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Friday, June 23, 2023

How to Maximize Your Personal Injury Claim


There is never a good time to get injured in an accident.  However, accidents are a fact of life.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that in the year 2000 there were a total of 35,766 fatal car accidents on the roadways across the United States with another 1,593,390 crashes resulting in injuries and 3,621,681 caused property damage. That means a total of at least 5,250,837 collisions happened over the course of a single year. 

To be successful in a personal injury claim, there are three things that you need to have on your side: liability, damages, and coverage.
Read more . . .


Thursday, May 25, 2023

‘Safe Passing Law’ in Effect in Massachusetts


Last week, cyclists came to Westfield, Massachusetts to take part in a “Ride of Silence” to honor the memories of those who have been injured or killed on public roadways while cycling.  Earlier this year, in an effort to address the increasing number of injured or killed cyclists (not to mention walkers and runners), past Governor Charlie Baker entered the safe passing law.   This law recently went into effect and is applicable to all motorists driving on public roadways in Massachusetts and was made in an attempt to reduce road deaths, which spiked to an 11-year high in 2021 with an estimated 400 road deaths (a number that does not include injuries). 

The law requires drivers to provide at least four feet of space between their vehicle and "vulnerable road users.”  Such vulnerable road users include people walking or running, bicyclists, roadside workers, horse riders and horse-drawn carriages, farm equipment, people using wheelchairs, people using motorized scooters, skateboarders, roller-skaters, and any other similar pedestrian situation.
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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Photographs Can Be Used to Correlate Property Damage with Physical Injury


Last week, the Massachusetts Appeals Court heard a dispute as to whether or not a Middlesex Superior Court judge acted within his discretion by admitting photographs of damaged vehicles into evidence at trial and allowing defense counsel to argue a correlation between the property damage from the accident with the extent of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries.  In the matter of Kristina Laccetti v. Steven G. Ellis, the Appeals Court found that the trial judge acted within his discretion in admitting photographs of the damaged vehicles on the basis that the photographs were relevant to the extent of the plaintiff’s physical injuries sustained in the collision.

While the plaintiff’s counsel tried to argue that an expert witness would be needed to make such a connection between the physical damage to the car and the personal injuries of the person inside the vehicle, the Court found differently.
Read more . . .


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Massachusetts Road Deaths Highest Since 2009


Massachusetts had more deaths on its roads in 2021 than in any year since 2009.  According to a new report from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, four hundred and eight people died on Massachusetts road last year, including drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  This death total is nineteen percent higher than the 2020 total of 343 fatalities.

There are many explanations for this increase in fatalities.  Beginning in April of 2020, there was an increase of reckless driving and speeding which was explained by the Covid-19 pandemic emptying roadways which used to home congested streets.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Massachusetts Emergency Vehicle Law


Recently a colleague asked me what the law required when an emergency vehicle is traveling on the same road but in the opposite direction.  He was not sure if he had an obligation to pull over to the right if the emergency vehicle had an unobstructed path forward in its lane of travel.  The law does require drivers in the opposite lane of travel to pull over as far to the right as is safely possible even if the emergency vehicle has a clear path forward in the opposite travel lane.  Failure to do so can lead to a fine, jail time, loss of license, and have a significant repercussions on a possible automobile accident claim.

The important law to be aware of is Massachusetts General Law chapter 89 § 7 and §7A.


Read more . . .


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Uninsured and Underinsurance Coverage in Automobile Accidents


In Massachusetts, it is essential that individuals obtain sufficient insurance coverage in the event that they are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.  Specifically, under a standard auto insurance policy, Uninsured (UM) and Underinsurance (UIM) coverage provide the named insured as well as household members, operators, and passengers of an insured motor vehicle benefits in the event they are involved in an automobile accident with a driver that causes the accident but has no bodily injury insurance coverage or not enough insurance to cover your damages.  

In Massachusetts, it is mandatory for an insured to have limits of at least twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) per person and forty thousand dollars ($40,000.00) per accident for uninsured coverage.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Prejudice Against Bicycle Accidents


If you have been to a Boston Celtics or Boston Bruins game recently, you may have noticed an extensive (and relatively) confusing bicycle path lining Causeway Street and the surrounding areas.  Even in the suburbs, bicycle lanes which share the road with automobile traffic are becoming more and more commonplace.  Not surprisingly the more bicycles that are on the road, the more bicycle related accidents that have been occurring.  Unlike cases involving automobile versus automobile or automobile versus pedestrian, it is not always easy to determine liability in automobile versus bicycle cases.

There are many ways in which a bicycle accident can occur.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Event Data Recorder (EDR) Technology and Personal Injury Litigation


It is amazing to think about how far technology in automobiles has come over the years.  It may seem like ancient history, but there was a time when there was no way to make a telephone call while driving.  Then technology brought us large corded phones that you could pull out of little portable suitcases that could be carried into the car.  Now we keep our mobile device in our pocket and makes calls using our vehicle's operating system.  Automobiles now have lane departure detection technology, GPS tracking, cameras at all angles to assist with parking, and some vehicles can even operate the car for you.
Read more . . .


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rhode Island Goes Hands Free


If you have spent anytime driving on the highways of Rhode Island recently, you will have noticed the signs that on June 1, 2018, drivers in Rhode Island will need to put their phones down.  If not, drivers will face a one hundred dollar fine - each time they are caught.

Rhode Island state police have suggested that the dangers of distracted driving are the same as the dangers of drunk driving.  That is why beginning on June 1st, the police will be looking to pull over anyone holding their phone while they are talking and driving.  Drivers will be allowed to use the phone only with a hands-free devices, like a mount inside the car or a Bluetooth.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Accidents and Injury Related to Snow, Ice, and Winter Weather in MA and RI


Considering today is New England's third nor'easter in the last two weeks, it may be a good time to discuss how Massachusetts and Rhode Island handle personal injury claims that occur during snowy conditions.

For slip and fall accidents, the State of Rhode Island follows what is called the "Connecticut Rule."  This rule makes it a legal duty for a property owner (of a private residence, retail store, restaurant, and government entities) to remove natural hazards from common areas on the property within a "reasonable time."  Of importance, the "reasonable time" typically lasts at least up until the snowfall has ended.   

While it may not be your first instinct, it is important to document the accident scene at the time of the accident.
Read more . . .


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Do Third Party Witnesses/Deponents Need Legal Representation?

One of the most important elements of the discovery process for any type of litigation are the depositions.  Some lawsuits or claims do not require any deposition notices; others require depositions in the double digits. 

One common misconception is that only parties to a lawsuit can be deposed.  In fact, any witness, whether a party or not, with any relevant information to the case can probably be deposed.  So, if you are a third-party deponent, do you need to contact a lawyer?


Read more . . .


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