Posts made in January 2015

Massachusetts crash has fatal consequences

Many drivers in Massachusetts experience a car accident at some point. Even the most careful driver can be unfortunate enough to become embroiled in someone else’s mistake. If they are lucky, they may escape unscathed, with only minor damage to their vehicle. Sadly, this is rarely the case and many car accidents result in serious injuries or worse for the drivers, passengers and even pedestrians involved.

Such was the case early one Saturday morning in Brockton when police attended the scene of a single-vehicle collision. According to officers, the vehicle had collided with a telephone pole, with devastating consequences. Two men were airlifted from the scene and transported to hospitals for treatment. They were reported to be in critical condition.

Another victim of the accident was even less fortunate. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident. The precise cause of the crash has not been reported and the tragic event remains under investigation. Sadly, this may offer little comfort to any of the victims’ families turned upside down by this sudden and devastating event.

Unfortunately it is something that is all too common. Every year families in Massachusetts are forced to come to terms with the loss of loved ones as the result of accidents that might have been prevented. It is all too easy for something to go wrong on the road and it does not have to be your fault for you to pay the price.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you might benefit from an attorney’s guidance. With the right advice and support, you can challenge those responsible and may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.

Source: NECN, “1 Dead, 2 Hurt in Car Crash,” Jan. 17, 2015

The danger in a defective tire

Tires are the sole point of contact between the road and the vessel carrying you and your loved ones at extremely high speeds. With the slight effort of your hands they turn and maneuver you through traffic and hazards on a daily basis. Most tires are designed and priced to last much longer than other parts of your car that are your responsibility to see changed.

For instance, you know to change your oil every few months. However with tires, you know to replace them when they look old and worn or on new cars, you are usually alerted to tires that are consistently low on air pressure. However, where oil protects your car, changing tires can protect your life. Yet, it is not financially feasible to change tires out with the same regularity.

Therefore tires are made durable and to last longer. But that is taking into consideration that the tires are good, reliable and free of defects. It is not hard to understand how defective tires are potentially life-threatening tires.

Imagine your compact car is traveling upward of 70 miles per hour on the expressway navigating through the early stages of rush hour traffic and you suddenly realize someone has lost a box on the road. You swerve to miss it. Just as you do you hear a loud noise and feel your steering wheel jerk from your grasp and, terrified, you realize you’ve lost control of your car.

New cars are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring sensor that indicates air pressure in tires. It is likely this built-in gauge reduces the human error causing incorrectly inflated tires. Therefore, if you experience a blowout and had no warning your tires were under or over inflated, there is a reasonable chance that your tire was defective.

If you or someone you know could have been a victim of a defective tire, your suspicion alone warrants further investigation. It may prove to be very beneficial to seek legal counsel in the matter as soon as possible.

What rights do nursing home residents have?

Nursing home negligence is not an area of personal injury which most people have to concern themselves with, but for those who have loved ones in a nursing home, it can be a serious concern, especially if the loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence. Nursing home negligence occurs when the rights of a nursing home occupant are violated, knowingly or unknowingly. Sometimes these violations can lead to injury or death.

Federal law requires nursing facilities to implement policies to prohibit mistreatment and neglect, and it is in the rights of the resident to be made aware of these policies. A list of some of the rights that a nursing home resident has can be found here. Since these are federal regulations, they will apply in almost every area, including in Massachusetts nursing homes. The list is very comprehensive, so you can peruse it at your leisure, but there are a few important points that stick out.

All residents are legally entitled to be treated the same, meaning that nursing homes cannot discriminate, nor can they show favoritism. If a resident is unsatisfied with the care that they are receiving, they can select a personal physician of their choosing. Obviously residents have the right not to suffer mental and physical abuse, but they also cannot be kept from other residents.

If you or a loved one has been denied any of these rights, you could file a lawsuit against the nursing home. Depending on the circumstances, you could be entitled to compensation. It is important to remember that the policies and procedures may differ from nursing home to nursing home, so be aware of the practices of your particular nursing home. If you believe that you have a strong claim, consider meeting with an attorney who is familiar with the law in your state.

An overview of what could cause truck accidents

Being involved in a car accident is an unfortunate occurrence, and it will almost certainly ruin your day. Being involved in a truck accident is even worse, as the larger vehicle is likely to cause even more damage. If a car accident has a high chance of ruining your day, a truck accident has a high chance of ruining your life. Observing issues that tend to cause truck accidents may help you avoid this awful tragedy.

The important thing to remember is that large trucks are not like other vehicles; they are bulky and difficult to maneuver in, and because of their size, it can be difficult for truck drivers to see everywhere around them. With this in mind, drivers are encouraged not to change lanes abruptly or otherwise merge in such a way that trucks must quickly move to avoid you.

You should also refrain from driving in what is called a no zone. These zones are areas in which truck drivers have limited visibility because of the size of their vehicle and inability to compensate with mirrors. Also remember that trucks make wide turns, so being too close when a truck turns could result in an accident.

Of course, even if you take care to remember all of these causes and specifically avoid them, you may still find yourself in a truck accident. Sometimes, it is the truck driver’s fault, or the truck company. In instances like these, you may be entitled to compensation if you can successfully prove that the truck driver or trucking company was at fault in the accident.

