Am I Liable for Driving Dangerously in Massachusetts?
Driving can produce fear in both drivers and passengers, because they are often subject to the mistakes of others. Fellow drivers and pedestrians understand the importance of driver safety because a mistake can endanger lives. Everyone who drives should understand the necessity of driving cautiously.
Not Driver’s First Accident
A recent article from My Fox Boston describes a terrible accident that occurred in Sharon, Massachusetts. A 44-year-old Sharon man struck and killed a 20-year-old college student. The student had gone for a run when she was struck by the driver’s SUV. It is tragic when a person loses their life, especially so young, but this accident is worse because it appears that the man responsible for the collision has been involved in numerous incidents related to unsafe driving. According to the article, the driver had recently had his license suspended after having accumulated three surchargeable events within a period of 24 months. He had been involved in two car accidents in 2013, and also had problems from driving with no registration and without a valid inspection sticker. Since he began driving in 1987, he has been at fault in 10 accidents.
While the previous accidents do not, of course, establish his guilt in relation to the student’s death, it paints a portrait of a person who, at the very least, should have been more prudent in terms of his driving responsibilities. After the accident that caused the student’s death, the state used the immediate threat provision to revoke his license because of his role in a crash that resulted in a fatality. As a result of the accident, the driver is facing charges of motor vehicle homicide/negligent operation, operating after suspension of license, marked lanes, and speeding.
What does it mean to be at fault?
As the article mentioned, the driver had been at fault in 10 traffic accidents. In Massachusetts, a person is at fault when that person bears more than 50 percent of the responsibility for a collision. It is necessary to determine fault because it affects the amount that insurance companies must pay in accidents. An at-fault determination generally comes from the courts. However, because it would be inefficient to have a court decide the fault of every traffic accident, there are typical guidelines that allow insurers to assume that in certain circumstances a person is at fault. You can obtain a full list of these circumstances from the state Division of Insurance. However, if the traffic accident is particularly complex, a court will usually have to decide who bears the responsibility. Furthermore, even when an insurer makes a determination that you are at fault in an accident, you have the right to appeal their decision with the Board of Appeal at the Division of Insurance, and a Boston car accident law firm can help you. It is important to note that if you file an appeal, you must do so within 30 days of the date on the at fault notice.
If you are in a car accident in the state of Massachusetts, contact the personal injury lawyers at Sheehan Law Firm today. We can help you file a claim to recover compensation to cover the costs of your injuries and any subsequent rehabilitation.
Photo Credit: Kay Gaensler