Daycare Injuries

Wheelchair parked in front of a large picture window

Personal Injury Trial? – What to Expect

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in which another party, entity or organization could be at fault, you have the right to file a personal injury claim in order to receive the compensation you deserve. When seeking a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts, the attorney will advise you as to whether or not you have a case.

In many situations, the other party may choose to settle the personal injury lawsuit out of court. However, there are also many instances in which the proposed settlement doesn’t seem fair, and insurance adjusters refuse to negotiate any further. At this time, you may decide that you prefer to take the case to trial. This is an important decision because a personal injury lawsuit that goes to trial can last anywhere from several days to several months, and possibly even longer than a year or two.

Your personal injury attorney can certainly advise you as to the best course of action, but it also helps to have a very good idea of what to expect at a personal injury trial. A lengthy process can sometimes be stressful and daunting, but with knowledge of what might happen if you choose to go to court, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision and limit any frustrating surprises.

What to Expect at the Beginning of a Personal Injury Trial

Unfortunately, the beginning of a personal injury trial isn’t very exciting, though there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Your attorney will be working diligently on your behalf to research all aspects of the case.

This involves visiting the scene of the accident, interviewing witnesses, taking photographs, and collecting and researching the police reports, medical records, witness statements, as well as conducting any additional investigation as deemed necessary to put together a strong case.

This process can typically take anywhere from one to six months. When all this has been completed, the personal injury lawsuit can be formally filed. The court then has a period of one to two months to serve the summons to the defendant, who then has 30 days to file a response. At this time, it is still possible to ask for a settlement, and many defendants may ultimately decide to settle in your favor than go to trial.

At the Start of the Personal Injury Trial

If a settlement is not agreed upon, the trial proceedings will continue. Both your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyers will send investigatory questions to each other regarding the facts of the case and the claims being made. Depending on how complex the case may be, this could take several months to complete.

It is also probable that the defense will require their own examination of your injuries or condition by a physician they appoint. The examination will be done in the presence of an attorney. At this time or shortly afterward, oral depositions occur in which witnesses and other individuals inherent to the case are interviewed by both sides. This can take a long time to prepare and complete — approximately three months.

If at this time, both sides cannot reach an amicable negotiation, the personal injury trial will proceed to go to court.

Preparing for Court in a Personal Injury Trial

The first step when proceeding to court for a personal injury lawsuit would be to select a jury. Both your attorney and the defense will conduct interviews with potential jurors. The jury selection process can take some time, unless, both sides manage to agree on jurors in a fairly quick manner.

When jury selection is complete, a date will be set for the beginning of the trial. Depending upon the complexity of the case, the trial can be over in as little as one day or as long as a few months. Both sides will have opening statements prepared, and then all involved parties and witnesses will be called to testify. Essentially, stories will be told as to how the accident occurred, how negligence on the part of the defendant was the cause, what injuries were sustained, and how those injuries will have affected your life or the life of a loved one.

Witnesses will also be called to testify, and the defense will be allowed to cross-examine them, as well as present their own experts or parties to attempt to expose any weaknesses or fallacies in your case.

Both sides will have a chance to call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and experts, and then make closing arguments, leaving the verdict in the hands of the jury. At this point, your judgment is in the jury’s hands. However, if your case is just and you have chosen an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in your lawsuit, it is possible to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, future medical treatment, lost wages, and other monetary losses due to the accident.

At the Boston law firm of Colucci Colucci Marcus & Flavin, PC, our attorneys help our 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.

What to do if your child was injured on the school playground

What to do if your child was injured on the school playground

A playground is supposed to be a place where children can go and enjoy themselves while engaging in a range of activities on swing sets, slides, jungle gyms and other common recreational equipment. The interaction with other children while under the supervision of their parents is fun and beneficial, and playgrounds are also a great place for children to exercise and make friends.

