Articles Tagged with Boston Personal Injury Lawyer

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Erica Pereira
Erica Pereira

508-822-2000


Under current Massachusetts law, drivers may carry as little as $20,000 in liability insurance. This can compound upon the otherwise unspeakable tragedy of losing a loved one to a fatal motor vehicle accident with economic hardship. In the event of an automobile accident resulting in death caused by negligence, most of the liability insurance would be consumed by hospital and funeral expenses. This would leave the family of the deceased with very little. It will also leave a family with dependent children in a serious economic predicament.

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On June 12, 2015, An MBTA bus struck a car in a Revere parking lot, causing significant damage to the car and injuries to the driver and a bystander.  On Monday, September 21, 2015, an MBTA red line train hit and killed a middle aged man at JFK station.  The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident. On October 1, 2015 Wellesley Police and the MBTA Transit Police responded to an incident involving an elderly woman struck by a train between the Wellesley Square and Wellesley Hills commuter rail stops. Non-life threatening injuries were reported.

If you live in or around Boston, you are familiar with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, also known as the MBTA or simply the “T”.  The MBTA is one of the many government agencies overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.  In January 2015, Governor Charlie Baker appointed Stephanie Pollack Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and Chief Executive Officer to address issues involving finances and customer service.

Although the MBTA provides invaluable services to Massachusetts residents, it is frequently the subject of news stories involving injuries to riders, pedestrians or others.  The typical MBTA accident story often involves a bus or a train, but there are other types of personal injuries involving the MBTA.  Such injuries include slips or trips and falls at one of the many MBTA stations or facilities in and around Massachusetts or automobile accidents involving other types of MBTA vehicles such as “The Ride” vans or MBTA maintenance vehicles.   From minor injuries such as sprained or fractured wrists and ankles to neck and back injuries and even wrongful death, the MBTA has a long history of injuries and claims.  Finding the right attorney to represent you is crucial in obtaining a fair resolution of your claim against the MBTA.

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Erica Pereira With the recent extreme snowfall in the Northeast, many people have “broken their backs” shoveling and plowing out the streets, driveways, walkways, and stairs to get out of their houses and get to work and school. With the drop in temperatures, that shoveling that we have done could turn our driveways and walkways into a patch of ice, causing a dangerous condition for anyone who comes onto our property. As homeowners in New England we all know of our need to shovel and salt our driveways so our families and friends don’t slip or get injured but sometimes we don’t consider all the other people who come onto our property who also need to be protected.

Under Massachusetts law and specifically the case of Papadopoulos v. Target Corp, 457 Mass.368 (2010) changed the standard of care for snow and ice cases to one of reasonable care. This means that in the event of a snow and ice event, the duty of the homeowner, landowner or premise owner is that they have a duty to take reasonable precautions to protect invited people on their property from unsafe conditions and foreseeable hazards. In other words, if you own a home and it snows, you have a duty to shovel and care for your property (lay down salt or ice melt in the event of ice) in such a way to assure that people who come onto your property will be safe. This could be the mailman, UPS driver, service people, friends or your family. The standard of reasonableness is dependent on each situation and it is your obligation to use good judgment in determining whether your property is safe.

The same standard applies to businesses as well. Businesses are obligated to take reasonable care of their property and premises so that invited business guests and patrons will be protected from unsafe conditions. The general belief is that if it has snowed and your business is open, you better make sure that you have adequately salted your parking lot or walkways and shoveled and plowed the snow so that your guests, patrons and workers will be safe.

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The other night, a Ford commercial ran repeatedly throughout the basketball game.  Within the ad for the Ford Fusion the narrator provides a subliminal message. The language in the add is  “You never know what might be out there. The ambulance racing by, the ambulance chaser chasing the ambulance…. It’s 360 degrees of chaos”.  The reference to the ambulance chaser has nothing to do with the ad for the Ford Fusion. It is simply Ford’s subliminal message that we all/you all/the public should all hate lawyers because we are nothing but ambulance chasers bringing groundless awsuits creating chaos in your world.

http://www.marketmenot.com/ford-fusion-whats-out-there-commercial/

After the game, the news came on. The lead news story was that Ford has recently recalled 1.4 million vehicles in North America. They include  915,000 Ford Escapes and Mercury Marina SUV for the years 2008 through 2011. The problem is with the power steering control module. The defect could turn off the power steering which makes it harder to steer and increase the risk of a crash. Ford has stated that is aware of six injury allegations related to this problem. In addition, Ford has recalled approximately 200,000 Ford Explorers for the years 2011 through 2013 with a problem with the electrical power steering gear. The intermitted electrical connection can cut off power steering and the cause defaults to manual steering which could lead to an accident. A total of 15 accidents have been linked to the problem. Ford has also recalled approximately 200,000 other Ford Taurus Sedans for the years 2010 through 2014 with a license plate lamp plate issue that can lead to a short circuit and potential fire hazzard. Ford is aware of 18 reports of injuries related to that defect. Finally, Ford is aware of approximately 83,000 Ford Fusions, Mercury Milans, Lincoln Zephyrs and MKZs for the years 2006 through 2007 with optional all-weather floor mats that can shift out of position and interfere with the accelerator pedal. Starting in the 2010 model year Ford changed the design adding a second attachment to keep the mat from moving.  All of these recalls were reported in CNN Money [HTTP.//money.cnn.com/2014/05/29/auto/ford-recalls].

