Under Massachusetts Law, if the insurance company believes that you are more than 50% at fault for causing an accident which resulted in an insurance claim exceeding $500, you will receive a Massachusetts “Surcharge Notice.” As a result of being found at fault, your insurance company may impose a surcharge on your insurance premium, causing your insurance payments to rise. In addition, the accident will go on your driving record and, depending on your driving history, may result in having your Massachusetts Driver’s License Suspended. Given the far reaching impact on not only the cost of insurance, but also your ability to operate a motor vehicle, it is important to speak with an experienced Boston Surcharge Appeal Lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
Appealing an Accident Surcharge in Massachusetts
If you received a surcharge notice in the mail, you may request an appeal of the decision within 30 days of receiving the notice by following the instructions on the reverse side of the letter. After receiving your surcharge appeal request, the Board of Appeals will send you notification of a hearing date, time and location.
At the surcharge hearing, you may have an attorney represent you. The hearing officer will first hear evidence presented by an insurance company representative about the accident. Next, you or your lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine the representative and present your case. The most common way that a determination is reversed is when the Board of Appeals finds that you were in fact less than 50% at fault for the accident. In addition, the determination may also be reversed if the loss amount had been reduced below the minimum surchargeable amount, among other things.
The insurance companies use the “Massachusetts Standards of Fault” to make the determination as to whether or not the operator of the vehicle was more than 50% at fault for the accident. Under 211 CMR 74.00 (in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 175 Section 113P), there are 19 standards of fault:
• Collision with a Lawfully or 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 Making a Left Turn or U-Turn Across the Travel Path of a Vehicle
• Leaving or Exiting from a Parked Position, Parking Lot, Alley or 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
• Non-Contact Operator Causing Collision
• Failure to Yield the Right of Way to Emergency Vehicles when Required by Law
• Collision at a “T” Intersection
In order to be successful on appeal, it is vital to develop strong arguments supported by exhibits to be offered as evidence at the hearing.
Cambridge, Massachusetts Surcharge Appeal Law Firm
At Caselden Law, we understand that facing a surcharge appeal for an accident which you do not believe you were at fault for can be a stressful and difficult experience. We will be by your side during every step of the process and will carefully craft a defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances surrounding your accident. Furthermore, if applicable, we will evaluate your Massachusetts driving record in order to determine whether or not you are in danger of having your driver’s license suspended as a result of an accumulation of surcharge-able events such as other accidents, speeding tickets and other traffic citations.
If you have received a surcharge notice, Contact Caselden Law to speak with an experienced Cambridge, Massachusetts At-Fault Surcharge Accident Appeal Attorney today. We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All initial consultations are completely free of charge.