However, as fun as the school playground might be, it is also a place where accidents can occur and where children can sustain injuries. Sometimes such an incident might be just an accident, but quite often it can be the result of negligence on the part of the school. The last thing you want to hear as a parent entrusting your child to a school’s care each day is that your child sustained an injury, especially if it is a serious one. Your child’s welfare is, of course, your main concern and should be the school’s as well.

School, city, and county playgrounds are supposed to be properly maintained in order to ensure safety for your children. The playground equipment should be in proper working order, and school playgrounds should be supervised at all times children are present. Negligent supervision, improperly maintained or manufactured equipment, damaged equipment, and unsafe grounds, in general, can put your child at risk for an injury.

If your child has been hurt at a school playground, as a result of negligence, improper supervision, defective equipment or improperly maintained equipment, you may be able to take legal action against the school district, an individual employed by the school or the school board.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a School for Injuries Sustained on a School Playground

There are many different scenarios that may give you the right to take legal action if your child sustained an injury on a school playground. These include:

  • Negligent supervision
  • Staff and/or teachers who have not been properly trained
  • Bad maintenance of grounds
  • A lack of proper security
  • Poorly maintained, poorly manufactured or damaged equipment
  • A failure to protect children against risks of foreseeable harm
  • A failure to repair defective equipment
  • An act of bullying that was not prevented

The school has a duty to ensure safety for all the children in and around a school playground. Failure to provide proper supervision or security and a safe environment can make the school legally liable for any injuries or accidents that occur on its playground. If your child has sustained an injury, it must be proven that the responsible party at the school acted in a negligent manner or failed to provide a safe and secure environment for the children.

If the injury was sustained as a result of an act of bullying, the offending child’s parents might also be held liable for the injury, as well as the school staff members who were negligent in preventing or stopping the incident of bullying.

Additionally, if the school is private, then there will likely be different parties or organizations that could ultimately be held responsible.

When seeking to file a claim, it is important that you speak with a lawyer who is experienced in playground injury cases. The attorney will know what questions to ask and what to investigate in order to find out who was ultimately responsible and whom the case should be filed against.

The playground injury lawyer will also investigate many of the facts of the case by traveling to the playground, inspecting the grounds and equipment, taking pictures, and building a case of evidence so that negligence or another cause of injury can be successfully proven, ensuring that you receive the compensation you need and deserve. Compensation can cover medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and any future medical bills or expenses for care that may be incurred as a result of the injury.

It is important to file a claim or lawsuit in a timely fashion, as cases such as this often have strict deadlines. Keep all records of the incident, including any photos you might have taken, notes on responses or communication with school staff and officials, any school or police reports, and medical paperwork and expenses. Having all this information organized and available will make it easier for the lawyer to file the necessary claim and paperwork in a timely fashion.

If your child has been injured at a school playground and you wish to know what your legal options might be and who might ultimately be held responsible, contact the experienced and professional attorneys at the Boston law firm of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, PC. You’ll find that our attorneys are experienced in cases involving school, city and county playground injuries and will fight hard for you to ensure that you receive the maximum possible compensation for your child’s injuries. For a free initial consultation with one of our seasoned personal injury lawyers, call us at (617) 698-6000, or get in touch with us via email.

Daycare Injuries

The Most Common Daycare Injuries

Daycare injury cases are heart-rending to work on. Not only are they almost universally preventable, but they happen to innocent children who are supposed to be under the care of a responsible adult.

Tragically, a high amount of these cases end in the death of a child. Toddlers and other young children are vulnerable and injuries that an adult can recuperate from can permanently harm a child.

How Do Daycare Injuries Happen?

In a word, negligence. There may be one adult who is looking after too many kids at once. That’s the fault of the daycare management for allowing a dangerous situation where you have one pair of eyes attempting to track more than a dozen kids that are running around in all directions. There could be 30 kids to one adult, we’ve seen it all.

Even if they have enough staff members on duty, some of those staff members may allow themselves to become distracted. We had a case a few years ago where a child died after he went missing for nearly 15 minutes, and we were able to see the daycare worker had posted on Facebook during that crucial time.

