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If you are injured in an Uber or by an Uber – or a crash involving any other rideshare service in Boston – you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries.injury lawyer

Among the considerations a Boston personal injury attorney will make following an Uber crash:

  • Uber considers its drivers to be independent contractors, not employees, which allows a degree of distance between the company and a negligent driver, where otherwise vicarious liability/doctrine of respondeat superior would make rideshare companies automatically responsible to pay. All drivers are required to carry their own auto insurance, but if third-party liability doesn’t apply, Uber offers up to $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident ($50,000 per person) while drivers are active on the app and up to $1 million while they are en route to pick up a fare or are actively carrying a fare.
  • Uber, like Lyft and other providers, insist they are not “taxi” or “livery” services, but rather technology platforms. In addition to not employing drivers, they don’t own any vehicles either.
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists injured in a crash with an Uber driver may be entitled to third-party liability coverage too.

In practice, however, this coverage isn’t so straightforward as it might seem. Take, for instance, a case reported on recently by WCVB ABC-5 in Boston. A man in Framingham is reportedly being sued for a 2015 Massachusetts Uber accident in which he, Uber’s passenger, reportedly doored a bicyclist. Uber insists it won’t defend him (and further won’t pay the bicyclist injured).

The news station reportedly discovered that many of the insurance protections the company purports to carry for drivers and passengers, as well as injured bicyclists and pedestrians, may not be as readily available as one might be led to believe. Continue reading

An Attleboro man was seriously injured after a swing collapsed last week at a popular outdoor bar.

The man suffered a head injury after being hit by a falling pole at Lawn on D, a popular bar at the Convention Center. WHDH reported two women were on the swing at the time. The man was sitting next to the swing while visiting the bar after marching in the Pride Parade. He suffered a concussion and a serious head wound that required emergency medical care. barinjuries-300x202

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which operates the bar, told media the incident was the result of a mechanical failure. The Authority said new safety features had been put in place and that the swing was inspected every week.

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The fatal mauling of a 14-year-old Dighton boy has dog-bite safety in focus as spring gets underway in New England.

The boy, who was a freshman at Bristol-Plymouth Technical School, was mauled by four dogs while helping a dog owner who had traveled to Boston, the Herald reported. He had been dropped off by his grandmother to do chores on the property. A neighbor called 911 to report a pack of dogs attacking a human.dog-attack-225x300

Responding officers found the boy on the ground of the property located off Maple Swamp Road.  The dogs were Dutch shepherds and Belgian malinois. Dighton is just outside Providence, Rhode Island, about 45 minutes south of Boston. The USA Today reported there are indications that the property owner may be a professional dog breeder.

While it’s not often discussed, or often thought about, Our Boston dog bite attorneys know dog bites are a common occurrence. Dog owners have a legal responsibility to prevent their animals from injuring an innocent party. Spring is a particularly dangerous time as dog owners return to the streets and parks with their animals.

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The health care industry is coming under increasing fire for the high number of birth injuries that occur each year in the United States.

Physicians with specialities in obstetrics or pediatrics account for nearly half of all medical malpractice claims. Specialists in orthopedics, emergency medicine and family medicine are also among the most common defendants in birth injury claims. birthinjury11-300x199

Victims are most commonly neonate (less than 1 month old), although claims are fairly evenly split among neonates, infants in their first year, adolescents and teenagers. Contrary to popular belief, the hospital is not the most common site of alleged malpractice, except for neonate claims, 60 percent of which involved labor or delivery. Otherwise, the most common treatment location in cases where malpractice is alleged is a physician’s office or clinic.

Our Boston birth injury attorney reported last year on the high risk of maternal death during childbirth in the United States. An investigation by the USA Today Network found more than 50,000 mothers are injured and more than 700 die while giving birth in the United States each year.

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The Massachusetts Attorney General this week announced settlements with seven nursing homes over the deaths of five residents.

One nursing home operator has been banned from participating in state-run healthcare programs for a period of seven years, while others agreed to fines ranging from $30,000 to $200,000 and will undergo retraining of staff. But the settlement falls short of criminal prosecution, which safety advocates contend needs to occur to hold large for-profit nursing home operators accountable for the health and safety of residents.

The Worcester Telegram reported more nursing home closures are expected across Massachusetts. Currently more than 400 Massachusetts nursing homes operate 45,000 beds. About 20 Massachusetts nursing homes closed last year.

The aging Baby Boomer population, consolidation of the industry into a few large for-profit nursing home operators, and a lax regulatory and oversight environment have created a perfect storm in the American nursing home industry. As our nursing home abuse attorneys in Massachusetts reported last year, instance of nursing home mistreatment or neglect can be even more likely at these for-profit facilities.

