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More than a dozen years ago, a teenager was paralyzed in a single-vehicle crash after being thrown from the closed sunroof of her sport utility vehicle. She and her family filed Hankins v. Ford in a federal court in Mississippi, alleging her severe personal injuries were the result of a defective sunroof that was unreasonably dangerous and defendant car maker was negligent in failing to warn them of the risk.injury lawyer

The case dragged on for years, but ultimately ended with Ford prevailing under the argument that there is no government regulation that requires a sunroof (even one that is closed) to keep occupants inside a vehicle, particularly in the event of a rollover crash.

Fast-forward to today, and there are still no government regulations that require sunroofs to be safer, despite the fact that there are hundreds of ejections via sunroof every single year. Continue reading

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There are simply some fields for which non-profit ventures are generally better suited. Nursing home care appears to be one of those.nursing home injury

A recent report by Kaiser Health News appears to back growing anecdotal evidence of this, revealing that mission-driven non-profit organizations on the whole have better track records than the increasing number of facilities operated on a for-profit basis.

Numerous studies over the last 20 years has established that nursing home neglect and abuse is reported at higher rates at facilities that operate on a for-profit basis – particularly in those that operate as corporate chain operations. These facilities tend to skimp on staff and other necessities, which in turn results in substandard care.

In a nutshell, the latest report from Kaiser reaffirms this, examining closely the ways in which organizations that have complex corporate structures work not only to line the pockets of owners, but also to shield them from injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Continue reading

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Holding school districts accountable for negligence resulting in student injuries just got a lot harder in Massachusetts. personal injury attorney

Governmental immunity laws meant that it was never a cakewalk, and plaintiffs pursuing liability claims against school districts in Boston and elsewhere in the Commonwealth always had their work cut out for them. The latest ruling in Commier v. City of Lynn et al just makes the climb for justice that much steeper.

This was a heartbreaking case involving a boy who was just a fourth-grader when he was a victim of school bullying so severe he now suffers from permanent paralysis. The boy’s parents had filed numerous complaints with the school district prior to the incident in question, and it’s their contention the school’s response was insufficient to abate the danger their son faced, particularly when the district had a duty to protect him.

Now, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that school districts are shielded from liability in the event a student is injured by a classmate, thanks to the Massachusetts Tort Claims ActContinue reading

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It is always a difficult time when we can no longer take care of a loved one at home and it becomes time to have them live at a nursing home or other type of assisted care facility.  While this is not easy, there often comes a time when we must depend on the training, compassion, and professionalism of the management and staff to care for our loved ones and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, and to provide an appropriate level of medical attention when needed.  If the nursing home fails to do so and a patient is injured or killed, this may be the basis for a negligence lawsuit against a Boston area nursing home.

Recent Example of a Nursing Home Death in the Greater Boston Area

Boston personal injuryAccording to a recent news article from the Worcester Telegram, a nursing home in our area has been fined $140,000 in connection with the death of an 87-year-old resident. The decedent’s family has alleged his death was due to negligence on behalf of nursing home staff.  He died in UMass Memorial Hospital less than two days after he had gotten out of bed to the use the bathroom and fell and hit his head on a night table. It has further been alleged after he fell, a nursing aid told management decedent’s nurse requested nobody report the fall and simply put him back in bed.  There was no medical attention or evaluation provided for decedent following what ultimately turned out to be a fatal fall.  Continue reading

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Assumption of Risk as a Defense in Boston Personal Injury Cases Has Been Abolished

In some jurisdictions, a defendant in a personal injury case can plead what is known as an affirmative defense such as assumption of risk.  Generally speaking, an affirmative defense is a defense, which does not involve denying much of the allegations. Instead, a defendant will plead plaintiff knew of the risks when engaging in a certain activity or course of conduct, with full knowledge of the consequences, and chose to disregard or “assume” those risks.  By assuming the risks, plaintiff should not be able to fault defendant for engaging in any negligence so it should serve as a complete bar to recovery.

