Articles Tagged with personal injury

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Claudine Cloutier


By the second year of law school, every law student knows that in order to successfully pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence, the plaintiff must establish four elements: 1) duty of care; 2) breach of that duty of care; 3) damages; 4) a causal nexus between the breach and the damages.  But what do these mean if you’re the person injured? Although each of the elements has volumes of legal treatises attempting to interpret and explain it, a basic understanding is not difficult.

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According to the Massachusetts Port Authority — which manages Boston’s cruise ship port, Cruiseport Boston, — over 300,000 passengers pass through the port each year. The 2016 season will bring 117 vessels through the port, which is the home base for four ships as well as a port of call for numerous ships on 17 different cruise lines.

According to Mass Port, Massachusetts is one of the top ten states economically impacted by the cruise industry. By estimate, passengers and crew spent 36 million dollars in Boston in 2012. It is also estimated (in a 2013 report) that the industry brought 8,000 jobs to Massachusetts and $479 million in income.

With the cruise industry booming in Massachusetts, passengers, crew, and their families often require legal advice for injuries and deaths that occur aboard a ship or in a port of call. Generally, injuries that occur in port are treated the same way as any other injury that occurs in Massachusetts. Usually, injuries that occur in port are not caused by the cruise line or its staff, but by local vendors, tour guides, or property owners.

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In July 2015, an ironworker was seriously injured in the course of his employment when he fell 40 feet at the central parking garage at Logan Airport. Investigators revealed that the worker had fallen onto a piece of precast concrete that had also fallen.  The 53-year-old man, a resident of Connecticut, was transported by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital where he underwent treatment for life-threatening injuries

The investigation into the incident revealed that a 32-ton piece of concrete fell while it was being hoisted by a crane, as part of the garage construction.  The worker was apparently attempting to secure the panel when he fell.  All work at the construction site was halted pending an investigation by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  OSHA is the federal agency charged with overseeing compliance with Federal Safety Regulations under 29 CFR 1910.

This incident highlights the perils faced by construction site workers.  What many do not know is that workers injured during the course of scope of their employment not only have rights under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 152, the so-called “workers compensation statute”, but they may also have a cause of action against both the general contractor on the site as well as any sub-contractors whose negligence was a contributing factor in causing the injury.  While an employee is generally unable to file a civil lawsuit against their own employer due to the exclusivity provisions of M.G.L. Ch. 152, this statute does not prohibit the injured party from pursuing a claim or lawsuit against non-employer responsible parties.

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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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It’s summertime, and we are right in the middle of baseball season. The Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game just took place, and the second half of the MLB season will kick off tonight with some teams thinking about a pennant and others weighing their options for next year. Behind the scenes, however, a movement has begun to drastically alter the way that we watch baseball from the stands. My colleague, Brian Dever, recently wrote a blog on the Baseball Rule, which states that stadium owners are generally not liable for injuries caused by balls and bats flying into the stands and hitting spectators. Instead, the onus is on the fans to be alert during the game. But this rule may now have to withstand a new challenge in federal court.

A San Francisco woman has brought a federal class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and its commissioner, Rob Manfred. The lawsuit is not asking for money, but instead only seeks to have protective netting to be extended from foul pole to foul pole. Currently, protective netting is only required in certain sections behind home plate. The lawsuit claims that the protection afforded to those behind home plate should also be given to fans along the first and third base lines. The lead Plaintiff alleges that she, a longtime Giants fan, is fearful to go to the park because of foul balls. Interestingly enough, she states that the unprotected seats along the base lines are cheaper than the protected seats behind the plate, implying that some fans are given the choice to pay for greater safety. Please check out the ESPN article and the NBC Sports article on the lawsuit.

Simply from a legal standpoint, this is a very interesting issue. As Attorney Dever’s post details, the courts have long held that there are some “danger zones” in MLB stadiums that are required to have some sort of netting to protect fans. This is why the net is behind home plate (it’s also the reasoning that requires netting around shooting areas of hockey rinks). The court has also held that outside of this “danger zone,” the stadium does not owe any duty to protect. So instead of pursuing the claim under a theory that has been rejected by courts for decades, the new lawsuit instead seeks to expand the “danger zone” where the duty does exist. Only time will tell whether this action will be successful.

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