1000 and imprisonment of up to two years for leaving the scene after a crash that injures another person
- Up to $5000 and imprisonment of up to 2.5 years in local jail or up to 10 years in state prison for leaving the scene after a crash that causes an injury which results in the death of another person.
- A substantial fine under the Massachusetts General Legislature Chapter 272, Section 80H if you hit and injure or kill a cat or dog without notifying the owner of the animal or the local police.
Comparative Negligence Standard in Boston
If there are additional expenses or more subjective losses associated with your Boston car accident that your or other driver’s insurance won’t cover, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life, you may be able to recover the remaining damages through a lawsuit, even if you bear some amount of liability for the collision. This is because Massachusetts is a comparative negligence state.
State law outlines the applicable modified comparative negligence standard. As long as you are not 51 percent or more at fault for the accident, you may be able to sue the other driver for financial damages which are not covered by insurance. However, it is important to note that the settlement amount will be reduced in proportion to your assigned percentage of fault.
On the other hand, an injured driver who bears more than 51 percent liability cannot sue for additional financial recovery. For this reason, it is advisable to work with an experienced attorney near you who can help refute any allegations of shared liability and maximize the compensation available in your case.
Filing a Boston Car Accident Report
In Boston and throughout the State of Massachusetts, there are certain obligations to report a car accident to more than just your insurance company. You are legally obligated to report any crash that causes injury or death. You must also report any accident that causes $1,000 or more in property damage. These reports must be submitted to both the local police department that has jurisdiction over the crash area and the Registry of Motor Vehicles within five days of the collision.
The only exception for this filing deadline is for those who are physically incapacitated and incapable of submitting such a report. However, if the owner of the car that was involved in the accident is able to make such a report (i.e., someone else was driving their car at the time of the collision), it is the car owner’s responsibility to file said report with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Failure to file a report in the event of a serious crash can result in the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license under state law.
In order to file a City of Boston car accident report involving injury, death, or property damage of over $1,000, the required Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report form can be obtained from your local police station, an RMV Service Center, over the phone from the RMV’s contact center, or online at Mass.Gov/RMV. You may also request a copy of a Boston police department car accident report for a fee. Fortunately, our team can help you request a police report for free and handle filing all of the necessary reports and follow up paperwork.
Do You Have to Call the Police after a Car Accident in Boston?
Mandatory reporting is only in place for accidents that involve property damage of over $1,000, injury, or death. However, it can be difficult to estimate correctly at the time how much certain accidents have caused in property damage. Likewise, there may be injuries, such as whiplash or severe head trauma, that only appear after medical attention later but which are caused by the car accident.
For this reason, it is a good idea to always call the local police to the scene of an accident and file a report. You never know how someone’s decision to handle an accident may change when they return home, or what they may claim after the fact. Having a police report protects all involved parties from fading memories and blame shifting, and helps prove to your insurance company that your vehicle’s damage came directly from the crash.
Seeking Financial Help after a Car Accident in Boston, MA
Depending on the situation, there are many ways in which a local car accident attorney may be able to help you recover your losses after an auto collision in Boston. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a claim on the other party’s insurance, as well as file for compensation in court.
A car accident lawyer serving the Boston area can help you build the strongest case possible to minimize your liability and maximize your settlement offer. They can also gauge whether your insurance company is offering you an accurate and comprehensive estimate, or if they are trying to avoid paying the full amount you may be entitled to. These are examples of how an injury attorney in our network may be able to help you file a car accident lawsuit or an insurance claim after a car crash in Boston.
In the event of a fatal Boston car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit, which can help cover some of the funeral and bereavement costs in order to ease the burden immediately after a loved one’s passing.
Finally, there may be other parties at fault in your crash. If the Boston city streets were not adequately maintained due to garbage, potholes, ice, or other driving hazards, then the city may be partially at fault for your accident and bear some of the financial burden. The experts with CarAccident.Law can review the details of your situation and explore every possible avenue for compensation with you.
How to File a Car Accident Claim in Boston
In order to file a car accident claim in Boston with your insurer, you will need to provide details about the crash and have access to your insurance card and the information on it. You will also need to share any medical bills related to the injury, as well as the dates and details of accident related medical visits. You may be able to recover a percentage of your lost wages under your PIP coverage, or personal injury protection, if you missed work as a result of the accident, as well as medical care and a percentage of lost wages for anyone else who was in your car and injured in the accident. PIP coverage is compulsory in Massachusetts up to $8,000 per accident, although you may have opted in for more coverage, depending on your specific policy.
