Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common types of injuries, and can occur from immeasurable amounts of different causes. They can also range in severity from minor bruises to more serious, lingering injuries such as torn ligaments. If you suffered a soft tissue injury due to the negligence of another person, property owner or other third party, contact a personal injury attorney from the Cambridge firm of Altman & Altman LLP today.

What kind of soft tissue injury did you suffer?

Soft tissue injuries can be caused by many different means, including trips, slip and falls, car accidents, being struck by an object or person, falls from various heights and other work-related types of incidents, such as falling debris. These injuries can greatly vary in severity and in the longevity of their occurrence.

You might imagine that the winter time is the most dangerous time for drivers. Especially in New England, and Altman & Altman’s home base of Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area, the thought of wintry storms causing whiteouts and freezing temperatures producing black ice conjures reasonable fear in many of us and absolutely causes deaths every year.

However, you may be surprised to find out that the most dangerous months to drive are actually the summer months – specifically June July and August – for a variety of reasons. Those months are actually responsible for 29 percent more fatalities than the most wintery months of December, January and February, according to a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that examined 24 years of traffic accidents in America.

What makes summer driving more dangerous than winter driving?

There are many factors that contribute to car accidents, but some of the biggest reasons for traffic accidents increasing during the months where the weather is nicer and more predictable are as follows:

There are more people on the road

According to the NHTSA study, summer months lead to an approximately 20 percent increase in the number of total vehicles on the road at any given time. Simply put, more cars on the roadways lead to a higher probability of you becoming involved in an accident.

There are more young people on the road

Partially responsible for the uptick in the number of vehicles on the road is the number of students and young people on the road due to being on summer vacation and out of school. Younger drivers have less experience on the road and in control of their vehicles, which increases the likelihood of them being in serious accidents. Teenage drivers have the highest accident rate among any driving demographic.

Hotter temperatures lead to more tire incidents

While cold temperatures cause your tires to restrict and contract, hotter temperatures cause your tires to expand. With older tires and tires that have not been maintained, rapid expansion and the hot temperatures of asphalt during summer months can lead to an increased chance of a blowout, leading to serious accidents.

Summer time is construction time

When the weather gets nicer and asphalt plants open up, municipalities rush to get as much road construction done as possible. This work leads to road closures, detours and lane changes that can surprise motorists and cause congestion, leading to rear-end accidents and other crashes. Continue reading

Drivers of Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota vehicles may be at critical risk of catastrophic injuries due to the potential for their car’s airbag systems to be dysfunctional or fail to deploy entirely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating ZF TRW Automotive brand airbag systems and recalls are possible for these types of vehicles and more. If you are concerned about the safety of your vehicle or want a legal opinion after an accident has occurred, the personal injury experts at the Cambridge firm of Altman & Altman LLP are here to help you.

Airbag functionality is essential to safety

Thousands of accidents occur every day in America, and when you wind up in one you need to be able to rely on a few key safety components of your vehicle to keep you from becoming more seriously injured. One of those key components is your car’s airbag system – which should automatically deploy in the event of a crash in order to cushion you from the worst effects of the impact.

Airbag systems have become far more complex and reliable since they were first standardized in the early 1980s. However, this does not guarantee that manufacturers of airbags are incapable of making crucial errors that compromise the integrity and safety of these systems – putting people at risk and forcing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of vehicles to be recalled to address the issue.

Already there have been 12.3 million vehicles investigated by the NHTSA due to a concern they may contain faulty TRW airbag systems. No recalls have been issued at this time, but the fact that the NHTSA is taking matters so seriously indicates the possibility for recalls to be issued in the future.

There have already been recalls ordered for another airbag system made by another company, Takata, which made headlines for their airbags that were prone to having explosive incidents. In the case of TRW, the issue is that electrical malfunctions may cause the airbag system to fail to detect a crash and fail to deploy when they matter most. The investigations were launched in part due to two separate incidents where the airbags failed to deploy – and in one of those cases, the failure resulted in a fatality. Continue reading

Cycling is among the most popular ways to get around within the city, especially on the highly bike populated streets of Cambridge and the surrounding Greater Boston Area. However, cyclists must share the roads with motorists at all times, even if they are safely biking in bike lanes. Sometimes, when a motorist isn’t paying attention, they may open their car door right in the path of an oncoming cyclist. These incidents are known as “dooring” or being “doored,” which can result in horrendous injuries to cyclists. If you have been involved in a dooring incident, contact the Cambridge personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP right away to see if you may be able to file a personal injury claim.

