Posts made in April 2014

Boston property owner sues welder, realty company for fatal fire

“Fire.” It is dangerous to scream this word in a crowded movie theater because of the fear and panic it can instill in the public. This fear is part of what drives us to hold firefighters in such high regard. They rush toward the flames; they run into the fire when all others run out. We may feel a little safer knowing such brave men and women are around.

It is, therefore, particularly tragic when the lives of these courageous men and women are lost in the service of their fellow humans. Such a sad event occurred last month when two firefighters lost their lives while combating a 9-alarm blaze at a Boston brownstone.

The building’s owner is now possibly hoping to fend off claims of premises liability by suing the welding company and realty company who he blames for the fire. The welding company had been contracted to assist in part of the installation process of safety railings at the building, but the realty company claims it believed the railings would be assembled off-site, meaning the welding would take place off-site. The realty company does not claim any responsibility.

It is alleged by the building owner that there are a number of issues that point to the realty company and welding company ultimately being liable, including problems with permits and various safety devices that should have been in place at the site. In the meantime, there is still the fact that two firefighters have lost their lives.

While a great deal of finger-pointing is going on in regards to liability issues, loved ones of the fallen firefighters are dealing with grief and financial hardships related to these losses.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, know that investigations can be conducted, and legal counsel in Boston can assist with determining the best options, so families have no additional pain and suffering added to what they are already experiencing.

Source: WCVB, “Building owners sue welders in deadly Beacon Street fire,” April 22, 2014

Nursing Home/Wrongful Death

The decedent, a ninety year old women suffering from a host of co-morbidities, was admitted to the defendant’s facility. Upon her admission, she was adjudged a significant fall risk due to muscle weakness, lethargy and difficulty walking. She required constant assistance with regard to all aspects of mobility. On July 31, 2009, the decedent was found on the floor of her room by one of the defendant’s employees. She had suffered an unwitnessed fall and was bleeding profusely from her forehead. The defendant concluded that the decedent had fallen out of bed. There was no mention, in the decedent’s medical records, however, that appropriate precautions were taken by the defendant to prevent this foreseeable circumstance. The decedent was rushed to Norwood Hospital where she was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. She succumbed to her injuries several days later.

The plaintiff’s expert, a Board Certified Internist, concluded that within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the defendant’s negligence brought about the decedent’s untimely death. Specifically, the expert opined that “…the decedent required a care plan that provided assistance in all areas of mobility. In addition, she needed to be secured in her bed with guards to prevent any falls. The defendant’s facility did not utilize guards on the sides of the decedent’s bed, thus facilitating her fall.”

Discovery revealed that the defendant’s facility was understaffed and therefore significantly hampered in utilizing proper monitoring and supervision of their patients, including the decedent.

The case settled for $175,000.

Truck accident kills 2 Massachusetts construction workers

Two Mass Bay Electrical Corp workers who were working in an aerial bucket were killed when the truck supporting them upended into a ditch. The ditch runs along the Cape Cod Canal and is close to Scenic Highway in Bourne. The reach of the kind of truck being used is said to be 142 feet, which is a very dangerous height to fall from. A chaplain with the Bourne Fire Department was on the scene of the trucking accident to comfort the surviving family.

It is believed that the men were working with high-tension power lines at the worksite. Their contract was with NStar to work on a utility project. While it is not known what the exact cause of the accident was, there were other workers around when it happened, and reports indicate that there were no high winds at the time.

Mass Bay Electrical has had problems with Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations in the past, but their most recent inspection was nearly a decade ago. In that 2005 inspection, Mass Bay Electrical netted three serious violations, two of which were in relation to the aerial lifts.

The type of work the two men were doing is dangerous, which is why there are workplace safety standards in place. The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Department of Labor Standards for the state reports that about 80 percent of deaths from platforms mounted on vehicles are due to some kind of contact with electrical sources. Other risks to workers include trucks being on ground that is unstable, not using fall restraints, and slips and falls from the bucket.

