Not All Car Crashes Are Equal

Every accident victim of someone else’s negligence deserves fair compensation for their injuries, whether life-altering or merely temporary aches and pains. Some years ago, the Massachusetts legislature radically changed the means to obtain compensation for lesser injuries, by passing the State’s “no-fault” law. Under the no-fault statute, an individual injured in a car accident can obtain reimbursement from his own insurer (or if he was a passenger, from the insurer of the car in which he was driving) for up to $8,000.00 in combined lost wages and medical benefits. If you have health insurance, then the automobile insurer pays the first $2,000.00 of medical expenses. Only if reasonable medical expenses exceed $2,000.00, or if you have suffered a fracture, scar or other permanent disfigurement, can you sue the negligent driver for pain and suffering. I am in favor of the no-fault law, as I don’t think that every minor accident should  result in a lawsuit. In the bad old days before no-fault, there was a lot of abuse – far more than today. Some lawyers made healthy incomes by handling scads of minor accident cases and trumping up the damages. I have vivid memories from early in my private practice, of a law firm that appeared to be a medical supply house. Clients would ride up the elevator to the firm looking fit, and emerge an hour later wearing neck braces or leaning on crutches – the evil opposite of the Lourdes Shrine. Let’s face it – lawyers  such as that one contributed mightily to the enactment of no-fault auto insurance. Fortunately, victims of serious personal injuries are still guaranteed their day in court.

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