What is Massachusetts’ statute of limitations for personal injury?

Injuring yourself on another person’s property is usually not a serious issue, especially if the injuries suffered are minor issues such as cuts or bruises. However, even minor slip-and-fall accidents can lead to serious injury if the victim lands wrongly or their head strikes the floor. In such a scenario, the victim may require extensive medical attention which could become a serious financial burden. If you are close with the person on whose property you injured yourself, you may struggle with the decision of whether or not to file a suit.

It can be hard to file a lawsuit against a friend, especially if the injury was an accident that nobody could have predicted. However, many accidents that occur on someone else’s property are the result of negligent property conditions, and the injuries could have been avoided if the property owner had taken the proper precautions. You may choose not to file a claim when you are first injured, but if the injury causes issues later on, and you cannot afford the medical bills, you may not have a choice.

Unfortunately, if you wait too long to file a claim, you might not be able to file a claim at all. Each state has a statute of limitations which outlines the general time frame in which someone can file a lawsuit for a specific incident in which a person feels that they have been wronged. The Massachusetts statute of limitations for injury to person is three years.

This means that three years after an incident that causes you an injury occurs, you will have a much harder time filing a successful lawsuit, even if your claim is strong. This is why it is important to act quickly when you injure yourself on someone else’s property.

Motor Vehicle v. Pedestrian Accident

On December 9, 2010 the plaintiff was in his 22nd year of employment with the United States Postal Service. He was standing outside of his truck sorting mail when he was suddenly struck by a car traveling from his right.  As the car struck him it pushed him into the open truck door.  The damage was rather severe to both vehicles.  The defendant’s car, a 2012 Prius, was totaled while the plaintiff’s truck sustained significant damage to the door and quarter panel.  Miraculously, the plaintiff was not severely injured.  He was taken to the hospital but released later that day with 10 stitches in his thigh and generalized complaints of pain.  Within days, however, the plaintiff began complaining of significantly increased pain in his shoulders, knees and hips. Although all diagnostic tests were negative, no doctor seemed to question that the plaintiff was in significant pain.  After approximately 5 months of conservative treatment, doctors decided to do a debridement procedure on his left quadriceps laceration which had become infected.

After approximately 10 months the plaintiff was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who decided that his ongoing shoulder complaints warranted an arthroscopic procedure.  He was found to have a rotator cuff tear that was then repaired.  Thereafter, the plaintiff underwent different types of physical therapy for his shoulder, knees and low back.  In total, the plaintiff had amassed $54,000.00 in medical expenses.

As an employee of the federal government, the plaintiff was forced to undergo a medical examination at the request of the Department of Labor.  The Department of Labor’s choice of physician stated that he did not believe that the plaintiff could return to work as a letter carrier.

Plaintiff’s counsel conceded that as a high school graduate he had continued to have a certain earning potential, but argued that it was markedly less than he would have earned had he remained with the Postal Service. Plaintiff’s expert economist determined that as a result of losing his job, the plaintiff would likely lose approximately 1.34 million dollars, which represented the difference between what he would have earned had he continued with the Postal Service and what he would likely earn as a 44-year-old high school graduate. The information was submitted to defendant’s insurance carrier along with all medical documentation as part of a comprehensive demand package.  The insurer evaluated the information and made an initial offer of $290,000.00, but offered nothing to refute plaintiff’s claims.  Plaintiff’s counsel placed the case into suit and added a claim under M.G.L ch. 93A/176D claiming the defendant’s insurer engaged in an unfair and deceptive settlement practice by offering an amount that was grossly lower than the damages sustained despite liability being reasonable clear.

The insurer’s counsel filed a motion to sever and stay the 93A/176D claim which was denied, allowing plaintiff’s counsel to conduct discovery on both the underlying tort claim and 93A/176D claim concomitantly.

As the case neared trial, it was clear that the defense planned to rely on an IME report that stated that the plaintiff had no lasting injuries and that he was capable of returning to the fulltime work at the Postal Service.  In addition, the defense had many hours of surveillance showing the plaintiff doing such things as riding a motor cycle, carrying heavy objects and shoveling snow.  The defense also contended that the IME performed on behalf of the Department of Labor was flawed, shoddy, and unsupportable.

The parties ultimately agreed to arbitrate the case.  An arbitration agreement called for arbitration of the tort matter and the then a second arbitration one month later on the bad faith claims against the insurer.

During the tort proceeding Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the defendant’s IME, the surveillance tapes and even the manner in which the Department of Labor examination was conducted was immaterial to the case.  In the end, the plaintiff lost his job as a direct result of the injury received in the accident, and lost wages as a result in the amount of $1.34 million dollars as determined by plaintiff’s economic expert, which was entered into evidence unchallenged.  Ultimately, the arbitrator agreed with the plaintiff’s argument and awarded plaintiff $1,504,000.00.

One month later the parties arbitrated the 93A/176D claim.  While waiting for the arbitrator’s decision, the parties agreed to settle the matter for an additional payment of $250,000.00 on top of the $1.5 million dollar award.