Articles Tagged with Car Accident Lawyer

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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: 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: Brian Dever

Recently, a Barrington Rhode Island Doctor was arraigned on charges of violating Rhode Island’s social host law by serving alcohol to minors at a party thrown by his teenaged son. While the man denied procuring any of the alcohol for the party, and denied knowing that alcohol was being served at the party, he still may be found guilty of furnishing alcohol to minors and opens himself up to liability if any of the partygoers were to injure himself or herself or others. He also faces disciplinary action from the State Medical Licensing Board, up to and including removal of his license.

The Rhode Island laws are slightly tougher than those in Massachusetts on the issue of social host liability, but only slightly. In Rhode Island, you can be found guilty of serving alcohol to persons under 21 years of age and will be liable for any damage that they cause regardless of whether you furnished the alcohol, allowed the drinking to occur, or knew or should have known about its existence if the drinking party occurred on your property. Massachusetts does not allow for liability if a property owner did not procure the alcohol, did not give permission to use the property, and did not know of the party’s existence.However, whether you are from Rhode Island or Massachusetts, the consequences of violating the social host laws by serving alcohol to minors can be severe. Anyone who is a parent of a teenager can attest that he or she has been asked to allow a party to occur on his or her property. While the first time offender penalty might seem minimal, the real world consequences can be dire. In addition to the $350.00 fine, you will have a criminal record, possibly lose any professional licenses that you may have, and open yourself up to an immense amount of possible liability if any of the party-goers gets into an accident and injures someone.

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By Jason R. Markle

Anyone who has ever ridden in a Boston taxi knows that they can be dangerous. The drivers are often in too much of a hurry to follow the rules of the road and those hard plexiglass or metal partitions are only about eighteen inches from your face. But even scarier than that is a recent three-part article by the Boston Globe which, in part, details just how scary a taxi ride can become.

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In An Empire Built of Ambition and a Very Hard Edge, the Globe staff found that personal injury claims arising out of taxi accidents are rigged against accident victims. For starters, despite being under the umbrella of large corporations, the large majority of taxis in Massachusetts are extremely under-insured.

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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 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: Erica Pereira, Esq.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all and your families a Happy New Year! Tonight is the night where people spend the night with friends and loved ones socializing and celebrating, feasting and drinking until the early morning hours. Whether you are ringing in the New Year’s at a house party or at a big venue, there are a few things that you should keep in mind in order to assure that you and your loved ones are safe and that you know of the laws in place if you are throwing a party.

If you are the one who is throwing a New Years Eve party, the law regarding social host liability is relatively clear in Massachusetts. Under the law, MGL c. 138 section 34, the social host of a party is only responsible for the actions of its intoxicated guests if the host either serves the alcohol or exercises control over the supply of alcohol. This means that owners of houses used for house parties cannot be held liable for a guest’s negligence unless the owner provided the alcohol to the guests or controls the distribution of alcohol to the guests.

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