Massachusetts is a Mixed Comparative Negligence Jurisdiction

Boston personal injury lawyerAssumption of risk generally developed into what is known as a pure contributory negligence jurisdiction.   This means that if plaintiff contributed to the accident in anyway by being negligent in is or her own right, it would serve as a complete bar to recovery.  This could be as simple as a plaintiff walking down aisle in a big box retailer and slips on a wet floor while there was a caution wet sign.  In these jurisdictions, it could be argued plaintiff assumed the risk by walking on the floor anyway so the case should be dismissed. This may seem like a harsh result, but it is still the law in a handful of states and the District of Columbia.   Continue reading

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Boston is home to many colleges and universities, and while perhaps not as common in the past, joining a fraternity or sorority is still a popular thing to do for many new students. Despite being illegal, fraternity and sorority hazing still happens all the time and sometimes it results in serious injury or even death as we have seen in some cases that made big headlines. Not only is this a crime and a basis for being expelled from school, it is also a basis for filing a personal injury lawsuit in some cases under various theories of liability including the Massachusetts dram shop statute and negligence.

Massachusetts Dram Shop Law

Boston Personal InjuryThe dram shop law in our state is found in Chapter 138 of Section 69 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.).  This statute states no alcoholic beverages can be sold or otherwise provided to anyone who is intoxicated.  It is also illegal to serve anyone alcohol who is under the age of 21 and as we know, most fraternity and sorority pledges subjected to hazing are under the age of majority. It should also be noted forcing someone to drink massive amounts of alcohol counts as delivery of alcohol under the Massachusetts dram shop law. Continue reading

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If a plaintiff accepts any money from an insurance company following an accident which was not their fault, an insurance company may offer money in exchange for signing a general release and waiver of further liability in connection with the accident. Victims of an accident  involving personal injury should not sign such a document or accept any money until first speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney to see if signing this document is really in their best injury, and in most case, signing the document is not.

Boston Personal InjuryIf a person in involved a serious car accident in Boston,  at-fault driver’s car insurance company will typically have a claims adjuster contact plaintiff, (or plaintiff’s family in cases where plaintiff is incapacitated) within 48-hours after the accident. These claims adjusters will generally act friendly, as if they are just trying to help. It is essential to understand they work for the insurer, not you.  This means they do not necessarily have the injured party’s best interest in mind. They are tasked with settling cases for as little money as possible so their employers can make more money.

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Liability waivers can be a major obstacle to Boston injury lawsuits, but they are not always impossible to overcome. These waivers are often thrust in front of participants of certain recreational activities to warn of potential injury or even death. If you sign one of these waivers, it may limit the circumstances under which you are entitled to seek compensation if you are later injured. However, Boston injury attorneys can explain these documents are not impenetrable. There may be a number of challenges on which your claim can prevail.

Courts in Massachusetts Often Enforce Boilerplate Waivers Signed by Activity Participants 

Boston Personal Injury Unlike some other states where signing general liability waivers signed before participation are deemed void for public policy, the courts in Massachusetts have been willing to enforce many of these so-called agreements. It will take an experienced injury lawyer to successfully challenge it.  Continue reading

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Personal injury lawsuits in Boston can involve many different types of physical and emotional damages, but those involving traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often among the most serious. In some ways, such claims are comparable to wrongful death cases because survivors find life will never be the same.

Boston personal injurySome traumatic brain injury patients  will no longer be able to speak, walk or take care of themselves in any significant way.  We have adults that are basically reduced to the functional capacity of infants, requiring a lifetime of care and adaptation to a new way of life for the plaintiff and his or her family members.  In some cases, the plaintiff will be able to make a partial or complete recovery, but even that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if not upwards of a million dollars. Continue reading

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Service of process is a legal procedure whereby a party to a lawsuit provides proper notice of a legal action involving another party (usually the defendant). One gives notice of a Boston personal injury lawsuit by delivering a set of court documents to the person who is being served.Boston Medical Malpractice

If a settlement can’t be reached with defendants, the case will be filed in the Suffolk Superior Court in in Boston’s Government Center area. The court will then issue a service packet, complete with a signed and stamped summons. Multiple copies will be provided if there are numerous defendants. Each defendant must then be served with the packet, including copies of the summons and complaint. If a defendant is not properly served within 90 days, per state rules, the defendant can move to dismiss for lack of service.

Take for example the 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, wherein the appeals court affirmed the dismissal of a Massachusetts medical malpractice/ wrongful death claim, which came a full year after the complaint was originally filed against defendant physicians. Although plaintiff had sought two 90-day extensions one top of the original, (complications arose, as one defendant was out of the country), the court found the delay was inexcusable. The case was pending in Essex County Superior Court, while service was governed by Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure 4(j), requiring that such process be completed in 90 days. Justices ruled that while federal rules offer no specific time limit on service of process outside the U.S., case law has established reportedly that the amount of time for foreign service is not unlimited.

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