Articles Tagged with Boston Car Accident Attorney

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4380849_1By: Erica L. Pereira, Esq.

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I’m sure all drivers out there are aware of the recent crackdowns on “distracted driving”, most specifically, texting while driving. In today’s technological age, it is nearly impossible for a person to go anywhere without receiving a text message, phone call, tweet or facebook post. This constant receipt of information via our phones has made it increasingly more likely that drivers will receive such information while driving and feel the immediate need to respond to the information, text or post. All drivers are aware that this practice of texting while driving is dangerous, but in this age of immediate gratification, drivers will take that risk to respond immediately to a text message.

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By Jason R. Markle

The coming of a new year is often an occasion for people to look at changes they can make to better their lives. People often look at how they can lead healthier lifestyles, save money or improve their relationships. It’s also a good time to look at how protected you are in the case of an accident in which you or someone else is injured. One of the best ways to do that is to take a look at your automobile insurance policy and determine if you have enough coverage. And in looking at your coverage, there’s much more to consider than just price. For example, will your medical bills and lost wages be covered following an accident? What happens if you’re seriously hurt by someone without enough coverage? Who pays for damage to your vehicle as a result of vandalism?

To answer these questions, it’s important to know that the Standard Massachusetts Automobile Policy offers 12 types of insurance. By walking through them individually, hopefully you’ll have a better idea of what’s covered and, more importantly, what’s not covered.

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By: Erica L. Pereira

With the holiday travel season arriving, it is likely that many of us will have to rent a car. When you rent a car you are faced with an important decision; whether you need to pay an additional fee to the rental company at the counter in order to get an additional insurance coverage on your rental car. By asking yourself three questions, you can determine if this expense is necessary for you.

First, determine what sort of coverage your general automotive insurance policy will apply to your rental car use. This will likely cover your liability in the case of an accident, but often this policy will not protect you from having to pay for the rental car itself, if the car is damaged or stolen. Additionally, plans vary as to the amount of coverage they provide for things like loss of use or towing charges.  Also, although your auto insurance generally carries over into the car you are driving (as long as your own car is not being driven at the same time), often renters are misinformed in believing their cars will be covered because they have full coverage on their own automobiles.

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by Claudine A. Cloutier

It may seem strange to see “Use Your Cell Phones” on an attorney’s blog when we repeatedly hear about the dangers of distracted driving due to cell phone use.  There’s no doubt that using your phone to text or talk when you should be focusing on the road can distract you and lead to tragic consequences.

But another more positive impact that widespread use of cell phones has had on personal injury claims is that almost everyone is carrying around a camera —- all the time.  More and more frequently an injured person or a witness has the abililty to photograph the accident scene immediately after the incident has occurred.

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by Kevin P. DeMello, esq.

One of the most terrifying experiences following an automobile accident is the realization that you may not be able to return to work for an extended period of time. How will you pay your rent or mortgage? Provide for your family? One thing you can do now to protect yourself and your family is to purchase disability insurance. This type of insurance is available to cover your lost wages in case you are disabled from employment for an extended period of time. However, if you are already injured and unable to work, and do not have disability insurance, there are options for you.

If your accident took place while you were working, for instance, on your way to a client site, or while transporting materials for your employer, you are probably covered by workers compensation insurance. Typically, workers compensation coverage pays 60% of your lost wages. If you were not working at the time of your accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage may be available. Everyone in Massachusetts is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP is available pay for 75% of lost wages that result from your automobile accident, up to $8,000. Often, however, the $8,000 of coverage is often not sufficient to cover someone out of work for an extended period of time. In such cases, contact the Department of Transitional Assistance, or DTA at 617-348-8500. In many cases, the DTA can provide assistance to persons out of work as a result of an automobile accident.

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By: Erica L. Pereira, Esq.

In Massachusetts, there are two types of liquor liability claims which can derive from the over-serving of alcohol to a person.  As a result of that over-serving, that intoxicated person then goes out and causes an injury to another person.  The first situation is called Social Host Liability, wherein the owner of a house or a private individual is held responsible for serving alcohol to private guests in their own home.  Attorney Laskoski spoke more extensively about Social Host Liability in her blog posted on November 22, 2012.

