Articles Posted in Car Accidents

As many people know, Boston is frequently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for drivers. While each new year brings room for improvement, Boston continues to lead the nation in accident claims. Data revealed that while most drivers report a collision about every ten years, the rate in Boston was approximately every 3.5 years. Moreover, over the last eight years, about 28% of Boston accidents result in non-fatal injuries, and there are approximately 22 fatal accidents every year. As such, it is crucial that Massachusetts accident injury victims understand their rights and remedies after a collision.

The majority of Massachusetts accidents involve distracted drivers and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These accidents can cause serious injuries to other motorists, bystanders, cyclists, and passengers. Passengers often suffer some of the most serious consequences because they maintain the least control over their situations. In most situations, these victims cannot swerve or move out of the way. This vulnerability leaves them at the will of a negligent driver.

For instance, Massachusetts news reports described a rollover crash involving a potential drunk driver. State police stated that the 28-year-old driver’s vehicle rolled over into a flooded gully on the side of 1-95 north. When troopers arrived, they removed the driver, a 27-year-old passenger, from the submerged SUV. The passenger was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and the driver was arrested later in the day. The driver is charged with various offenses, including operating under the influence of liquor, negligent operation, and felony motor vehicle homicide.

After a Boston car accident, those who wish to pursue compensation should contact an attorney to assist them through the complicated process towards recovery. Legal support is more than just representation during litigation. Instead, an attorney can provide critical assistance during all stages of the claims process. Boston personal injury claims require a thorough investigation of all aspects of the incident. Neglecting to engage in an appropriate and comprehensive investigation can lead to the demise of a case.

Investigations that occur shortly after an accident tend to result in the most fruitful outcomes. Prompt investigation can help avoid missing the statute of limitations or other crucial procedural deadlines. In some situations, attorneys can help preserve the accident scene and gather other time-sensitive information. Gathering evidence close to when the accident occurred can help strengthen the victim’s case. In many instances, injury victims are understandably focused on their physical and psychological recovery or are otherwise unable to get to the scene; in these situations, an attorney can ensure a timely investigation.

Despite facially similar characteristics, every accident is unique and requires an independent analysis of the situation. Many contributing factors may impact why an accident occurred. Skilled accident attorneys understand which facts and evidence are essential to a successful case. In many cases, evidence may not be easily accessible because of various reasons. However, attorneys have the legal knowledge and skills to gain access to crucial evidence. For instance, in a truck accident, a truck driver’s employee may refuse to provide details about their hiring and training protocols- a skilled attorney can cite the relevant laws that require the employer to provide that information.

Massachusetts accidents involving pedestrians struck by motor vehicles are one of the most devastating types of accidents a person can experience. The physical, psychological, and subsequent financial damages can have a lifelong impact on a person’s livelihood. Massachusetts pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles can often lead to significant head injuries, spinal cord damages, broken bones, lacerations, and even death. All of these situations present significant expenses to a victim.

For instance, a recent Boston news report described a catastrophic accident that left a 28-year-old pedestrian in critical condition. According to witnesses, a driver in a Toyota Corolla was traveling east near Memorial Drive and DeWolfe Street when she hit the pedestrian. The driver did not suffer injuries and remained on the scene until emergency responders arrived. State Police told reporters that the case is under investigation.

After a Boston pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle, a person or their loved ones should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies against the negligent party. Pedestrians who wish to recover against a negligent driver must be able to prove that the other driver breached their duty of care and that breach resulted in the victim’s damages. In many cases, an insurance company is the first step in recovering damages. A party may not proceed with a personal injury lawsuit against the culpable party unless the victim meets the state’s tort threshold limits. For instance, a party may only file a lawsuit if the accident resulted in certain damages totaling $2,000 or higher. These damages must involve medical costs, broken bones, eye or ear injuries, permanent scarring or disfigurement. A pedestrian claim involving a motor vehicle accident may only proceed if it fits into this criteria.

As in-person schooling resumes, more children will be using Massachusetts school buses to get to and from school and after-school activities. Although school buses tend to be one of the safest ways to transport children to school, accidents resulting in serious injuries continue to occur. School bus accidents do not only include incidents involving motor vehicle collisions but other events such as falling while on the bus or being struck by the door while boarding or de-boarding. Massachusetts school bus accidents can be traumatizing to the children, parents, and school at large.

