Posts tagged with "car accidents"

Boston needs to dedicate more lanes to make bicyclist safety better, and drivers and passengers need to watch before opening their doors.

Here’s the latest reason why Boston is dangerous for bicyclists

It’s happened again.

A bicyclist was travelling lawfully on a street in Cambridge when she was “doored” by someone coming out of landscaping truck. The woman was thrown from the bike and into traffic where she sustained significant injuries.

We need, as a community, to come up with common sense bike paths that will keep riders safe. Alternatively, or in conjunction with that initiative, we need to better educate the motoring public to look in their rearview and side mirrors before opening their vehicles’ doors. Without raising public awareness to this very serious situation, this pattern is bound to repeat itself over and over again.

Perhaps urging law makers to get behind public service messages that go beyond “Click or Ticket” and directly deal with this issue is long overdue. The Boston Cyclists Union has done an incredible job of making cycling a mainstream option for commuters and continues to push the envelope in that direction. But the more bicyclists who choose this as an alternative form of transportation, the more imperative it becomes to educate motorists of the inherent dangers of sharing the roadways with these very cyclists.

Most likely, by the description of the accident, this poor woman will have suffered life altering injuries that could have been wholly avoided if someone had merely taken a second to check their mirror before swinging their door open. Please be mindful and pass this sentiment along.

The legal system will award more money to an injured pro athlete than an injured homeless person, why is that?

Why can pro athletes sue for more than an average Joe?

A warning: This post isn’t about what is fair in a cosmic justice sense. Instead it’s about the reality of the legal system and the logic behind it. Our firm doesn’t make the rules, it just plays by them.

Lawsuits are not a fun pay day for people who have suffered at the hands of others, or a chance for people to become rich by seizing the assets of someone else. Instead, litigation is about making someone “whole” again after someone else’s actions have harmed them.

Imagine this, two people are waiting in line at an outdoor coffee business. A third party loses control of his car and strikes them both. Both people in line are severely injured and now have to use wheelchairs the rest of their lives. Both file lawsuits against the driver.

Let’s imagine the two victims are the same age and suffer identical injuries that prevent them from working. Both have spouses and two kids. The only difference is one of them earns $50,000 a year and the other is a professional basketball player and earns several million annually.

In normal circumstances, the basketball player will receive  much higher compensation. It’s not because they are more deserving or renowned. It’s not because society values them more. It’s because both victims are being compensated on wages they will never earn because of the injury.

The lifetime earning potential of the pro athlete is much higher than that of the average person, and personal injury lawsuits factor in the lost wages that person will miss out on. As a result, the pro athlete is likely to receive a higher settlement.

That’s the legal system as we have it, and that’s the reality we have to navigate when we litigate. While money can never truly make a person whole again, it can help them make their mortgage payments and provide for their family.

These are the three elements of a personal injury lawsuit

If you don’t have these three things, you don’t have a case

Personal injury litigation is a complex subject and we never expect clients to come in knowing what all of their rights are. We’re always ready to listen to someone about their experience and let them know if they have a case or not.

Every case needs to have the following chain of three things: Liability, causation and damages. If it misses one, a lawsuit is not possible. For an example, imagine a person became violently ill after eating food at an expensive vacation resort.

The three elements of a personal injury case

Liability is the first step. Did the the defendant, or defendants, act carelessly that allowed the accident to occur. For this example, did the resort staff serve undercooked or spoiled food? Can we prove that they did?

If we can prove liability, we move on to the next step: Causation. Did the negligent behavior from the defendant cause the accident or injury? It’s not enough that the plaintiff was staying at the resort and ate the food, can we show that it was the resort’s food that made them sick, and not something else? If not, the lawsuit won’t happen.

Once we have causality established, we then have to show that the plaintiff suffered real damages. Did the victim require expensive medical treatment, miss work, or suffer excruciating pain? Did the foodborne illness cause a permanent injury or disfigurement?

It’s not enough to say the patient was in danger, they must have had real damages to be compensated through the lawsuit. You can’t sue for what could have happened, it needs to have caused them to directly suffer harm.. Without liability, causation and damages, no personal injury case can proceed.

Jury members and judges are supposed to keep their emotions out of settlements in the courtroom. We don't let them.

The Power of Infuriating a Courtroom

Years ago I sat through a criminal trial where a judge threw the book at two young men who casually murdered a house cat.

That’s not what the charges read for the case. Officially, they were tried for an armed robbery case. There were no animal cruelty charges in the trial. The two men allegedly held up a corner store, then piled into an old car to get away. Right after they left the store the passenger aimed his gun out the window and shot someone’s kitty cat that was lounging on a porch.

Like I said, officially they were tried for the hold up, but it was clear that what really motivated the judge to issue the maximum sentence was knowing that they killed that cat.

There’s a lesson for us in the personal injury world. Most people absolutely despise people who text behind the wheel. If someone causes a car accident while texting, a judge or jury may respond differently than they would to a driver who reached down to pick up a CD off the floor boards.