Being doored is more common than you may think. One study of Cambridge bicycle accidents found that being doored accounted for about one in five cycling accidents, and the injuries sustained from these incidents can be quite severe, since they often involve high speeds and harsh impacts. Injuries from dooring incidents can include:

  • Deep skin lacerations
  • Road rash
  • Broken bones or teeth
  • Concussions or other brain injuries
  • Coma and death

Who is responsible for a dooring incident?

Massachusetts, along with many other states, has specific laws that are intended to protect cyclists from dooring incidents. In Massachusetts, passengers and drivers in automobiles are required to check their surroundings before opening their doors, and should not be distracted (for example, by a cell phone) when they do open their door.

These laws mean that, in the vast majority of dooring cases, the individual who opens the door without first adequately checking their surroundings will be at fault for any injuries that occur as a result. However, there are some important factors to keep in mind after being injured in a dooring incident in Massachusetts, due to how the state handles injuries from events that are covered by mandated personal insurance.

In Massachusetts, such incidents may first have to be covered by the “no fault” provision of insurance, which means a minimum of up to $8,000 of medical expenses can be covered by the at fault individual’s insurance. However, this provision may not always apply, especially if the dooring incident caused especially damaging injuries – like permanent scarring or debilitation. An experienced personal injury attorney from Altman & Altman LLP will be able to assess whether it makes more sense to go through personal insurance claim or to pursue a separate personal injury claim following your dooring incident. Continue reading

A hip replacement surgery is no simple task, but it is a necessity for thousands of Americans every year. Hip replacements can improve quality of life, but they can also cause further medical issues, especially if the hip replacement was an improperly designed product that led to a recall. If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a metal hip replacement which was later recalled, contact the Cambridge personal injury firm of Altman & Altman LLP today, as you may be eligible for financial compensation.

If a product has been recalled, this indicates that the federal government has ruled a product to be unsafe and that its use could potentially cause harm or even death to those who may use it. Unfortunately, hip replacement recalls often come far too late before thousands of people have already been fitted with these faulty devices.

Hip replacement products that have been recalled due to them being deemed unsafe include:

  • DePuy ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System
  • Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Recall
  • Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular, Modular SMF, Modular Redapt Femoral Hip Systems
  • Wright Conserve Plus and Profemur Z Hip Stem
  • Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component

Stryker and DePuy accounted for over 380 recalls between 2002 and 2013 alone, and products have been recalled for a variety of reasons, such as improperly labeling them, manufacturing issues resulting in design flaws and some were improperly packaged.

What are the dangers of metal hip replacements?

Hip replacements are meant to be long-term solutions to major medical issues, often times offered to individuals who have suffered an injury that weakened their original hip or the elderly, who may suffer from decreased mobility or consistent pain as the cartilage in their original hip socket deteriorates and causes uncomfortable friction to occur from basic movement.

Metal hip replacements are supposed to be more durable than other hip replacement products, such as plastic or ceramic models. In these types of hip replacements, both parts of the hip replacement – the ball end that attaches to the femur, and the socket that attaches to the hip – are made of metal. However, despite them supposedly being more durable than other types of hip replacements, metal hip replacements can degrade and cause serious issues, such as:

  • Requirement of another replacement or an additional surgery sooner than advertised, as the metal pieces grind against one another and degrade through friction
  • Blood poisoning, known as metallosis, which can occur through tiny particles of metal shearing off the hip replacement and getting into the bloodstream over time
  • Constant, debilitating hip and leg pain
  • Reduced mobility
  • Development of tumor-like growths in the area of hip replacement

If you suffer from a faulty hip replacement, it can not only result in seriously debilitating issues, it can require additional surgery or medical intervention to correct. This can mean more even more medical expenses and time spent recovering in a hospital, which you may not be able to afford financially or in time missed from work. Continue reading

Any surgical procedure comes with risks, but in the case of hernia surgeries those risks may not have been adequately communicated to patients. Hernia mesh products have faced recalls and significant legal scrutiny over their tendency to shrink, degrade or migrate, causing serious medical consequences. Anybody who has suffered pain or additional medical procedures following the application of surgical hernia mesh should contact a personal injury attorney at Altman & Altman LLP today.

