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Semi-trucks are large vehicles, and operators face many difficulties when driving them, both on the highway and on smaller city streets. And while any traffic accident carries the potential to cause serious injury or death, generally, the injuries caused in a Massachusetts truck accident are often severe. Indeed, the fatality rate is highest among accidents involving large commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers.

Recovering after a Boston truck accident can be a lengthy process. Initially, accident victims have to overcome their physical injuries. This may include periods of hospitalization followed by physical therapy. Even then, many accident victims find that they suffer from lingering pain or other effects of the collision, including emotional or psychological stress associated with driving or riding in a car. Additionally, those involved in a serious truck accident will also miss work during their recovery. This makes dealing with the sizable medical bills even more difficult.

Under state law, truck accident victims can pursue a claim for compensation against any of the parties they believe to be at fault for their injuries by filing a Massachusetts personal injury case. In a personal injury case arising out of a truck accident, most often, the named defendants include the truck driver and that driver’s employer. However, depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, there may be additional parties that should be named.

The question often arises whether an accident victim who was not wearing their seat belt can still recover for their injuries through a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit. The short answer is yes; however, seat belt non-use evidence may be admissible in certain situations. However, the fact that an accident victim was not wearing a seat belt will not prohibit them from bringing a case or recovering for their injuries.

When someone is injured in a Massachusetts car accident, they are entitled to bring a personal injury case against the parties they believe to be at fault for their injuries. To prove a case against another driver, an accident victim must show that the other driver was negligent, and that their negligence resulted in the accident victim’s injuries. However, even if an accident victim can meet each of these elements, they may still encounter issues.

When it comes to determining a defendant’s liability in a car accident, Massachusetts car accident law allows for juries to assess the accident victim’s role in bringing about their own injuries. This is referred to as their “comparative fault.” Typically, an accident victim will have their total damages award reduced by their percentage of responsibility. For example, if a motorist incurs $300,000 in damages but is found to be 10 percent at fault, the most they could recover from other motorists involved in the accident would be $270,000. Under this rule, even an accident victim who is partially at fault for the collision can recover for their injuries, provided they are not more than 51 percent at fault.

Massachusetts law requires that owners and managers of public and private businesses and properties maintain and secure their property to limit harm to their residents, guests, and patrons. Typically, land and property owners will face liability if they fail to meet their standard of care, and the failure creates a dangerous hazard and causes an injury. Massachusetts injury victims may be able to recover for the damages they sustained because of the hazardous condition.

Premises liability lawsuits often occur because of injuries from slip-and-falls, trip-and-falls, broken or poorly maintained entrances and exits, or inadequate lighting and security. However, business owners may also face liability for damages resulting from toxic chemical exposure. Chemical exposures in workplaces, restaurants, stores, schools, and laboratories can pose a severe danger to a person’s health and well-being. Toxic poisoning usually occurs from inhaling an airborne substance or ingesting contaminated food or water. There are various toxins such as sulfates, gasoline, lead, mercury, and bleaches that may cause severe injuries to a patron or visitor. Exposure to these chemicals may cause various symptoms and illnesses, such as nausea, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, vomiting, rashes, and even death.

For example, recently, a national news report detailed the harrowing chemical incident at a Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings. Emergency officials arrived at the restaurant after receiving calls that patrons were becoming ill because of chemical fumes in the establishment. The fumes were released after an employee mixed a popular food service cleaning detergent with a bleach cleaner to sanitize the kitchen floor. The mixture resulted in a toxic chemical reaction that spread throughout the restaurant. Thirteen patrons were hospitalized because of exposure to the fumes and the general manager died. The product manufacturer included a safety information sheet that indicated that the detergent should not be mixed with strong acids; however, it is unclear the employee was trained on the product and whether the products have ever been used in conjunction before this incident.

Anyone who has lived through a Boston winter knows that they are no joke. In fact, each year, Boston gets about 47 inches of rain and 48 inches of snow. Both of these figures are significantly higher than the national average, which is 38 inches of rain and 28 inches of snow. Given this reality, it is no surprise to learn that winter slip and fall accidents are a significant source of injury in Boston.

