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July 21, 2014

Massachusetts Hot Air Balloon Crashes, Explodes Into Power Lines & Injures Five

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into what caused the Massachusetts hot air balloon accident that left five people injured. The accident happened Saturday when the balloon “Raspberry Ripple” struck power lines as its operator tried to land in Clinton, Worcester County. The operator of the hot air balloon is Damn Yankee Balloons, which is based in Maine.

The impact with the lines caused a couple of explosions, resulting severe burns to two of the passengers. There is a possibility that the hot air balloon wasn’t flying high enough during the birthday celebration ride. The balloon crash-landed on private property.

The Clinton, MA hot air balloon accident took place just two months after another hot air balloon also struck power lines, exploding into flames in Virginia. Three people died in that incident.

Recently, the family of Grant Adamson filed a wrongful death lawsuit against hot air balloon pilot Christian Dupuy, travel agencies Bucher Travel and Protravel International, and Gstaad's Grand Hotel Park in Switzerland. Christian Dupuy had a blood level alcohol level that was way above the Swiss legal limit when the balloon crashed, killing the 55-year-old Adamson and seriously injuring his wife and two daughters.

According to police, the hot air balloon collided with an electric power line while Dupuy attempted a landing. The balloon then fell 165 feet. Adamson’s family is seeking $53.8 million. His descendants are credited with founding Malibu, California.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston injury law firm to explore your legal options if you or someone you love was injured in a hot air balloon accident. You may have reason to file a negligence case against the operator, the balloon company, the touring company, or some other party who was responsible. If the Massachusetts hot air balloon accident happened because the device was defective, you may be able to file a products liability case.

Hot air balloon hits power lines in Massachusetts, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2014

Video shows hot air balloon's fiery crash into power lines, ABC News, July 21, 2014

The wealthy descendant of Malibu's founders identified as the American tourist killed in Swiss hot air balloon crash that injured his wife and two daughters, Daily Mail, August 7, 2013

More Blog Posts:

Use This Simple Tool to Get the Most out of Your Personal Injury Case, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2014

Fatal Hazmat Incident Reported at MA Elementary School, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2014

I’ve Just Been in Uber Accident, What do I do?, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014

Actor Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart Over Catastrophic Truck Accident

Actor Tracy Morgan has filed a truck accident lawsuit against Wal-Mart. The former 30 Rock star and Saturday Night Live alum almost died in a limo bus-truck crash on the New Jersey Turnpike last month. Now, Morgan is suing the retail giant for negligence.

Morgan’s personal assistant Jeffrey Millea, comedian Ardley Fuqua, and Millea’s spouse Krista are also plaintiffs in this case. Millea and Fuqua were injured in the collision. Comedian James McNair, who was also a passenger on the limo bus but is not one of the plaintiffs, died from his injuries. His family will likely file a wrongful death case.

The catastrophic collision happened when a Wal-Mart truck rear-ended Morgan’s limo bus. Truck driver Kevin Roper is accused of operating the large truck at 20 mph above the speed limit, driving close to his limit time, and not sleeping in the 24 hours leading up to the accident. Under federal rules, truck drivers are allowed to work no more than 14 hours a day and no more than 11 hours behind the wheel.

Morgan, Fuqua, and the Milleas believe that Wal-Mart should have known that Roper didn't get enough sleep prior to the crash. They said it was unreasonable for the company to expect Roper to travel over 700 miles from Georgia to Delaware right before he was about to go on a long shift driving a huge truck. They claim that because of Roper’s exhaustion, he fell asleep while driving, which is why his truck rear-ended the limo. Roper has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that include assault by auto and vehicular homicide.

This truck crash lawsuit contends that the collision-avoidance system on the Peterbilt truck that Roper was operating wasn’t working correctly, which is why it didn’t slow the vehicle down. The plaintiffs are accusing Wal-Mart of exhibiting reckless indifference when it comes to people’s safety on the road. They believe that the negligence of Wal-Mart Stores. Inc. and Wal-Mart Transportation LLC played a substantial role in causing the crash and their injuries.

