Posts made in February 2014

Massachusetts tractor trailer takes out power, cripples business

A powerful tractor trailer can be a formidable force on the road, and not only to humans and other vehicles. The repercussions of a truck accident can sometimes reach beyond the road, even under fortunate circumstances where nobody is hurt.

In an unusual two-part accident in Fall River, Massachusetts, on a Saturday morning this month a tractor trailer belonging to a sandwich shop became caught up in loose wires and brought down two power poles, cutting off electricity in the area for up to 12 hours.

Earlier in the day the driver of a motor vehicle had hit one of the poles, causing the wires to hang very low initially. Police responded to the first incident but the driver was not hurt and nobody else was involved.

Now businesses in the area are complaining that the power outage has cost them money in lost revenue. The owner of a nearby gas station has said that for more than three hours the business couldn’t open cash registers and so sale of gas and trading in the shop came to a halt. Even after power was restored, the incident still left the business with no telephones or cable.

Police are continuing to investigate but have not issued citations to either the driver of the car or of the truck. Fortunately, no one was injured. However, businesses affected may have recourse in court to file a lawsuit for lost earnings due to negligent driving by either the car or the truck driver responsible for knocking over the poles, or both. At a time like this, business owners would be well advised to follow the investigation and its effects on the determination within the lawsuits filed.

Source: ABC6/WLNE-TV, “Tractor trailer breaks power poles,” Dana Griffin, Feb. 22, 2014

Baby survives frightening truck accident in Lawrence

Truck accidents are common on the road. A truck can easily collide with another vehicle if the truck driver is being negligent, or if the truck is not maintained well. A truck accident can become even more common with the icy roads and poor weather conditions Massachusetts is currently experiencing. Not only can truck mishaps involve other vehicles, they can involve pedestrians, as well. If a truck accident results in serious injuries it can lead to a personal injury claim.

In Lawrence, a stroller with a baby inside got caught and dragged by a truck for 100 feet. The baby miraculously survived with no reported injuries. Due to snow on the sidewalk, the mother was reportedly forced to push the stroller along the side of the road. The stroller became trapped under the truck’s back wheel when the truck driver was turning a corner near the mother and baby.

The truck driver is reported to have been unaware that he ran into the stroller and carried it such a long way. The truck driver stated that he could not see anything from the mirror, showing just how dangerous trucks can be. The truck driver is not expected to be charged for the accident.

Due to their large size it is sometimes hard for truck drivers to have a clear view of the road and their surroundings as this truck driver stated. This incident serves to demonstrate how large trucks can pose dangers to pedestrians as well as other vehicles.

If the baby did receive injuries, the mother could have filed a personal injury claim. Filing a personal injury claim may be a good course to take if you or a loved one is ever injured in a truck accident. If you are in Massachusetts, and you do suffer a less fortunate incident involving a truck, know that there may be help available to ease the legal process during what can be a difficult time.

Source: WSB-TV, “‘Miracle’ baby survives stroller ride stuck under truck,” Feb. 13, 2014

With cold weather comes the use of space heaters — and fire risk

Many people are using space heaters to keep warm during these winter months. If you use a space heater, you must be very cautious. Recently, there were two house fires that investigators are saying may have been caused by space heaters. During the coldest months in Boston, the use of space heaters is quite common. With the recent conclusion of Burn Awareness Week, it is good to discuss and keep in mind how common a burn injury can be, and how it might lead to a product liability case.

These fires are just two examples of how dangerous a product can be. While both events happened in Texas, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that even more houses in the wintry state of Massachusetts make use of these potentially dangerous products. It was reported that a few pets died due to the fire; however, no people were injured. Not everybody is as lucky as the people in these two incidents. These kinds of fires may cause serious burn injuries or death — especially in the overnight hours when people are sleeping.

In both cases authorities believe the fire was caused by the use of a space heater. This demonstrates that space heaters can be dangerous products and that many things can go wrong with their use. It is possible that the heaters may have been defective or may have had insufficient warning labels. They can easily catch on fire if placed near a flammable object such as furniture or fabric. There also may be something wrong with the wiring if it was not correctly assembled.

If you are burned by the use of a space heater, it is good to know your legal options. If defects are found due to manufacturer negligence or various other flaws in a product such as a space heater, you could receive compensation for your injuries. With the continued cold weather, it is advisable to take note of these two accidents and be careful when using space heaters.

Source: KTRK-TV, “Houston firefighters battle two house fires, both blamed on space heaters,” Feb. 7, 2014

Driver crashes into real estate office in South Boston

Most people think a car accident can only happen on the road. Every once in a while, a car accident can involve a building as well. This is the case for a recent car accident that occurred in South Boston. A man smashed his car through the walls of a real estate office after traveling in reverse across the street from a Rite Aid parking lot. The driver went over a guardrail and into the office’s conference room. The driver is reported to have received minor injuries that were tended to at an area hospital.

Only one person is reported to have been inside the building at the time of the accident. This person is reported to not have been injured. Boston police are investigating the cause of the accident. There are many possibilities as to why this car accident occurred though. It could be due to a negligent or distracted driver, or even texting and driving.

It is a lucky occurrence that the accident did not happen during a busy workday, as many employees could have been injured.

It is good to be aware that car accidents do not just happen on the road. It is important to remember that car accidents entail any accident involving a car, and if you are the victim of such an accident, you should first seek medical attention and then retribution. Also keep in mind that not all injuries are obvious immediately. You may find yourself unexpectedly requiring compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering. Consulting legal counsel and maintaining documentation of any medical expenses may help you financially overcome any grievances caused by a senseless car accident.

Source: Boston.com, “Car crashes into South Boston real estate office; driver suffers minor injuries,” Laura Gomez and Alyssa Creamer, Feb. 1, 2014

General Negligence/Injuries Stemming from a Fire

The following case involves negligence stemming from a fire.

In July 2010, a local college student invited a classmate over for dinner. Alcohol was consumed and both students admitted to being intoxicated. During the night, a fire started in the main portion of the apartment.

The 19 year old female plaintiff woke to thick plumes of smoke, making it impossible for her to see. She ran into the kitchen by accident and was trapped. As the fire began to engulf her, a firefighter rescued her.  The 20 year old male plaintiff, trapped in the bedroom, caught on fire and jumped out the second floor window.  Both plaintiffs were transported to a local burn unit.

Investigation into the fire revealed that a power strip, which had been chewed by the female tenant’s pet chinchilla, most likely caused the couch to smolder until it ignited, setting off the blaze.

Research by Plaintiffs’ counsel revealed a fatality occurred in the same building 10 years before due to a fire. Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that because the property required extensive renovations following that fire, the landlord should have installed a sprinkler system in the building. Plaintiff’s unit was neither equipped with a sprinkler nor adequate smoke detectors.  Specifically, the unit had ionization detectors and the building code dictates that smoke detectors within twenty feet of a kitchen or bathroom must be photoelectric.

The defense argued that the female tenant had disabled the smoke detector on numerous occasions and that she was aware her pet had been chewing the power strip yet did nothing about it. The defense further argued that the plaintiffs were so inebriated that had a smoke detector gone off, it would not likely have had any beneficial effect. Defense would not concede that any code violation existed at the time of the accident.

Lastly, for the plaintiffs’ position to succeed, the accident locus would have to qualify as a “building” under the law.  Defense argued that it did not meet the definition of a “building”.  The plaintiffs’ argued that the building was an investment for its owners and did not enjoy the exclusion that residences receive concerning the need for specific smoke detectors and/or the installation of sprinkler systems.

The case was mediated and settled for $650,000.00.