A Boston news report recently provided an update on the New Hampshire crash that killed seven bikers on a north woods highway. The report indicates the lengths that defense attorneys will go to in hopes of shifting liability away from their client. Last year, a Massachusetts truck driver was traveling west when he crossed over the center line and slammed into a group of bikers that were part of a veterans group. When the police arrived at the scene, the truck driver explained that he was reaching for a drink when the accident occurred. The police let him go. However, he was arrested three days later after he tested positive for narcotics and amphetamines. Additionally, federal investigators discovered that his truck had over 20 safety violations. He was subsequently charged with seven counts of negligent homicide to which he pled not guilty.
According to the State Police investigation, the trailer the truck driver was hauling was about 1.5 feet over the center line when the accident occurred. In a disturbing — yet not all that surprising — move, the truck driver’s defense attorney recently challenged the police report by referring to a report prepared by an “independent” accident reconstructionist. The report claims that one of the victim’s motorcycle was in the centerline at the time of the collision. Additionally, the defendant’s motion claims that the motorcyclist was not looking at the road in front of him, and turned around to look at the group of riders right before the collision. Further, the defense motion includes the biker’s autopsy reports, which show that his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit. The State acknowledged receipt of the motion and stated that they would be filing an objection with the court.
Under Massachusetts law, defendants in personal injury and wrongful death actions will often come up with creative arguments as to why they are not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Often, defendants rely on the state’s contributory negligence laws to avoid liability for their actions. Under the contributory negligence laws, a plaintiff’s total recovery amount can be reduced if they are found partially at fault for causing the accident. And, if the defendant is able to convince the jury that the plaintiff was 51 percent at fault or more, the plaintiff will not be able to recover for their injuries at all.
While the article above was in the criminal context, the principle is the same. In general, it is important for accident victims to understand that defendants in both criminal and civil matters will go to extraordinary lengths to convince a judge or jury that they were not at fault, often attempting to rely on a legal loophole. Unfortunately, if an accident victim is not prepared to address all possible defenses, they may be caught off guard by these tactics. By working with an experienced attorney, accident victims can be prepared for all possible defenses, increasing the chances of obtaining compensation for their injuries.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Massachusetts Car Accident?
You should contact the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C if you or someone you know has suffered injuries or death in a Massachusetts car accident. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C. have been fighting the big insurance companies for over 25 years, handling various personal injury lawsuits, including Massachusetts car accidents, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims. We have successfully recovered significant amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients. Compensation in these cases typically include payments for economic and non-economic losses. Contact our office at 800-262-9200, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our firm.