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Boston Facing Lawsuit After Crash

You should never have to worry about whether or not you will be safe when you are in an area designated for pedestrians. Unfortunately, there are times when the careless actions of other drivers, or even government agencies, can lead to serious pedestrian accident cases. At Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., our Boston pedestrian accident attorneys are here to help if you or a loved one had been injured in a crash. We will investigate what happened and work to secure the compensation you deserve. Today, we want to discuss a recent tragedy that has led to a lawsuit being filed against the city of Boston.

What is going on with this case?

The city of Boston has been put on notice about legal action being taken on behalf of a man, Warren Cheng, who was seriously injured in a crash on September 11. The incident, which also took the life of his girlfriend, happened as the couple crossed at the intersection of Melcher and Summer Streets. The two were on their way to meet friends for dinner in the Fort Point neighborhood. The lawsuit claims that residents in that area have complained for months about a traffic light that turns green for vehicles while pedestrians are still allowed to be in the crosswalk.

An attorney for Cheng says that “The city was on repeated notice from citizens and a multitude of people to do something before someone gets killed.”

Cheng’s girlfriend, Diane Ly, was killed in the incident. He was going to propose to her in a matter of days, according to his attorney.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says that the city has been looking to make changes at the intersection as part of a comprehensive, city-wide safety plan.

Pedestrian accidents are often devastating

Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injuries in a collision with a vehicle. It is not uncommon for our Boston pedestrian accident attorneys to help clients who are suffering from the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries/head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries/paralysis
  • Internal organ damage/internal bleeding
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or amputations

The human body cannot withstand an impact from a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds without sustaining damage. Victims of pedestrian accidents, those who survive, often incur major medical expenses and other hidden costs associated with their injuries.

Let us get to work on your behalf

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, seek legal assistance immediately. At Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., our qualified and experienced team is ready to investigate what happened and work to secure the compensation you deserve. This can include:

  • Compensation for your medical bills related to the pedestrian crash
  • Lost wages if you are unable to work while you recover
  • General household expenses
  • Possible physical therapy expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Possible punitive damages against the negligent party

When you need a Boston pedestrian accident attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 617-917-3917.

BMW Recalls Hundreds Of Thousands Of Vehicles That They Already Recalled

Hearing about vehicle recalls on the news may not seem like a big deal. That is, it may not seem like a big deal until it has to do with your vehicle. Vehicle recalls happen all the time and one of the latest has to do with BMW, a company that is recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles they have already been recalled once. At Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., our Boston product liability attorneys are ready to help anyone injured by faulty products secure the compensation they are entitled to.

What is going on with these BMWs?

Many people in America are familiar with Takata airbags. These faulty airbags have led to what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called the largest the most complicated safety recall in US history. As of this writing, nearly 42 million vehicles have been recalled due to these faulty airbags. These airbags have been known to explode and injure or kill drivers and passengers. They have been associated with 16 deaths in the United States.

Now, automaker BMW is recalling nearly 357,000 cars and SUVs as part of their effort to repair defective Takata airbags. This is the second time these exact vehicles have been recalled by BMW. The first time these vehicles were recalled, they were outfitted with a temporary replacement until a permanent one became available. Those permanent replacements are now ready, and vehicle owners still need to have them installed even if they already went in for the first recall.

Defective vehicles and parts can lead to serious injuries

When you look at the website that keeps track of all current recalls in the United States, you will see that defective vehicles and vehicle parts are not uncommon. Just recently, Toyota Issued a recall for approximately 700,000 vehicles due to faulty fuel pumps that could cause the vehicle to stall while in traffic. They admitted that this was an extreme safety hazard for drivers.
Defective vehicles in vehicle parts are dangerous, and consumers should not have to worry about this kind of danger. When a dealer or manufacturer sells a car to a consumer, they should do so knowing that the vehicle is safe, and they should be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that occur due to their negligence.

What you can do moving forward

If you or somebody you care about has been harmed after using a defective product, seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The team at Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C. is ready to get to work investigating your case in order to secure the compensation you deserve. This can include:

  • Coverage of medical expenses related to the product
  • Recovery of lost wages if you cannot work
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Punitive damages against the company or manufacturer

When you need a Boston product liability attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 617-917-3917.

Dealing With Lawyers

It can be confusing and daunting trying to find the right lawyer when a need arises. This article should help with some of the steps that should be taken to identify a lawyer that will be a good fit for you and how to best work with that lawyer.

The first step in finding the right lawyer is identifying the speciality you need. Like most professions nowadays, lawyers tend to specialize in one field. While a generalist may be suitable in some situations, most clients feel more comfortable working with an Injury lawyer that just practices in one area of the law.