Morgan suffered multiple broken bones and “painful bodily injuries" and he may have permanent disabilities. He underwent multiple surgeries and is now undergoing physical rehabilitation. He is currently unable to work.

Fuqua also may end up with personal disabilities, and the same with Millea. The latter also underwent multiple surgeries and will need rehab. Krista Millea, who is pregnant, is suing for loss of consortium and society because of Millea’s injuries.

Read the Complaint (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
Lack of Sprinklers, Alarms Investigated in Deadly Lowell Fire, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2014

Cyclist Suffers Serious Injuries in Mass. Ave Crash, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2014

$5.4 Million Awarded to Motorcyclist in Career-Ending Accident
, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 14, 2014

July 11, 2014

Lack of Sprinklers, Alarms Investigated in Deadly Lowell Fire

It was a chaotic scene Thursday morning as residents of a Lowell apartment building rushed outside their smoke-filled homes in the pre-dawn hours. The sun had not yet risen at 4:00 am but the sky was illuminated with the bright orange flames billowing out of the roof of the building on 73-81 Branch Street. Some residents ran down to the fire station only 100 yards away and frantically begged for help while a police officer on his regular patrol spotted the blaze and also called it in.

The fire spread quickly through the old, wooden building originally built in 1890. Records indicate the building housed 48 individuals, many of whom were forced to use extreme measures to get themselves and their children out of the fully-engulfed 3-story structure. WBZ-Radio correspondent Carl Stevens recalled seeing residents “jumping out of windows to escape the fire in Lowell.” In addition, many witnesses reported seeing a mother desperately dangling her baby out of an upper floor window for someone to catch on the ground. The baby was safety caught by a bystander carefully positioned below, but others were not as lucky.

Continue reading "Lack of Sprinklers, Alarms Investigated in Deadly Lowell Fire" »

July 10, 2014

Cyclist Suffers Serious Injuries in Mass. Ave Crash

Bicycles are becoming increasingly common in Boston as it evolves into a world-class walkable city. Cars and bikes are still learning to share the road, a task more easily said than done in the tight city streets winding up hills and around cobblestone sidewalks. As all Boston drivers know, traffic comes to a standstill during rush hour, with deadlock turning scenic bridges across the Charles into lines of steady red brake lights. Tempers flare and drivers and bicyclists do not always out for one another.

Bike accidents involving motor vehicles have become a serious concern for everyone on the road. Bike ridership has increased steadily in Boston in the past few years, and with that, problems have arisen with the notoriously treacherous Back Bay roads that were made for trolleys and horse-drawn carriages, not cars and bicycles. So many accidents have occurred in recent years that a Boston-area bike crash map has been created by researchers to map out danger spots for riders.

Continue reading "Cyclist Suffers Serious Injuries in Mass. Ave Crash" »

July 8, 2014

Jury Awards $19.8 Million in Gas Explosion Case

Hopefully, this sends a message loud and clear to the Southern California Gas Company that the safety of their customers should be of utmost priority. The company, which sometimes goes by the nickname, “SoCalGas” was found to be responsible for a horrific accident that seriously injured a man in his San Gabriel, California home on January 19, 2011. Pengxuan Diao, 24, sustained severe second and third degree burns on over 20 percent of his body from a gas explosion caused by a leak on his property.

Court documents allege a Southern California Gas Company employee came to the property on which Pengxuan Diao lives on January 19, 2011 to work on gas lines in the area when he made a careless mistake. The worker disobeyed company safety guidelines and opened a gas valve leading to Mr. Diao’s house. The nearly-fatal mistake occurred when the employee left the property without properly checking the line for leaks and damage, per company policy. That mistake would prove costly, both in human life and in monetary losses for SoCalGas.