What is surgical hernia mesh, and how is it dangerous?

Surgical hernia mesh is a medical device made from either organic or synthetic materials, usually the latter, which is intended to hold a hernia in place during surgery and prevent it from reoccurring following a surgery to repair it. It is a thin piece of woven mesh that is intended to not only be safe for the patient, but actually help them towards a successful surgery and recovery.

It is the dream of millions of kids across the country to play professional baseball when they grow up. But can you imagine if you worked your entire life towards that dream, only to have it shattered in your very first professional game before you even got to step up once to the plate?

Such was the sad case of Dustin Fowler, a prospect who got his first shot in the MLB with none other than the Evil Empire themselves – the New York Yankees – in June of 2017. Chasing a foul ball and trying to make a play, Fowler ran at full speed into what appeared to be a padded section of wall during an away game in the ballpark of the Chicago White Sox.

However, the section of wall that Fowler unluckily found himself on a collision course for was actually an unpadded electrical box, indistinguishable from its padded wall surroundings. Fowler suffered an injury to his patellar tendon, requiring season-ending surgery and slamming the brakes on his dream that was finally becoming a reality.

Rather than wallow in despair and wonder what could have been, Fowler tackled his rehab after successful surgery and went one large step farther – he filed suit against MLB and the White Sox stadium ownership for failing to ensure a reasonably safe work environment, which ultimately caused his injury, pain and suffering and potential loss of significant income.

Taking the MLB to court

As Michael McCann points out in a recent Sports Illustrated article, professional athletes aren’t likely to pursue legal action against their employers due to a number of reasons. Perhaps they fear public backlash they might receive, perhaps they don’t want to deal with court proceedings and the disruption that could cause to their training regimens. Besides, professional athletes are paid among the highest of employees in the country and have collectively bargained for outstanding health care – so suing to receive financial compensation may not be a top priority either.

Most importantly, however, professional athletes don’t often sue following an injury because they assume the risk of injuries when they sign their contract to play professional sports. Had Fowler simply slipped while tracking the foul ball and broke his arm, he’d have no real legal recourse against Major League Baseball, as that situation is one that could be reasonably expected to happen throughout the course of any baseball game, to any player at any position.

What makes Fowler’s case unique – and why a federal judge just upheld the case’s right to proceed despite an attempt from the MLB and White Sox to have it thrown out – is because it challenges the notion of what a reasonable assumption of risk is for professional baseball players.

The defendants in the case have essentially argued that safety issues within major league ballparks are handled by a specialized safety committee that is charged with addressing potential hazards to players’ health, and that they are not liable for injuries that occur due to safety hazards that aren’t realized and addressed by the committee. However, the judge ruled in favor of Fowler – who argued that the language within the MLB’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union only states that the safety committee will address hazardous situations as they arise, and therefore are not expected to safeguard against every potential, unknown safety hazard at every ballpark.

If a player were to sue Wrigley Field because they slammed into their famous ivy-covered brick wall, they would be unlikely to succeed, as the brick walls at Wrigley are a well-established, well know feature of the ballpark that is essentially engrained into baseball’s storied history. Players could be expected to know the brick wall exists.

However, a random electrical box that has no protective padding and is placed along the same span of wall as other padded sections – and is painted the same color – is not something the average player would know about. This is partially why Fowler’s case has persisted. Continue reading

The story of an Arizona woman who gave birth to a baby boy despite being in the midst of a more than decade-long vegetative state made headlines around the world and shocked all who heard the story – not just about how such a thing was physically possible, but how such a deplored act could occur in a facility where the woman was supposed to be cared for. It shows how even in places where we hope our loved ones will remain safe, predators may still be roaming the halls looking for an easy victim.

Elder abuse and other vulnerable victims

While the Arizona story rightfully grabbed headlines due to its bizarre and sickening details, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that similar acts of abuse actually happen relatively frequently throughout the nursing homes and palliative care centers across our country. All such crimes have a similar backdrop – facilities with little oversight, vulnerable clients and potentially dangerous caregivers who feel emboldened by those first two factors.