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Some companies may attempt to enforce safety policies that deviate from OSHA standards. Usually these companies allege that their own standards are safer and more stringent than OSHA’s. Those deviations, however, may ignore the tremendous effort and thought that is typically given to establishing the OSHA standards and may subject workers to new dangers.

For example, contrary to OSHA’s policy, general contractors may require all iron workers, including connectors performing leading edge work, to tie-off at heights over 6 feet. But in recognition that connectors need to be unfettered so they can escape an incoming load if necessary, OSHA’s Subpart R does not require connectors performing leading edge work to be tied off at 6 feet. In fact, OSHA regulation § 1926.760(a)(1) allows connectors not to use their personal fall protection to avoid hazards while working at heights between 15 and 30 feet. Further, workers engaged in decking in a controlled decking zone may work without conventional fall protection at heights between 15 and 30 feet.

When changes to OSHA Subpart R, and specifically regulation 1926.760, were being debated, The Steel Erection Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee [SENRAC] was formed and gathered testimony on the various proposed rules. This was an exhaustive process spanning years and with input from various sectors of the industry.

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3264313_1In January of this year the First Circuit Court of Appeals decided a Massachusetts case entitled Cracchiolo v. Eastern Fisheries, Inc., et al 740 F 3rd 64. That case involved the death of crew member of a ship that was docked in New Bedford. After a night out, the crew member was returning to the shipyard where the ship was docked. Ordinarily he would go through a gate but that evening it was locked. There was a second unofficial way into the facility. There was a gap in the fence near the water that allowed crew members to access their boats after hours. Even if a crew member came through this passageway there was a safer way once through the fencing to proceed to the boat. It was a longer route. There was a shorter and more dangerous way used on the night in question. It was icy and snowy which made this more dangerous route a fatal choice as the seamen slipped, fell into the water and drowned.

The court said that “to prevail on the negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care, that the defendant breached this duty, that damage resulted, and that there was a casually relationship between the breach and the duty and the damage. The court stated that the question of breach, damages and causation are the “special province of the jury”. However, the question whether or not the defendant owed a duty of care in the first instance is an issue of law, and may be settled on Summary Judgment if the risk posed by the defendant’s actions were not foreseeable”. The court went on to say Massachusetts may also make this determination after trial in light of all the evidence.

In this case the court sited Soederberg v. Concord Greene Condominium 76 Mass.App. Ct. 33 (2010) stating that “landowners do have a duty to remove snow and ice accumulations even though those accumulations present open and obvious hazards to visitors. The court explained that the open and obvious nature of the hazard does not negate an owner’s duty to remedy the hazard”.  Rather a landowner must remedy snow and ice hazards when he can and should anticipate the dangerous condition will cause physical harm to the invitee notwithstanding it is known or an obvious danger. It went on to say “ the plaintiff’s unreasonable decision to enter into an ice hazard could bear on the issue of comparative negligence but that this is a jury question in the plaintiff’s unreasonable behavior will not bar recovery as a matter of law even when other options that voided the ice hazard were available”.

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We find it commonplace during our daily routines to see construction and city workers maintaining and repairing the streets and infrastructure which we rely on so heavily, often times driving by them without giving their work a second thought. However, rarely do we contemplate the dangers that these men and women face on a daily basis in order to keep our streets safe and our utilities up and running.

It has recently come to my attention that, in a tragic turn of events, a long-time Natick employee was killed on February 4, 2014, while working on an emergency repair of a water line.  Anotheremployee was injured as well. As reported by Boston.com and Wicked Local, the deceasedworker had worked for the Town of Natick for 26 years before the tragic accident. The Natick Town Administrator, called the incident a “freak accident.”The reports indicate that the men were working when a backhoe was accidentally pulled forward, causing the stabilizer of the backhoe to strike the two workers. One passed away due to his injuries, while the other escaped with his life, having sustained serious injury. However, work could not stop entirely to allow the Natick DPW to mourn; they were out the very next day responding to a snow storm.

A few years ago, our firm came across, and settled, a similar case, which involved a backhoe which tipped forward, causing a worker to sustain serious bodily injury. The reoccurrence of such tragic, but preventable harm is discouraging. However, cases like these serve an important public purpose, putting the manufacturers of heavy machinery on notice that their products can be dangerous and extreme care needs to be put into their design. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families involved in this most recent accident.  Next time, as you drive down the road and see a crew of workers, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice that they make on a daily basis, subjecting themselves to the possibility of serious injury or death in order to keep all of the people’s lives running smoothly in the community that they serve.

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4380849_1By: Erica L. Pereira, Esq.

508-822-2000

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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3264313_1Brian C Dever

508-822-2000

During this wonderful time of the year we need to be concerned about frozen pipes in our homes. More specifically, when frozen pipes do occur, what actions can be taken and what protection does a homeowner need to have.

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Mode of Operations

Massachusetts has long worked under a traditional constructive notice test on slip and fall cases involving Commercial Premises like a supermarket. That is, does the defendant know of the condition or did they have a reasonable opportunity to know and correct the condition.

In 2007 Massachusetts developed a “Mode of Operations” test to apply to a slip and fall accident at a supermarket self service section. Under the mode of operation the injured party must show that their injury was reasonably foreseeable based upon the supermarket self service mode of operation. If the plaintiff can prove the defendant failed to take reasonable measures involved with the self-service mode of operation than liability may rest with the supermarket.

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