Car accidents often feel inevitable, particularly if you were recently in an accident on a Boston roadway. Unfortunately, many accidents are avoidable. Sadly, many drivers on Boston roadways don’t pay enough attention or succumb to aggressive driving habits. Some unique situations make traveling in Boston more challenging than traveling in other parts of Massachusetts, so identifying the causes of car accidents can help some drivers avoid them.
Car Accident Statistics in Boston
First, Boston consists of many neighborhoods with distinctive personalities and road congestion issues.Some of the areas include:
- Historic Downtown
- Back Bay
- North End
- West End
- Waterfront District
- Fenway District
- Beacon Hill
- Financial District
Narrow streets, limited parking, clogged roads, and thousands of residents, workers, students, visitors, and tourists mean traveling the roadways can be frustrating. It also helps explain some of the accidents we see on the roads in Boston.
Across Boston, in any given year, there are more than 2.300 people who suffer a serious injury, an estimated 400 fatal injuries, and nearly 16,000 people suffer a minor injury in more than 122,000 accidents annually.
Road Rage and Boston Car Accidents
It should be no surprise that Boston is ranked as one of the most challenging cities to navigate by car. This is so common that many tourism sites will tell you to avoid driving in Boston altogether.
Road rage, or aggressive driving, is a condition that results from frustration. Congested roadways, which cause drivers to run late, may also cause road rage. Therefore, when a driver is annoyed, they are handling their automobile while under stress, which may create a situation where they are making bad decisions.
Wallethub ranks Massachusetts the seventh-worst state for drivers in the United States. A driver’s aggressive signs include speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and ignoring streetlights or stop signs.
Boston and Drunk Driving Accidents
In one recent year, nearly 10,000 arrests took place for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol across Boston. Drunk driving causes hundreds of accidents annually across the Commonwealth. Drivers who are injured often turn to a drunk driving accident attorney to help them handle the claims process, especially considering the no-fault insurance laws.
Victims of a drunk driver often suffer severe injuries because a driver who is operating intoxicated cannot pay complete attention to what is happening around them. Drunk drivers speed, weave in and out of traffic, and cause head-on collisions when they fail to stay in their lane. Pedestrians, bicycle operators, and occupants of other cars face a serious risk of harm from drunk drivers.
Distracted Driving a Real Issue in Boston
In one recent nine-month period, more than police issued 1,000 citations for violations of the Massachusetts hands-free law.
Distracted driving does not only mean someone used their cell phone.
Other types of distracted driving include:
- Visual distractions – Billboards posted on roadways, temperature controls inside the vehicle, and accidents on the roadway all cause drivers to lose focus. These distractions can cause all types of accidents on Boston roadways.
- Cognitive distractions – These distractions can include simple things like turning the head to someone in the vehicle while talking, looking at what is happening behind the car, or even turning their head when seeing someone familiar walking. Drivers may not even remove their hands from the wheel during these distractions, but this does not make their driving safer.
- Manual distractions – These nearly always involve a driver removing one hand from the wheel. Common manual distractions include eating, drinking, reaching a hand out to help a child in the vehicle, or opening a car window. While the driver may think they are paying attention to the road, it only takes a few seconds to cause an accident when someone is distracted.
Distracted driving can be deadly for auto drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or motorcycle operators.
Commuters, Congestion, and Driver Fatigue
More than 16,000 crashes on Boston roadways occurred during a recent five-year period. These crashes are often the result of traffic congestion in and around the city. The combination of congested roads and fatigued drivers increases the risk of accidents.
Operating a vehicle when a driver is drowsy can increase the chance of rear-end collisions, sideswipe or T-bone collisions, and head-on collisions. These types of accidents are dangerous for everyone involved.
There are no easy answers to the problem of commuters, tourists, and students who use Boston roadways daily. However, drowsy driving is a problem that suggests more drivers need to focus on ensuring they can safely get home from work or school without worrying about falling asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle. A driver who falls asleep, even for a couple of seconds, endangers everyone on the road.
Speeding Through Boston Traffic
People registered more than 3.1 million automobiles in Massachusetts. Every year, more than 34 million passengers finish their flights in Boston—meaning we always welcome tourists. This is not a surprise given the number of sites tourists flock to year-round.
When you consider these numbers and add in the number of students on the campuses of 70 colleges and other higher-education facilities, you might feel surprised to find out that speeding is a cause of accidents despite the congestion on the roadways, even at rush hour.