Continue reading "Jury Awards $19.8 Million in Gas Explosion Case" »

July 8, 2014

Very Hot Weather Can Be a Danger to Elderly Boston Nursing Home Residents

There have been a lot of stories lately about how leaving a young child in a car in hot weather can prove fatal. At our Boston nursing home negligence lawyers, we’d like to remind our readers that high temperatures can also prove high risk for another demographic: the very elderly.

Many older seniors are just not as able to adjust their body temperature as well as younger people. Use of prescription medications may also modify the way the body would normally respond to heat.

Persons suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, obesity, and respiratory conditions are also more susceptible to the serious effects of heat. This is why it is very important that Massachusetts long-term care facilities take the necessary precautions to protect their residents from hot weather.

Nursing home residents should be kept as cool as possible in high temperatures. This could mean keeping patients inside—especially if the resident is suffering from dementia and has a propensity to wander off and get lost. Air conditioning and fans are also important. Nurses on duty should continue to monitor the residents for any sign of heat stress. Making sure a patient stays dehydrated is also essential. In the event that there is a power failure, nursing homes should have a contingency plan in place.

Examples of Common Heat-Related Illnesses:
Heat Stroke: This happens when the body can’t control its own temperature. A person may lose the ability to sweat or cool down. This can cause the body temperature to rise high enough that permanent disability or death may occur.

Heat Stress: A milder type of heat-related illness. However, older people are more at risk of not only suffering from this condition but also having its side effects result in serious health issues. Heat stress may even worsen pre-existing medical conditions.

Heat Exhaustion: Excessive sweating could result in the dramatic loss of bodily fluids. This may lead to loss of consciousness, dizziness, headaches, and vomiting.

Massachusetts nursing homes have a duty to protect their residents from the hot weather. If you suspect that Boston nursing home negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer from a heat-related illness that resulted in serious health issues, contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.

Seniors Under Age 65 Suffering From Frontotemporal Dementia May Require Proper Boston Nursing Home Care, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 4, 2014

Harsh Winters Up the Risks of Massachusetts Slip and Fall Accidents, Fractures, and Not Just For The Elderly, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 18, 2014

Jury Issues $3M Topamax Injury Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson Unit, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, April 2, 2014

July 2, 2014

Auto Defects: Honda to Pay $55M Seat Belt Injury Verdict, Faulty Air Bags Cause Recall of More Than 10 Million Vehicles

A jury has ordered Honda Motor Co. to pay $55.3 million to a man who is now paralyzed. Carlos Martinez, 57, contended that a faulty seat belt design in his Acura Integra led to his spinal cord injuries.

The seat belt defect-related accident occurred in 2010. One of the tires on his car blew out, causing him to lose control of the auto, which then rolled over. According to his auto defect lawyer, that is when the seat belt failed to keep Martinez’s head from striking the roof of the vehicle.

Martinez, who has four children and was formerly a construction worker, is permanently paralyzed from the chest down. The damages he was awarded include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, future medical costs, and loss of earnings.

A spokesperson for Acura, which is a Honda division, maintains that there was nothing wrong with the design of the safety belt. The automaker intends to appeal the verdict.
In other auto defects news, General Motors has announced another six safety recalls affecting over 7.5 million autos in the U.S alone.

So far this year, GM has recalled over 28 million vehicles involving different product defects, including ignition switch problems and air bag malfunctions and defects. Already, numerous auto defects cases have resulted, some claiming wrongful death. There is even a report of one personal injury case that blames a faulty air bag in a GM Chevrolet Cruze sedan for rendering one passenger blind.

The plaintiff, Brandi Owens, says that the air bag on the driver side was “defective and unreasonably dangerous.” The safety device was made by Takata Corp. BMW, Toyota, Nissan Honda, Ford, Mazda, and Chrysler are among the other companies to recall millions of their autos because of potentially faulty Takata-made airbags.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston auto defects lawyers represent victims and their families against auto manufacturers, tire companies, air bag manufacturers, and other parties responsible for catastrophic crashes involving defective motor vehicle parts. We are here to make sure our clients get the compensation they are owed. We protect their civil rights.

