​Boston Car Accident Scenarios. Who Is At Fault?

Boston traffic and drivers are notorious. Everyone is in a hurry, there always seems to be construction occurring, and roadways are congested.

It is important to remember that Boston is a hub of activity. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s best medical facilities, world-class higher education facilities, and a strong culture.

Some of the hard numbers show Boston is home to:

In addition, Boston welcomes more than 22 million tourists annually, and more than 600,000 people work in Boston.

Given these numbers, hundreds of accidents take place every month on Boston roadways. It takes time to determine who is at fault for some of the most common car accident scenarios.

Types of Collisions in Boston

Every big city has areas where there are numerous accidents monthly, and Boston is no exception. Here are some of the common crashes which can occur:

Rear End or Sideswipe Crash Occurring on an Icy Roadway

Boston’s weather is constantly changing. New Englanders often find themselves on a patch of congested, icy roads.

Who can cause a collision on an icy road?

  • The second driver
  • Another driver who lost control of their car while changing lanes
  • The city or state responsible for highway maintenance

Icy roadway accidents can be rear-ended accidents because a driver was attempting to stop but slid through an intersection because they were traveling too fast for the road conditions. Sideswipe accidents can occur when a driver attempts to change lanes.

Drivers must always maintain control of their vehicles. However, if the road has defects, the highway department may bear partial liability.

Head-On Collisions Occur on Boston Roads

Fortunately, these accidents are among the least common on Boston roadways, but they occur too frequently. When one car crosses over the center line and strikes a car coming in the opposite direction, the impact can cause severe injury or death.

In most cases, driver errors cause head-on collisions, including:

  • Impaired or drowsy driving
  • Passing in a prohibited area
  • Going the wrong way on a one-way street

In nearly all cases, the driver who entered the wrong lane is at fault. However, there may be another driver who strikes a vehicle pushing them into the wrong lane, which would mean that driver is at fault.

Remember that any accident scene is chaotic. A thorough investigation may need to determine responsibility for the accident, and accident reconstruction teams may have to do that.

Boston Roads and Broadside Collisions

Columbia Road on the Southeast Expressway in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood is a busy area with numerous bus stops, businesses, and the distinction of being rated as one of the worst intersections in Boston. Broadside collisions, which some call T-bone accidents, are dangerous for everyone involved.

Speed, vehicle size, and other factors determine the severity of the injuries someone may face after a broadside collision. These accidents typically occur because someone failed to yield the right of way, and when this is the cause of a broadside accident, the driver who failed to yield is often at fault.

Boston has a lot of bars and restaurants, many of which close at midnight or later. If you are one of the unfortunate victims of a T-bone accident caused by a drunk driver, your injuries could be life-altering. Victims should contact a Boston drunk driving accident attorney to find out what options they have to pursue compensation for the losses they suffer.

Rear-End Collisions Across the United States

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), more than 2,300 rear-end collisions occurred in the United States in one recent year. These accidents are fatal in slightly more than seven percent of all cases. If you are rear-ended, there is an expectation that the driver who struck you is automatically at fault. However, while this is common, it is not always the case. Some of the liability may belong to another driver.

Possible reasons for rear-end accidents include tailgating, aggressive driving, someone in line deliberately slamming on their brakes. In some cases, a driver may have inoperable taillights, meaning the driver behind them is unaware they are about to make a stop.

The intersection of Morton and Harvard Street has light signals. If you are the lead vehicle and the driver behind you is determined to make it through the light, there is a chance you could be rear-ended because they failed to notice you were stopping.

Truck Tire Blowout Accidents and Other Truck Accidents

More than 120,000 small businesses in Massachusetts use our roadways to deliver goods. Each of them has a fleet of trucks that require maintenance. Unfortunately, defective tires often cause accidents on Boston roadways. These accidents can cause multiple injuries because the truck can tip over, debris can be spilled in the roadway, and tire pieces may fly off the vehicle and strike windshields.

In the case of a truck tire blowout accident involving a truck, establishing fault can be complicated. If the truck is independently owned (which many are), the driver may be liable for any injury you sustained in the accident. If the truck is part of the fleet, the driver’s employer or company that maintains the trucks may be responsible. In some cases, tires have blown out because of a defect in manufacturing which could be the manufacturer’s responsibility.

