Posts made in October 2016

Helpful tips when choosing a safe daycare center for your child

How to find a safe daycare for your kids

Finding a reliable daycare for your children is an anxiety-provoking event. You are turning your child over to others to take care of during the day, completely out of your sight. Very often people ask attorneys at our firm what they can do to ensure that their child is going to be looked after appropriately.

We always give them the same advice and tell them to go to the daycare center, make sure that it’s clean, talk to the people that run the daycare center and really try to feel them out and get to know them. Find out if they’ve taken a CPR course. See if they’ve taken a first aid course.

Find out if they’re insured.

Many people are shocked to learn that daycare centers in Massachusetts don’t need to be insured. There’s currently no law here requiring that they have insurance.

You want to ask those questions and determine whether or not if this is a place that you would want to leave your child. If you do, make sure you return a day or two later unannounced just to see how they’re taking care of the other children. That will give you some level of comfort in knowing that you’ve picked the right place.

Like anything, the more avid the parent is in making sure that their child is going to be safe, the greater the likelihood that the child will be safe in daycare.

If it’s too late for your family to avoid a daycare accident, or you want to hear what your legal rights are, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to talk to you.

Product Liability Case

When the minor plaintiff, a two year old girl, developed symptoms of ordinary congestion, her parents took her to her primary care doctor who recommended the use of a warm steam vaporizer. The parents purchased the defendant’s vaporizer which contained warnings to keep the apparatus away from children. Notwithstanding this fact, the parents placed the vaporizer on the child’s floor at bedtime. The unit was equipped with a glowing orange light that, the defendant advertised, promoted “safety.” The child unexpectedly woke in the middle of the night to notice a glowing orange orb on her floor. When she approached closely to investigate, the steam scalded her face. She was left with a visible and permanent scar under her eye.

The plaintiff’s expert tested the unit and opined that it emitted an exceedingly hot plume of steam which can disfigure upon only “momentary contact.” The expert also noted that the steam exhausted by the vaporizer should not have exceeded 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit should also have been equipped with a longer and/or baffled steam path to the steam outlet of the vaporizer and/or provided a protective steam guard around the steam plume which would physically prevent contact with the high temperature portions of the steam plume. The defendants asserted that, if used properly, the unit was in fact safe and that the parents’ conduct prevented the plaintiff from proving proximate cause.

The case endured a failed mediation which yielded a “final offer” of only $125,000. It ultimately settled with the assistance of a new mediator.

Professional Malpractice

Plaintiff’s counsel achieved a verdict in a professional malpractice case totaling $894,000, (exclusive of interest and attorney fees), which was comprised of a modest award for negligence and a much larger award for a “willing and knowing” violation of c. 93A.

The defendant’s insurance company had assigned counsel but defended their insured in the underlying litigation under a reservation of rights.  The insurer ultimately refused to indemnify their insured yet insisted on filing an appeal of the verdict despite their insured’s objection. The appeal failed at both the state appellate court and the SJC thereby creating an even larger accruing personal liability for the insured.

The insured assigned to plaintiff’s counsel its rights against its insurer. Eventually, the insurer filed a declaratory judgment action in the Federal District Court seeking a declaratory judgment that it owed no duty to indemnify its insured. The insured filed a counterclaim including allegations that the insurer failed to settle a claim where liability was reasonably clear.

Discovery revealed numerous communications between the insurer and their assigned counsel in the underlying Superior Court litigation. Because they were optimistic of success at trial, the insurer and assigned defense counsel rejected numerous settlement demands. The insured argued that his defense counsel had in fact urged the insurer not to settle. Despite the confidence of the insurer and defense counsel, the jury returned a verdict against the insured thereby causing him to incur personal liability.

By way of assignment, the insured eventually instituted a case against his underlying counsel and his insurer alleging that the underlying case should have been settled. In defense, his former lawyer suggested that a “tripartite” relationship existed and that he never violated his obligations to his client, the insured.

A global settlement was reached at mediation in sum of $1,150,000 which included contributions from both the defense counsel’s insurer as well as the original insured’s malpractice insurer.

This is why we focus on nursing home negligence cases

The common theme that my law firm sees when we handle nursing home cases is a lack of staff. That is to say, too many people in the nursing home and insufficient staff to care for those people.

There are telltale signs, so like anything else, your loved one is better taken care of if you are proactive in trying to determine whether if the nursing home is equipped to meet their needs.

Stop in and observe. How many people are actually on the floor? How many people are tending to nursing home patients? How many people may be wheeled in a wheelchair and left in the hallway unattended? Sometimes you hear alarms go off, but the staff doesn’t respond to it.

We project that this problem is going to get worse in the near future as the Baby Boomer generation comes to that age where they need nursing home care or assisted living care. The nursing homes just aren’t equipped to handle that influx of people.

That is unless they decide at some future time to add much more staff, which they are usually resistant to do. That’s because that would increase their costs and after all, this is a business to them and they’re trying to make a profit.

If someone you end up in this unfortunate situation, please give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to let you know what your options are.

Why so many smoke detectors fail

We’ve come to learn that the smoke detector manufacturers continue to sell ionization smoke detectors. People are simply unaware of the difference, and the fact that if they rely on ionization they may be left with too little time to escape a fire in certain circumstances.

The two types are based upon the technology that operates the alarm mechanism. One is ionization, the other is photoelectric. In a smoldering fire situation where people may be asleep and unaware of the fact that the smoke is building up, a photoelectric will give you approximately, on average, 30 to 33 minutes earlier alarm sounding than an ionization.

The difference between the cost of a photoelectric and an ionization ranges from $2 to $4 per unit.

It’s amazing that that small cost can ensure the safety of your family in a situation where they need an early warning from a smoldering fire that they’re unaware of simply because they are asleep.

We have gathered a team electrical engineers, toxicologists, and experts in the technology of activating smoke alarms so that we’re prepared to handle these types of cases. You can reach us at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll let you know what your options are.