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Hospital mergers are in the news again, the latest warning sign when it comes to the risk of patient injury or death in the U.S. healthcare system.

The nation’s largest hospital and health-care conglomerates often tout economies of scale and improved services when announcing acquisitions or otherwise swallowing up the competition. However, The New York Times became the latest media outlet to question those assertions when it published a report this month that found a decline in level of care associated with hospital mergers.Accident at Route 212 in Methuen

While such mergers may offer cost-savings and other economies for providers, they result in fewer choices for patients and physicians, higher prices, and reduced quality of care, including an increase in mortality and major health setbacks as competition falls.

Our medical malpractice lawyers in Boston continue to fight for patient rights as the profit-motive erodes what few safeguards exist when it comes to protecting the American healthcare consumer from bad doctors, dangerous hospitals, deadly pharmaceuticals and defective medical products.

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The threat of fall injuries is a commonly overlooked risk, particularly through the long Massachusetts winter months.

As we recently reported, Massachusetts snow removal liability laws can hold business or property owners liable for falls or other injuries caused by the accumulation of ice or snow on public or private property. In some cases, even municipalities may be held responsible, although MGL c. 84, § 21 requires those making claims against a municipality to notify the county, city or municipality of injury or damage resulting from snow or ice within 30 days of an incident.download-2-2

Although winter’s wet and slippery conditions are far from the only cause of fall accidents, ice and snow do add substantial risks for New Englanders. Boston Code of Ordinances 16-12.16 contains addition information about the city’s snow-removal law.

Our Boston injury lawyers know fall injuries are often discounted as frivolous claims. It’s an opinion that is heavily promoted by big box stores, commercial property owners and insurance liability carriers. But the fact is that fall injuries remain a leading cause of serious accidental injury and death in the United States each year.

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Failure to clear ice and snow from your property may result in liability if someone falls or is otherwise injured this winter.

Many property and business owners may still be under the impression that Massachusetts law does not hold them accountable for injuries resulting from failure to remove ice and snow from sidewalks, parking lots or other locations on their property. However, a landmark 2010 ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Papadopoulos v. Target Corp., changed Massachusetts snow-removal law for the first time in more than a century.

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The ruling rejected long-held common law, which generally held property owners were not responsible for injuries created by naturally accumulated ice and snow. In the court’s opinion, Justice Ralph Gants wrote it  “is not reasonable for a property owner to leave snow or ice on a walkway where it is reasonable to expect that a hardy New England visitor would choose to risk crossing the snow or ice, rather than turn back or attempt an equally or more perilous walk around it.’’

These are complex cases involve state law, and municipal ordinances and are best handled by an experienced Boston injury lawyer. Additionally, the law makes a distinction between naturally accumulated snow and ice and dangerous conditions that contribute to winter-weather risks.

While there is no set mandate regarding how quickly snow and ice must be removed under state law, many communities have passed snow-removal ordinances that include time limits. In most cases, liability extends to public sidewalks in front of a business or residence.

For example:

  • City of Boston gives business just three hours. Residents are given six hours.
  • Worcester’s ordinance states removal must occur within 12 hours.

 

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Recently, we wrote about the risks of parking lot accidents. However, parking lots are far from the only risks that come with the holiday shopping season.

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The risks of injury on commercial or retail property spike during the holiday shopping season for a variety of reasons. Winter weather brings the risk of ice, snow, standing water and wet or slippery floors. Overstocked shelves and displays create risk of being struck by overhead merchandise, which can result in very serious injuries. Crowds and short tempers can lead to falls, assaults, or other injury risks.

Black Friday has been particularly dangerous in recent years, as stores promote outrageous deals to draw large crowds. Employees and customers alike are at risk of injury. Nor do the risks abate once you return home. We bring more new products into our homes during the year-end holidays than at any other time of the year, making dangerous or defective products another common risk, particularly for children’s toys or products otherwise marketed to children. From Thanksgiving fryers to New Year’s Day fireworks, dangerous products are a much more common risk than many consumers would like to believe.

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An 18-year-old Bridgwater man has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection to a Massachusetts car accident that killed four of his friends.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks as we head into the fall holiday season and the return of winter weather. These are tragic cases that change families’ lives forever. There is no adequate compensation for the loss of a child. And too often in these cases we see multiple deaths involving young relatives or close family friends. Our Boston injury lawyers urge you to talk at length with your young drivers, and to set clear rules and consequences when it comes to driving behavior. images-6

The Associated Press reports the teenager has been charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle, operating under the influence and motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation. Authorities say the young man was responsible for a May 19 crash in East Bridgewater that killed four teenagers from Stoughton High School. Prosecutors contend he lost control of his car while trying to pass another vehicle, causing it to roll over and strike a tree. Police also report finding marijuana at the scene.