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Understanding how Personal Injury Law Works in Massachusetts


Following an accident, Massachusetts has its own deadline, or “statute of limitations,” for bringing a personal injury claim in the state’s civil courts. You have three years under this law to sue someone for personal injuries in a Massachusetts court.

This three-year period often begins to run on the day of the accident. Rarely, the three-year time limit may not begin to run until the “finding date” if you had a latent injury that wasn’t discovered until some time after the accident.

Ultimately, you must pay close attention to this three-year window because if your lawsuit is not filed within that time frame, you will forfeit your ability to have a judge consider your injury case. That might not seem like a huge concern when you’re focused on settling your injury claim quickly with the insurance company, but it will matter if settlement negotiations fail and you have to consider other choices (taking the case to court).

You have two years to make a formal claim for damages against a city, county, or state government entity and three years to bring a lawsuit.

When it comes to auto insurance and auto accidents, Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state. People hurt in auto accidents are required to pursue compensation through their own insurance in no-fault states. Most of the time, unless your case fulfills particular criteria, you cannot go outside the no-fault system and pursue a claim against another party. More specifically:

You have incurred reasonable medical costs totaling more than $2,000, and/or

You’ve fractured a bone, had a loss of hearing or vision, or have a permanent and severe disfigurement.

You may have the option to negotiate whether or not your claim must be limited to the no-fault system because the injury threshold is rather ambiguous—for instance, what type of injury constitutes “severe disfigurement”—and this may provide you more negotiating room.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Massachusetts, do not hesitate to call us today at 617-444-7777 for access to our free resources and/or speak to an attorney about your case. 

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