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Personal Injury Claim Procedures if the State of Massachusetts is responsible

Personal Injury Claim Procedures if the State of Massachusetts is responsible

You may submit a claim if you think that DCR may be responsible for your personal injury or property damage. Depending on the nature of the claim, one of two distinct state statutory claim procedures may apply to it. Your claim would only be subject to one of the state claim procedures, not both, and there are various claim filing criteria for each procedure (including differing state agency offices at which the claim must be filed). It is vital to know which state law your claim may be subject to since a claim that is submitted under the incorrect statute and is thus filed in the incorrect state office may be denied on that basis. If you want to safeguard your rights and need help making a claim, you might want to think about speaking with an attorney. Sections 36 of Chapter 92 (within the Urban Parks District*) or section 18 of Chapter 81 (outside the Urban Parks District) and, in all cases, sections 15, 18 and 19 of Chapter 84 of the General Laws govern claims for injuries resulting from an injury sustained while traveling on a DCR parkway or boulevard, or so-called “Roadway Defect Claims.” Chapter 258 of the General Laws, sometimes known as the state Tort Claims Act, sets down the conditions and restrictions that apply to all other claims for bodily harm or property damage.

You can make a claim directly with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) if you feel that a flaw in a parkway, boulevard, or roadway that is under the care, control, or maintenance of DCR is solely to blame for your bodily injury while you were driving on it. Please take note that the exclusive and exclusive remedy for allegations of roadway defects is provided under the statutes listed below. The term “parkway” is used generically to refer to any area that is suitably adapted for pedestrian use inside the boundaries of a trafficked part of a boulevard, even if that area does not include a roadway, sidewalk, islands, or strips of land.

Similar to how a flaw is defined generically, a defect is any actual or hypothetical flaw or condition (visible or concealed) in the road or sidewalk that, in general, could make the region uncomfortable or unsafe for regular passage, whether by foot or car. Potholes or damaged pavement, broken or non-functioning street lights or traffic signals, elevated or lowered manhole covers, broken or missing signs, protruding sign posts, or overhanging tree limbs are common examples of claims that are covered by this procedure.

It should be noted that state law prohibits the recovery of property damage and caps any personal injury claim for a traffic defect at $5,000. (for example, damage to a car arising from a pothole). Roadway defect claims must be made and lodged in a timely manner.

All other claims for personal injury or property damage caused by negligence that are not related to road problems are covered by the Tort Claims Act, Chapter 258 of the General Laws. You may submit a claim under the state Tort Claims Act if you think that you have suffered bodily injury or property damage as a result of the carelessness of DCR or its employees, excluding losses from a roadway condition (which are covered as indicated above). For instance, accidents involving DCR vehicles in motor vehicles or injuries sustained at DCR parks or facilities. No of how much the claim is allegedly worth, Texas law limits any payment to $100,000. If you intend to sue the Commonwealth, you must adhere to the presentment criteria outlined before filing any action.

For more information, contact our office at 617-338-7400 for access to free resources. 

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