Car accidents can be traumatic events that leave lasting physical, emotional, and financial consequences for those involved. In such unfortunate circumstances, legal action may be pursued to seek compensation for damages incurred. 

However, it’s essential to understand the legal framework within which these claims operate. One crucial aspect of car accident lawsuits is the statute of limitations, a legal time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. 

In Massachusetts, like in many other states, the statute of limitations plays a pivotal role in determining the viability of a car accident lawsuit. This article aims to provide a detailed guide to the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in Massachusetts.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a legal principle that sets a time limit within which a person may initiate legal proceedings after a specific event, such as a car accident, occurs. This time limit is intended to maintain fairness and efficiency in the legal system while also ensuring that evidence and memories are relatively fresh. If a lawsuit is not filed within the stipulated time frame, the injured party may lose the right to pursue legal action altogether.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is generally three years. This means that if you are going to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for damages, you must file the lawsuit before that deadline. Not filing within the given time frame will mean losing the ability to file a claim.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

In some situations, the statute of limitations may be “tolled,” which essentially means that the clock on the time limit is temporarily paused or extended. Tolling can occur for various reasons, such as:

  • Minority or Legal Incapacity

If the injured party is a minor (under 18 years old) or lacks the legal capacity to bring a lawsuit, the statute of limitations may be tolled until they reach adulthood or regain legal capacity.

  • Discovery Rule

In cases where injuries resulting from the car accident are not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations might start counting from the date when the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered.

  • Defendant’s Absence

If the defendant responsible for the accident is absent from the state, the statute of limitations could be tolled until they return.

The Importance of Timely Action

Failing to initiate legal proceedings within the prescribed statute of limitations can have serious consequences. The court will likely dismiss a lawsuit that is filed after the statutory deadline has expired, regardless of the merits of the case. This underscores the importance of seeking legal advice and taking action promptly after a car accident.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Given the significance of adhering to the statute of limitations, here are the essential steps to take after a car accident in Massachusetts:

  • Seek Medical Attention

Your health and safety should be your top priority. Seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident, even if they seem minor at the time.

  • Report the Accident

Contact the local police to report the accident. An official police report can provide valuable documentation for your claim.

  • Exchange Information

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. Collect contact information from witnesses as well.

  • Document the Scene

If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries. These visual records can be essential for your claim.

  • Notify Your Insurance Company

Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Prompt notification is often a requirement in insurance policies.

  • Consult a Car Accident Attorney in Boston

It’s advisable to consult with a qualified car accident attorney in Boston as soon as possible. An attorney can provide guidance on your legal options, assess the viability of your claim, and ensure that you adhere to the statute of limitations.


Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially when considering the legal complexities involved. Understanding the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in Massachusetts is crucial for ensuring that your right to seek compensation is preserved. 

Whether dealing with personal injury claims or property damage claims, adhering to the appropriate time limits is essential. By taking immediate action, seeking legal counsel, and adhering to the statute of limitations, you can better position yourself to receive the compensation you deserve and work towards recovering from the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of a car accident.

If you are looking for a car accident attorney in Boston, you can rely on Swartz & Swartz. As a leading law firm with a proven track record, we specialize in personal injury cases, providing expert legal guidance and compassionate support to help you navigate the complexities of car accident litigation and secure the compensation you deserve. For more information, contact us now!

Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help. For more information, contact Swartz & Swartz, P.C. today!

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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