Under current Massachusetts law, drivers may carry as little as $20,000 in liability insurance. This can compound upon the otherwise unspeakable tragedy of losing a loved one to a fatal motor vehicle accident with economic hardship. In the event of an automobile accident resulting in death caused by negligence, most of the liability insurance would be consumed by hospital and funeral expenses. This would leave the family of the deceased with very little. It will also leave a family with dependent children in a serious economic predicament.
Massachusetts has a bill pending in the Legislature that would provide financial protection for families who have suffered this type of loss. Discussed in a recent Mass Lawyer’s Weekly article, the bill, titled H. 928, would amend the state’s insurance laws to provide that ‘additional coverage of not less than $100,000 shall be available to the estate of any person killed by the negligence of the operator of a motor vehicle.’ With this additional coverage, families of the deceased will likely be able to keep afloat financially, especially during such a tragic period of their lives. The extra $100,000 that H. 928 provides may be enough to support the dependents of the deceased at least through a transitional period, as it will not be immediately consumed by hospital expenses. However, this bill will only apply to the families of those who were killed by a negligent driver, not those who are seriously injured.
In order for this newly proposed bill to apply in an automobile accident resulting in death, it must be proven that the other driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident. Therefore, the other driver must be at fault regarding the accident for the negligence requirement to be satisfied. Unfortunately, there may be a situation where someone dies in an automobile accident and his or her family would not receive protection under the proposed H. 928, even if it were implemented. If negligence by the other driver cannot be proven as the direct and proximate cause of the accident, families of the deceased would not receive the additional coverage provided by H. 928. Although H. 928 may not be able to protect all families of deceased automobile accident victims, it still provides a significant financial security blanket to those in desperate need of it.
At Keches Law Group, P.C., we deal with cases involving negligence in the context of automobile accidents on a daily basis. Car accidents happen frequently and can result in substantial, serious injury and even death. Every accident and injury is tragic in its own right, but cases where a young child’s parent or parents are taken away present unique hardships. H. 928 provides a good starting point in beginning to address these issues legislatively. However, for the time being, the best remedy available is your own underinsurance policy. The lawyers at Keches Law Group have significant experience in handling these types of cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, protect your rights, and call us today so that we can discuss the unique circumstances of your case.