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It is not uncommon for a Massachusetts car accident to involve multiple vehicles and injury victims. In these cases, injury victims may encounter challenges when seeking compensation for their injuries because there may be more than one negligent party. Although the law often provides a presumption that the rearmost driver in a rear-end collision was negligent, this presumption does not always apply. While one driver’s negligence may have started the series of events, there may be several other parties who contributed to the chain of events. These factors often cause injury victims to face the daunting task of filing multiple insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits.

Plaintiffs seeking representation for their Massachusetts car accident must be able to establish that the other party or parties are responsible for their injuries. It is essential that plaintiffs include all potential defendants and not just the individual who, in their mind, caused the accident. After identifying the appropriate defendants, the plaintiff must prove that the parties owed them a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely, and they breached that duty. This typically includes providing proof that the at-fault driver engaged in one of the common causes of chain-reaction accidents. Some of the common reasons for Massachusetts chain-reaction accidents are excessive speed, failure to abide by traffic laws, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and fatigued driving. Plaintiffs can provide evidence of these actions through surveillance footage, police reports, medical records, and witness accounts.

After meeting this burden, plaintiffs must be able to prove that the other parties’ negligence was the direct cause of their injuries and subsequent damages. This is often the most challenging phase of a chain-reaction accident lawsuit. In many cases, the driver who started the chain of events is not necessarily the cause of the following collisions, even if it occurs in the same sequence of events. Plaintiffs must engage in an in-depth and comprehensive investigation of the accidents, including discovery and depositions.

Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles pose a serious danger to Massachusetts motorists. These trucks are large vehicles capable of causing enormous damage. Indeed, each year in Massachusetts, there are over 30 people killed in Massachusetts truck accidents on average. Of course, this does not include the thousands who are injured as a result of these accidents.

Notwithstanding the old adage “accidents happen,” the truth is that most accidents are preventable. Truck drivers have a legal duty to operate their rigs safely and responsibly, following all traffic signs and laws. When a truck driver engages in dangerous or negligent conduct, and someone is injured as a result, the injured person can pursue a Massachusetts personal injury claim against the truck driver. In some cases, it may also be possible to bring a claim against the truck driver’s employer, the owner of the truck, and potentially other parties who were legally responsible for the accident. Common causes of truck accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, and drowsy driving.

Pursuing a truck accident claim is not always straightforward, even if the accident clearly seems to be the truck driver’s fault. Depending on the nature of the accident, the insurance company defending the truck driver may contest the trucker’s responsibility, or may question the amount of damages an accident victim sustained. In either case, an accident victim’s total compensation can drastically be reduced, or even eliminated. Those who have been injured in a Massachusetts truck accident should reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney for immediate assistance, as these claims must generally be brought within three years from the date of the accident.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Massachusetts slip and fall case that was filed against the town of Leicester (the Town). The opinion highlights the importance of complying with all procedural rules when dealing with a government defendant. In this case, because the plaintiff failed to ensure that the Town was served with timely notice of her claim, the court concluded that the plaintiff lost her right to a remedy.

Under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA), before a citizen files a claim against a public entity, that person must send a “claim in writing to the executive officer of such public employer within two years after the date upon which the cause of action arose.” This is known as a presentment letter. Unless a plaintiff sends a presentment letter, they cannot pursue a claim against the government entity.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was picking up her son from school on January 19, 2016, when she slipped and fell while on school grounds. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff suffered a fractured knee and wrist. Exactly two years later, the plaintiff sent a presentment letter to the Town. The Town received the letter on January 22, 2016, and issued a formal statement denying liability on February 7, 2018. The next month, the plaintiff filed this lawsuit.

Under Massachusetts law, individuals who suffer a fall on another’s property may be entitled to compensation for the injuries they sustained. However, Massachusetts slip and fall lawsuits are rarely as straightforward as they may seem. Plaintiffs in these cases must meet their evidentiary burden to recover against the negligent property owner.

Generally, plaintiffs possess the burden of proof in Massachusetts personal injury cases, and defendants do not need to prove that they are not liable for the victim’s injuries. Massachusetts premises liability law provides that property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for lawful visitors. As a threshold requirement, plaintiffs who want to recover against a property owner must be able to establish negligence. Slip and fall plaintiffs must be able to show that the property owner owed the visitor a duty of care, they breached that duty, and that breach caused the victim an injury.

Massachusetts slip and fall plaintiffs must be able to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the property owner violated their duty based on the general public’s views regarding acceptable behavior. Premises liability cases often vary depending on the type of property, visitor, and accident. However, regardless of the circumstances, most plaintiffs face challenges when trying to prove that the property owner did not take “reasonable” steps to keep their condition in “reasonably” safe condition. Issues often arise because reasonableness can be subjective, and the existence of a duty to act reasonably does not necessarily amount to negligence. Further, the law does not impose a burden on landowners to maintain their property in a way that ensures absolute safety for unforeseeable events.

Massachusetts premises liability law provides injury victims with a way to recover for injuries they suffered because of a landowner or occupier’s negligence. Generally, the law requires that property owners take reasonable measures to maintain a safe environment. Liability for injuries depends on the type of accident, visitor, and whether the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition.

The most common types of accidents that lead to a premises liability lawsuit include injuries related to slip and falls, trips on broken steps or stairs, dog bites, inadequate lighting or maintenance, and swimming pool accidents. The duty a property owner owes to the injury victims may vary depending on whether the visitor was an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Finally, in most cases, the plaintiff must be able to establish that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.

