Massachusetts personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules

If you’ve been injured in Massachusetts, it’s helpful to know the state laws that apply your personal injury claims. These laws may apply whether you decide to file a lawsuit in court or just pursue a settlement with an insurance company.

Filing Deadlines for Massachusetts Injury Lawsuits

In Massachusetts the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is three years, meaning that the deadline for filing a personal injury claim ends three years after the date of your accident.

While this three-year time limit begins on the date of the accident, if you suffered an injury that could not be discovered until after the accident, the three-year time limit may not start until the date the injury was discovered.

You must always be mindful of this three-year deadline, even while engaged in settlement talks. If settlement talks break down, you will need to file your claim in a court of law. Once the three year deadline has passed, you will be providing the other side with a defense against your claim.

For injury claims against a city, county, or state government agency, you have two years to file a formal claim (presentment) and three years to file a lawsuit.

If you were injured in Massachusetts, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Advocates Legal Group, LLP can help you determine the value of your claim and can bring the appropriate action for recovery. We will help you prepare your case in a way that demonstrates the other side is responsible for injuries and other losses. We can also help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case and build a strategy to ensure the most successful outcome possible. Although the recovery process can be stressful, you do not need to go at it alone. We will be on your side every step of the way to advise you of your rights, options, and navigate you through the process. Call us now at (508) 796-5737, or email us at, for a free case evaluation.


Comparative Fault in Massachusetts

“Comparative fault” occurs when an injured party shares some level of fault for his or her own injury. In Massachusetts “comparative fault” rules are governed by M.G.L. c 231 § 85. If an injured person shared less than 50% of the fault for his or her injury, then that person’s damages will be reduced by the amount they were found to be at fault. However, if the injured party is found to be more than 50% at fault then they will receive no damages.

For example, you are driving down the road and strike a pedestrian in a crosswalk. You are found to be at fault for striking the pedestrian. However, the pedestrian did not see you coming because he was texting on his cell phone and stepped into the crosswalk, without looking, when you had the right of way because of a green traffic light. Eventually it is determined that the pedestrian’s total damages equal $10,000.00, you are found to be 90% at fault and the pedestrian is found to be 10% at fault. Under the Massachusetts “comparative fault” rules the $10,000.00 in damages will be reduced by 10% since the pedestrian was assigned 10% fault. Therefore, the pedestrian will be allowed to collect $9,000.00 for his or her injuries.

Using the same facts from the previous paragraph, if it is determined that the pedestrian’s total damages equal $10,000.00, but it is determined that the pedestrian was 51% at fault then under Massachusetts “comparative fault” rules, the pedestrian does not receive any damages because he or she is more than 50% at fault for his or her own injuries.

No Fault Laws

The Massachusetts “no-fault” laws apply to motor vehicle insurance and motor vehicle accidents. The “no fault” laws require that those who are injured in motor vehicle accidents are required to seek compensation under their own insurance providers.

The laws within Massachusetts require that every owner of a motor vehicle carry “Personal Injury Protection” benefits, otherwise known as PIP. Through “no fault” or PIP benefits, an injured person in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to recover up to $8,000.00 for lost wages or medical expenses.

In most cases, parties to a motor vehicle accident cannot step outside the “no fault” system and pursue a claim against another party unless the case meets certain thresholds, specifically:

  • You have more than $2,000.00 in reasonable medical expenses; and/or
  • You have suffered a permanent and serious disfigurement, broken bone, and/or loss of hearing or sight.

Since the injury threshold is a bit vague—for example, what kind of injury rises to the level of “serious disfigurement”—you may have flexibility to negotiate whether or not your claim must be limited to the “no fault” system.

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