Is Massachusetts a No-Fault State?
Last Updated on March 4, 2023
Massachusetts is a no-fault state.
Like 11 other states, Massachusetts requires drivers to buy personal injury protection (PIP), which covers certain accident-related costs regardless of fault.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Massachusetts’s no-fault insurance system and how it works.
Table of Contents:
- Massachusetts Auto Insurance Requirements
- What Does Massachusetts’ No-Fault Insurance Cover?
- Pros and Cons of Massachusetts’ No-Fault Insurance System
- You Have a Limited Ability to Sue After a Car Accident in Massachusetts
- No-Fault Insurance Exclusions in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Auto Insurance Requirements
Per Mass.gov, Massachusetts requires drivers to carry a certain minimum amount of four types of car insurance coverage, including:
- Bodily Injury to Others: Drivers in Massachusetts must carry a minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage per person. This coverage protects others from injuries you cause while operating your vehicle. Massachusetts requires minimum coverages of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
- Personal Injury Protection: Personal injury protection, or PIP, covers certain medical expenses after an accident, regardless of fault. Most no-fault states, including Massachusetts, require personal injury protection. If you are involved in an accident, then your own PIP coverage pays for medical expenses for you and certain passengers, regardless of who caused the accident. PIP also covers up to 75% of lost wages, up to $8,000.
- Bodily Injury Caused by Uninsured Auto: Massachusetts requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. If you are injured by an unknown motorist (say, in a hit-and-run accident) or by a motorist without insurance, then you can make a claim through your uninsured motorist coverage. Massachusetts requires a minimum of $20,000 coverage per person and $40,000 per accident.
- Damage to Someone Else’s Property: Also known as property damage liability coverage, this insurance covers damage you cause to another person’s property – like someone else’s car, fence, or home – with your vehicle. Massachusetts requires a minimum of $5,000 of property damage liability coverage.
All car insurance policies in Massachusetts meet these minimum limits. Some drivers meet these minimum limits for basic protection, while others exceed these minimum limits for added peace of mind.
Insurers in Massachusetts also offer optional coverage, including comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, and medical payments coverage, among others.
What Does Massachusetts’ No-Fault Insurance Cover?
No-fault insurance in Massachusetts covers certain medical bills and other expenses after an accident, regardless of fault.
Your no-fault insurance (personal injury protection / PIP coverage) covers all of the following, up to a maximum limit of $8,000:
- Medical bills and rehabilitation costs stemming from a car accident
- Up to 75% of lost income if unable to work because of car accident-related injuries
- Replacement services, including household chores and other duties you’re unable to perform because of car accident-related injuries
This coverage extends to you and certain other people. It extends to anyone who has permission to drive your vehicle, any passenger riding in it, any pedestrian injured by your vehicle, and certain qualifying family members living in the same household.
Pros and Cons of Massachusetts’ No-Fault Insurance System
Some people like Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance system, while others do not. Like other no-fault states, Massachusetts has supporters and detractors for its insurance system.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance system include the following:
Faster Payouts: One of the biggest benefits of a no-fault insurance system is receiving payouts faster than you normally would. You don’t need to wait for police or insurance companies to investigate the cause of an accident, for example, before receiving compensation for medical bills. Instead, your own insurer pays immediately, regardless of fault.
Coverage for Medical Expenses: Drivers in Massachusetts may have better peace of mind because they know they’re covered for medical expenses after a loss. In comparison, most states require no coverage for medical expenses, which means drivers could be forced to pay out of pocket for medical bills and rehabilitation costs after an accident.
Higher Premiums: Massachusetts has relatively high insurance premiums compared to the rest of the United States. Most no-fault states tend to have higher average insurance premiums because insurers must cover more medical expenses instead of passing costs onto individual drivers.
Property Damage is Still Fault Based: Massachusetts, like all no-fault states, uses a fault-based system for property damage. If another driver damages your vehicle in an accident, the other driver must pay for that damage.
Limited Ability to Sue: Personal injury lawyers dislike no-fault insurance systems because it limits the ability of drivers to sue. Drivers in Massachusetts can only file a lawsuit against other drivers if seriously injured in an accident. You may need to have suffered a permanent disability to sue after an accident, for example. Some drivers like this because it avoids frivolous lawsuits for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Other drivers dislike this because it limits potential payouts after an accident.
You Have a Limited Ability to Sue After a Car Accident in Massachusetts
Drivers in Massachusetts have a limited ability to sue other drivers after an accident. However, you can still file a lawsuit in certain situations.
By filing a lawsuit, you are essentially stepping outside Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance system.
To file a lawsuit in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements:
- You sustained permanent injuries from a car accident, including serious disfigurements, fractured bones, substantial loss of hearing or sight, or other partial or full disabilities
- And/or you or the injured party must have incurred at least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses from the accident
If you meet either of the requirements above, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Massachusetts uses a modified comparative negligence system to calculate compensation. Because of this system, a driver cannot collect damages from other parties in an accident if that driver was more than 51% at fault. If you were less than 51% at fault, you receive compensation based on your percentage of fault. If you were 20% at fault and the other driver was 80% at fault, for example, then your compensation is adjusted accordingly.
You must file a claim against the negligent party within three years, starting from the date of the accident.
Contact a personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts to determine if your accident meets the threshold for filing a lawsuit under the state’s no-fault system.
No-Fault Insurance Exclusions in Massachusetts
In certain situations, you may not be able to receive compensation through your personal injury protection (PIP) / no-fault insurance in Massachusetts.
Drivers who were intoxicated at the time of the accident, for example, may not receive compensation.
Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance exclusions include:
- You were involved in an accident under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You were involved in an accident while committing a felony or evading police
- You intentionally injured yourself
In all of these situations, your insurer could deny your claim, which means you could be required to pay certain medical bills and related expenses out of pocket.
Final Word – Massachusetts’s No-Fault Laws
Massachusetts is one of 12 no-fault insurance states in the country.
Under Massachusetts’ no-fault insurance, drivers receive compensation from their insurance company after a loss regardless of fault. Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, required by law in Massachusetts, covers certain medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and other expenses after an accident.
Compare car insurance rates in Massachusetts today to ensure you’re paying the best rates for your no-fault insurance.