The second theory of liability is called Dram Shop Liability.  This occurs when a liquor store or an establishment over-serves alcoholic beverages to an individual and that individual then leaves the establishment and causes injury to themselves or to someone else.  Dram Shop liquor liability is explained more fully in Mass General Laws c. 138 § 69.

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by Claudine A. Cloutier

Congratulations to the attorneys and to the plaintiffs who were just awarded a 63 million dollar verdict in a case against Johnson & Johnson.  The plaintiff suffered horrific and permanent injuries, requiring 16 surgeries and resulting in over a million dollars in medical bills. The result is a victory, not only for the litigants, but for consumers generally.

Unfortunately, the publicity that the verdict will rightfully receive, may skew the public’s perception of what usually happens in jury trials in Massachusetts.  In 2001, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly published Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady’s article and statistics showing that plaintiffs had won only slightly more that 10% of the trials that he had tracked. See 29 M.L.W. 2103 (May 21, 2001).  Judge Brady’s tracking was only wins and losses. It did not track the size of the jury verdicts versus offers of settlement that had been made before trial. As many practitioners have experienced, a jury verdict that is a “win” can be lower than the last amount offered just as easily as it can be much larger than the last offer.

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by Barbara M. Callahan, Esq.

The major news in Boston this weekend was the Saturday night crash of a tour bus carrying a group of Philadelphia high school students which had just completed a visit to Harvard University and was returning to Pennsylvania at the time of the crash. According to reports, the bus was traveling on Soldiers Field Road when the top of the bus came into contact with the Western Avenue Bridge as the bus driver attempted to drive under the bridge.  The driver apparently was unaware of the10 foot height restriction on vehicles traveling on Soldiers Field Road.  According to police, the bus did not belong on the road where oversized vehicles, like buses, were expressly not authorized.  Thirty-five people were unfortunately injured in the crash; thankfully most of them have returned home.

Common-law negligence in Massachusetts consists of the breach of a duty of care that directly and proximately causes harm.  In a personal injury case, the offending party typically owes the injured party a duty of reasonable care to avoid physical harm.  In certain cases however, such as bus accidents, there exists  a “special relationship” between the bus company (often referred to as a common carrier) and its passengers that creates a heightened duty of care.

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By Erica L. Pereira, Esq.

In the realm of personal injury claims, once a lawsuit is filed, there are a number of settlement funding companies out there who will advance the funds of the settlement in order to be paid back once an actual settlement is received.  This may seem like a perfect scenario: Get your money now and just pay the funding company back once the case is resolved.  The implications of settlement advancement however are great and every client or potential client needs to know of the serious consequences of getting an advance of your potential settlement.

Many times, this pre-settlement funding is called “non-recourse” funding, in that the borrower does not have to repay the funds that are borrowed unless a settlement is received.  This seems enticing to some clients because there seems to be little downside to borrowing since you don’t have to pay back the advance unless you have the money to pay it back.  Win-Win right?

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by Kevin P. DeMello, esq.

In the context of personal injury litigation, medical records play a critical role. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 233 section 79G, medical records of a treating physician or hospital are admissible at trial. That means the jury considering your case gets to read them and consider everything that is in them as evidence. However, this can be a double-edged sword for Plaintiffs. It is certainly helpful that these records can be put into evidence to help the Plaintiff prove his or her case. Unfortunately, however, medical records often contain mistakes that can create major headaches for Plaintiffs.

For instance, in one recent case, a doctor mistakenly referred to an injury to a Plaintiff’s right hand when in fact the injury occurred to the Plaintiff’s left hand. Although the Plaintiff alleged that this was a simple oversight, the oversight allowed the Defendant to argue that the Plaintiff’s allegations were fraudulent. Another issue that often crops up in medical records is the tendency for doctors to include irrelevant information that casts the Plaintiff in a bad light. For instance, it is not uncommon for a medical record to contain references to a Plaintiff’s complaints about ongoing litigation.

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