This is an example of the human factor coming into law and impacting court results in way not intended by the law, unless there is a specific law that distinguishes texting while driving from other forms of distracted driving. It’s not supposed to work that way, but in practice it does.

It’s often irrelevant what distracted a driver. They could have been looking at birds or just not paying attention. The opposing counsel doesn’t have to prove what distracted the driver, but that they drove negligently. Drivers have an obligation to look at the road ahead of them, read street signs, obey traffic lights and leave space between vehicles. That is the most important thing to prove.

But if we can prove they were texting, we will. That involves subpoenaing the phone company’s meta data on when texts were sent from the other driver’s phone. We know that texting while driving can infuriate a courtroom and help our case. Even if we don’t plan to take the case to trial, we know opposing counsel or the insurance company will make a more generous settlement to avoid risking a wrathful courtroom.

Don't waste any time calling a lawyer if you've been hurt in a car accident

Distracted Driving Lawsuits – Why Victims Need To Contact a Lawyer Within 10 Days

After going through a serious car accident, most people naturally want to focus on healing and are not focused on their future distracted driving lawsuit. Some people need time to recuperate or may be stuck in a hospital bed for months. Family members may need to care for the victim at home. Survivors of fatal accident victims will need time to mourn. Many of these people will struggle to figure out how they’re going to pay their bills with one less paycheck coming in.

Because of the unexpected tragic nature of these issue, it’s common for people to put off contacting a lawyer. That’s a big mistake when filing a distracted driver lawsuit or any other kind of personal injury lawsuit.

You really want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Not only are there potential deadlines to file legal documents, but as time passes it becomes harder to gather evidence to demonstrate what caused the car accident. Skid marks fade, damaged cars get destroyed. Witnesses scatter to the wind.

Say you were struck by someone who was texting while driving, it is important to pursue distracted driving lawsuits within 10 days. The victim’s attorney can subpoena the phone company for a record of when texts were sent from that phone. If the crash happened on a highway 10 miles from the nearest exit and the driver who caused the crash was alone in the vehicle, and the driver’s phone had sent messages every 30 seconds right up to the crash, that’s a great piece of evidence for distracted driving. That helps the distracted driving lawsuits and cases remarkably.

But there’s a hitch. The phone company usually deletes text message data 10 days after it is sent. It’s expensive for the company to store that much information. Some companies wait 30 days, but most wipe the information in 10 days. If the victim waits too long to call a lawyer that evidence is lost in distracted driving lawsuits.

We fully understand how a personal tragedy can dominate someone’s priorities and that people need time to grieve. No matter what your situation is, if you do need to contact an attorney, you should to do so immediately to best protect your family and loved ones. It won’t be the disruption that you may imagine it to be, and what’s more, It’ll allow you to concentrate on your family while someone else handles the legal issues.

 

Crosswalk accidents don't always turn out how you first thing. Always take down their information

Always play it safe after you’ve been hurt

I was speaking to a client yesterday and he told me that his mother was hit by a car while in a crosswalk. He then told me that she never took down any information from the driver because she “ didn’t think she was hurt badly.”

It’s now been several months and she very much regrets that decision because her pain an limitation has gotten progressively worse.

This happens often and I have a theory on it: I think that when someone is involved in an accident their adrenaline is pumping and the first thing we as humans do is take a quick inventory. In other words: Am I bleeding; did I break anything; can I walk; etc. If all seems well, we want to ignore what just happened and hope that everything is ok.

The truth is that you really don’t know what you will ultimate feel. Once the adrenaline subsides and the you relax pain and problem often sets in. Even then, people think that they’re just sore and it will pass. But it’s very difficult to discern between expected soreness and injury.

The best thing to do in these situations is to be on the safe side. Just jot down the other person’s name, address, phone number, and license plate (provided it’s a car accident). If you go home and truly do feel ok, go about your life and thank God that it wasn’t more serious. But if you do wind up feeling badly or learn that you actually were injured, you’ll be in a better position to pursue due compensation.

Are you sure your car is fully insured?

Fairly often, a client will tell their lawyer that they have great coverage and are fully insured, only to find out later that they have the bare minimum of insurance conceivable.

Would you happen to have a copy of your DEC page. 1 page document that everyone gets when they get car insurance. It tells your coverages are. It says whether you have $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000 coverage or a $1 million. If they have their DEC page with them that would help me, because very very often I say to someone. Do you know what kind of insurance you have? oh I’m fully covered, I have great insurance. It turns out they have the bare minimum of insurance conceivable. most people really don’t understand.

The difference between good insurance and “bad” insurance is nominal money. You could pay another $40 and get hundreds of thousands of dollars of coverage, but people don’t grasp that and they just want cheap coverage.

Most people don't understand Massachusetts no fault car insurance laws that have given way to Personal Injury Protection plans for car accidents

How Massachusetts Car Insurance Laws Can Limit Your Settlement

 

We handle a lot of car accident cases here in the greater Boston area. They’re fairly common because they can happen to anyone, even people who consider themselves safe and responsible, and the cars involved have both a large capacity for destruction and are driven frequently. That’s why you see a lot more people who have been hurt in car accidents as opposed to crashes from smaller, less frequently used vehicles like bicycles or snow mobiles.