Many slip and fall accidents are caused by accumulations of snow or ice in parking lots, sidewalks, and entryways. As a general matter of Massachusetts premises liability law, Boston businesses have a duty to those their customers to ensure that the property is safe and free of potentially hazardous defects. The accumulation of snow or ice is no exception.

However, that was not always the case. It used to be that businesses could only be liable for unnatural accumulations of snow or ice on their property. An example of an unnatural accumulation of snow is a pile of snow that was pushed to one side of the parking lot to clear the rest of the lot. Under the previous law, if a person was injured due to a natural accumulation of snow, the business owner could not be held liable. However, in a 2010 opinion, the state’s high court reversed the century-long distinction between natural and unnatural accumulations.

When someone is injured in a Massachusetts car accident, they can pursue a personal injury claim against any party they believe to be at fault for their injuries. Most car accident cases are brought under the theory of negligence, and as a result, many car accident claims raise similar issues. Of course, there are many different types of accidents, and claims based on the same kind of accident frequently raise related issues.

Take, for example, Massachusetts pedestrian accidents. These accidents typically involve severe injuries because, in many cases, motorists hit a pedestrian while traveling at a high rate of speed. However, even a low-speed collision can cause significant injuries, especially if the pedestrian strikes their head against the ground or a part of the car. Being able to substantiate the extent of a pedestrian’s injuries is a critical component of a pedestrian accident lawsuit.

Another issue that frequently comes up in Massachusetts pedestrian accident cases is the comparative fault of the pedestrian. Generally, motorists must yield to pedestrians. Thus, when a motorist strikes a pedestrian, the motorist will likely be primarily at fault. However, under Massachusetts law, a defendant can argue that the accident victim’s comparative negligence should reduce the victim’s total recovery amount. In some cases where an accident victim is found to be at least 51 percent at fault, they will be prevented from recovering anything for their injuries. Thus, it is also crucial for pedestrian accident victims to minimize their responsibility to preserve the ability to recover.

Every fatal Massachusetts motorcycle accident is tragic. However, the New Hampshire motorcycle accident that occurred this year was among the worst in history. Earlier this year, a 23-year-old man was driving a pickup truck westbound when he inexplicably crossed over the center median, crashing into a group of motorcyclists. The tragic accident claimed the lives of seven of those motorcyclists, many of which were former Marines. Additionally, several others were seriously injured.

After the accident, detail after detail came to light, showing just how preventable the accident was. For example, shortly after the crash, authorities determined that the driver was under the influence of an unspecified substance that may have contributed to the accident. The driver later admitted to reaching for a drink in the moments immediately before the crash.

Then, a subsequent investigation revealed that the driver had been convicted of several offenses that should have raised questions about whether he should have been able to keep a driver’s license. Finally, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) revealed that the man’s license should have been suspended based on an out-of-state DUI conviction, but, due to an oversight, it had not been. In fact, MDOT explained that there were likely hundreds of drivers with out-of-state convictions that went under the radar and were able to keep their licenses. It seems that the accident was the tragic culmination of systemwide failures. According to a news report from earlier this month, the driver was indicted on 23 counts, including reckless manslaughter, negligent homicide, and driving under the influence. Each of the manslaughter counts carries a potential sentence of 30 years.

Massachusetts tort laws require injury victims to establish negligence if they wish to collect damages against the wrongdoer. Typically, Massachusetts plaintiffs who want to recover damages must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care, that they breached, and that breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries. However, defendants will often utilize the Massachusetts comparative negligence doctrine to limit their degree of fault and reduce the amount of damages they owe.

Comparative negligence applies when the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff was negligent and contributed to their own injuries. When a Massachusetts defendant meets their burden, a jury will decide what percent of fault each party had in the accident and injuries. For example, after a jury finds that a defendant in a Massachusetts car accident was responsible for the accident, they will then determine the total amount of damages. If they find that the total losses equal to $50,000, they can then assess each party’s level of fault in the accident. In this example, if they find that the plaintiff was 20% responsible, the total award would be reduced by 20%.