Families of individuals killed in on-the-job truck accidents have options to help them seek justice and compensation to cover related expenses. Medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses can be compensated for so those left behind do not also have overwhelming financial burdens adding to their suffering. A Massachusetts attorney may be able to assist you and your family in pursuing some sense of retribution if working conditions were poor, proper safety precautions were not taken or machinery was not well maintained. If an employer’s negligence resulted in a fatality to your loved one, you don’t have to be alone in your pursuit of justice.

Source: Cape Cod Times, “Two workers die in fall when truck tumbles into ditch,” Haven Orecchio-Egresitz and Mary Ann Bragg, April 13, 2014

Assisted living facility fined for endangering residents

When a loved one is in need of elder care, you hope and expect that they will receive the attention and support they need in the facility chosen. In many places, nursing home staff work to the best of their ability to attend to the needs of their residents. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and incidences of negligence, medication errors and even abuse can put vulnerable people in danger. If residents of Massachusetts become aware of inadequate care at a nursing home, they should alert the authorities and seek legal advice.

In Iowa, a care site has been under investigation for such allegations. The accusations against the facility suggest that the home has endangered its residents through a series of negligent acts. Their alleged failings include supplying nutritionally deficient meals and allowing non-medical staff to administer insulin injections.

According to one resident, staff would even borrow personal medical supplies without seeking permission in order to cover other tenants’ needs. The home is also thought to have been providing insufficient training to its staff and to be responsible for various forms of negligence. Documentation showed 22 medication errors within four months for one resident alone, while another resident was insufficiently evaluated after a fall that caused a brain bleed.

Other residents claimed they feared retaliation if they complained about conditions. In one case, a family called police after receiving a phone call from their 90-year-old relative. The call-light system for the home had been disabled, so when the resident suffered a minor stroke, he was unable to call for assistance. The home is facing fines as a result of this negligence, but a relative of one resident stated that she felt the punishment has been far too lenient.

This facility is in another state, but residents of Massachusetts should take note nonetheless. If you have a loved one in care, it is important to ensure they are being correctly looked after. If you suspect abuse or negligence has taken place, it is essential to act quickly for the sake of your loved one and other residents. A knowledgeable attorney can help you investigate the matter and seek the care and compensation you and your loved one deserve.

Source: The Des Moines Register, “Spirit Lake care site accused of endangering residents,” Clark Kauffman, April 13, 2014

Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C. Achieves Settlement for Injured 18 year old

By adopting an aggressive and comprehensive strategy, Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., has achieved tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for their clients. One such example follows below:

The firm’s client, aged 18, was attempting to cross a busy street located on the South Shore when he was struck and killed by a box truck operated by a commercial driver. The firm conducted rigorous discovery and learned that, for unexplained reasons, the driver did not see the pedestrian at any time before the accident. Moreover, by canvassing the neighborhood, the firm was able to locate witnesses that investigating police had ignored. This aggressive approach is what enabled the firm to achieve a significant civil settlement as well as aid in the prosecution of the driver for vehicular homicide

Defective product being recalled after causing 3 deaths

So far in 2014, Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., has achieved numerous multi-million dollar personal injury recoveries for their clients. The firm is a recognized leader in the area of personal injury, with particular emphasis on matters concerning wrongful death, aviation accidents, automobile/truck accidents, nursing home negligence, and similar catastrophic accidents.

Boston bicyclist killed in hit-and-run trucking accident

“Accidents happen” is a common phrase that we tell our children when they do small things such as spill milk or knock over a vase of flowers. Unfortunately for those who find themselves in automobile accidents, the phrase doesn’t have quite the same comforting feeling. Instead, it only serves to remind us of the frequently tragic reality of daily life. No matter how careful we are or what precautions we take when driving, accidents can happen.

A Massachusetts bicyclist was killed in a trucking accident when a garbage truck driver struck him and left him on the side of the road. A Swampscott man was later charged in connection with the hit-and-run accident, which happened in Charlestown. Tragedies like this often have far-reaching consequences for the families of those involved. If, for example, the bicyclist had a family that relied on his paycheck, their financial future may now be called into question.

While nothing can bring back the life of the unfortunate bicyclist, monetary compensation can help any family members the victim may have left behind. In addition to funeral expenses, the victim’s family will be able to stay afloat long enough to pursue other financial avenues. However, in order to receive any compensation, parties must prove their loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Particularly in cases where there are no witnesses, it is extremely important to secure legal assistance to help prove your case. Modern technology and some creative thinking can help a family meet the burden of proof needed in civil cases. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident, and you believe that you were not at fault, effective legal counsel can help you present your case to the courts and hopefully get you the compensation you deserve.

Source: Boston Herald, “Truck driver charged in fatal Charlestown accident,” John Zaremba, April 4, 2014

Massachusetts drunk driving accident endangers children’s lives

Now that St. Patrick’s Day is lurking around the corner, drunk driving accidents may become more common across the nation. What is so frightening about this is that even though you practice all safety measures while driving, meeting a careless or drunk driver along the road can result in a serious accident. The results of such an accident can be devastating. This can get much worse if you have children inside the car, whose lives might be endangered because of the negligence of another driver.

A woman allegedly responsible for a car accident in Massachusetts is now facing multiple charges for sending a minivan crashing into a pond. The woman’s 3-year-old child was in a car with her while she allegedly was driving under the influence of alcohol. Thankfully, the child was properly strapped in the car seat and did not sustain any injuries.

However, the four people trapped within the minivan, three children and an adult, were taken to a hospital but are now considered to be in good condition. Authorities further noted that the car accident could have ended much more tragically had the minivan plunged into the deeper part of the pond.

Being involved in an auto crash can be very traumatic, not just for you but also for any children you may have. In cases like the one above, the drunk driver was charged for child endangerment, operating under the influence and failure to yield. This coming St. Patrick’s Day, it is good to know that you have rights if ever you become involved in a similar accident that results in damages and serious injury. Just compensation should be given to you and your family for the trauma and medical expenses incurred.

Source: CBS Boston, “Two-Car Crash Sends Minivan Plunging Into Milford Pond, One Driver Faces OUI Charge,” March 2, 2014

Massachusetts woman in coma after being dragged under car

A highway is not a safe place for stopped cars or pedestrians, especially at night. Drivers are usually traveling at high speeds and not expecting to see stationary vehicles or people walking. Added to the risks is the scourge of Massachusetts’ roads, drunk driving, which too often leads to tragic car accidents. Nonetheless, sometimes unavoidable circumstances cause people to find themselves facing the risk of stopping and even walking on a highway.

On a recent Sunday night this happened to a 38-year-old Lunenberg woman. Shortly after midnight on an interstate going past Shrewsbury, she accidentally damaged her car when she struck the guardrail on a median. Leaving the vehicle at the roadside, she set off on foot to get assistance. That was when an allegedly drunk driver first crashed into her parked car and then into her, dragging her under his vehicle. Police described a trail of blood that was about 150 yards.

Other motorists stopped to render assistance to the unconscious woman and called for emergency services. Her injuries were critical, including burns, punctured lungs, broken bones, including her spine, and a badly lacerated face.

Reports indicate the apprehended 50-year-old Worcester man appeared apathetic and never inquired into her condition. He ignored the woman and the people tending her, and actually walked past her and rested on a guardrail, putting distance between himself and the accident. When police arrived, the man claimed that someone else had struck the woman and driven away. Police reported that the man smelled of alcohol and acted drunk, but would only admit to having had one drink and would not submit to a breath alcohol test.

Law enforcement officers obtained a judge’s order to compel the man to have a blood test. Even so, they had to use handcuffs and physical restraint to force him to submit to having blood drawn. He was charged with drunk driving.

The criminal court system will render a verdict in this case and the family of the injured, comatose woman may want to file a lawsuit.

If you or a family member are hurt in a car accident caused by another, personal injury attorneys will be able to steer you through restitution laws to seek an award of financial compensation for medical costs, post-hospital care, loss of wages and other benefits allowed by the law.

Source: The MetroWest Daily News, Police: Woman struck, dragged by car in Shrewsbury,” Brad Petrishen, March 25, 2014