What do daycare injuries look like? A lot of them are broken bones, such as kids climbing on things and tumbling down. There’s a lot of cuts and lacerations, such as kids not being supervised around sharp objects like scissors. Hands caught in doors are also common, which can easily become a permanent injury for small children. All of these hazards are preventable.

Think of every way a kid can get hurt at home, and then multiply the risk factor by 10. That’s what a negligent daycare is like, and unlike at home, they don’t have a Mom or Dad looking after one or two kids. There can be a whole classroom worth of children to watch, and the person watching better be paying attention.

What Can You Do Now?

Has one of your children been hurt while at daycare? Give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and possible next steps.

Summer Camp Negligence – What to Watch for

There are two usual reactions parents have when seeing their kids off to summer camp: One is a relief that everyone will have a fun vacation, especially the parents who can focus on unwinding and having more time to themselves. The other is fear and worry, as their children could be in danger and they won’t be able to help them.

Without exception, it’s more fun to be in that first group, but the parents in the second group have a point: When you sign up with a summer came, you are giving control of your child’s safety over to the staff, and if that staff isn’t prepared to take the problem seriously, then you should be worried.

What A Safe Camp Looks Like

 

If you want to stay in the happy, carefree first group, look over the camp in person when the camp counselors are there. Make sure there are enough people old enough to show maturity and responsibility, instead of a pack of young teens who are going to have their eyes on other counselors the entire time.

Are there enough counselors to look over all of the kids, is there a nurse on staff who can treat any minor injuries that do occur? Does the camp have a good reputation with other parents? These are all important questions to answer before the summer begins.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a day camp or an all-summer camp: Your kids will be under the care of someone else, and there will be chances where a negligent person could fail to keep them safe. It’s no different than a daycare center, where children don’t go overnight but can still be at tremendous risk if not looked after carefully.

Camps needs to have the correct safety gear for the activities they promised they will perform. It would be pretty egregious to take kids out on a boat without life jackets, and fortunately, safety regulations are so well known on that subject that we’re not aware of anyone who has done that. You should be more concerned about games of tackle football played without helmets and pads.

Negligent behavior, where summer camp staff fail to protect kids from common, preventable risks are the makings of a lawsuit. Some injuries, like a twisted ankle, are fairly hard to prevent and would generally not be appropriate for a civil suit.

Now, What Can You Do?

 

If someone from your family has been hurt at summer camp, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and possible next steps.

 

Can you win with a bad lawyer?

We’ve been in existence as a firm for over 20 years, and during that time we have handled every foreseeable type of personal injury case. From regular motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and nursing home negligence, to quirky cases where a plane struck a house and injured people while they slept. We represented a poor woman who took medication that was mislabeled for over a month.

One of our attorneys had three tree cases, where someone was cutting down a tree and didn’t know what they were doing and the tree fell and injured someone. In one case, the tree fell and killed a gentleman.

With all of this experience I can tell you this unequivocally, it all comes down to your lawyer. Whether or not you’re going to get compensated, and more importantly, the amount of that compensation, comes down to the skill of the attorney you choose.

For the plaintiffs, it really is simple. They care about only one case: Theirs.

If it’s important to your family and your family’s future, then why take a chance? You want to go with someone who has experience and who has been there before.

With all the experience we have in the building, and having seen all these cases in every format, we feel comfortable with anything that comes in the door. We’re not the only one who say that, find out why Newsweek listed us as one of the top personal injury law firms in the country. Come give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to let you know what your options are.

Legal Malpractice Practice Area

Can a regular person can stand up to a big company’s legal team?

All personal injury cases we handle are done on a contingency basis. Stated simply, that means that unless we’re successful, they don’t owe us any money at all. Nothing.

We love contingency work, and for three basic reasons.

First, we’re betting on ourselves. We love that, it makes us comfortable in every sense.

Second, we’re in it with the client. We have a joint interest. We’re joined together and we only win if our client wins.