G.M. Halts Sale of Cruze Sedan Over Takata Air Bags, Ny Times, June 26, 2014

Jury issues $55M verdict against Honda, USA Today/AP, June 27, 2014

Exclusive: Air bag accident, lawsuit led to GM Cruze recall, Reuters, June 27, 2014

More Blog Posts:
General Motors Expands Recall; 7.55 Million More Vehicles Recalled, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2014

No Charges for Driver of Fatal Hit-and-Run Bike Accident, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2014

$100M NuvaRing Injury Settlement Now Final, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, June 29, 2014

July 1, 2014

Boston Family Awarded $16.7 Million in Malpractice Suit

Johnette Ellis never imagined she would lose her mother so soon. At 47-years-old, Jeanne Ellis was a loving mother who left behind a heartbroken family after she passed away from advanced-stage lung cancer. A jury has awarded the daughter of Jeanne Ellis $16.7 million after Johnette sued Dr. Peter Clarke at Brigham and Women’s Hospital alleging medical malpractice surrounding her mother’s death.

According to the Boston Globe, Jeanne Ellis came to the emergency room at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in October of 2006 suffering from a persistent cough. Court documents state that Dr. Clarke ordered an x-ray done of her chest, which he then read and deemed as normal. Ms. Ellis was “diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and prescribed antibiotics,” according to

Continue reading "Boston Family Awarded $16.7 Million in Malpractice Suit" »

June 30, 2014

General Motors Expands Recall; 7.55 Million More Vehicles Recalled

General Motors has yet again announced six new safety recalls today making it the single largest collective recall for the company this year. This new round of recalls involves more than 7.5 million vehicles in the United States.

To date, the company has called back more than 25 million vehicles in the United States for safety-related repairs, according to USA TODAY. This total recall is comparable to all recalls issued for all automakers in recent years.

The company is under heavy scrutiny by the public as well as auto watchdogs including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since its first safety recall for faulty ignition switches which have been linked to 13 deaths in the U.S. alone.

According to USA TODAY, the majority of the vehicles in the latest announcement, (more than 6.8 million in the U.S.) are covered by a single new recall that extends the small-car ignition switch issue — "unintended ignition key rotation" that can shut off the engine while underway — to more midsize and full-size GM cars.

GM spokesman Alan Adler says although the latest recall's ignition switches met GM's specifications, there are fears that if they are bumped or jarred, they can pop into "accessory," disabling the car's airbags.

Continue reading "General Motors Expands Recall; 7.55 Million More Vehicles Recalled " »

June 30, 2014

GM Announces Plan to Compensate Victims for Faulty Ignition Accidents: No Cap on Payments

General Motors has announced its plan to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switch problem, saying that there is no cap on payments and that victims could see as little as a few thousand to millions of dollars in financial compensation.

According to an article published by USA TODAY, GM’s attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who GM hired to administer fund payments to victims and their families, GM hopes to pay all victims and resolve their cases within 90 -- 180 days (depending upon how complicated the case is) of them filing a claim. Feinberg acknowledged that he has created a formula so to speak, on how to determine compensation amounts, however there is no limit on payments to individuals, nor for the total fund. Determining the payout will depend on the circumstances of the case and injuries sustained, if any. The payments will also not be limited to deaths and injuries directly caused by the recalled issue of front airbags not deploying. In fact, those who were injured as rear passengers or who were occupants of other cars involved in a crash with a GM car could see a payout as well.

“Money is a poor substitute for loss,” Feinberg said.

Feinberg added that the company delegated at his “sole discretion” which claims are eligible and how much money they should get, saying that there will be no appeals.

“Once I make the decision, that’s it,” he said.

The company will begin accepting applications on August 1 and the application deadline is scheduled to close on December 31.

