You carry insurance on your vehicle both because state law requires it and because it protects you from liability after a crash. Liability can lead to serious financial losses.
After a collision, the people involved will have to report the incident to the police if there are any injuries or if there is substantial property damage that will require an insurance claim. The police officer will conduct an investigation at the scene and try to determine fault for the crash in their report.
The insurance companies involved or the courts may refer to that police report to help establish who is liable for the crash. Generally, the person who causes the crash is the one who has liability for the damages caused. How does liability work after a Massachusetts car crash?
The person whose actions or negligence caused the crash is responsible
The decisions you make while driving affect not only your safety but everyone else on the road. When someone answers a text message while in traffic or drives home after drinking too much at a party, they can cause a wreck and negatively affect other people.
Someone who causes injury or property damage through negligence, omissions or wrongful conduct is ultimately liable for those damages. In cases where each driver plays a role in the crash, the contributory negligence of the driver not at fault might ultimately limit how much compensation they receive in court, but their partial fault doesn’t prevent them from taking action.
Typically, when the police discover the cause of the crash, whether it was distraction or someone running a red light, they will assign fault to that driver. The other people involved in the crash can then make claims against the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle liability insurance. If they don’t have insurance or have an inadequate policy for the damage they caused, then the other people in the crash can file a civil lawsuit against them.
Liability doesn’t disappear with an insurance policy
When a driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to reimburse you for your lost wages, vehicle repairs and medical expenses, they are still liable for causing those losses. Provided that records clearly name them as at-fault for the crash and that you have documented losses that exceed the insurance coverage available, you can bring a lawsuit against a driver who hurts you.
Understanding fault and liability when you have financial losses after a crash can help you make smarter decisions.