Home Personal Injury Auto Insurance in Massachusetts and the No-Fault Law

Auto Insurance in Massachusetts and the No-Fault Law

muccilegal January 10, 2024

You are more likely to have an auto accident in Massachusetts than any other type of accident. Whether you, or someone else, were at fault the reality is that auto accidents can become very expensive without insurance. Every state in the U.S. has compulsory auto insurance laws, including Massachusetts. If you drive a vehicle in Massachusetts and do not have the minimum compulsory insurance, or the owner of the vehicle doesn’t have the minimum compulsory insurance, you could face fines and other penalties.

The no-fault auto insurance law

No fault insurance law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts, like several other states, makes it compulsory to take out no- fault accident cover, also called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The minimum insurance cover means that if you have an accident, whether you were to blame or not, you can recover compensation for personal injuries caused by the accident up to a limit of $8,000.

This minimum compulsory PIP insurance covers you for:

  • the cost of medical treatment for you, anyone in the car when the accident took place, someone using the car with your permission, or any pedestrian injured;
  • up to 75% of lost earnings caused by the accident;
  • replacement services, i.e. costs related to anything which you cannot do because of your injuries.

The total amount of compulsory minimum cover is $8,000 for any combination of the above. The advantage of PIP insurance is that it should be paid out whoever was to blame for the accident. This means that in the event that the total compensation needed was less than $8,000, you don’t need to go through the often lengthy and frustrating process of proving who was at fault and filing a lawsuit or personal injury claim against them. This also applies to you if someone else thinks that you were to blame for the accident. Because of the no-fault law, they cannot file for compensation against you as long as their total bills (with the exception of property damage which we will come to later) come to no more than $8,000.

Other compulsory auto insurance needed in Massachusetts

There are three other types of auto insurance cover which you must purchase in addition to PIP insurance. These are:

  • $20,000 for any injuries to a single person when you are at fault; and $40,000 in total for the cost of injuries to anyone involved in an auto accident for which you are at fault;
  • $20,000 for a single person or $40,000 for more than one person who is injured in your car, including you, when the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or a hit and run driver;
  • $5,000 for any claims against you for property damage when you were at fault.

Compulsory no-fault insurance does not include damage to your own car

Massachusetts’ compulsory auto insurance law does not include the cost of insuring your car or any other property from damage. You can purchase additional cover from your own insurance company to cover any damage to your property in the event of an accident, or you can file a personal injury claim with the driver of the other vehicle involved if you have proof that that driver caused the accident.

What happens when medical costs or loss of earnings exceeds $8,000?

If damages exceed $8000 you may be able to sue the other driver

If you are involved in an auto accident and you, or anyone else in your car, suffers more serious injuries, the $8,000 insurance cover cap may not be sufficient compensation. If this is the case, and you didn’t purchase more than the state compulsory minimum, you may then be allowed to try and recover the balance of the damages from the driver you think was at fault. The criteria that allow you to pursue a claim against another driver includes medical expenses of more than $2,000 and/or injuries which involve permanent and serious disfigurement, substantial loss of hearing or sight or fractured bones.

You should first file your claim with the other driver’s insurer giving evidence why you believe they are liable for the damages you are claiming.

This is when things can get complicated as the other driver, and no doubt their insurer, may challenge your interpretation of who was at fault. Massachusetts has a 50% comparative fault ruling, so as long as you are not proven to have been more than 50% at fault, then you can still obtain compensation on a percentage basis. If it can be determined that you were 51% or more at fault, then you will not be able to obtain any damages at all.

In this sort of scenario, much depends on the evidence you can supply which can help confirm that you were not at fault as well as that your total damages (excluding any property damage) was more than $8,000, which is why you are permitted to claim against the other driver. Useful evidence in this sort of claim includes things like:

  • statements made by eye witnesses who saw the accident took place;
  • photos taken of the accident scene, including where the damage was done, positions of the vehicles, tire marks, etc.;
  • a copy of the police accident report – as long as someone was injured, police should attend the accident scene, interview anyone there and make notes about the damage and an interpretation of the cause;
  • any video footage, i.e. recorded by traffic control equipment – this could be sought by a personal injury attorney working on your behalf;
  • all documentation that itemizes the economic damages caused by the accident, including doctor’s fees, emergency services, medical treatment, lost wages or other income, alternative transportation costs.
  • evidence that supports any non-economic damages you are claiming such as amounts to compensate you for the “pain and suffering” experienced.

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, you are advised to get legal help from an experienced personal injury attorney.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan (MAIP)

All auto insurance providers in Massachusetts must provide auto insurance if required to under the state’s MAIP provisions, except in only very limited circumstances. A driver can apply to be assigned an insurance provider under MAIP if they have tried to obtain auto insurance up to that point and have been rejected. Failure to obtain the minimum auto insurance cover in Massachusetts could mean that you are fined ($500) as well as be forced to pay out for the highest insurance cover available if involved in an accident. You could also face private personal injury claims for which you may have to pay out of your own assets if it can be proven that you were at fault.


For more information, visit our website Mucci Legal or contact us for a free initial legal consultation today.

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