One of the best ways to find a lawyer is to ask family and friends if they have experience with the particular type of lawyer you need. Or you could ask another advisor (financial planner or accountant) for a referral. You may want to interview more than one lawyer to compare their approaches to see what works best for you. While not a hard and fast rule, many people will probably want to stay away from family, friends, and neighbours who are lawyers unless they specialize in the field you need help with.

Prior to the first meeting with a lawyer, you should know whether you will be charged for the initial meeting, how long the meeting will last, what you should bring with you, and where the meeting will take place (usually either at the lawyer’s office or your home).

Prior to engaging a lawyer, you should have, in writing, how the lawyer will charge for his services. The most common ways of billing are on a flat fee basis, on an hourly rate, or on a contingency fee basis. For some types of fee arrangements, a written fee agreement is not only preferable but is required. The lawyer should also be clear about what is included in the fee.

For lawyers with certain specialities, there may be additional questions you may want to ask. For example, if you are working with an estate planning attorney on a Will and Trust, you would want to know who will keep the original documents once the work is complete. You would also want to know what needs to be done after you sign the estate planning documents (funding trusts, changing beneficiaries, etc.). And will the lawyer keep you updated on changes in the law that would affect your planning?

Finally, there are some common mistakes you want to steer clear of if possible. Some clients will move from lawyer to lawyer because they don’t like the answer they are getting. It is unlikely that if 2 lawyers who specialize in a certain area of the law say exactly the same thing that you will get a different answer by seeing a third lawyer.

Changing lawyers because you think it is taking too long to accomplish a given task is not usually the best way to proceed. Some matters take a great deal of time (a few years) to resolve. The lawyer should let you know at the outset how long a matter will take to resolve.

And finally, listening to friends or neighbours who give you legal advice or tell you you should have done something differently (taken a different legal approach, for example) is usually a bad idea. While they mean well, just because friends or neighbours had a similar legal issue does not mean that their situation was identical to yours or that the approach their lawyer took would be the right one for you. It is rare that the two situations are exactly alike.

As Elderly Population Rises, so too will Nursing Home Negligence

As the elderly population in the United States continues to rise, so too will the number of nursing home negligence and abuse cases. The graph below shows the growing number of people 65 and older living in the United States and forecasts a steeper increase up until 2050.

By 2050, nearly 25 percent of the population will consist of people 65 years and older. Perhaps with advancements in technology and medicine, the age of people living in nursing homes will increase and we will only see very old people in nursing homes. Even if that is the case, the second graph will show us that that the population of people 85 and older is facing an even steeper increase.

Currently, about 12 percent of the population consists of people 85 and older. If projections hold, that number stands to double by the year 2050. As the population of the United States gets older, nursing homes will begin to flood with patients.

When you combine a large influx of elderly patients with the pre-existing notion that negligence and abuse already happens enough in nursing homes to warrant giving it its own area of law, you have a recipe for disaster. The number of nursing home negligence cases will be through the roof as nursing homes struggle to take in and care for an increase in patients like they have never seen.

Another important thing to keep in mind when sending a loved one to a nursing home is that negligence and abuse don’t always show physical signs. Residents of nursing homes are not only exposed to the frightening possibility of physical negligence and abuse, but also emotional abuse. Elderly people are an easier target made even easier when they are living in nursing homes. They may be scared of what will happen if they speak up about their abuse and are not believed by their loved ones or may have a disability that does not allow them to properly express themselves. These are the frightening prospects of sending a loved one to a nursing home.

If you or a loved one has been victimized by nursing home negligence or abuse, please feel free to call us to discuss the matter.  Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C: 617-698-6000

Gifts to Children

Many parents are under the impression that they can give no more than a certain amount of money to their children each year without incurring a penalty or tax. For most people, this is not true. While it is true that the IRS allows individuals to give away $15,000.00 per year without having to file a gift tax return, the only individuals that need to limit their annual gifts are those that will have an estate that will be subject to federal estate taxes upon their death. This is because the federal estate tax system and the gift tax system are related, meaning that large lifetime gifts will reduce the number of assets that can be left to children free of estate taxes.

For example, if a parent gives away $50,000.00 to one child in a year, the IRS will disregard the first $15,000.00 of this gift. The remaining $35,000.00 of the gift reduces the parent’s estate tax exclusion (the amount the parent can leave to the children without paying any estate taxes) by $35,000.00. This reduction, however, is meaningless to most people. This is because most people will never owe federal estate taxes (for people dying in 2019, only estates in excess of $11,400,000.00 are subject to federal estate taxes). Therefore, even large gifts (over $15,000.00) to children will usually not cause any increase in taxes for most parents.

