Legal Question in Personal Injury in Massachusetts

In the state of Massachusetts, if you and another car are found at 50/50% at-fault, how does recouping apply?

I was in an accident, and my medical expenses incurred amounted to $50,000. Each insurance policy limits were 20/40. Does this mean I am only entitled to 10,000 from each company or 20,000 from each company?

Asked on 7/20/10, 12:52 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Joseph Lamy Law Office of Joseph Lamy

I would need to know a little bit more about the circumstances of this accident to fully answer your question. Were three cars involved? What do you mean by each insurance company? Are you referring to your own underinsured motorist coverage?

Here are my thoughts: First, a determination of liability made by an insurance company is not set in stone. Be certain that you actually are 50% at fault. Only a jury can make the final decision on this point, not an insurance adjuster. That said, if your injury is worth 50k or more, than you will receive the full 20k because half (50% liability) of a 50k injury is still 25k. Therefore, the insurance company should pay the limits to you.

You also need to check for all other possible insurance policies. Also, an investigation into the assets of the other party might be warranted to see if they have money or property to help pay your bills.

Therefore, the short answer, based on what little information I have here, is that you should receive the full 20k available. There is, however, a lot more to the story and you may be missing money that you are entitled to. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to speak with an attorney. I would be happy to talk with you with no obligation.

Best of luck.

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Answered on 7/20/10, 4:02 pm
Christopher Vaughn-Martel Charles River Law Partners, LLC

I agree with the previous attorney that, in essence, you should stop taking legal advice from either party's insurance company. It is important for you to know that an insurance company's determination as to liability may be persuasive, but ultimate liability can only be determined by a jury after consideration of all of the evidence. At that time, a jury could deduct 25% or 40% if they believe that you were some percentage at fault for the accident.

My advice would be to hire a lawyer to present a full and compelling demand for compensation, and follow through with a threat to file suit if the insurance company is not cooperating. I am located in Boston's South End neighborhood, and would be happy to meet with you with no further obligation.

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Answered on 7/20/10, 4:37 pm

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