Massachusetts does have some limits on what car crash victims can receive in settlements. If you’re injured by someone else’s dangerous driving in Massachusetts, you can attempt to receive compensation for your medical bills, damages to your vehicle and for your pain and suffering. However, you won’t be able to receive any medical reimbursements if your medical bill comes under $2,000.

Massachusetts has a minimum threshold of $2,000 for medical expenses from crashes. If one of our case comes under that threshold and no money ends up exchanging hands, we handle that case for free. We only get paid when our client receives a settlement and we’re willing to use the experience for outreach so people know they can trust us the next time they need a lawyer.

To get a little more technical, in Massachusetts we have Personal Injury Protection, or n- fault insurance, where the insurance company will pay for damages regardless of who caused the accident. Part of the idea behind the law is to make insurance available for policy holders even when the are struck by an uninsured driver.

If the injuries of all the people in your vehicle during an accident exceed $2,000, your auto insurance will pay that first $2,000 of medical bills. Not your health insurance company, but your car insurance.

A Personal Injury Protection plan  in Massachusetts will pay for costs after $2,000 but before $8,000, and that can include lost wages, medical copays and funeral expenses. If you have health insurance, PIP will pay up to $2,000 for medical expenses. If you lack health insurance, PIP will pay whatever is needed until it reaches that $8,000 cap.

There is one wrinkle that can have a big impact on a case. When a car crash victim receives a settlement, the health insurance company can take some of that money for reimbursement for the medical bills. PIP benefits do not need to be reimbursed from a settlement. This won’t make much of a difference if the settlement is for $1 million dollars and the medical expenses were $5,000, but it will if the medical expenses are $5,000 of $15,000 settlement.

PIP insurance is confusing and obtuse to most people, and we’re happy to walk people through their options. Our firm will also deal with the insurance companies directly for you so you can concentrate on your recovery.

Our firm takes on small cases, not just big ones, even minor car accidents.

Why We Take on Even the Smallest Car Accident Cases

Car crash injuries are the most common type of car accident cases we take, and they can happen to absolutely anyone who so much as steps near a public road.

Our firm is eager to take on any of these cases and make sure people are compensated for the losses and injuries they suffer, which can make a crucial difference to a working family who suddenly can’t pay the bills with their breadwinner unable to work. Some people unfortunately assume that we only want to take on the big cases where large amounts of money are at stake and that we pass over smaller cases.

That’s absolutely wrong. We are eager to take on any case with merit, no matter how small. It’s good business for us, as there’s more at stake than the settlement fee.

We only accept payment for cases that we win, and while the profits from these cases helps us keep the lights on in our office near Boston, the cases also help us train new attorneys.

We put a partner from the firm and an associate attorney on every case, and these smaller cases give our younger lawyers valuable experience that only comes from pursuing real cases. We’re not leaving the client solely in the hands of a rookie, as an experienced partner collaborates on the case and provides insight and guidance when needed. These cases are good for our firm’s skill level.

They also act as a referral service for the firm. We’re confident that the solid results and attention to detail that our clients receive will make an impact. We know that if one of our clients ever gets into a situation where they need help or know someone who does, they’ll remember us.

There are no small cases for us. Our reputation is made, for better or for worse, by how we treat the latest client. We believe anyone who comes to us will come back if a future need arises. That’s why we’re eager to take on cases regardless of size.

How polite drivers kill motorcyclists – disobeying traffic laws can cause injury & motorcycle deaths

A lot of people mean well when they’re behind behind the wheel. Some drivers will give up the right of way to another driver in a tough spot and usually everything turns out OK.

But not always, because sadly, sometimes this approach ends up hurting other people.

Being polite can cause motorcycle deaths & Injuries

Motorcycle deaths, massachusetts, motorcycle injuries MA

Motorcycles can be hard to see and offer no protection to their riders in an accident. Because of this, riders should avoid passing people on the right, especially trucks and other large vehicles that conceal them from other drivers.

However, even traveling in an otherwise empty traffic lane can be dangerous for a motorcyclist. Here’s a common scenario called a “wave on” that poses a large risk to motorcyclists.

Picture a two-lane road that comes to an intersection. A car is in the left lane and a truck is approaching them from the other way with a turn signal on. The car driver, being a polite person, stops and motions to the truck driver that they can make a left turn in front of them. They’ll wait. The truck drivers waves back and starts to make the turn…

And that’s when the crash happens.

The car driver never saw the motorcycle coming up behind them in the right lane, headed towards the same intersection. The truck driver couldn’t see the motorcycle because the car was in the way. Their attention was on each other, and the motorcyclist ended up paying dearly for the mistake.

Motorcycles are a fun, challenging and rewarding way to move around. They also require constant vigilance and knowledge to stay safe. Even when a motorcyclist is driving in a lane alone they are at the mercy of other drivers mistakes.

So please, to avoid motorcycle deaths and injuries, don’t be polite, just obey traffic laws