Posts tagged with "wrongful death lawsuits"

The Wrongful Death Double Whammy

No event is as painful and life altering for a person as the sudden loss of a loved one. The unexpected and preventable wrongful death of a family member is emotionally scarring and often financially devastating.

There are frequently many unanswered questions which tend to anger and frustrate surviving family members and these questions complicate the grieving process. Additionally, vulnerable family members are forced to abruptly confront anxiety provoking issues like unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income and other unexpected and substantial financial consequences.

The stark financial realities that a family must face can be overwhelming — particularly at a time when they are struggling to cope with such devastating news. Not only did you just lose someone you love; you could be on the cusp of losing your home too.

Our firm, Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., can help.

 

No Time To Spare

“Time is of the essence” is our informal motto. From the first moment we are consulted, our team employs an urgency that is truly unique in the legal profession. Our aggressive investigations find critical witnesses before they disappear, secures evidence that would otherwise have been lost or gone unnoticed, and ultimately uncover the truth so that our clients can eventually begin to achieve some measure of acceptance and peace of mind. Our long case track record of holding accountable those responsible and obtaining maximum recoveries for our clients speaks for itself.

The sudden loss of a loved one always causes more questions than answers. We can make your life a little less uncertain.

Over the years, many hundreds of vulnerable clients have honored us with their trust to guide them during some of their most difficult days. During all of that time, our philosophy has remained unchanged: “Do today what others won’t do so that tomorrow you can do what others cannot.”

It’s Time to Act

If you’ve lost someone close to you, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can get started right away and help you get through this difficult time.

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.

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.

 

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.

who is defendant in wrongful death cases

Don’t assume who the defendant is in a wrongful death case

Consider this scenario. A young man in an apartment building starts lighting matches for fun and accidentally starts a fire that burns the building down. A woman in another apartment dies and her family pursues a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who is the defendant for that wrongful death lawsuit?

While some people will say it’s the young man, the real answer is that we don’t have enough information to answer the question. There are far too many unknowns to make a determination yet.

It’s easy to consider the young man responsible for the death. On a moral level he is to some degree. However, that’s not the purpose of a wrongful death suit, which is to collect damages for the surviving family members. If that young man has a lot of assets to his name, such as money or an insurance policy, he is worth including in the lawsuit. If he doesn’t, there is little purpose in trying to squeeze money out of him that he doesn’t have.

A competent attorney will investigate the matter further. Why did the fire spread so quickly? Was the building up to code? Were the smoke detectors working? Was the apartment building constructed improperly? Was the building manager warned about faulty safety equipment but never did anything to help?

We investigate to figure out what happened and what factors contributed to the tragedy. Even if the fire was set on purpose and the young man was arrested and prosecuted in the criminal court, the building owner could still be held responsible in a wrongful death case if he acted negligently, such as if it was shown that he allowed the fire escapes to rust up and fall apart.

Sometimes these cases go far down the rabbit hole. If we found out the smoke detector failed to work because of a faulty computer component inside of it, we may end up adding as defendants the smoke detector manufacturer and the company that made the smoke detector’s faulty component.

While moral guilt may belong to the young man, in a wrongful death suit, or any other personal injury suit, we pursue compensation from all negligent parties that contributed to the tragedy by failing to take reasonable precautions that could have protected people.

The federal government and OSHA do not report all worksite deaths and accidents

OSHA Database Underreports Workplace Fatalities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the division of the U.S. Department of Labor charged with protecting the safety of employees in the workplace. OSHA’s etission is to prevent construction accidents, industrial injuries, and other workplace accidents. It seeks to do this through setting and enforcing safety standards, designing and delivering education and training programs, and engaging in outreach activity.

Unfortunately, OSHA sometimes falls far short of accomplishing its mission. For example, OSHA officials admitted in November 2011 that one of the ways the agency uses to monitor workplace safety – a database tracking workplace fatalities – is deficient in several key respects. OSHA’s lack of information is troubling because people need to know how many workplace deaths occur and the reasons for them in order to improve workplace safety.

Causes of Workplace Deaths

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 4,547 workplace fatalities in 2010. Massachusetts saw 51 workplace fatalities in 2010, down from 59 in 2009. The BLS reported that the causes of deaths in the workplace for 2010 were:

• Transportation incidents – 39 percent

• Assaults and violent acts – 18 percent

• Contact with objects or equipment – 16 percent

• Falls – 14 percent

• Exposure to harmful substances – nine percent

• Fire or explosions – four percent

OSHA Database Failure

OSHA has a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), wherein OSHA partners with employers who have injury and fatality rates below the BLS average for their industries. In exchange for proactively working on safety measures, the employers in the VPP are exempt from regular OSHA inspections.

One of the main deficits in OSHA’s workplace fatality data is that it does not include deaths that happened at employers in the VPP. By cross-referencing OSHA data and BLS data, the Center for Public Integrity discovered that OSHA data did not include 15 workplace fatalities that occurred between 2000 and 2010 because these deaths happened at VPP participant employers.

Another area in which OSHA does not have data is workplace fatalities that occur in the 21 states that administer their own version of OSHA’s VPP.

These are major gaps in the database and make it difficult for OSHA to do its job properly.

OSHA officials say they are taking steps to fill the information gap regarding workplace fatalities in VPP participant employers. OSHA’s second-highest official concedes the importance of following up on fatalities at VPP participant employers and including that information in OSHA data. OSHA’s main office has issued memos on the topic to regional offices in the past few years.

Preventing Workplace Deaths

OSHA and employers can take steps to make the number of workplace deaths decrease further. Some ideas include:

• Make safety a key value for owners and managers

• Train employees in safety techniques

• Engage employees in making the workplace safer

• Monitor employees’ actions to ensure compliance with safety regulations

• Analyze “near-miss” accidents so that they do not happen again and to discover any safeguards that functioned properly to prevent fatalities

People have the right to demand safe workplaces. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help pursue proper compensation for your injuries.