Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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.

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.

Car accident victims who hope to recover compensation for their injuries from a negligent motorist must be able to provide the court with evidence supporting their theory of fault and liability. Massachusetts plaintiffs can meet their burden by presenting police reports, medical records, eyewitness accounts, and expert testimony. Whether expert testimony is required (or even allowed) largely depends on the particular facts of the accident and the issues that are involved.

Expert witnesses are a valuable resource in personal injury lawsuits because these witnesses can provide specialized opinions based on technical knowledge that typically goes beyond the scope of knowledge of a layperson. Attorneys frequently utilize expert witnesses in personal injury lawsuits to support a client’s position. Some common types of expert witnesses are accident reconstructionists, city planners, toxicologists, and medical examiners.

Expert witnesses are generally people who possess education, experience, and training in a particular field relevant to the issues at hand. When qualifying a professional as an expert, courts will look at factors such as the individual’s academic background and peer-reviewed publications, as well as their professional experience, recognition, and reputation. Expert witness testimony is presumed to be unbiased based on their specialized knowledge, and courts will permit their opinions as long as they meet certain criteria. Experts’ opinions must assist the judge or jury in understanding the evidence, and an opinion must be based on the facts of the case and research conducted by the expert. Notably, the expert’s methods must be trustworthy, and the processes must have been appropriately applied to the present issue. When an expert is necessary, plaintiffs must retain a qualified expert to ensure that the court permits their opinion.

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.

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.

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.

Most drivers obey traffic laws but when they do not, the consequences can be devastating for everyone involved. Anytime a driver runs a red light, innocent motorists and pedestrians moving through the intersection can suffer serious, even deadly injuries. If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving someone disregarding a red light, our Massachusetts auto accident attorneys can help you sue the at-fault party and help you recover the compensation you need to move on with your life. We are committed to holding negligent drivers responsible for the harm that they cause.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that the number traffic deaths related to people running red lights are the highest they have been in 10 years. AAA finds that more than two individuals die each day in red light running accidents, including drivers (35 percent), passengers (46 percent), pedestrians and cyclists (5 percent). Accidents caused by drivers blowing through red lights killed 939 people in 2017, indicating a peak and a nearly 30 percent increase since 2012. The reasons for running red lights range from drivers being distracted and not paying attention to the road, to speeding and deliberately breaking the law. The study also found that while 85 percent of drivers acknowledge that running a red light is dangerous, about one-third of drivers say they flew through a red light within the preceding 30 days when they could have stopped in a safe manner.

Red lights are designed to safely control the flow of traffic and keep drivers safe. All motorists have a legal obligation to obey traffic laws, including following traffic signals so as not to endanger other motorists and pedestrians crossing the street. Sadly, those who run red lights cause and contribute to many intersection and T-bone accidents.

No matter how careful a driver is behind the wheel, the reality is that anyone can get into a car accident at any time. In the unfortunate event that you get into a wreck, you need to reach out to one of our Massachusetts car accident lawyers. We will evaluate the specifics of your case and help you learn more about your options. We fully understand the physical, emotional and financial toll that a car crash can have on a victim and his or her family, which is why we will handle your case with the utmost zealousness and compassion.

Allstate Insurance recently released America’s Safe Drivers Report for 2019 which ranks the country’s 200 metropolitan areas according to how often their residents get into car accidents. Unfortunately, three cities in Massachusetts ranked among the top 15 areas where you will find the worst drivers in the country, along with “risky roads” where the highest number of collisions tend to take place. Route 93 in Boston ranked is third place, Main street in Worcester comes in at fourth place and Interstate 91 in Springfield is ranked in seventh place. Not a single city in Massachusetts made the list which ranked the 15 cities where the roads are populated with the safest motorists in the country. As you may expect, researchers found that areas where drivers get into accidents least frequently happen to be less densely populated.

Just like in every other state, drivers in Massachusetts have a responsibility to drive safely and obey traffic laws. Negligence takes place when a person fails to use reasonable care behind the wheel and, thus, causes an accident and resulting injury. Reasonable care is defined as acting with the degree of caution that a rational person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. For example, if a person caused an accident because he or she was excessively speeding, that person will likely be deemed negligent and on the hook for the resulting harm.

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