Posts made in August 2014

What is premises liability?

Premises liability can be a confusing term, leaving answers to questions such as who is responsible or what qualifies rather vague. Essentially what premises liability means is that guests within a property should feel safe and protected, and if they experience any dangerous injuries, they could file a lawsuit against the owner of the premises for not providing adequate protection or warning of dangerous circumstances.

An example of such warning would be if you have a large dog that is prone to violence. You might want to hang a sign that warns people to beware of your dog. If you don’t, and the dog injures them, they could successfully argue that you did not provide adequate warning of the potential for injury. Of course dog bites are not the only threat; any injury sustained on a property that could have been fixed or avoided through warning could constitute a premises liability issue.

There are many different factors that can affect a premises liability case, such as the legal status of the visitor and the condition of the property. Generally, just remember that individuals who are on premises legally and who were injured through little or no fault of their own will have strong premises liability cases.

The law regarding premises liability varies by state, so if you believe you may have a premises liability case on your hands, it could be in your best interests to seek legal assistance from an attorney who is familiar with Massachusetts law. Property owners have a responsibility to make their premises safe for others, and if they fail to uphold this responsibility, it could cost them.

Car Crashes Into Bus, Injures 20 Passengers

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Massachusetts has a high percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. In 2012, 349 people died in car accidents on our roads, and 42 percent of those were related to alcohol.

It’s sad to think that nearly half of all traffic fatalities were due to such a preventable cause. The DOT also mentioned that about half of the drunk drivers in these accidents were repeat offenders.

The Boston Globe reports that a driver with a DUI history caused an accident that injured approximately 20 people last week. Police say Stephen Griswold swerved into oncoming traffic at approximately 10:40 a.m. before striking a bus carrying 34 passengers. After reconstructing the crash, authorities believe that Griswold drove in the wrong lane at least 50 feet before the collision.

Griswold Acted Strangely After the Car Accident

Witnesses told reporters that they saw Griswold walk into a pharmacy after the wreck and then into a hair salon before police arrived. They described him as shaking uncontrollably. Police arrested him, and he now faces drugged-driving charges. His driving record indicates that he has been arrested for drunk driving twice in the past.

Twenty of the passengers aboard the bus complained of injuries, and paramedics took 13 people to nearby hospitals for treatment. Griswold was also injured in the accident, but police say he did not require hospitalization.

If you’ve been hurt in a crash with a negligent driver, you may be able to recover significant compensation through a personal-injury lawsuit. At Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., we are a team of experienced lawyers who are committed to helping Boston car-accident victims seek justice through civil claims. We specialize in complex cases and aren’t afraid to accept challenges that some other firms may reject. To arrange a consultation with a personal-injury lawyer, call us at (617) 698-6000.

Police Officer Charged With Drunk Driving After Car Accident

It seems that no one is above driving under the influence these days–not even police officers.  WTNH News reports that Christopher J. Powers was driving his police cruiser when he caused an accident.

The police department was quick to point out that he was not on duty when the crash occurred. Powers drifted over the line, into oncoming traffic and collided with a truck. The accident forced his cruiser to flip.

Both Powers and a passenger in the truck were seriously injured in the crash and were treated at a hospital. Before he was treated, police administered a field sobriety test, which Powers failed.

At Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, we are proud to represent drunk-driving victims as they seek compensation in civil courtrooms. If you are filing a claim, you can rely on our expertise and experience throughout the process, and we’ll be here to address any of your questions or concerns. To speak with a personal-injury lawyer in Boston, call us at (617) 698-6000.

Weather could contribute to motor vehicle accidents

You may think that being in a car accident could never happen to you, and we can all hope that you’re right about that, but unfortunately it may not be the case. Even the most cautious and experienced drivers, who always take care of their car and drive safely in serious weather, can suffer from the negligence of others. Not all drivers are cautious or experienced, and freak accidents can happen anywhere to anyone.

Recently in Massachusetts, a number of accidents have occurred, including two instances of a tractor trailer jack-knifing and two cars crashing. The level of injury varies in each accident, but one of the cars in the two-car accident caught fire, and one of the victims of the crash sustained minor injuries. Each accident is currently under investigation to determine the cause, but all happened in rainy weather, which could have been a factor.

While it’s common knowledge that weather conditions can make driving more dangerous, there are always the drivers who fail to exercise extra caution to compensate. In some instances, it works out and nobody is harmed, but even the slightest mistake can turn into loss of control and lead to an accident in rainy weather. If a car in front of you spins out of control, you may not have enough time to avoid it.

