Auto Accidents and Negligence in Greater Boston

Woman Dies in Norwood Crash

In an unfortunate accident that occurred on New Year’s Day, a woman was killed on I-95 in Norwood after her car was hit by a 23 year old man who lost control of his Audi A4 and caused a seven-car collision. The female driver collided with the Audi after it had crashed into a guardrail, spun around, and rolled into oncoming traffic.

Car Accidents & Negligence

Although police investigating the accident have yet to determine the cause of the accident, the driver who originally lost control of his vehicle will be held liable if he was negligent. Generally speaking, people who are driving cars must exercise ‘reasonable care under the circumstances’. Courts look to a number of factors when determining if a person’s conduct lacks reasonable care. If, for example, there is a foreseeable likelihood that a person’s actions will result in harm, a court will deem that the person was negligent.

If the driver in the Norwood crash is found to be negligent, he will have to pay for the personal and property damages that he caused. He may not have to pay for 100 percent of the damages, however, if other drivers were comparatively negligent. Comparative negligence allocates damages by the percentage that each driver was at fault, the parties to the case then pay each other’s damages accordingly. Hence, in an auto accident case, a jury may find that driver A was 20% at fault, and driver B was 80% at fault. Each driver, then, would have to pay that percentage of the other’s damages.

There are many factors that courts look at to determine how much each driver is comparatively negligent, including: if the car was being driven over the speed limit, if the driver ignored dangerous weather or unsafe road conditions, if the car was using a signal while turning, and if the driver was properly following traffic signs and rules of the road.

No-Fault Insurance in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the concept of negligence and fault in auto accidents is tempered by the no-fault insurance rule. Under ‘no-fault insurance’, drivers must first go to their car insurance policy to receive compensation for their injuries and lost wages. Even if the driver was not at fault for the accident, he or she cannot sue the at-fault driver if the damages were under $2,000. If the claim is above this threshold, however, the driver will be able to bring others to court. Around a dozen other states have rules similar to that of Massachusetts, albeit with slight variations.

These are just some of the rules that govern the liability of drivers in auto accident cases. And although the tragic accident in Norwood that happened just a few days ago is still being investigated, determinations of negligence will be an important aspect to the findings so the survivors and families of those injured can obtain proper compensation for all of their losses. If you or someone you know may have been hurt in a car accident, please contact John J. Sheehan today.