Posts made in August 2018

Punitive Damages

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

 

As most people have heard by now Monsanto was hit with a $289 million-dollar verdict, which included $250 million dollars in punitive damages for its manufacture of the weed killer, Roundup.  I wanted to take a moment to explain the verdict.  “Actual damages” are what a jury believes is the value of what the plaintiff suffered.  In this instance this unfortunate gentleman would appear to have terminal cancer.  They valued his loss of life, and the loss to his loved ones at $39 million dollars.  This is separate and distinct from “punitive damages”.  Punitive damages should be thought of as a punishment.  It’s a jury’s way of telling a company that they got caught doing something that was egregious.  In other words, there must have been evidence that Montsanto knew, or should have known, that Roundup was likely to cause a particular type of cancer, yet they continued to manufacture.  I want to make clear that as someone who was not involved in the case, I don’t know that for a fact, but all indications point in that direction.  Many jurisdictions don’t allow punitive damages, but it is an important aspect of keeping companies honest.  Those who fight for tort reform and think that we should do away with punitive damages are ignoring a basic fact:  If a company does not do anything egregious they will not be held responsible for punitive damages.  It’s that simple.  Regardless, this is certainly not the last case Montsanto will see.  It is anticipated that untold numbers of people were exposed to this chemical in Roundup, and it could very well be responsible for cancerous outcomes.

 

The law firm of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C. has been recognized by Newsweek.com as one of the Top 10 Best Law Firms for Personal Injury in the Country. Attorney Darin Colucci has also been recognized by Newsweek.com for 3 consecutive years as one of the Top 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in the Country.

 

Motorcycle Accidents

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

 

For the past 25 years we’ve had the good fortune to represent some very fine people who were injured through absolutely no fault of their own.  This is never truer than in the case of motorcyclists.  Recently, a very promising young man was tragically killed as a result of a motor cycle accident.  Much like lawyers, motorcyclists have such a bad rap due to the crazy antics of a few.  We’ve all been on the highway and had someone speed past us at 130 mph on a motorcycle.  That person does not speak for the whole group.  Motorcyclists are passionate people who love the beauty of driving a motorcycle.  My father-in-law in law is 80 years old, God love him, and only recently felt as though he should sell his bike.  I cannot express what a loss it is to him.  The ability to get together with a bunch of friends and take a ride meant so much to him.  Simple pleasures like this are becoming a lost star (?) in our society.  But it is undeniable that there are risks involved that far exceed those associated with driving a car.  In fact, as a non-motorcyclist, I found it amazing that my father-in-law told me that it’s more dangerous to ride at 30 mph in a neighborhood than it is on the highway.  He told me that people pull out of driveways and from parking spaces without ever looking, endangering motorcyclists.  I will admit that I have harbored a desire my entire life to ride a motorcycle, but I am dissuaded by the horrible injuries I see as a personal injury attorney when motorcyclists are involved in accidents.

 

The motoring public needs to take greater care and with the emergence of texting while driving as the new scourge on American roads, motorcyclists are in danger in greater numbers than ever before.  We need to make more stringent laws about texting and even find ways to disable one’s ability to text from a cellular phone while driving.  It may sound extreme, but it is necessary to save lives.  Motorcyclists have every right to use the roads in as safe a manner as possible and should not be subjected to these dangers because of reckless or thoughtless operators of cars.

 

By in large I love representing motorcyclists as they are among the nicest people that I get to deal with.  For it to be a case the accident was not their fault, but we try our best to help them in every way be made whole when they are faced with someone else’s negligence.  And I will definitely own a motorcycle before I am through driving.

 

The law firm of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C. has been recognized by Newsweek.com as one of the Top 10 Best Law Firms for Personal Injury in the Country. Attorney Darin Colucci has also been recognized by Newsweek.com for 3 consecutive years as one of the Top 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in the Country.

 

2 men looking at car accident damage

Injured by an Uninsured Driver – What’s Next?

Being in a motor vehicle accident can be a stressful and traumatic experience. The first and most immediate concern is, of course, ensuring that any injuries suffered by the driver and passengers are treated. But regardless of whether the accident was serious or just a minor fender bender, at some point, the insurance companies get involved.

Under normal circumstances, if there is a clear case of who was at fault, then the responsible party’s insurance company will end up footing the bill for the accident and additional resulting expenditures. In some cases, if the insurance claims adjusters are offering a seemingly unfair amount, you may want to retain a personal injury attorney to help settle the case and ensure just compensation.

But what happens if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver? You certainly can’t file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company if that person has no insurance, but there is no reason you should have to handle the financial costs on your own, no matter how minor or huge.

Of course, in most states, including Massachusetts, automobiles are required to have insurance, but many people still manage to drive without it. This could be because they have allowed their insurance to lapse or they simply never acquired any in the first place. Regardless, if a negligent party was at fault for an accident, you are entitled to compensation, and there are steps you can take when dealing with a driver who does not have insurance.

What to do when you are injured by an uninsured driver

Many of the initial steps that you would follow when in an accident caused by an uninsured driver in Massachusetts are the same as what you would do if the driver was insured. First, call the police. You will want an accident report, as it can help you with a personal injury claim later on. Besides, the individual driving without insurance was also breaking the law.

Even if the driver doesn’t have insurance coverage of any type, that person may still be liable for paying for some of the damage to your car out of his or her own personal assets due to at-fault laws. The police report will be an important document in determining fault.

Get all the information you can

Make a note of the driver’s contact information, the license plate number on the car, and the car make and model. Write down all the details of the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. And even though the information may be on the police report, it is a good idea for you get the contact information of any witnesses as well.

Additionally, use your cellphone to take pictures of both cars and the area where the accident happened so that you can better describe the details to a personal injury attorney.

Call your insurance company

It is always important to call your insurance company in a timely manner. Some policies may have a time limit on how long you have to make a claim. Additionally, you may want to consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your policy. This protects you in case of an accident with an uninsured driver. And since Massachusetts doesn’t require a high amount of coverage for drivers, the insurance will also protect you if the negligent driver is underinsured — that is, doesn’t have enough coverage to adequately compensate you for damages and injuries.

If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may have a collision or personal injury protection part of your policy that provides compensation for your medical bills in addition to the damage to your car. It is always wise to know everything your insurance policy covers so that there are no surprises after an unfortunate accident.

Call a personal injury attorney

If, after speaking with your insurance agent, you have been left without a means of compensation for the damages and injuries you’ve suffered, it would be a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you file a claim with your insurance company against the negligent driver and attempt to recoup monetary compensation from the driver’s personal assets.

Recovering funds may be difficult, especially if the negligent driver doesn’t have much in the way of personal assets. However, there may be other avenues that can be pursued. The driver might actually have insurance coverage under someone else’s policy, or more than one party may be responsible for the car accident, leaving you other options to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact Us

An experienced personal injury attorney in Massachusetts can help research and discover all possible avenues leading to potential sources of compensation. At the Boston law firm of Colucci Colucci Marcus & Flavin, PC, our attorneys help clients recover the maximum possible compensation for their injuries. For a free initial consultation with one of our professional and experienced personal injury lawyers, call (617) 698-6000, or contact us online via our email form.