In a traffic accident, getting medical attention is the top priority, regardless of how you will pay for it or who caused the accident. Unfortunately, much of the energy the injured person ends up spending after the accident comes from dealing with claim denials or delays.
Every state has different auto insurance laws, and for Massachusetts drivers, understanding how no-fault insurance works and what limits there are on claims is essential, not just after an accident but also when first purchasing a policy. For residents of Andover and throughout Essex County, it can also help to have a few tips on how to get needed compensation in a timely manner.
What are the no-fault minimums?
Massachusetts is among a handful of states with no-fault insurance laws designed to ensure that all drivers have minimal coverage in the event of an accident, no matter who is at fault. In exchange for universal coverage requirements, there are limitations on how much compensation a driver can recover, and most third-party claims will have threshold limits for higher medical bills or pain and suffering.
In Massachusetts, four coverages are required:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) to cover replacement services of up to $8,000, medical expenses and 75% of lost wages, regardless of fault
- Bodily injury minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 for all injured occupants, which protects the policy holder, household members or passengers, or anyone the owner allows to drive the car, against injury or loss by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.
- Bodily protection minimums of $20,000 per person and $40,000 for injury to more than one person, which covers damages to other drivers if the policy owner is at fault. It does not cover injury or death for accidents occurring out of state.
- Property damage minimum of $5,000 if the policy holder, household member, or anyone the driver allows to drive the car causes accidental damage to another’s property.
Although these minimums do assist with necessary payouts in a car accident, the amount is often greater than what the policy can cover. For this reason, drivers are often advised to purchase higher limits of PIP and property damage. In addition, many insurance policies give options for roadside assistance, rental car use, gap insurance and pet coverage.
Is there coverage for pain and suffering?
Injured parties can seek additional compensation through third-party car insurance claims or in a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In such a claim, the court may reduce the plaintiff’s award proportionally to their responsibility for causing the accident.