The recipient of a gift (usually a child) never reports the gift as income on their income tax return. A gift is not like earning interest on a bank account, or receiving a dividend, or money that the child earned from a job. So gifts are not characterized as income. The only person who ever pays a tax on a gift is the person giving the money away and as stated above only if total lifetime gifts exceed $11,400,000.00 during someone’s lifetime.

It is important to keep in mind that gift and estate tax issues are usually not the only issues to consider when contemplating a gift. The most important consideration is making sure that parents retain enough funds to maintain their chosen lifestyle and to live with the security of knowing that their assets are sufficient to last their entire lives.

Many individuals wish to make gifts to their grandchildren. When considering larger gifts, care needs to be taken to ensure that these gifts qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. The gift tax exclusion (currently $15,000.00) is the amount the IRS allows individuals to give away each year without having to file a gift tax return and without reducing their federal estate tax exemption (the amount individuals can leave to their family at death without paying estate taxes).

Most individuals do not feel comfortable making gifts directly to minors (grandchildren under 18 years of age) due to concerns the money will not be used wisely. One of the simplest ways to make legally valid transfers to a minor without giving them control of the money is to establish a UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) account. UTMA accounts can be established with most financial institutions. The accounts are set up with a custodian (usually the parent of the minor) holding the funds for the minor’s benefit.

The funds in an UTMA account can be used on behalf of the minor until full disbursement to the minor – this must occur when the minor reaches 21 years of age (some States allow for later distribution ages). Once the UTMA account is established, the minor, for income tax purposes, owns the account. This means that the minor is subject to income tax on the earnings in the account. However, in most situations where the beneficiary of the account is under 18 years of age, the parents will elect to report the UTMA account income on their tax return.

Another simple method of making a gift to a young beneficiary is to establish a 529 account. 529 accounts are investment accounts specifically designated to pay for educational expenses. Earnings grow tax‑free and, as long as the money is used for qualified education expenses, withdrawals, including the earnings portion of a withdrawal, are income tax‑free.

Nursing Homes in New Hampshire (and all over America), are in Disarray

Planning long-term care for an ageing loved one is a stressful, anxiety-fueled experience. Unfortunately, worrying has only just begun once the facility has been chosen.

New Hampshire’s well-documented Nursing Home crisis is a microcosm of America’s long-term healthcare problem.1 Aside from regularly seeing the horrors of nursing home neglect in my practice, it has become well documented in the media in recent years. Forgotten medications, ignored calls for help, and failed physician’s orders are commonplace, leading the most vulnerable to injury and even death. Loved ones are cared for by licensed nursing assistants, who receive little mandatory training and are often paid barely minimum wage.2 It is a budget crisis as much as anything, but it’s indisputable that poor training and low pay are leading to your most loved elders facing regular neglect.

Despite the increasing awareness surrounding the problem, it is reportedly going to get worse before it gets better in New Hampshire. As reported by the Concord Monitor this year, there is already a critically low number of licensed nursing assistants.3 When nursing homes face a shortage of workers, they don’t reduce their number of patients, they reduce their number of staff. As a result, there are more patients for less staff. Eventually, when the numbers and care are bad enough, nursing homes are forced to close, limiting options. Many of these nursing homes receive New Hampshire Medicaid reimbursements, and New Hampshire has not raised their rates in 13 years.4 It’s easy to see why New Hampshire lacks qualified workers caring for their elderly. If New Hampshire wants better care for its most vulnerable, it starts at the top.

The solution for everyday people isn’t simple. Many families simply don’t have the capabilities to care for their ageing loved ones and have no choice but to seek a long-term care facility. With the staffing and budgeting crisis in full-effect, your loved ones are at risk of injury.

1 Baker, Roberta. “Silver Linings: Complaints at Bedford Hills reflect issues at nursing homes nationally” New Hampshire Union Leader. October 29, 2018. https://www.unionleader.com/news/silver_linings/silver-linings-complaints-at-bedford-hills-reflect-issues-at-nursing/article_60a7558c-dbd2-11e8-9557-c79a83a4655d.html 2 Linville, John. “Long Term Care in NH Continues to be in Crisis” Seacoast Online. May 15, 2019. https://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20190515/long-term-care-in-nh-continues-to-be-in-crisis 3 “Nursing Home Crisis is About to Get Worse” Concord Monitor. August 4, 2019. https://www.concordmonitor.com/Nursing-home-threat-27429524 4 Id.

Medical Malpractice Cases on the Rise

Reports of medical malpractice in Massachusetts have been on the rise since 1990 according to data sourced from The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The graph below shows that the reports for 1990 totaled 35 and the peak was in 2016 at 825 adverse action reports. An adverse action report is a report used by healthcare organizations and state agencies to report adverse action against a myriad of different medical professionals.