To date, General Motors has issued recalls for more than 2.6 million 2003-2011 GM small cars worldwide—with 2.19 million of those vehicles being recalled in the U.S. The recall was issued to replace defective ignition switches that were linked to 13 deaths in 54 [documented] crashes. According to the company, the switch can inadvertently rotate from the "run" position to "accessory" while the car is underway, shutting off the engine and power steering and brake assist as well as disabling the airbags. According to USA TODAY, the critical safety flaw in the recall and the compensation fund, is the failure of the airbags to deploy when they’re supposed to.

If the airbags inflated in a crash, then "you're not eligible. Automatic disqualification," for the compensation fund, Feinberg said, according to a statement recorded by USA TODAY.

"But if the airbag didn't deploy, it could have been the switch," he said. "If the airbag didn't deploy, or you don't know if the airbag deployed, file a claim."

Continue reading "GM Announces Plan to Compensate Victims for Faulty Ignition Accidents: No Cap on Payments" »

June 26, 2014

FDA Warns Consumers of Dangerous Anti-Acne Treatments

The United States Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers who regularly use popular anti-acne treatments about rare, but potentially deadly allergic reactions.

In a statement released by the FDA yesterday, problems have been reported with topical treatments including gels, face washes, medicated pads, and other products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. The FDA said it is still unclear whether those two anti-acne ingredients, common in nearly all anti-acne treatments, are what has triggered numerous reactions, or if a combination of other ingredients may be the cause.

The most popular treatments currently on the market containing these chemicals include brands such as Proactiv, Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Aveeno as well as many others. Officials, for now, have asked consumers to stop using the products immediately if they experience tightness of the throat, breathing problems, lightheadedness, or swelling of the eyes, face or lips. New users may test their sensitivity to these products by dabbing a small amount onto their skin for three days. If no symptoms occur, then the product will generally be safe to use and the consumer may use the product as directed.

According to an article published by WCVB, research conducted by the FDA found that there had been 131 reports of serious allergic reactions stemming from topical acne drugs in the past 44 years. Though none of these cases were fatal, 44 percent of those who reported serious symptoms had to be hospitalized. Most of the problems, according to this report, were experienced within 24 hours of the first treatment.

Regulators from the FDA continued to stress that these hypersensitivity reactions are much more serious than minor rashes or irritations often seen with skin products.

Acne products such as Proactiv and those produced by Neutrogena are especially popular among teens and young adults. Because of this warning, it is the best interest of the consumer to discontinue using these products, especially if he or she has experienced any adverse side effects.

Continue reading "FDA Warns Consumers of Dangerous Anti-Acne Treatments" »

June 26, 2014

Injured Acrobats from Circus Accident Hire Attorneys; Speak Out

Several acrobats injured in a horrific circus accident in Providence, Rhode Island last month have hired attorneys and are speaking out about their terrifying experience.

Seven circus acrobats were seriously hurt during a performance for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which held shows in downtown Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in May. The female acrobats were apart of a performance in which they were suspended from the ceiling of the show’s tent in an act called the “human chandelier.” The women were attached to the contraption by their hair.

During the performance a steel clamp holding the women to the ceiling snapped, sending the acrobats plummeting approximately 20 feet to the floor. A ninth performer who was standing below was also injured. Since the accident, several of the performers have struggled to regain mobility, and remain at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Boston trying to recover.

During an emotional press conference, several of the acrobats expressed how their injuries have changed their lives and how they are slowly trying to recover post-accident. Several of the victims have undergone dozens of surgeries and have endured hours of physical therapy. According to an article published by the Boston Globe, two patients suffered severe spinal cord injures, five sustained open fractures, and one suffered a lacerated liver. Some of the acrobats expressed not being able to return to the circus.

Since the accident, the acrobats have hired attorneys to fully investigate the incident and determine who is ultimately responsible for the incident. A preliminary investigation by a fire department investigator said that possible causes for the incident could include improper rigging, an overloaded carabiner, or a manufacturing defect.

Continue reading "Injured Acrobats from Circus Accident Hire Attorneys; Speak Out " »