What to do do when in an auto accident

What to do when in an auto accident
Getting in an auto accident is a very scary, highly stressful situation. It’s easy to forget what to do, so we offer the following tips, what to do when in an auto accident:
  • Stop.
  • Be Courteous.
  • Stay Calm.
  • Your interest will be served best if you are courteous and engage in no controversy at the scene of the accident.
  • If there is significant damage to any of the vehicles or any potential injuries call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Get the names of the owners and drivers involved.
  • Get license numbers, telephone numbers, and registration numbers.
  • Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses.
  • Express no opinion as to who was at fault.
  • Give no information except for as required by the authorities.
  • Do not sign any statements unless required by authorities.
  • For prompt claims call your Insurance Agent!
Should you fill out a Massachusetts Crash Report?

“MGL Chapter 90, Section 26 requires a person who was operating a motor vehicle involved in a crash in which (i) any person was killed or (ii) injured or (iii) in which there was damage in excess of $1,000 to any one vehicle or other property, to complete and file a Crash Operator Report with the Registrar within five (5) days after such crash (unless the person is physically incapable of doing so due to incapacity). The person completing the report must also send a copy of the report to the police department having jurisdiction on the way where the crash occurred. If the operator is incapacitated but is not the vehicle’s owner, the owner is required to file the crash report within the five (5) days based on his/her knowledge and information obtained about the crash. The Registrar may require the owner or operator to supplement the report and he/she can revoke or suspend the license of any person violating any provision of this legal requirement. A police department is required to accept a report filed by an owner or operator whose vehicle has been damaged in a crash in which another person unlawfully left the scene even if damage to the vehicle does not exceed $1,000.”

You can print here: http://www.massrmv.com/rmv/forms/21278.pdf

Once you’ve completed the report send copies to:

  • local or state police department in the city or town where crash occurred
  • your independent, MA insurance agent or insurance company
  • a copy to the RMV, Crash Records, PO Box 55889, Boston, MA 02205-5889
Were you at-fault in the accident?

When determining fault in an auto accident, MA insurance companies use the following Standards of Fault:

  • Collision with a lawfully or an unlawfully parked vehicle
  • Rear-end collision
  • Out-of-lane collision
  • Failure to signal
  • Failure to proceed with due caution from a traffic control signal or sign
  • Collision on wrong side of road
  • Operating in the wrong direction
  • Collision at an uncontrolled intersection
  • Collision while in the process of backing up
  • Collision while in the process of backing up
  • Collision while making a left turn or a U-turn across the travel path of a vehicle travelling in the same or opposite direction
  • leaving or exiting from a parked position, a parking lot, an alley, or a driveway
  • Opened or opening vehicle door(s)
  • Single-vehicle collision
  • Failure to obey the rules and regulations for driving
  • Unattended vehicle collision
  • Collision while merging onto a highway or into a rotary
  • Noncontact operator causing collision
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles when required by law
  • Collision at a “T” intersection(you entered from side road)

Were you “at-fault” in the accident? If your insurance company paid out over $500 and determined you to be more than 50% at-fault, then you can expect to receive a Massachusetts Surcharge Notice.

If you believe there were other contributing factors in the accident and were less than 50% at-fault, MassAutoQuote suggests you should appeal the surcharge.

When determining fault in an accident, unlike the insurance companies, the Board of Appeals takes into consideration contributing factors; such as: road condition (icy, wet, snow-covered), visibility, erratic driving, etc.

The cost to appeal the surcharge is $50 and the Massachusetts Board of Appeal tells us it is currently taking about 8 months before your receive your hearing date.

You can appeal a surcharge either: in person, by written statement, or by selecting someone to appear on your behalf.

Hearings are scheduled in:  Boston, Brockton, Peabody, Plymouth, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham, or Worcester.

Mass.gov Board of Appeal Contact information


To review, what to do when in auto accident: get information, fill out crash report, consider surcharge appeal.