Medical Malpractice Reports

Source: Singh, Harnam. National Practitioner Data Bank. Generated using the Data Analysis Tool at https://www.npdb.hrsa.gov/analysistool.

The trend of the number of adverse action reports filed over the years in Massachusetts speaks volumes to the fact that more and more people are believing that medical malpractice has been performed against them and that they have a chance to win these cases. It is quite easy to see that this trend will only continue to go up as we are discovering the unfortunate truth that medical malpractice does happen.

People must not be afraid to file adverse action reports against medical professionals when they feel that medical malpractice has been performed against them. Medical malpractice has the chance to ruin people’s lives and potentially even leave some grieving over the death of a close friend or family member who died because of something going wrong or a medical professional not properly doing their job. Those people should be able to take some solace in the fact that they have the ability to file a medical malpractice claim and potentially get a large settlement. Because of how serious medical malpractice is, it only makes sense to file your claim with one of the best law firms out there.

If you or a loved one has been victimized by medical malpractice, please feel free to call us to discuss the matter.  Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C  at 617-698-6000

The Harm Of Vaping and E-Cigarettes

Vaping and e-cigarettes have become a hot topic in today’s society.  Much like the cigarette industry did for the better part of 5 decades, the e-cigarette and vaping industry takes the position that their product is not harmful.  Evidence would certainly point to the contrary.  Not only the actual substance inhaled is proving to be harmful, but the delivery method is suspect as well.  Our firm has handled or is in the process of handling cases in which the actual vaping mechanism exploded while in someone’s pocket.  Another case, caught on surveillance video, showed a vaping implement exploding in a young lady’s purse.  Vaping and e-cigarettes are very concerning and should be looked at more closely by regulators.  In fact, just yesterday, the country of India banned the products due to safety concerns.  “India’s government announced an immediate, full-stop prohibition of e-cigarettes, citing public health concerns for today’s youth.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a statement that the ban covers all aspects of the market: production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertising.

Sitharaman suggested that vaping is pushing today’s teens to get hooked on nicotine as a “style statement.” To support her argument, she pointed to the “surprising” growth in e-cig use among US middle-school students — up 48.5%, per stats she cited.” (The Hustle).  America should always look to lead the way.  But in this instance, following India’s lead might be the next best thing.

If you’ve been harmed by one of these products, please feel free to call us to discuss the matter.  Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C  617-698-6000

Vote Yes On Question 1 and Keep Nurses and Patients Safe

Unfortunately, ballot questions in Massachusetts have become less about the issue concerned, and more about whoever has the better ad campaign.  This year’s Question 1 is not different.  But when you study the issue, I can’t see how anyone could credibly vote No.  Nurses, who are actually the ones  in the best position to weigh in on the issue seem to overwhelmingly support the measure.  And when all is said and done, the insurance company’s position in opposing the initiative is solely based on cost.  Insurance companies see this as something that will cut into profits.  They then invariably intimate if not explicit state, that they will pass these costs onto the consumer.  With profits and wages and astronomical levels, they do show a certain amount of unmitigated gall when then state that Question 1, if passed, will cause insurance rates to rise.  At its barest essence, Question 1 is about reasonableness and, in the end, safety.  There is only so much that a nurse can safely accomplish when dealing with these high stress matters that require laser focus; and often life and/or death hang in the balance.  Limiting their patients to a manageable number is a safety measure based in reasonableness and experience.  I would strongly urge people to Vote Yes on 1.

Massachusetts Question 1 Has Nurses Divided

Few ballot questions have vexed Massachusetts voters more in recent times than Ballot Question #1 which seeks to put strict limits on the number of patients that nurses care for in a hospital setting.  How can we say that it is so controversial?  A WBUR poll of 500 registered nurses reveals that 48 percent plan to vote for the ballot question that would establish maximum nurse-to-patient ratios in state law, and 45 percent say they’ll vote against the very same measure. Only seven percent are undecided.  “Nurses are split on the question,” says pollster Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the survey for WBUR.

Those in favor of the measure believe it will enhance patient safety while those against claim that a “one size fits all” approach is too inflexible and will lead to a host of unintended consequences from greater waiting times in emergency rooms to forcing smaller, rural hospitals to close due to their inability to afford the extra nursing staff that will be required.  Should the measure pass, the maximum patient to nurse ratio would be set at 4 to 1 but that ratio can vary depending on the condition of the patient or the unit that they’re in.  For example, in units with post-anesthesia care or operating room patients, the measure would mandate a ratio of one patient under anesthesia per nurse or a maximum of two post anesthesia patients per nurse.

While everyone desires a safer hospital environment for patients, there is no consensus that passing Ballot Question #1 will serve that end.