Third, it gives regular people access to really good attorneys because they’re not paying for it out of their own pocket. It levels the playing field between a regular, everyday person and a huge company, which is often on the other side of a personal injury case.

So if a regular person can get their pick of top personal injury lawyers, why should they choose us? How do they know we’re the best. You don’t have to take our word for it, look at what Newsweek said when they featured us in their list of the very top lawyers in the country. If you’re still not sure, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to help you consider your options.

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.

Death of 7 year old Kyzr Willis of Dorchester

We were saddened to read that 7-year-old Kyzr Willis from Dorchester

Wrongful Death Summer Camp in Boston

We were saddened to read that 7-year-old Kyzr Willis from Dorchester recently wandered away from a daycare program only to be found dead hours later.

Having handled these cases in the past I can honestly say that they are nothing short of heart wrenching.

Our firm was recently responsible for handling the case of a 2 year old boy (also from Dorchester) who wandered away from a daycare center and met the same unfortunate fate.  The bitter truth is that these cases should never occur.

There is no reason for any child to slip away from those responsible for their care.  Never …  People are quick to speak badly of lawyers, and there are members of our profession that do harm its overall reputation, but the truth is that only a lawyer will get to the bottom of this situation and hold accountable those responsible.

The only real good that can come out of any tragedy is to shine a light on what went wrong, who is responsible, and to make certain that it never happens again.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this little boy’s family and friends for their loss.

More information can be found about the case from the Boston Globe.

Helpful tips when choosing a safe daycare center for your child

The Easiest Way to Find a Safe Daycare

With increasing frequency, our firm is called upon to represent families whose children have been seriously injured or, in some particularly sad cases, killed, due to negligence while at daycare. Our children are our most precious possession. The increasing need for two parent wage earners has created an explosion in the daycare industry. We all want to ensure that our children are placed in the safest, most nurturing environment, but how do we really know for sure? Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to increase your comfort level in this regard.

You’ll want to visit any potential facility, of course, but, when you do, I would urge you to linger awhile. Observe the environment that the children are in and how they are seemingly treated. Make sure the facility appears “child proof” in the various ways that you would seek to guard against accidents in your own home. This would include secure gates at the top of stairs, locks on any gates that lead from the backyard to the roadway, locks on cabinets where household cleaning chemicals might be located and the like. Cleanliness of the facility is also so vitally important. Take the time to meet and really get to know those who work at the facility. Ask frank and honest questions about their child care experience and whether any child has previously been injured on their watch. Ask if they are certified in CPR and/or whether they’ve successfully completed a First Aid class. You’ll want to make sure that any potential facility that you choose maintains liability insurance as, remarkably, there is no law that currently mandates that insurance coverage be in place for those who operate a daycare center. Before committing to a facility, it’s not a bad idea to randomly drop in unannounced to see how things operate when they least expect your visit.

You may also want to request a copy of the Department of Early Education and Care Family Child Care Parent Handbook for each facility that you are considering. Inside you’ll find a host of valuable information concerning each facility. For those with very young children, you should know that the Department of Early Education and Care (which oversees daycare centers), mandates that children who are younger than six months of age at the time of enrollment must be under direct visual supervision at all times, including while napping,

Your vigilance in becoming well informed and intimately involved in your child’s care will minimize the risk of danger when your child is out of your sight.

Dino M. Colucci, Esquire, is a founder of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., a law firm dedicated to representing victims of neglect. His predominant area of practice is in the area of representing seniors who have been the victims of nursing home negligence. For many years he has lectured and served as an adjunct Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School. He has also been named as a “Super Lawyer” by his peers as published by Boston Magazine.