It is important to note that Massachusetts follows “modified comparative negligence.” Modified comparative negligence only allows plaintiffs to recover damages if they are less than 51% responsible for their injuries. Unlike other states, where damages are proportionate relative to fault, in Massachusetts, plaintiffs who are more than 51% at fault cannot recover any damages. Modified comparative negligence is an affirmative defense, and as such, the defendant bears the burden of proving the plaintiff’s negligence. In Massachusetts, plaintiffs need to establish that the accident was 100% the defendant’s fault to recover the total amount of compensation for their injuries.

Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued an opinion in an appeal originating from a Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit. The case arose after a man struck and killed another person in a parking lot. The victim’s estate brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the culpable party. The family alleged that the man’s gross negligence caused their loved one’s death.

The defendant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the victim’s estate. The settlement provided that the plaintiffs would only seek recourse from the defendant’s insurance company and release him as long as he admitted to negligence.

The defendant’s insurance company provided coverage for bodily injury to others up to $20,000 and additional coverage up to $480,000 per person. However, the company reserved the right to refuse to pay the additional coverage if the insured’s intentional act caused the accident. As such, the man’s insurance company sought to intervene in the parties’ lawsuit and settlement in an attempt to provide evidence that the crash was intentional. The insurance company claimed that they should be allowed to intervene because neither the victim’s family or the insured driver had any incentive to offer evidence that the accident was intentional. They argued that the parties would much rather agree to settle based on negligence to easily collect a large portion of the damages from the insurance company. The trial court denied the insurance company’s request resulting in their appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

After a Massachusetts car accident, those injured in the collision are entitled to bring a claim against the at-fault driver. Typically, a claim will accrue when the accident victim suffers injuries as a result of another’s negligence, regardless if the at-fault party is alive by the time the case goes to trial. Importantly, in situations where the at-fault party dies in the accident or before trial, accident victims are permitted to file Massachusetts car accident lawsuits against deceased defendants. However, in these situations, an injury victim may face challenges in establishing liability and collecting damages. Injury victims should have a Massachusetts injury attorney to assist them through these complicated lawsuits.

Typically, after a person dies, their assets and debts go through probate. Probate is a legal process designed to distribute assets and pay off debts to creditors before the decedents’ heirs and beneficiaries receive their intended gifts. When a decedent owes damages to an injury victim, the decedent’s estate is vulnerable to a personal injury lawsuit. In these cases, personal injury victims are possible creditors, and their damages are debts against the estate.

Generally, the burden of proof in negligence and wrongful death lawsuits is the same, regardless of whether the defendant is alive or has passed away. However, there are specific procedural requirements that plaintiffs must follow to preserve their right to recover against an estate. First, the statute of limitations in personal injury lawsuits against an estate is significantly less than when the defendant is alive. Massachusetts General Laws ch. 190, § 3-803(a) requires plaintiffs file their claims against an estate within one year of the incident giving rise to the complaint.

E-cigarettes seem to be all the rage these days and while they are often marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, the reality is that e-cigarettes pose their own health and safety hazards to users. If you have been injured by an exploding e-cigarette, our Massachusetts products liability attorneys are here to help. We understand the pain, shock and horror that the victim of an e-cigarette burn or explosion experiences, which is why we are devoted to fighting for your rights through each step of the legal process.

Injuries arising from hazardous and faulty e-cigarettes, commonly known as “vape pens”, have increased all over the country. In Massachusetts, the attorney general recently filed a lawsuit against a nationwide seller of e-cigarette and vaping products, claiming that the company violated state law by targeting underage individuals for sales of such products through marketing and advertising designed to appeal to young people. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the retailer did not verify the ages of online buyers for a number of years and also failed to make sure that shipments of these products were obtained by individuals over the age of 21, the state’s legal age for purchasing smoking products. Unfortunately, not only have e-cigarettes led to a significant increase in teenagers and young adults “vaping” – there have also been numerous reports of e-cigarettes exploding across the country, leading to burns, scarring and other severe facial injuries to users.

If you have been injured by an exploding or defective e-cigarette, you may be able to recover compensation through a products liability lawsuit. These claims are complex, but we know how to navigate them effectively. Product manufacturers are required to make sure that their products function as advertised and do not pose any extraordinary danger to customers when used as intended. They are also required to include sufficient instructions for use and safety warnings. When a defective product causes injury or death, there are a number of parties that may be liable including the manufacturer, distributor and retailer. Product defects can be categorized in one of three ways: