Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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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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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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There are many fun and exciting things to do in Boston throughout the year, but in some cases, engaging in these activities could result in serious personal injury. As we head into the fall, there will be people doing all kinds of outdoor activities, such as going to apple orchards, taking hayrides at local pumpkin patch and attending sporting events.  However, even these seemingly safe activities could result in serious personal injury if there is any negligence on behalf of the event organizers or property owners.

Boston personal injuryAccording to a recent news article from ESPN News, a young girl was seriously injured at Yankee Stadium when she was hit in face with a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier.  The young girl was sitting in the lower level seating area when the ball hit her in the face.  Using this season’s new technology that measures the hit speed of every batted ball, they were able to determine that the baseball was traveling at 105 miles-per-hour when it came off the bat.  Continue reading

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With the winter months approaching, many in New England including Massachusetts will head to the slopes for a day or weekend ski trip.  While this can be a lot of fun, it can also result in serious personal injury or even death.  There is no question that skiing has inherent risks, but that should not excuse a ski resort from liability.Boston Injury Lawyer

One thing that may limit the chances of recovery in a personal injury lawsuit is the waiver of liability most skiers are presented with when they get a lift ticket. The reason we use the term presented with, is because they do not often require skiers to actually sign anything.  Instead, they say when you put the lift ticket on the zipper of your ski parka, you have effectively accepted the terms of the waiver. In many cases, the waivers will include a complete waiver of any liability on behalf of the ski area operators.  This waiver can be very inclusive, and may even go so far as to include a waiver of liability for intentional conduct on behalf of employees. Continue reading

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People often hear the term statute of limitations on television shows such as “Law and Order” when dealing with criminal cases, but rarely think of the statute of limitations terms of civil cases.  While this makes for very exciting television, the reality is that in the real world, the opposite is generally true.  Many crimes do not have a statute of limitation meaning that a person could be on the run for decades and still be tried when they return to the proper jurisdiction.

Boston Medical MalpracticeEven if a person does not return, they can often be arraigned when they are not present to toll the statute of limitation sand  stop the clock.  On the one hand, in civil case, the statute of limitations is very much a big deal, and while there are certain exceptions for people who are incapacitate for one or more reasons, the law can be very unforgiving when dealing with statutes of limitations. Continue reading

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There was a time when it seemed like nothing would stop the increase in football’s popularity in America. However, recent years have involved a better understanding of the serious risk of head injury the sport poses. From the professional leagues down to Pop Warner, there have been studies and anecdotes highlighting the potential dangers. We have a better understanding of concussion and traumatic brain injury occurrences in the sport, leading many parents to disavow the sport, refusing to let their child play.

It is true there is a certain level of assumed risk that comes with playing football. Some may even argue injuries are part of the game. But when serious injuries occur in a football game – or more likely, in practice – the question is who may be held liable?

Boston personal injuryThere are many incidents that can be attributed to the negligence of a coach or staff, setting the stage for a personal injury lawsuit. These incidents can range from heat stroke (allowing players to practice too long outdoors without adequate water, shade or rest) to traumatic brain injuries. Such occurrences can have a damaging and lasting effect on youth and their families. Where coaches, schools, staff or others had a duty of care to try to prevent such injuries, they may be held to account. Continue reading

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When we are dealing with a medical malpractice cases, we are typically dealing with action founded under a theory of negligence. In a standard negligence case, the elements of the tort are duty, breach, causation, and damages. The duty is a duty of due care to act as a reasonable and prudent person so as to prevent a foreseeable injury to foreseeable persons and property.

Boston medical Malpractice In the case of medical malpractice, we use the same standard, but instead of the reasonable and prudent person, we use a reasonable and prudent medical professional performing that same procedure. For example, in the case of heart surgeon preforming an operation, a surgeon is supposed to act as reasonable and prudent heart surgeon would act in performing the same procedure. Continue reading

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One popular activity in the summer months is going to local fairs and carnivals. While there are regular amusement parks in Massachusetts that have permanent attractions, there are also various fairs where the attractions are brought in on specially designed trucks that basically each deploy into a carnival ride.

Boston Personal Injury While these can be a lot of fun, we tend to see more accidents at these types of fairs and carnivals than regular amusement parks. There a variety of reasons for this, including that the equipment is mobile.  This means it is often less expensive and less well constructed and maintained than rides at a traditional amusement park.  There are also a lot more issues with regulating the rides, as they may be from another state and not where the fair is being held. Continue reading