In an instance like this, you may suffer physically from anther’s negligent driving, but you don’t have to suffer financially. A successful lawsuit can make sure that the other driver is held responsible for their mistake and could see you compensated for the injuries they caused you. Strong legal counsel can help you bring your case to the courts and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Source: WGGB, “Multiple Accidents Cause Lane Closures on I-91, Mass. Pike,” Darcy Fortune, Aug. 13, 2014

How common are truck fatalities?

We often talk about the dangers of truck accidents, and how they can cause serious injury or even death to nearly every victim. But you don’t have to take our word for it. The number of fatal truck injuries is clearly tracked and has been for many years, and the data may be very concerning.

In 2013, more than 3,600 people were killed in large truck crashes all across the country, including Massachusetts. This number is nearly 15 percent higher than it was back in 2009; however, the good news is that this number is still relatively low compared to the number of fatalities over the last few decades. Of those who were killed in large truck accidents, only 16 percent were occupants of the truck itself. More than 65 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles and other cars, and another 15 percent were pedestrians and cyclists.

What this data indicates is that while truck accident fatalities are less common than they were in the past, those who are most severely victimized are still other drivers and individuals. Truck drivers are almost never killed in large truck accidents, and they are also rarely injured, which is why it is so important for victims of a truck accident to seek legal assistance.

Legal assistance can help you make a claim to be compensated based on your injuries, because as the data indicates, you are much more likely to suffer serious or fatal injury in the event of a truck accident. The law is very clear, and you do not have to pay for mistakes that were not yours. If you were not at fault in a truck accident that injured you or claimed the life of someone you love, please do not hesitate to consult with an attorney.

Drunk-Driving News Roundup for August 2014

Most people understand that drunk driving is a serious social problem in the United States. Police warnings are on billboards, the radio and television. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving are ever present at fundraisers and awareness campaigns, yet many still do not have a realistic understanding of how destructive impaired drivingDUI is.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one of every three car-accident deaths is related to alcohol. In 2010, that meant 10,288 people died in drunk-driving wrecks.

If you’ve suffered an injury during an accident with a drunk driver in Boston, let us help you. At Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., we specialize in personal-injury law, and we are committed to finding creative solutions that can help our clients find compensation. Whether your accident was caused by impairment, distraction or recklessness, we’ll stand by you. To arrange a consultation with a personal-injury attorney from our firm, please call (617) 698-6000.

Alleged Drunk Driver Pleads Not Guilty

Last year, Dervin Hibbert attempted to park along the side of the road. Police say that he pressed the gas pedal too hard while reversing and lost control of the vehicle.

His car sped up as it entered a sidewalk and struck a pedestrian. The victim, Walter Harris, was dragged several feet as Hibbert continued to attempt to regain control of the vehicle. He was moving so quickly that he knocked over a fire hydrant.

When he realized what had happened, Hibbert attempted to flee, but witnesses stopped him and called for help. The Boston Globe reports that police tested Hibbert’s blood and measured his blood alcohol content (BAC) at .14 percent. They charged him with manslaughter and driving under the influence. This week, Hibbert pleaded not guilty to each charge.

Woman Convicted of DUI After Fatal Wreck

Drunk-driving accidents and arrests are in the news often, but it’s rare to read about the trial and what sort of penalties are involved. WCVB News reports that Patricia Neville-Colp recently received a sentence for her role in a fatal car accident. Police say that Neville-Colp was trying to merge on to the highway when she collided with another vehicle.

That car rolled several times. The driver, Maureen Ellis, suffered major head trauma and died at the scene. Later, police determined that Neville-Colp’s BAC was .13 percent. They also found marijuana in the car.

She was found guilty of several criminal charges including homicide. A judge decided that she will serve one year in prison and five years on probation. To the families of drunk-driving victims, this doesn’t always seem to be justice.

Fortunately, victims or their families are permitted to file personal-injury lawsuits to recover compensation from negligent drivers. If you are interested in filing a claim, why not get an expert’s opinion first? To schedule a consultation with an experienced personal-injury attorney from our firm, please call (617) 698-6000.

Bicyclist Injured in Collision With Trash Truck

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Boston has a high percentage of cycling commuters compared with the rest the country. Nationwide, only 0.6 workers use bicycling as their primary means of getting to work; in Boston, however, 1.7 percent of workers commute by bicycle.

Of course, with more cyclists on the road, there is a greater chance of accidents. A majority of these crashes between vehicles and cyclists occur when drivers attempt to make a turn in front of a bicycle yet misjudge the distance.

The Boston Globe reports that this is the scenario that led to a collision between a local cyclist and a garbage truck. The truck driver cut off the cyclist, and the man became trapped under the tire of the truck.

The victim was dragged several feet before the driver realized and stopped. The bicycle was mangled beneath the heavy trash truck, and the bicycle rider wasn’t able to get out from beneath the vehicle. Witnesses say that rescue teams spent 30 minutes extricating him from the scene. Paramedics took him to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, but doctors say he should recover.