For instance, recently, a local news report described a Shrewsbury school bus crash on a busy Massachusetts roadway. According to witnesses, the school bus was making a left turn when a semi-truck collided with the bus. Emergency personnel were called to the scene and began transporting the children into ambulances. Fortunately, the bus driver and the injured children were discharged from the hospital with limited physical injuries. However, some children reported that they are continuing to experience anxiety following the collision. Parents told reporters that they reported the unsafe conditions of Route 20 and requested traffic signals; however, the city did not take any actions to remedy the dangerous road.

Massachusetts school bus accidents tend to be complex and require a thorough understanding of state and federal laws surrounding liability and immunity. However, there are many factors that courts will consider when determining fault and apportioning liability. For instance, the law does not require school buses to maintain seat belts, and most do not have them. The lack of seat belts can cause a child to be thrown or fall over when the bus driver brakes too hard or is involved in a collision. Further, in some cases, districts and city officials design unsafe bus stop locations.

Wrong-way car accidents occur when one or more vehicles travel in a lane opposite to the flow of traffic. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), wrong-way accidents do not occur as frequently as other types of accidents in Massachusetts. However, these accidents tend to result in more serious injuries and fatalities. These collisions are typically more severe because the wrong-way driver is usually unaware that they are traveling in the wrong lane. As such, the oncoming driver may be driving at high rates or erratically while drivers in the proper lane usually have little to no time to safely avert the impending collision. Wrong-way accident injury victims may be able to recover for their losses under Massachusetts personal injury laws.

Massachusetts wrong way car collisions usually occur because the negligent driver is intoxicated, under the influence of illicit or prescribed medication, distracted, or fatigued. Further, some of these accidents occur because the road conditions are unsafe or the weather presents motorists with obstructions related to fog, heavy rain or snow. The NTSB reports that these accidents are amongst the “most serious types of highway accidents.”

For instance, recently, a local news report described a harrowing Massachusetts wrong-way accident. Law enforcement responded to the scene of an accident in Somerset, Massachusetts. According to reports, an SUV driver was driving east on the highway’s west side when it slammed into a sedan. The sedan burst into flames, and the 21-year-old driver died at the scene of the accident. The 50-year-old SUV driver from Rhode Island, survived, but suffered serious injuries.

New England winter weather can be treacherous, especially for those who do not have experience handling inclement conditions. Although October is the month that sees the highest number of Massachusetts car accidents, winter weather generally increases the likelihood of car accidents, slip-and-falls, and other types of personal injury. In Massachusetts, those that suffer injuries in a car accident or other incident because of another’s negligence may be able to recover for their damages. However, snow and ice-related accidents can present many challenges to injury victims as the circumstances surrounding these accidents may not be clear. It is important that injury victims consult with an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies in these cases.

Many premises liability accidents stem from snow and ice slip-and-falls, trip-and-falls, and step-and-falls. These accidents may occur when a property owner fails to remove snow or ice from their home or business. The failure to make a property safe may result in serious injuries to a visitor or guest. The most common injuries from a snow or ice accident are broken bones, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and organ damage. In many cases, these injuries require both emergency and long-term medical treatment. Even with insurance, these medical treatments are often costly and may deter the victim’s ability to continue gainful employment. In these cases, victims should pursue damages against the negligent party.

In some snow and ice accidents, liability may be evident, especially in situations where it is clear that a property owner failed to make their property safe, or an at-fault driver was acting negligently in operating their vehicle. However, cases are rarely straightforward, and defendants may blame the victim and avoid liability under the state’s comparative negligence or assignment laws. For example, an at-fault driver may argue that the injury victim suddenly braked their vehicle, thereby causing the rear-end driver to slam into them. Moreover, a property owner may try to attribute liability to a third-party hired to remove snow from the owner’s business or home. However, despite the legal theories that defendants may purport to avoid liability, winter weather can lead to disastrous accidents.

The death of a loved one in a tragic Massachusetts accident can have life-long devastating impacts on the victim’s family. Under the law, when another’s negligence played a part in the victim’s injuries or death, the surviving family members may be able to recover damages. Massachusetts law permits family members to recover for their losses under the state’s wrongful death statute.

A wrongful death occurs when a person dies because of the negligent, wrongful, or reckless conduct of another party. Typical defendants in these cases include individuals, companies, government agencies, or other similar parties. Wrongful death actions follow the same general theories as personal injury claims, except that they are deceased. However, wrongful death claims differ from survival actions. Under Massachusetts law, a spouse, partner, or child of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit. On the other hand, survival actions are generally brought on behalf of the victim’s estate to compensate the person who died.

