A person that has been involved in an auto accident and wishes to bring a legal claim to pursue damages for his losses shall take into account that there will be a limit as to the amount of years that he or she may wait to file a lawsuit.  That period is stated in the statute of limitations of the jurisdiction where the accident happened. In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for this kind of action is three years.


In Massachusetts all insurance policies are must provide Personal Injury Protection benefits.  This kind of coverage allows for reimbursement of medical expenses and other related costs including lost wages when the result of an auto accident.  PIP benefits unavailable not only to the insured driver but to any passenger occupying a seat inside the insured’s vehicle. A person who has been struck by the insured’s vehicle will also benefit of this coverage through the car owner’s insurance policy.  This kind of benefits are also referred to occasionally as “no – fault” benefits. They are provided in spite of who may be at fault.  PIP coverage can also be obtained through an insurance policy covering other cars owned by the insured individual or a member of his or her household.

The exact amount of benefits available under this coverage to any one individual changes depending on whether the injured person has or not health insurance.  If the injured individual has health insurance than this type of coverage will only cover up to the first $2000 in medical expenses. However, if the injured individual does not have private health insurance to provide for payments beyond those $2000, then the personal injury protection insurance provider shall pay up to $8000 in medical and related expenses as long as they are considered to be reasonable and necessary.

Note that motorcycle insurance policies will not likely have this kind of coverage. It is therefore important that the driver has good medical coverage.

While Rhode Island insurers do not provide PIP coverage similar results may be accomplished by purchasing Med-Pay coverage.  If you have coverage for medical payments on your car policy, you and your family members are entitled to reimbursement of medical costs resulting from auto accidents while in your car or someone else’s car, or if you’re injured by a car while walking or bicycling, regardless of who is at fault.  Your guests qualify if they are injured in your car. Medical-payments coverage is typically $1,000 to $10,000 for each person protected by your policy. It would cost you relatively little to raise the coverage to a higher amount.


In addition to PIP and  MED-PAY coverage, an injured person may collect monies to compensate him for financial losses, pain and suffering if caused by another party that has acted negligently.  The victim of the accident must be prepared to prove in court that the other party had a responsibility to act in a manner so as to not injure him or her and failed to do so. He or she must prove also that incurred damages are connected to the acts, or lack thereof, of the negligent party.

It is important to note that even if another is to blame for an auto accident in which one has sustained damages, the victim will only be able to prevail in court if he or she can show that his or her own negligence is less than 50% when considering who contributed, and in which part, to the occurrence of the accident.

Some of the factors that will affect the amount of damages that a person may be entitled to as a result of an auto negligence case are: the severity of the medical condition sustained as a result of the accident; the medical bills for treatment related to the accident; emotional distress; repaired or replacement of damaged property as a result of the accident, lost wages, and any other costs that one may have incurred as a result of the accident in question.

If a person is injured as a result of a crime committed by another, that person may be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the state. Nevertheless, the victim may also have a viable personal injury claim depending on the circumstances.


Seat Belt Laws

Please note that Massachusetts Seat Belt Laws indicate that seat belt is mandatory for passengers older than 12 years in all seats.   Rhode Island requires mandatory seat belt for persons older than 18.