Massachusetts Injury Risks Abound this Holiday Season

It's one of the most joyous times of the year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. According to officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were close to 20,000 emergency room injuries that involved holiday decorating through the months of November and December in 2012.
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This is the fourth year in a row that the number of these injuries has increased. Each year since 2009, there have been roughly 12,000 E.R. visits as a result of injuries from holiday decorations. Stepping on broken ornaments and falling off of ladders may be funny in the movies, but are real dangers in real life. These kinds of accidents happen each and every day in homes across the country. We've also got to be cautious of fires during this time of year. With beautifully-lit Christmas trees and lights and candles to brighten our holiday spirits, we're also facing some serious risks for fire-related accidents.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers note the U.S. sees close to 300 injuries each and every day throughout the holiday season. The most common types of injuries throughout the season involve falls, lacerations and back strains. There are also about 200 fires reported every season, causing about 10 fatalities, 20 injuries and more than $16 million in properly loss. From 2009 to 2011, candle-related fires killed about 70 people, injured another 700 and cost close to $310 million in properly loss.

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Understanding Risks of Carbon Monoxide in Massachusetts Homes

On average, more than 165 people are killed each year as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are thousands more who end up in hospital emergency rooms from the odorless, colorless gas. This dangerous gas interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels. Kerosene heaters, generators and other winter heat sources are a primary threat.
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Breathed over long periods of time, low concentrations of CO may also contribute to other illness. Luckily, there are a few simple measures that you can take to prevent these problems and injuries. One of the most common of the preventative measures is to install a CO alarm to detect potentially deadly conditions.

Our Stoughton personal injury attorneys know this dangerous gas can come from many devices we have in our homes. They can include fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, gas or kerosene space heaters, boilers, gas cooking stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces, charcoal grills, wood stoves, lawn mowers, power generators, camp stoves, motor vehicles and some power tools with internal combustion engines. Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever).

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MBTA Risks Increase with Late-Night Hours

Governor Deval Patrick recently announced that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will launch its late-night bus, subway and light rail service next spring, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
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"Extending service on weekend evenings will allow the public to enjoy the many attractions and restaurants the region has to offer and give workers a more cost-effective option for getting home late at night," said Governor Patrick.

But risks for accidents increase when the sun sets. Our Boston personal injury lawyers understand that officials with the MBTA are giving this late-night program a one-year pilot test run. The new schedule has been launched after members from the public and from businesses around the area asked for it. People are looking for affordable and convenient ways to get around town, but many don't comprehend the risks involved -- especially at night.

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Chevy Malibu Sedans Recalled Due to Risk of Injury

General Motors has announced that 2013 and 2014 Chevy Malibus are being recalled because of defects in the vehicles that are causing a variety of serious safety issues. Our defective product attorneys in Boston know that if any of the design defects cause people to be hurt in auto accidents, then General Motors may be held legally liable for resulting injuries. corvettes-778445-m.jpg

GM indicates that there have been no injuries as yet because of problems with the Malibu. However, those who drive a Malibu face an increased accident risk until their vehicle has been taken to the dealer and repaired.

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Drivers More Aggressive in the Holiday Season: Stay Safe and Keep Calm

Our Boston accident lawyers know that the holiday season is a dangerous time on the roads. While most people think Thanksgiving and New Years Eve are the highest risk times, studies indicate that there may actually be a period of time over the holiday season that is even worse for driver safety: the days around Christmas. christmas-decoration-1433232-m.jpg

Christmas is supposed to be a time of good cheer, of spending time with friends and family, and of engaging in religious traditions for a number of faiths. However, Christmas has become a stressful time for many, with drivers scrambling to do last-minute shopping or to get to their travel destination. More people on the roads -- especially people who are coping with holiday stress -- can mean more accidents, more injuries and even more deaths.

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Workplace Injury Trends Reveal Longer Recovery Times

personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts note there were fewer serious workplace injuries in 2012 as compared with 2011. This seems like great news, as this means that there were less people who got badly hurt on the job and who had to cope with the costs and pain of receiving treatment and struggling to recover. However, the workplace injury stats for 2012 also indicate that workers on average were staying out of work longer because of injuries last year. not-so-healthy-1412909-m.jpg

The data, therefore, indicates that while there have been fewer reported serious workplace injuries overall in the last year, the ones that did happen were worse than in the year prior.

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A Concussion is a Serious Brain Injury

Experienced brain injury attorneys know that falls and car accidents are two of the top causes of injury to the brain. Since many auto accidents and slip and falls happen because someone is negligent, it is not uncommon for personal injury lawsuits to be filed based on a brain injury occurring. The compensation for the lawsuits depends in part upon the severity of brain injury. thinking-out-of-the-box-3-1083012-m.jpg

When most people think of serious brain injuries, they think of being in a coma, of permanent brain damage, or of traumatic brain injury. Concussions, the most common type of brain injury, are widely viewed as not being all that serious. The reality, however, is that even a simple concussion can do lasting damage.

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Atwell v. Boston Scientific Corp. Addresses Jurisdiction in Large Transvaginal Mesh Claims

For anyone involved in a civil lawsuit, the question of whether the case should be removed from state to federal court is an important one.
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Technically, both parties should be able to expect a fair legal proceeding no matter the venue in which the case is heard. However, civil case defendants in large tort actions, such as transvaginal mesh claims, tend to view a federal court venue as a strategic advantage. They will often fight very hard to have a case removed from state court to federal court if there is an opportunity to do so.

When transvaginal mesh claims are filed as a class action or a mass action, it can improve the defendant's odds of having the case removed to federal court, per the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The law expanded the criteria under which such claims must be removed to federal court.

