Articles Posted in Road Defects

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As the winter season draws near, snow mounds, unplowed parking lots, and icy sidewalks can create the danger for pedestrians and shoppers. While it may seem too early to start that discussion, the reality is risks are highest through the first couple snowfalls as motorists adjust their driving, pedestrians get their winter feet, and businesses and property owners get squared away for the long winter’s fight. Our Boston personal injury attorneys are experienced with negligence claims and are dedicated to raising awareness about building safety and maintenance.

In 2010, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Papadopoulous v. Target Corp. that all Massachusetts property owners are legally responsible for the removal of ice and snow from their residence or business. According to an old common law, otherwise known as the “Massachusetts Rule” owners could leave snow and ice on their property to accumulate without liability. After all other courts throughout New England dismissed the bygone common law, the Supreme Judicial Court held that property owners must treat snow and ice as a dangerous condition.

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You have probably heard of the expression “slip and fall,” but do you know what it means and who can be held responsible in the event of an injury? Falls on commercial or residential property can be extremely dangerous and can cause permanent damage to victims. It is important to have a clear understanding of premises liability if you have suffered an accident to identify responsible individuals and entities.
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Winter isn’t too nice to our roadways and sidewalks. The snow, ice and freezing-cold temps can wreak havoc on these surfaces, causing bumps, cracks and other serious dangers. To help fix this problem, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced the “Mark It’ campaign. How it works is that the Boston Department of Transportation will be searching neighborhoods across the city looking for areas that were hit hard by the winter weather.

Officials will be looking to reinstall traffic turn arrows, lane lines, crosswalks, symbols in school zones, double yellow lines and other roadway and sidewalk makings that were damaged during this past winter. This effort will be joining the city’s $20 million Road Renewal program, which aims to reconstruct or repave nearly 40 miles of roadways that were damaged in the winter weather, according to the City of Boston‘s website. The goal of this program, aside from making our city more beautiful is to help to reduce the risks of injury in Boston.
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“After such a harsh winter, I’m dedicated to ensuring all Bostonians have a safe commute through our city,” said Mayor Menino.

Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers understand that the new program will be focusing heavily on reinstalling crosswalks, especially in areas that are near community centers, schools, senior centers and parks. The program will be visiting more than 600 crosswalks throughout the city. Smooth and safe walking surfaces are an important part of the city. In a city that relies heavily on pedestrian and bicycle travel, it’s important to keep these walkways safe for all.

In addition to the more than 600 crosswalks, officials will also be improving about a quarter of all of the city’s intersections and will be laying down new reflective thermoplastic material as the new markings. Areas with more pedestrian traffic, like areas near Fenway Park and Kenmore Square, will be receiving treatment first.

The intersections near the Mildred Avenue Community Center and Walker Park have already received the new additions of the new highly reflective thermoplastic crosswalks.

Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin says that there are crews who are looking over areas in the city that need improvement. These crews are prioritizing jobs.

In the spring, the city will launch a new pilot program that will be repairing large cracks on our roadways that are 5 to 10-years-old in such a way to extend their usable lifetime by 7 additional years. This preventative program will be looking at roadways in neighborhoods throughout the city. Officials predict that this program could help to save the city millions.

To help to eliminate confusion on travelers’ behalf, the city will be sending out notifications to residents regarding which areas will be worked on when. The notifications will also be used as a way to communicate with businesses and residents to help make sure that any private utility work they’re planning doesn’t conflict with the city’s repair efforts.
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It was just after 9 a.m. Friday morning when a 2006 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck crossed the median just south of Exit 5 on I-495 and struck a 2010 Mercedes-Benz SUV head-on. What caused the pickup to cross the grass divider is under investigation, and the 63-year-old driver died on scene. Both the driver and passenger of the Mercedes-Benz were transported to area hospitals where they remain in serious condition, according to Massachusetts State Police.

The fatal Massachusetts car accident occurred along a strip of I-495 known to be particularly dangerous for travelers. So deadly is this stretch of road that a multi-agency Road Safety Audit led to the approval of a $1.2 million cable-barrier project. The barrier is intended to separate the flow of north and southbound traffic and hopefully trim back the number of serious and fatal car accidents in the area. According to the Enterprise News, MassHighway began installing the 9-mile barrier between mile marker 6 and 15.1 earlier this year and the project is slated for completion in the spring.

In addition to field surveys and observations, the Road Safety Audit reviewed MassHighway crash data from 2004 through 2006 to further identify safety issues along the 19-mile I-495 corridor.

Findings from the Road Safety Audit determined:
~ 511 car accidents were reported.

~ 312 car accidents happened at or near interchange ramps.

~ About one-third of interchange-area car accidents resulted in serious injury or fatality.

~ 199 car accidents along this stretch of the I-495 corridor happened between the interchange areas.

~ Twenty-seven percent of car accidents between interchanges resulted in serious injury or fatality.

~ There were numerous crossover car accidents involving one or more cars crossing the center median into oncoming traffic.
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An 8-year-old tourist has been hospitalized after being seriously injured in a Boston escalator accident at a MBTA station, according to NECN.

Instead of heading to Maine for a family wedding the girl is at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, where she is being treated for a serious foot injury that could result in amputation of her big toe.

The incident occurred after a family outing for dinner on Monday night. As they were taking the T back to their motel, Neil’s plastic Croc shoe got tangled in the escalator. The escalator reportedly kept churning even after the girl’s father and an attendant began pounding on the kill switch.

By the time the girl was freed, part of her foot was crushed.

Part of the blame could rest with the Croc shoes, which have been linked to serious escalator injuries for years. In such cases, a Massachusetts product liability claim may be filed to recover damages for an injury victim.

But that doesn’t answer questions about why the escalator kill switch failed. Last year, an elderly Boston woman strangled to death when the kill switch failed on a T escalator.

The MBTA’s words of wisdom? Parents should be “extra vigilant” when traveling with children. Sorry, but passengers are not required to use “extra vigilance” to protect themselves from poorly maintained escalators or other negligence conditions on MBTA’s property.

That is MBTA’s responsibility and the system can and should be held liable for the damages that result — both to compensate injured victims and to ensure that corrective action is taken that prevents a similar incident from occurring in the future.
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Authorities are baffled by the high number of Stoughton car accidents on Route 24 — two dozen so far this year, according to the Stoughton Journal.

High numbers of Massachusetts car accidents in a particular area can sometimes point to a road defect, poorly designed intersection, missing or inoperable street lights, obtrusive vegetation or other design flaws. Motorists who believe such causes contributed to an accident, should consult a Boston injury lawyer for help in determining their legal rights.

In this case, the rough, rutted and patchy road may be partly to blame, the Avon fire chief said, though he was still at a loss to explain the high numbers of crashes on the straight stretch of road.

“It’s a straight road, and it’s never made any sense to us the number of rollovers we get up there,” Avon Fire Chief Robert Spurr told the Journal following a string of weekend crashes.

As we reported on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, a 23-year-old man was killed and five others seriously injured after a Sunday rollover crash on Route 24. Hours later, a 25-year-old man was killed in a rollover crash on Route 24 while exiting at Route 44. The victim in that accident was on his way to pick up his girlfriend, whom he’d ask to marry him earlier in the day.

Through May 3, Avon emergency responders were called to 25 crashes on Route 24 — 24 crashes occurred during the same period last year.

Road work began in March to patch the road from Brockton into Raynham. Crews have been working on the worst stretch of the road, between Avon and Stoughton, since last year. Trees are also being trimmed to improve visibility.
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