ACCIDENTS AND LIABILITIES
Vehicular Accidents are perhaps the most life-threatening experience one can encounter on the road. Much more than damaging your driving records, these accidents can cause physical damages and even cause unfortunate changes in the driver and the victim’s lives. Whilst all existing driving rules are designed to prevent these from happening, still, accidents can occur anytime.
The State of Massachusetts classifies accidents into two: Minor and Major At-Fault Accidents. A minor at-fault accident includes those that result in a claim payment $500 or more and up to and including $2,000 for damages to victim’s or a third party’s property, collision, limited collision, or bodily injury to others. A major at-fault accident results in a claim payment $2,000 or more for damages to victim’s or a third party’s property, collision, limited collision, or bodily injury to others.
Whether you are at-fault in the accident or not will be determined by the Standards of Fault through the Merit Rating Board (MRB). If found out that the driver in question has indeed caused at least 50% of fault in the accident and the accident involves a claim payment exceeding $500, a surcharge notice will be imposed on the driver in question.
Getting involved in an accident is too much of a headache. What’s more paying for liabilities? The Massachusetts Law defines surchargeable at-fault accidents as of the following circumstances:
- the involved operator is more than 50% at-fault
- the vehicle of the driver in question is a private passenger automobile
- the accident involves a claim payment of more than $500, in excess of any deductible
- the claim payment is for Damage To Someone Else’s Property, Collision, or Limited Collision coverages for a vehicle subject to the Safe Driver Insurance Plan. For at-fault accidents occurring on or after January 1, 2006, Bodily Injury To Others liability claims may be subject to a surcharge.
The determination of fault is made by the insurance company that makes the claim payment. There are currently 19 standards of fault in existence.
What to do?
Getting involved in accidents is stressful, annoying, pocket-emptying, as well as life-threatening. Aside from having to repair your vehicle, you will need to pay for other damages to you and to third party individuals or properties involved in the accident apart from the surcharge that could be charged to you. Despite the avoidable nature of accidents, there are always instances that could not be predicted. While it is only natural to pay for the damages incurred by third party individuals and property, one can file an appeal against the at-fault accident surcharge to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal in order to lessen penalties of the 50% at-fault. There is a $50 fee to file an appeal within 30 days after the issuance. Such appeal is the best consolation in times of distress during accidents and can be achieved by the help of competent lawyers.