Massachusetts wrongful death claims may follow a variety of different incidents. For example, many wrongful death claims arise from assaults, birth injuries, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian collisions, recreational activity accidents, and defective products. However, Massachusetts maintains several exceptions to the wrongful death statute. For example, in some cases, employers may not face liability for an employee’s wrongful death if they died while on the job. However, family members may be able to pursue a legal claim under a different legal theory.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), traffic accidents are a public health concern in the United States, and a serious issue in Massachusetts. Car crashes are among the leading causes of severe injuries and death, killing nearly 100 people every day. Although fatality rates are improving slowly, it is still considerably higher than other developed nations. Many factors contribute to the outcome of a Massachusetts car accident. These factors include the driver and passenger’s age, the use of seat belts and restraints, the driver’s impairment level, and whether the accident involves pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

In the last full reporting year, CDC data indicates that 400 people died in a Massachusetts car accident. In 2020, there has already been close to 76,000 reported crashes and 286 fatalities. Nearly 1000 of these accidents involved pedestrians, and 824 involved bicyclist collisions. Although the overall number of accidents decreases slightly, the rate of fatal accidents remains similar to past reporting years.

The majority of these accidents involve motorists between the ages of 25 and 34, followed by those between 35 and 44. However, there is a significant number of crashes where the driver’s ages are unknown. Over 2000 passenger vehicle occupants died in a Massachusetts motor vehicle accident in the last reporting year. Many fatalities occurred because the driver or passenger was not wearing a seat belt or other restraint. Massachusetts law and policymakers encourage and require motorists to use these safety restraints, as they are a proven way to reduce an accident’s severity. Wearing a seat belt and buckling children into age and weight appropriate booster seats can reduce the risk for severe injury and death by 50%. In Massachusetts, seat belt laws are secondary, and cover drivers and passengers over 13 years old. Further, child restraint laws require that children seven years old and younger are buckled in a car or booster seat.

Under Massachusetts law, parents maintain the legal duty to ensure their child’s safety and well being. Inherent in this duty is parental responsibility for their child’s negligent conduct. Massachusetts parental liability laws provide that a parent may be held financially responsible for injuries and property damage that their child causes. In some cases, parental liability may extend to certain criminal acts their child engages in as well, such as vandalism. However, the most common situation where a parent may be held responsible is motor vehicle accidents.

These cases often fall under one of two main legal theories, vicarious liability or direct liability. Under vicarious liability, a parent may be responsible for injuries and property damage even though they did not have direct involvement in the situation. This typically applies in situations where a parent is the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident. In these situations, the parent would be liable for their teenager’s acts while they were driving the parent’s vehicle. Whereas, under direct liability, a parent may be responsible if they failed to control their child when they knew that their child would engage in negligent or reckless conduct.

For example, recently, a Massachusetts news report described an accident involving five teenagers. According to state law enforcement officials, the single-vehicle accident occurred shortly after midnight. The police department stated that the collision involved five individuals who ranged from 13 and 15 years old. Three of the juveniles were ejected from the vehicle and were transported to a local hospital. The other two occupants exited the car after the accident and did not require immediate medical attention. Video footage shows that the white jeep rolled over, and the roof was completely crushed.

Pedestrians, such as daily commuters, runners, hikers, and those traveling by stroller or wheelchair, are among the most vulnerable type of road users in Massachusetts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies these groups of people, along with young drivers, bicyclists, and school bus occupants as “higher risk transportation system users.” These individuals tend to suffer the most significant injuries and damages when they are involved in an accident. The NHTSA’s most recent data indicates that these users accounted for over 50% of the nearly 400 traffic fatalities reported to the state.

The rate of pedestrian fatalities occurs more frequently during colder months (October-February) than warmer ones (March-September). Research suggests that these rates coincide with low visibility, unsafe roadways, and judgment errors. Although motorists have a higher duty to act with reasonable care for others’ safety, pedestrians must also abide by a similar duty of care. Both motorists and pedestrians must take steps to prevent foreseeable danger to themselves and others. When a party fails to adhere to this standard, their right to damages may be reduced or barred.

Massachusetts follows a modified comparative fault model. Under this model, an injury victim who is more than 51 percent responsible for their injuries will be ineligible to collect damages. However, if the plaintiff is less than 51 percent responsible, their recovery will be reduced by their share of liability. Massachusetts pedestrian accident victims may face a reduction in their damages in cases where they unsafely enter the roadway, fail to use crosswalks, or otherwise violate traffic rules.

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