Premises liability against negligent landlords can be challenging because landlords will often claim that they were not aware of the dangerous condition. However, landlords may be liable if the plaintiff establishes that the defective condition was under the landlord’s control, the landlord negligently or carelessly made repairs, or they concealed a dangerous situation. For example, according to a recent news report, a landlord in nearby New York state was sentenced to prison and will likely face civil charges for knowingly concealing a gas line that caused a deadly explosion. The gas company notified the landlord that a proposed gas line was unsafe and would not be approved; however, the landlord continued to rent units by siphoning gas from a neighboring building. The landlord instructed workers to turn off the gas when the gas company inspector was visiting. Moments after the gas company left the premises, the workers turned the gas back on, resulting in a huge blast causing two buildings to collapse and several injuries and deaths.

Holiday parties are a popular way for employers to “rally the troops” and boost morale at a time of year when, quite frankly, few people want to be at work. However, over recent years, holiday parties have been the focus of much scrutiny, as concerns about sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and the over-serving of alcohol have come to light. Indeed, there is a noticeable increase in the number of Massachusetts drunk driving accidents during the holiday months, and this is in part due to people getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink at a work holiday party.

Under the Massachusetts dram shop and social host laws, employers often have a legal obligation to ensure that they do not over-serve employees at a work holiday party. If the holiday party is held at a restaurant, country club, or bar, that duty will also extend to the business hosting the event. While establishing liability in a Boston dram shop case can be difficult, it is possible with the help of an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer.

Establishing liability against a social host is slightly different than doing so against a restaurant or bar. Typically, the threshold is lower to prove that a bar or restaurant negligently served or over-served alcohol to a patron. However, if there is evidence showing that a social host knew a guest was intoxicated, but served them alcohol anyway, the host may be liable for any damages that stem from the decision to serve that individual.

After a serious Massachusetts car accident, the chances are that anyone who was injured faces hefty medical expenses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the at-fault party may be facing criminal charges for their role in causing the accident. If an at-fault party is convicted, they may be fined, placed on probation, or even incarcerated. In some cases, they will also be required to pay restitution to the accident victim.

However, the criminal process is not typically concerned with obtaining compensation for accident victims. Criminal law is designed to punish those who violate the law, rather than compensate those who are injured as a result of the defendant’s violation of the law. While providing restitution to accident victims is one aspect of the criminal justice system, any assistance provided is usually minimal and cannot be relied on.

First, an accident victim has little to no say about whether criminal charges are brought against another driver. The decision to bring charges rests with the county prosecutor, who may not decide to press charges except in the most egregious traffic accidents. Second, a defendant’s insurance company will not cover any restitution damages awarded by a court. Thus, an accident victim relies on a defendant’s ability to pay the restitution on their own, which may take months, years, or may never happen. In some cases, accident victims may be eligible for compensation through a Victim’s Compensation Fund, but even this process is often unreliable.

Over the past few years, thousands of product liability cases have been filed against consumer product giant, Johnson & Johnson, based on the company’s baby powder and other talc-based products. Those in Massachusetts who have been affected by Johnson & Johnson baby powder may be able to recover compensation for any injury or illness they suffered as a result of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder through a Massachusetts product liability lawsuit.

According to a recent article by the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson currently faces upwards of 16,000 lawsuits. The plaintiffs in these cases suffered serious illness from using the company’s talc-based baby powder, including lung disease, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of internal organs that is most often associated with asbestos exposure.

Recently, in an interesting development in the baby-powder litigation, the State of New Mexico filed a claim against Johnson & Johnson claiming that the company misled consumers about the safety of the company’s baby powder. In his complaint against Johnson & Johnson, the Attorney General of New Mexico states that the company continued to market and sell the baby powder for decades, all while knowing the safety risks the product posed. What makes the New Mexico case especially interesting is that it alleges for the first time that the company specifically targeted children and black and Hispanic women.

Winter weather, including snow and ice, is a major cause of Massachusetts car accidents. Each year, Massachusetts gets about four feet of rain and another four feet of snow. On top of that, there are on average 90 days in which the temperature reaches below freezing. As a result, Massachusetts roads can be very hazardous to both drivers and pedestrians during the winter months.

Poor weather conditions can impact road safety in several important ways. Of course, when roads are covered in snow or ice, drivers have a harder time maintaining control of their vehicles. This is especially the case the morning after a heavy storm, when frozen snow or ice has had a chance to melt and then re-freeze as temperatures decrease overnight.

Winter weather can also result in a driver’s inability to evade a hazard that they may otherwise have been able to avoid. For example, just last week there was a 69-car pile-up on a Virginia highway. According to the New York Times, the chain-reaction accident began in the westbound lanes of the highway shortly after 8 a.m. Evidently, the roads were icy and a heavy fog had rolled in that morning.

In a recent Massachusetts insurance dispute, the state’s high court found that consent-to-settle clauses are enforceable and do not violate public policy. The decision came in response to an engineering malpractice lawsuit that Massachusetts homeowners filed against a professional home engineer.

According to the court’s opinion, the homeowners hired the engineer to design and construct portions of their new home. The engineer signed an agreement with the town but underestimated the number of loads in his calculations. The engineer filed several inaccurate control reports and falsely certified that they complied with the applicable building codes. Shortly after construction, the defects became apparent, and after a confrontation, the engineer admitted to his miscalculations. The homeowners filed several claims against the engineer and his insurer.

The insurance company and the engineer had an agreement that the insurance company would not settle any claims without his consent. The homeowners asked for over $1 million in damages, but the engineer refused to settle for more than $100,000, despite the insurance company advising him that he faced a seven-figure settlement. The engineer was found liable for $460,000, which was paid partially by his insurance company. The homeowners then amended their complaint against the insurance company, arguing that they violated a state law that requires prompt settlements.