This Type of Accident Is Far From Uncommon

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Boston cyclist will be one of approximately 50,000 people who will suffer injuries after a car accident while riding a bicycle. More than 700 cyclists will lose their lives this year. The numbers show that cyclists may face an increased risk of injury than other commuters. Only 1 percent of all trips on U.S. roads involve a bicycle, but bike accidents account for 2 percent of all traffic accidents. While these statistics should not deter cyclists from riding, they do illustrate that they are in serious danger from negligent drivers.

In these situations, it’s often difficult for the victim to recover compensation from the driver’s insurance company. In some cases, insurers try to pin some of the blame on the cyclist even if the facts don’t support that allegation. If find yourself in this situation, you may benefit from consulting an experienced personal-injury lawyer. To arrange a case evaluation with an attorney from Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., please call us at (617) 698-6000.

Teen Cyclist Dies After Accident With Truck

Another bike accident involving a large truck occurred recently. WCSH News reports that a box-truck driver struck two teenage boys who were stopped on the side of the road talking to pedestrians. Both boys were rushed to a hospital; one died the following day. The second teen is recovering from a serious leg injury. The driver told police that he didn’t see the boys until it was too late.

If you are having trouble finding compensation after a bike accident with a negligent driver, let us help. We can negotiate on your behalf and file a lawsuit if it becomes necessary. To speak with a personal-injury lawyer from our firm, call us at (617) 698-6000.

Boston cyclist dragged underneath garbage truck

Truck accidents can be a messy business for a number of reasons. One obvious reason is because of the size of trucks, meaning that trucking accidents will likely cause significantly more damage than similar accidents with other vehicles. Another reason is because there is more in question than simply the drivers of each vehicle: there is the company that owns the truck, what its hiring practices are and how well conditioned it keeps its trucks. Fortunately, with witnesses and strong legal assistance, truck accident victims can navigate all of these factors and make their case.

There are few mismatches quite as severe as a garbage truck meeting a bicyclist, but, reportedly, this occurrence took place in Boston recently. The truck was turning when it ran over a bicyclist, trapping his leg and dragging him. Fortunately, a witness stated that rescue was quick to respond, and the man was freed in less than half an hour. The cyclist appears likely to survive.

This is not the first time such an accident has occurred. Among similar accidents involving bicyclists was one that took place in Charlestown this past spring, and another nearby in 2012. Both of those accidents were fatal. A Boston Cyclists Union official claimed that many of the collisions are the result of truck drivers abruptly turning right after passing a biker. While it’s not clear whether this is what happened with the above accident, Massachusetts law requires drivers to allow bicyclists to pass before making a right turn.

You don’t have to be riding a bicycle to be injured in a truck accident, however. Anyone who has been injured by a truck accident could be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Strong legal counsel can help you build your case and may help ensure that you are given the maximum compensation you deserve.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Bicyclist dragged by garbage truck in South End,” Oliver Ortega, July 29, 2014

Massachusetts nursing home found negligent in patient care

A common and unfortunate side effect of aging is a declining quality of life. Much as we may try to fight it, time inevitably takes its toll on our bodies and we begin to struggle with things that used to be second nature, from walking to eating and even to breathing without assistance. Watching this happen to our loved ones can be difficult. One of the roles that nursing homes are supposed to play is to help elderly individuals who are experiencing significant medical problems as they age. Sadly though, such homes sometimes fail to live up to the level of care expected of them.

If gone unchecked, nursing home negligence can lead to serious health problems and even death for residents.

In 2008, a 90-year-old nursing home patient was found to be suffering from kidney failure, acute appendicitis, severe dehydration and many other medical issues. Though she was treated for the injuries once they were discovered by a hospital, it was too late, and the woman ultimately died.

Recently, in a wrongful death case regarding the woman, a Massachusetts jury found the nursing home the woman was a resident of, which is now closed, to have been grossly negligent regarding the woman’s care and awarded the woman’s family $14 million, mostly for punitive damages. However, the woman’s youngest son was very clear that money does little to assuage the grief of knowing how much his mother suffered. While we hope that nobody ever has to suffer what the victim or her family endured, it is important to know that the law provides options for nursing home negligence victims and their families.

Too much care cannot be taken when it comes to finding the right nursing home for your loved ones. Still, the staff of the nursing home plays a massive part in how well the residents are cared for, and it’s impossible to be sure that every single staff member is fully committed to the job. If you worry that a loved one in a nursing home was treated with negligence or is currently being treated with negligence, strong legal counsel can help you figure out whether negligence has occurred and whether legal action is appropriate.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Jury awards $14m in 2008 death,” Kay Lazar, July 24, 2014