To file a bodily injury or third party claim, you must have incurred at least $2,000 in medical expenses and sustained a considerable injury, such as loss of hearing or sight, permanent or substantial disfigurement, or broken bones. Once you meet this “serious injury threshold,” you will need the insurance information for the other party involved in the accident, as well as details about the crash, such as the date, time, location, and more. Your own bodily injury coverage extends to cover medical bills and lost wages for injuries sustained by others in the crash. Additionally, in the event that you face a lawsuit for your role in the accident, some of your own legal costs may be covered. Bodily injury coverage is also in place for when you are injured by a hit and run driver.
Finally, in order to cover property damage, your insurer may ask you to take your car to a pre-approved mechanic for inspection. You may be able to specify what kinds of repairs you want done and with what kinds of parts. For certain companies, you may simply receive a check for the estimated cost of the damage incurred.
Boston Car Accident Lawsuits
Car accident lawsuits can be a necessary part of the process of recovering all your accident related losses. As previously mentioned, you may be able to file a lawsuit after a Boston car accident even if you were partially at fault for the collision.
A Boston car accident lawsuit can cover a broader scope of expenses than what your insurance might offer you as remediation. Don’t leave money on the table if you need help recovering.
A car accident lawsuit can seek compensation for the following losses which may or may not be covered by insurance:
- Remaining and future medical bills: In 2023, taking an ambulance ride in Massachusetts costs about twice the national average. This is true even for commercially insured Bostonians, who take publicly-owned ambulances, like those owned by fire departments. The average commercially insured American pays $761 from a trip in a municipal ambulance. In Massachusetts, the average ambulance ride charge is $1,578. With costs this high, you may find that your own first-party insurance claim does not cover the full scope of medical care that you require, especially if you only have the minimum compulsory coverage. Additionally, after a car accident you may have rehabilitative care needs or physical therapy costs that stem from your recovery. A car accident lawsuit can help you break even on past and future medical bills and ongoing hospital costs.
- Remaining and future lost wages: Taking time off from work to heal comes at a cost in America. Your lost wages from missed work, as well as diminished earning capacity in the event of a catastrophic injury, can be fully compensated in a car accident lawsuit settlement.
- Pain and suffering: Mental and physical pain and suffering are not recoverable through no-fault insurance claims. However, they are compensable in a car accident lawsuit.
- Emotional trauma: Car accidents can be traumatic events, and the anguish can linger into the future, sometimes resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. If you were involved in a traumatic car accident, getting back to your daily life and commute can be especially difficult. A court case can consider these additional hardships in a way that a simple insurance claim does not.
- Wrongful death damages for fatal car accidents in Boston: If you lost a loved one in a car accident in Boston, there is additional compensation that may be available to you. Loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of shared income are all compensable in a wrongful death lawsuit. A local car accident attorney may be able to help ease your burden in a time of grief by taking the financial pressures off considerably.
Let CarAccident.Law Help You after a Car Accident in Boston
After a car accident in Boston, you may need help covering your medical costs or filing your insurance claim while you recover. You might want the peace of mind that the settlement offer you receive is a fair one, taking into account the scope of your injuries and any property damage suffered. You might need help filing your RMV report, or trying to avoid a license suspension in a more complicated accident case. You might want someone on your side in the event that you’re taken to court by the other party, or need to file a lawsuit yourself. If you want that someone to be an expert in Massachusetts accident law, contact our team of qualified legal counsel at CarAccident.Law. Whatever the situation may be, we’re here to help.
June 5, 2023 Update:
Boston is one of three cities in Massachusetts that have adopted Vision Zero policies, which represent the City’s mission to completely eliminate serious and fatal auto accidents in Boston by the year 2030. Between those three cities, drivers killed 26 people in the year 2022, 16 of which were pedestrians. These traffic deaths account for 6% of the state’s fatal accident victims for 2022.
June 12, 2023 Update:
In the summer of 2022, a cyclist was killed while using the bike lane on Huntington Avenue. The City of Boston responded with the addition of new pavement markings and flexible-post bollards. The Boston Transportation Department also promised to expand existing bike lanes by several miles, add 100+ new Bluebikes stations, and more in a comprehensive bike safety plan announced in late 2022.
June 19, 2023 Update:
After a sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities in the year 2022, a new Massachusetts traffic law requiring drivers to keep four feet of distance between themselves and pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone else using the road who is not in a car went into effect as of April 2023. These efforts coincide with Boston’s commitment to reducing and ultimately eliminating serious and fatal car accidents in Boston by 2030.
June 26, 2023 Update
Announced in 2023 by the City of Boston, the Neighborhood Slow Streets program is no longer underway, and all operations on this project will cease. The City intends to improve the safety in more neighborhoods more quickly by separating speed humps construction from updates to intersections. This should decrease the time it takes to get these safety features installed. The announcement indicates Boston’s plans to “design and build speed humps on all eligible streets proactively.”