The National Council on Aging estimates that as many as 1 out of every 10 senior citizens is abused in some way – whether it is physical, mental, sexual abuse or abuse in the form of being manipulated through targeted schemes to take their money. The Arizona case showed a clear example of a caregiver taking advantage of a helpless individual for their own sexual satisfaction, and such horrible activities unfortunately do happen each year in care facilities around the country.

Despite the estimation that nearly five million senior citizens are victimized each year, only 1 out of every 14 victims is likely to report. This could be because they are unable to report the crime due to dementia or memory loss causing them to forget the abuse happened, or perhaps they are scared of speaking up for fear of being ignored and facing retribution from their abuser.

However, as this case clearly showed, the elderly are not the only ones at risk of being exploited. Those in a coma, those in vegetative state and even those who are simply incapacitated while staying in a hospital due to chronic conditions are all at risk of being abused by caregivers, many of whom might be the very people charged with taking care of them.

Any abuse of helpless victims is inexcusable

A perpetrator for the Arizona sexual abuse case has thankfully been captured through DNA evidence. It is not known at this time if the family of the victim will seek retribution against Hacienda Health Care, the facility where she was held for more than 10 years during her vegetative state, but it would certainly not be a case without merit.

Caregiving facilities have a dire responsibility to ensure the safety of their clients, especially those who do not have the ability to take care of themselves and rely on their caregivers. For a caregiver to not only ignore their responsibilities and oaths to provide care, but to actively take advantage of the vulnerable people they are charged with helping, is a sick violation of humanity that must be accounted for utilizing the full extent of the law. Continue reading

The country’s taxpayer-funded healthcare plans – Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE – provide important benefits to our aging citizens, our economically disadvantaged and our combat veterans that is necessary for millions to survive. However, greed coerces many bad actors to commit acts of fraud each year that cost taxpayers billions of dollars and undermine the crucial system. If you have any reason to believe you were used as part of a Medicare fraud scheme, or have any information about one, contact the Cambridge white collar crime experts at Altman & Altman LLP today.

How does Medicare fraud happen?

With a system as large and complex as Medicare, it guarantees that there will be opportunities for morally-bankrupt doctors, nurses, beneficiaries and others in the healthcare field to take advantage of weaknesses in that system. There is an entire branch of the Office of the Inspector General responsible for investigating and rooting our Medicare fraud.

While no case of Medicare fraud can ever be identical, there are certainly common threads between acts of Medicare fraud. Often they involve one or multiple of the following elements:

  • Overbilling for services
  • Billing for services multiple times
  • Fraudulent billing using falsified patient information or information obtained illegally
  • Billing for services never rendered
  • Falsifying medical diagnoses and charging for their treatment
  • Kickback schemes to secure illicit referrals of patients
  • Prescribing unnecessary medication

A recent 2017 bust of a comprehensive Medicare fraud scheme revealed a $1.3 billion operation that spanned 41 federal districts and involved 412 individuals, including 115 medical doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. It was the largest Medicare fraud bust in the country’s history, and revealed a lot about the extent of Medicare fraud in the country.

The gist of this comprehensive scheme, actually, was quite simple. Medical doctors billed Medicare for services that were never rendered, for prescriptions that were never ordered, and individuals paid kickbacks (incentivized bribes) for beneficiary information so that they could be used as “patients” for fraudulent charges to Medicare that never occurred. Get enough people involved in the scheme and it becomes a billion-dollar operation born from a lack of morality and an abundance of greed.

Fraudulent billing to Medicare is not only illegal, it is incredibly unethical, as it drives medical costs up for everybody else as a result and can leave those who have had their information shared unbeknownst to them vulnerable to identify theft and other financial crimes. Continue reading

In November, five separate accidents involving school bus stops and distracted drivers resulted in the deaths of five children and injuries to six more. The tragedies, which occurred in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania have prompted law enforcement officials nationwide to highlight the “huge problem” of distracted driving.

Three Children in One Family

Three of the fatalities affected one family in Rochester, Indiana; a nine-year-old girl and her six-year-old twin brothers were killed when they were struck by a pickup as they crossed the street to board their bus. Another child was airlifted to a local hospital. The driver of the pickup truck is facing charges for three counts of reckless homicide. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by the negligence of another.

Contact Information