Posts tagged with "Personal Injury Attorneys"

Bill would make Massachusetts state workplaces subject to OSHA standards

Bill would make Massachusetts state workplaces safer

Since 1970, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set standards to protect workers in the private sector. If there is an accident at a construction site, or if someone is injured at a manufacturing facility, OSHA will investigate the incident, order the employer to make any necessary changes and even levy fines in particularly egregious cases.

In Massachusetts, there is a notable legal loophole that means that some workers may find themselves in an unsafe workplace. Although OSHA standards cover private employers and Massachusetts law mandates safety standards for municipal employees, neither law applies to state workers – including those who work on the state’s highways. A new bill, recently introduced in the state legislature, would give state workers the same workplace protections that are given to municipal and private sector employees.

Specifically, the bill would not only provide OSHA protections to state employees, but would also allow the Massachusetts Department of Labor to set safety regulations and standards. The author of the bill, State Senator Marc R. Pacheco, says that its purpose is to prevent workplace accidents.

Although the bill may seem common sense, Pacheco is unable to determine whether state legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development is likely to act on it. In fact, Pacheco says has introduced similar legislation before the legislature unsuccessfully for at least the past five years.

Proponents of the measure, including the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, say that it would not only make state workplaces safer, but would also save the state money. Each year, Massachusetts spends approximately $48 million on workers’ compensation claims. If setting safety standards and ensuring compliance with OSHA regulations prevents just 10 percent of accidents in Massachusetts, the measure could save the state approximately $5 million annually. This is in addition to the substantial liability the state faces due to unsafe construction sites and other workplaces.

Nevertheless, the bill does have opponents. Most of those opposed to the bill argue that the change would substantially increase costs and would create yet another state bureaucracy. Neither of these objections, however, addresses the need to prevent accidents or create safer workplaces for state workers.

Time will tell whether Pacheco’s bill becomes law, but it may well be a step in the right direction for Massachusetts. After all, those workers who put their health and safety on the line to perform jobs for the state deserve all the protection they can get.

When Your Lawyer Is Part of the Problem Rather Than the Solution

Ordinarily, people consult a trial attorney at a time when they are under the stress and strain caused by a significant problem in their life. Perhaps they have suffered medical negligence, they are in the throes of a divorce or they are being sued in a business dispute. They seek legal guidance, of course, but they also desire reassurance that their lives will eventually resume a state of normalcy. The very best lawyers are good listeners, problems solvers and genuinely sympathetic to the particular needs of their client. The foundation of every attorney/client relationship is trust. At first, the client may be reluctant to genuinely place their full confidence in their lawyer. This is understandable. Trust is earned over time. Indeed, most attorneys work hard to earn their client’s trust and achieve their client’s goals. Regrettably, there are those instances each year when some lawyers will actually compound their client’s problems due to inattention and malfeasance.

According to the American Bar Association’s “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims” publication, incidence of legal malpractice are most common in the area of Personal Injury law- (19.96% of claims); Real Estate- (16.46% of claims); Family Law-(9.58% of claims); and, Estate, Trust, and Probate law-(8.63% of claims).

When a lawyer makes a mistake, there are nearly always significant and undesirable consequences for the client. Legal malpractice may take many forms:

  • Failure to meet court deadlines;
  • Failure to act within the statute of limitations;
  • Failure to return phone calls or communicate with a client;
  • Failure to resolve conflicts of interest;
  • Failure to know the law or perform adequate research;
  • Abuse or misuse of a client’s trust account, including commingling trust account funds with the attorney’s personal account; and,
  • Failure to adequately prepare for hearings and trials.

The only remedy under these circumstances is for the client to pursue a legal malpractice claim against the lawyer. Most, but not all lawyers, maintain malpractice insurance to cover incidence such as those listed above.

There are things a client can do, however, to minimize the chances of suffering the consequences of attorney neglect. For example, clients should take an avid interest in their case. This means establishing early on that you expect frequent updates from your attorney. Clients should expect to see their case progress over time. When things appear stagnant, the client should request a meeting with the attorney. This kind of client participation ensures that the attorney is on their toes and always looking to move the case forward to a resolution.

Dino M. Colucci, Esquire, is a founder of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., a law firm dedicated to representing victims of neglect. He is also an adjunct Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School.

Nursing Home Negligence, why is it on the rise?

Is the incidence of nursing home negligence growing?

The biggest reason people go from a regular home to an assisted living facilities isn’t because they want to play shuffleboard or have lunch with the neighbors – it’s because they need assistance from trained staff members to help take care of them. In many cases assisted living patient care, can lead to nursing home negligence and abuse.

So why so much Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse?

The problem we see with nursing home negligence and abuse is that far too many nursing homes have a lack of staff. These are private businesses trying to bring in a profit, which we accept and understand. Unfortunately, some of those nursing home corporations decide to increase their profits by cutting down on the number of staff members.

That is to say, some assisted living facilities don’t have enough people on hand to actually assist with everyone’s living! This leads to frail people trying to walk to the bathroom on their own without assistance and falling. It leads to people being left alone to stare at the walls all day. It leads to needless suffering, misery and even death. It leads to nursing home negligence and abuse lawsuits.

We take quality of life issues very seriously, and stamping out nursing home negligence is a crusade at Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin. If your loved one has been harmed by a negligent or understaffed nursing home, please give us a call.

The problems come from retirement homes where the staff has too much to do or little oversight. In those places, residents are left to fend for themselves half the time and become disengaged.

An effective nursing home has a full staff of eager, helpful and kind people who take an avid role in the care of your loved ones. They get involved, they interact, and this leads to a decrease in accidents and a better quality of life. That’s the kind of assisting people need.

Find out what you should watch for to see if your nursing home facility is up to par on nursing home standards! 

 

The danger of modding an e-cigarette device

We’ve previously written about the design flaws in an e-cigarette device that can cause them to explode and harm users. On their own, these flaws can be standard product liability cases, where the companies that made and sold the products are liable for harm causes by the normal use of the product.

However, there is a subculture of e-cigarette device vape users who “mod” or modify their e-cig device. Most of those modifications are to allow the user to practice “sub ohm vaping,” where the device consumes the vaping chemicals at a faster pace, allowing the user to have larger volumes of vapor or vapor of a higher concentration.

Some of these modified devices have exploded, which may or may not mean the modder is the one responsible for the accident. It all depends on the details of the case.

e-cigarette device “modder”

While an automobile manufacturer could be sued for selling a car with a design flaw that leads to fires, the manufacturer would likely not be held liable if someone were to add aftermarket parts that ultimately cause the car to catch on fire or fail in some other way. In the same manner, it’s possible for an e-cig modder to make the device unstable and likely to explode or ignite.

However, that does not mean all mods eliminate responsibility from the manufacturers and sellers of the e-cig device. It’s possible that the modifications people made were minor or unrelated to the parts that caused the accident.

Modifications certainly can make it harder to prove a product liability case, but they need to be sorted out on a case by case basis. We’re happy to go over the details with you and help determine if you have a case if you call us at 617-698-6000.