Many people are unaware that more than two dozen tire recalls occurred over a recent 12-month period. Tire blowouts can impact truckers as well as automobile operators. Tire blowouts when someone is operating a car may be less deadly, but that does not minimize their severity.

Let’s not forget the unique Boston phenomenon known as Storrowing. The overpass is too low for a truck to get through safely. Determining liability for these accidents is complicated, although the truck driver is at fault in many cases.

Storrowing can cause include rear-end collisions because the driver behind the truck could not prepare for the truck to stop in the middle of the road. Other drivers may be involved in a sideswipe collision because the truck’s cab or trailer may infringe on their lane unexpectedly.

If you were in any truck accident in Boston, speak with a Boston truck accident lawyer who understands how to conduct a thorough investigation.

Right and Left Turn Accidents

The Massachusetts Turnpike joins Boston proper and the suburbs. A stretch of the Pike known as the Boston Extension has numerous left and right exits and turns to get onto other main roadways. Left and right turn accidents can vary in nature and severity. In some cases, the accidents are caused because someone is not paying attention.

Some other causes for these types of accidents include:

  • Pedestrian crossing against the light and driver fails to notice
  • Failure to stop before proceeding right on a red light
  • Speeding through a red light
  • Failure to yield the right of way

When determining fault in these cases, your lawyer will examine several factors. Right turns on red are allowed at many intersections. However, a driver who will make a right turn on red must come to a complete stop and yield to traffic moving straight ahead. Should they fail to do that, then they are typically at fault. Generally, but not always, the driver who was making the turn will be the party at fault.

When a left turn accident occurs, traffic signals also play a role. Many Boston intersections have blinking yellow or green arrows to allow traffic to continue moving. While this may be helpful during heavy traffic times, this also means the driver must judge the distance between vehicles and yield the right of way to traffic going straight ahead. In many cases, the driver making the turn is at fault for the accident.

Boston has had more than 20 motorcycle accidents over a recently reported period. A car operator who failed to see or yield to a motorcyclist typically causes these accidents.

Suppose you were motorcycling in Boston and suffered an injury because of a turning driver. In that case, a Boston motorcycle accident attorney can help you file an insurance claim and get compensated for your injuries and the damage to your motorcycle.

Liability and Boston Car Accident Claims

Whether you are one of the more than 675,000 residents of Boston, a commuter who works in Boston, or a Boston tourist, you must establish liability after a car accident. This ensures that the victim of an accident seeks compensation from the proper parties. Other important information a claimant may need to understand includes:

Massachusetts Statute of Limitations on Car Accidents

Those injured in a car accident on Boston roadways have a limited period to file an accident injury claim. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is three years. Often, car accident victims feel this is a long time, but it is not always that easy.

Here are some of the reasons why seeking legal guidance as soon after a crash as possible is essential:

  • Accident investigations take time – Drivers must submit an accident report within three days of an accident that results in injury or more than $1,000 in damages. Police would report the accident if they were called to the scene. However, police reports may not be available for up to 90 days following an accident.
  • Recovery times vary by accident – Victims of a car accident must know how long their recovery will take before filing a claim for their out-of-pocket costs. The more serious the injury, the longer it may take to get a medical determination of the likely prognosis.

Because of these complex issues, the sooner you work with an attorney who understands Massachusetts laws on personal injury, the better.

Massachusetts Is a No-Fault Insurance State

Massachusetts insurance regulations will also play a role in how a victim may collect compensation for their injuries and other losses.

Basic coverage requirements include:

  • Bodily injury coverage – Coverage is mandatory at both a per person and a per accident level
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) – Coverage required per person involved in an accident
  • Bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto – Required for both per person and per accident levels
  • Property damage resulting from an accident – Covers damage to property of others, including homes, businesses, etc.

When you are involved in an accident in Boston, your initial claim will generally be to your own insurance company. However, the limits on your policy may result in significant out-of-pocket losses. Personal injury laws allow you to file an additional claim against the at-fault driver assuming your losses exceed $2,000 or have suffered a “significant” injury resulting in disability.

Filing an accident injury claim can be complicated, and often, victims are unaware of what restrictions they may be facing. When you work closely with a Boston accident injury firm, they can help you understand your legal options and make sure you stay within the statute of limitations guidelines. Contact a Boston car accident lawyer to protect your rights.