The Boston Globe reported that police gave more than 80 percent of the over 322,000 traffic citations issued in Boston for speeding.
Speeding is dangerous under any circumstances. When a pedestrian steps off the curb at a Boston intersection, the last thing they expect as they begin crossing a crosswalk is to be struck by a speeding vehicle. Still, it happens far more frequently than most of us imagine.
Weather-Related Accidents in Boston
There is no getting around it—Boston weather is all over the place. It can be snowing in one part of town, and it may be sunny in another part. This is all part of the beauty of the city and the weather we enjoy in the northeast.
However, road conditions can contribute to roadway accidents. Sudden snowstorms, black ice, and pothole formation can cause all types of hazards for drivers and pedestrians. When a tourist is unfamiliar with the weather conditions or a driver is traveling too fast for current conditions, the chances of an accident increase.
Often, drivers misjudge road conditions. Some drivers feel they can attempt to maintain a normal speed because they have decades of experience traveling through severe weather, despite blowing now or gusting wind and rain. These conditions and the arrogance of a driver can potentially result in serious accidents that could involve multiple vehicles.
Massachusetts No-Fault Insurance and Boston Car Accidents
When you are involved in a Boston car accident, you have an option to seek compensation for certain losses under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage under your insurance policy. However, you must understand what this covers.
According to Mass.gov, PIP coverage provides 75 percent of lost wages and replacement services up to a limit of $8,000. If you have suffered a serious injury, this may not fully address your financial losses.
This is why so many car accident victims in Boston turn to experienced car accident lawyers for advice after an accident.
While some drivers may not know it, a victim of a car accident can step outside the no-fault system to collect damages under certain circumstances:
- When the victim’s medical expenses exceed $2,000
- When a victim suffers significant disfigurement
- When a victim loses their vision or hearing in an accident
- When a victim suffers a broken bone because of a car accident
These are vague terms, so it is helpful to consult with someone who has experience with the no-fault insurance rules. Victims often settle claims for thousands less than they may have been able to collect with the help of an experienced lawyer.
Liability for Boston Car Accidents
Every Boston car accident attorney understands that establishing liability is required for a car accident victim to collect compensation for their injuries.
The elements of a case that a car accident attorney will look at before advising a client on the best way to proceed include:
- The victim deserved a duty of care – The first rule is the person who caused the accident owed the injured party a duty of care. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycle operators, and other drivers and their passengers on the roadway are owed a duty of care by everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car.
- Party causing accident breached the duty of care – Drunk, distracted, or aggressive drivers breach the duty of care. When someone gets behind the wheel of a car and fails to follow the rules of safe operation, they breach their duty.
- The breach resulted in an injury – When someone suffers an injury because they were in an accident involving a drowsy, drunk, or erratic driver, they will nearly always suffer an injury.
- As a result of an injury, the victim faces losses – Medical bills are inevitable, and while insurance may cover many, it will not cover all of them. Other losses could include time off from work while recovering from an injury.
When someone is liable for your injuries due to a car accident in Boston, you should hold them accountable for your losses.
Damages for Which Victims May Seek Compensation
Victims of Boston car accidents often suffer serious financial setbacks while recovering from their injuries.
When filing a claim, some of the compensation that our Boston car accident lawyers may demand include:
- Out of pocket medical costs – A settlement demand may include any medical treatment, procedure, or medication needed for a victim’s recovery.
- Wage and benefit losses – Sometimes we forget that while a car accident victim may receive a portion of their income while recovering, they are not receiving their full income. In addition, some victims are losing valuable benefits during recovery.
- Other costs and losses – In some instances, serious injury victims need to modify their homes, hire household help to assist with chores, or have other expenses they may not have faced were it not for their injury. You may include these costs in a claim against the at-fault party.
- Non-economic losses – Pain and suffering, loss of interest in normal activity, embarrassment, and other similar claims have no fixed dollar amounts. A skilled attorney can request this compensation when filing a claim outside the no-fault system.
Get the Help You Need After a Boston Car Accident
One need only spend a few minutes looking at the various Boston traffic cameras to understand how congested Boston roadways are during rush hour and even during lunch hours. When you add pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and buses to the mix, navigating Boston roads no doubt presents challenges.
Despite these facts, drivers can prevent most accidents if they practice safe driving, remain focused on what they are doing, and watch for changes in traffic patterns, weather, and road signals.
All victims have a right to justice, and a Boston car accident attorney can help them seek that justice.