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Bus and Train Drivers Face Added Scrutiny Amid Distracted Driving Crashes

The media has been reporting lots of bad news about distracted driving incidents lately, including tragic accidents where buses and trains were involved in serious or fatal collisions due to a driver who failed to pay careful attention. railway-tracks-1428076-m.jpg

Our injury lawyers in Massachusetts know that this wave of bad news has led to added scrutiny of bus and train drivers, with transit agencies taking new approaches to promote safety in order to reduce the risk to passengers and others on the roads.

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65-Car Pileup in Worcester Blamed on Icy Roads

Icy roads are to blame, according to NBC NEWS, for a 65-car crash that injured 35 people in Worcester along Route 290. The wreck spanned nearly a half mile of roadway. Massachusetts police report that there were two trailer trucks, two six-wheel trucks and 61 passenger vehicles involved in the 7:00 a.m. accident.
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Emergency response teams were delayed in getting to the crash site because the road wasn't salted well enough yet. Officials had to bus roughly 60 people from the accident, according to Massachusetts State Police (MSP). One of the cars that was rear-ended was a state trooper's cruiser, which had stopped at the site of one of the early crashes.

Worcester injury attorneys are frequently called to handle accidents caused by wintery road conditions. Unfortunately, this accident is a reminder of the risks as we head into the busy holiday travel season. While State Police warn residents via Twitter, "Roads are slick in central Mass, Worcester City area. If you don't have to go out, wait" there's nothing that can help to prevent these accidents better than safe and alert driving habits.

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CPSC Works to Prevent Child Injury this Holiday Season

In the last few years, officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have enforced more stringent guidelines for toys, requiring testing by third party, independent laboratories around the globe. They've been using this system to test toys for various defects, dangers and to enforce stringent lead and phthalates limits for toys.
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Over the last 5 years, officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and with the CPSC have stopped close to 9.8 million units and about 3,000 different toys that violated various federal safety standards. While these toys were kept from store shelves and kept out of your home, there will still many more that slipped through the cracks and into the hands of consumers.

Our child injury attorneys in Boston note the CPSC still issued more than 30 toy recalls last year. Thankfully, none of these recalls included lead issues, but there were many other dangers wrapped in products marketed to children. More than 10 children were killed in toy-related accidents in 2011. Most of these fatalities were the result of using riding toys, like non-motorized scooters and tricycles. There were four who were found in swimming pools with their tricycles and another who received a fatal head injury after his tricycle toppled. Asphyxiation and aspiration were the next most common cause of toy-related deaths.

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MBTA Injury Risks Increase with Ridership

Big Papi isn't only reeling fans into Fenway, where riding with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has never been more popular. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), ridership broke records in October. Ridership for the entire month, when the Red Sox took home the World Series, increased by close to 4 percent over the October from 2012. During the month, there were more than 36 million passenger trips.
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"Our October numbers represent the highest monthly ridership recorded since the beginning of the MBTA," said Beverly Scott, MBTA General Manager.

MBTA accidents in Boston are also unfortunately common. Average daily ridership for the month jumped by more than 4 percent over October of last year. Daily, there were more than 1.30 million passenger trips taken. While ridership of all modes of transportation has increased, the biggest jumps were on the buses and the subway. It's the Blue, Orange and Red Lines that carry an average of close to 40,000 more riders a day than they did in October of 2012. Buses landed more than 22,000 more passenger trips than October of 2012.

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Seat Belt Requirement for Motorcoaches Improve Safety, Accident Survivability

The days of seat belt-free buses will soon be a thing of the past. Recently, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule to require lap and shoulder seat belts for each individual passenger on new motorcoaches and other similar large buses. Officials believe this will improve the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risks of serious injury or death in the event of an accidents, including the risk of occupants being ejected during rollover accidents.
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"Today's rule is a significant step forward in our efforts to improve motorcoach safety," said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary.

Our bus accident attorneys in Massachusetts understand that there is, on average, about 21 people who are killed and another 8,000 injured in large bus accidents in the U.S. each year. Officials believe that by requiring seat belts, they can reduce the risks of serious injury and death by close to 45 percent. Although motorcoach travel is considered to be one of the safest forms of transportation, accidents still happen. And when these accidents happen, there is a serious risk for death and injury because of the speeds at which these vehicles travel and because of the large number of occupants on these buses.

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New Booster Seat Recommendations from the IIHS Impact Massachusetts Parents

Officials with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released annual ratings of child booster sea models. Less than 20 of the more than 30 new models got a top rating of "Best Bet" and only one was rated as a "Good Bet".
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According to Occupational Health & Safety (OSHA), officials also reported that some children should be in these seat until they're as old as 12.

Our Boston child injury attorneys understand that children between the ages of 4 and 8 are about 50 percent less likely to sustain injuries in the event of an auto collision when they're properly riding in a booster seat. If more parents were to keep their children in booster seats until they're 12-years-old, safety officials believe that fewer children would face injuries in auto accidents. According to CBS, car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for children under the age of 13.

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New Boston Playground Highlights Injury-Prevention Requirements

Mayor Thomas M. Menino recently joined Liberty Mutual Insurance Chairman and CEO David H. Long for a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the City of Boston's first universally accessible playground at the Charlestown Navy Yard. According to the City of Boston, this project will help to provide close to 25,000 square foot boardwalk with nearly 65 pieces of play equipment within a nearly 20,000 square foot rubber playground area.
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This is going to be the first playground in the area that caters to both children and adults. Liberty Mutual stepped up with a $1 million donation.

Our Boston child injury attorneys understand that everyone in the community is going to benefit from this new city addition. Unfortunately, there are more than 200,000 children who land in an emergency room with injuries from public playgrounds in the U.S. each and every year. Most injuries happen when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), report about half of playground-related injuries are severe-fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations.

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