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July 31, 2014

Another Hot Car Victim: A Somber Reminder to All Parents

A Southern California boy died tragically yesterday after becoming trapped in his family’s car.

The 3-year old had apparently climbed into the unlocked car during the afternoon hours while he was playing alone in the front yard. The car door had shut and the boy was unable to get out. Both of his parents were home at the time; his father found him after he had awoken from a nap. It was unclear how long the child was alone in the hot car. The child was rushed to an area hospital but sadly, had already passed away.

This tragic incident is just another stark reminder, to all parents with young children, of the importance of knowing where your children are and what your children are doing at all times. This child’s death, according to San Francisco State University, marks the 19th hot-car death this year. In 2013, the number was 44—and approximately 625 children in the United States have died this way since 1998.

"It's reasonable to call this an epidemic," says memory expert Dr. David Diamond, a scientist at the Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, who is often consulted on such cases. "It happens, on average, once a week from spring to early fall."

According to SFSU’s report, an examination of media reports revealed about the 606 child vehicular heatstroke deaths for an fourteen year period (1998 through 2013) shows the following circumstances:

• 51% - child "forgotten" by caregiver (312 Children)
• 29% - child playing in unattended vehicle (177)
• 18% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (111)
• 1% - circumstances unknown (6)

With the summer still in full force, we at Altman & Altman, would like to send a friendly reminder to all parents of how serious this problem is and offer some helpful tips (compiled from WebMD) to keep your children safe while the weather is still hot.

Continue reading "Another Hot Car Victim: A Somber Reminder to All Parents" »

July 30, 2014

More Than 600 Crash Victims Sue GM

Over 600 victims involved in crashes with recalled General Motors cars have gone to federal court to seek compensation from the automaker, CNN reports.

According to CNN, the majority of the victims of this case, including 29 people who died, are not eligible to receive compensation from the fund that GM had established back in May, because their cars were not part of GM’s recalls.

GM has recalled more than 26 million other cars and trucks so far this year for a variety of problems, and most of those involve other problems with ignition switches.

Victims and their lawyers have raised concerns over whether the formula calculated by GM’s fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg is accurate or fair.

"This makes absolutely no sense that the fund is restricted to the first 2.6 million vehicles initially recalled for ignition switch issues," said Robert Hilliard, a Corpus Christi, Texas personal injury attorney who has been one of the leading attorneys pressing GM on the recall crisis. "GM needs to step up and acknowledge the blood on its hands from all of these recalled cars."

Starting tomorrow, victims may file a claim for compensation and still proceed with the lawsuit. If they decide to accept the final amount offered to them by the fund, they will have to drop out of the suit at that time. GM estimates that it will pay at least $400 million through the compensation fund, although there is no cap on amount it will pay.

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July 29, 2014

Lawrence, MA Man Hospitalized Following Near Drowning in Pool

Gregorio “Junior” Ortega, a 20-year-old from Lawrence, Massachusetts is in a coma after he almost drowned in a wave pool at a New England water park. According to relative, the near drowning happened while Ortega was attending his 13-year-old’s brother’s birthday.

The swimming accident occurred around noon while Ortega was in the wave pool at Water Country park. His cousin, Nicole Villafane, says that that he struggled in the water for some time before he was rescued.

She believes that the wave pool was too crowded that day and there should have been more than four lifeguards on duty. The lifeguards and park staff performed CPR on Ortega until firefighters and paramedics arrived. According to Portsmouth, N.H. Fire Chief Steven Achilles, it is not uncommon for the fire department to get calls at least once or twice a week during the summer about injuries that occurred at the park.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston drowning accidents lawyers if someone you love drowned or was seriously injured in a near drowning accident. Altman & Altman LLP will be happy to offer you a free case consultation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 10 people die daily from accidental drowning. Kids in the under 5 age group and males are the most at risk.

Near drowning can be catastrophic incidents. They may leave a victim with permanent brain damage and other disabilities that may require a lifetime or professional, full-time care.

It is the responsibility of pool owners to make sure that the proper safety precautions are instituted to prevent Massachusetts drowning accidents and injuries. Pools must be properly supervised, barriers should be installed to keep people (kids, especially) out of the water when there is no supervision, and, when applicable, there should be lifeguards on duty. Rescue or emergency equipment should be located nearby. Pools should be kept clean so that anyone who is drowning is easily visible and overcrowding should be avoided.

Public pool owners and private pool owners can both be held liable for a Boston drowning death or near drowning accident if negligence was a factor. One of our Massachusetts premises liability lawyers can help you explore your legal options.

Lawrence man critical after Water Country wave pool rescue, EagleTribune, July 29, 2014

Lawrence Man Nearly Drowns in Crowded Water Country Pool,, July 29, 2014

Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts, CDC

July 24, 2014

General Motors Recalls Another 800,000 Cars, Cites More Deaths Related to Faulty Ignition Switches

Automaker General Motors is recalling yet another 822,000 cars in six new recalls, upping its total number of recalls this year to 60 recalls. The new recalls means that already this year, GM has recalled 29 million million autos globally.

The latest recall involves numerous safety issues, including those affecting air bags, car seats, turn signals, power steering, and other faulty parts. A number of the autos included in this recall were part of some of the earlier recalls involving other safety concerns.

GM is also recalling around 475,000 autos over a defect that may cause the front and passenger seats to lift and lower due to a loose bolt. Different models of the Cadillac SRX, the Chevrolet Equinox and Camaro, the Buck Regal and LaCrosse, and the GMC Terraine are affected. Already, one crash and three injuries have been reported.

In its routine quarterly filing, General Motors indicated that there may have been more fatal incidents involving faulty ignition switches than initially thought. Previously the automaker had linked 13 deaths to the recalled vehicles. Now, in its Early Warning Report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 167 injuries and 17 fatalities involving Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions are noted. The two autos made up the bulk of the 2.19 million autos that GM recalled in February and March.

This week, another automaker, Chrysler Group LLC, recalled close to 800,000 Jeep Commander (’06 and ’07 models) and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV’s (05’-’07) models also for ignition switch problems. Chrysler is telling owners to make sure there is enough space so that a knee doesn’t bump the keys, causing the latter to shut down the engine. Owners are cautioned to take off all other items except the ignition key from the key ring.
The automaker says it doesn’t know of injuries related to the safety issues.

Our Boston auto products liability lawyers represent victims injured in GM autos and other vehicles because of faulty car parts. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.

Chrysler recalls 800,000 SUVs for ignition problems, DetroitNews, July 22, 2014

GM report cites more death claims in recalled cars, USA Today, July 23, 2014

New General Motors Recall Covers 800,000 More Vehicles, Ny Times, July 23, 2014

More Blog Posts:
Auto Defects: Honda to Pay $55M Seat Belt Injury Verdict, Faulty Air Bags Cause Recall of More Than 10 Million Vehicles, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 2, 2014

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

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" »