Serious Injuries

Slip and Fall on Ice – Who is liable?

Slip and fall cases are one of the first scenarios the general public thinks about when they think of a lawsuit. A person walks into a business and slips on a patch of ice in the parking lot and is hurt on impact.

These cases are always premise liability cases, where a personal injury occurred because of a dangerous condition at a physical location.

However, we always stress to our clients that the liable party in a case is not always obvious. There may be multiple potential defendants that could be involved, such as the business where the injury occurred, the owner of the property, or the snow removal company that failed to clear away the ice.

Recent Developments

There is some good news for people who were hurt in a winter time slip and fall in Massachusetts: The laws got friendly to plaintiffs a few aears ago and businesses can no longer get away with not touching snow on their property.

Massachusetts used to give property owners a pass for not clearing snow and ice on their property. They would hold businesses liable if the snow and ice had been disturbed, such as with footprints, tire tracks or shovel marks, but anyone who stepped on virgin snow did so at their own risk. This was called “natural accumulation.”

In 2010 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw out the natural accumulation rule in the case Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. where a customer of the Target retail store in Danvers fell on a chunk of ice that was near his car. The court opinion stated:

“It is not reasonable for a property owner to leave snow or ice on a walkway where it is reasonable to expect that a hardy New England visitor would choose to risk crossing the snow or ice rather than turn back or attempt an equally or more perilous walk around it.”

Because of that ruling, businesses in Massachusetts are now required to keep the walkways and parking lots around their locations clear of snow and ice for the safety of the public.

Protecting Your Family

If you or someone you know has been hurt because of a negligent property owner, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your options.

Merrimack Explosion

Merrimack Explosion

 

Our hearts go out to the thousands who have been adversely affected by the recent gas explosions on the North Shore, especially to the families that lost their homes or, more tragically, loved ones.  Our firm has handled numerous gas explosion cases.  They may seem easy but they aren’t.  Columbia  Gas fights hard and tries to hide behind the danger of the gas delivery business as an over-arching defense.  This is a specious argument because we all pay for this service and they have an absolute obligation to delivery their product in  a safe manner.  Further, they have an absolute obligation to update their systems and infrastructure precisely because they are engaged in a business that poses incredible risks to the public at large.  Columbia Gas apparently had plans to majorly overhaul their pipework and systems in 2019.  It certainly would appear that their upgrades were a year too late.  #Merrimackexplosion

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.