Dino Colucci Testifies at the Massachusetts State House Disclosure by Daycare Providers

On behalf of Darin Colucci of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C. on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Madam Chairman and Esteemed Members of the Committee:

It is with genuine gratitude that I come before you today urging your favorable consideration of H. 3378 which seeks to better inform parents who are faced with the critical task of choosing a responsible day care provider for their children. There can be no reasonable disagreement that the ever increasing cost of living in Massachusetts has brought about the proliferation of dual wage earner parents. As a consequence, more and more of our children are left in the custody of daycare with complete strangers who are often but not always qualified and who are themselves subject to a similar economic tension of finding a balance between ensuring child safety and the bottom line realities of running a business for profit. Sadly, accidents can and do occasionally occur, almost always with horrifying consequences. It is axiomatic that the safety of our children is of paramount concern to us all. Protecting those who are the most vulnerable of our society is unambiguously the right thing for us to do. How then can we move closer to achieving this essential goal without foisting an untenable burden on those charged with our children’s daycare? I see H. 3378 as a big stride forward. While the provisions of this Bill exact no mandatory financial consequences on daycare providers it does compel those same providers to operate with greater transparency. For the first time in Massachusetts, parents struggling with a choice of where to send their kids to daycare will be informed as to whether a daycare provider has taken the responsible course of procuring insurance. As a general precept, I suggest that any legislation that promotes a more informed consumer is nearly always a good idea. When applied to the goal of enhancing the care of our children, however, the wisdom of implementing such a provision cannot be the subject of honest dispute.

Mandating that daycare providers disclose whether they are insured will likely eliminate misunderstanding by parents who might tend to wrongly assume that such a business has insurance securely in place. I daresay that many of you might have initially been surprised to learn that these businesses are not currently required to maintain insurance. I know that I was. Required disclosure will remove the guesswork and educate parents on this critical issue.

Required disclosure will no doubt have the ancillary effect of persuading a percentage of daycare providers, (who would have otherwise continued to remain uninsured), to instead procure insurance as a “value added” benefit to distinguish themselves from their competition. And why is this a desirable consequence? As a lawyer who has frequently represented injured children, I have seen firsthand the anguish of parents whose children have been denied recompense due to an uninsured daycare provider. In these instances, children who were injured due to the negligence, (sometimes the gross negligence), of their daycare provider were unable to receive insurance proceeds to pay for related medical costs and expenses which can sometimes cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And, sadly, over the course of my legal career, I’ve seen much worse. My clients, Nick and Renee McKain lost their infant son, Dax, in daycare. The provider in that instance was uninsured, as many are, and the McKains were forced to pay Dax’s hospital bills and, eventually, his funeral expenses out of their own pocket. My clients, Topher and Erin Smith would have liked to testify here today. They would have told you about their four month old son, Graham, who was the love of their lives. Graham struggled for breath while in his crib at daycare but his provider couldn’t help him because she had previously made the decision to leave the facility in order to get her hair done. Instead, she left Graham and the other children in her care with a person who had no CPR or child care training whatsoever. Sadly, Graham also died.

Other occupations and trades often proudly promote to the public that their company is “bonded and insured.” I would hazard a guess that most consumers wouldn’t do business with a contractor, a plumber, a moving company or a house painter without assurance that he or she is in fact insured. As many of you already know, lawyers have long been required to annually disclose whether or not they maintain malpractice insurance. In turn, this information is posted at the Board of Bar Overseers website which is readily accessible to the public. As best I can tell, I discern absolutely no appreciable burden or negative consequence associated with disclosing and posting such information.

Therefore, it is perhaps well for us to ask: if such disclosure by these other trades and professions are generally deemed of great benefit to the consuming public, why then would we ever exempt day care providers to whom we entrust something as precious as our own children? The answer is self-evident: clearly we shouldn’t.

I’m ever mindful that you are constantly called upon to make hard choices in this chamber nearly always after engaging in fair, honest and vigorous debate. Contemplating, as you must, the balance between both the merits and consequences of adopting H. 3378, I suggest that your decision should be an uncharacteristically easy one to make. Partisanship should end at the “water’s edge” when we are discussing the safety of our children.

Accordingly, I urge you to report favorably on H. 3378 which will provide parents in our Commonwealth with important information without imposing a concomitant expense or unreasonable burden.