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Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Parking lots and mechanical garages throughout Massachusetts often have automatic gates to control the flow of traffic coming and leaving. Unfortunately, equipment malfunctions can result in serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists who enter and exit through defective or poorly-maintained gates. When a person is struck in the head by the arm of an automatic parking gate, he may be seriously injured, or even killed. Possible injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, lacerations to the face, and paralysis.

Who is Responsible?

Public and private office buildings, schools, shopping malls, hotels, and parking garages are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors to their property. When someone is injured due to a malfunctioning parking gate arm, the victim may decide to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. But who is responsible? Depending on the circumstances of the accident, multiple parties may be liable for parking lot gate injuries, including:

  • Property owners
  • Gate manufacturers
  • Parking lot or parking garage managers
  • Maintenance workers

A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Determining Liability

Consider the following scenario: Linda is struck in the head by an automatic gate arm as she walks out of a hotel parking garage. Should she file an injury claim against the garage manager on duty that day? What about the hotel’s property owner?

Let’s say the hotel had just purchased an automatic gate last month. It was brand new at the time of purchase, was properly installed, and has been well maintained ever since. The garage manager on duty was properly trained on the gate’s use and was highly attentive on the day that Linda’s accident occurred. An investigation into the incident reveals a defect in the gate’s design.

In the case above, the property owner and garage manager upheld their duties to provide a safe environment. They were unaware of the design defect, and are not likely to be liable for Linda’s injuries. The manufacturer and / or designer of the gate, however, is another story entirely. If the design defect caused Linda’s injuries, the manufacturer is likely to be liable for any damages.

It’s all in the Details

But what if the details of Linda’s incident were slightly different? What if the injury was caused by a design defect but the property owner had been warned about the defect shortly after purchase? The property owner could have placed a warning sign next to the gate to warn of potential problems, or she could have replaced the gate with a different model. Instead, she chose to do nothing. In such a situation, the property owner will likely share at least some of the responsibility. In fact, she may be solely responsible, depending on various factors. For example, if the gate manufacturer had recalled the gate but the property owner had ignored the recall, the manufacturer may be off the hook entirely. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence. Continue reading

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.4 million people suffer a brain injury in the United States annually. This type of injury is often the result of a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or fall. Any kind of trauma to the head can cause a brain injury, which can range from a minor concussion to permanent brain damage.

If you are considering legal action after a brain injury, it is important to understand the complex legal and medical issues surrounding this type of injury claim. A Boston injury lawyer with extensive experience in this specific area can make all the difference in the world. Whether you’re filing for workers’ compensation benefits, negotiating with an insurance company, or determining if you have a successful product liability lawsuit, skilled legal representation is crucial to a positive outcome.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove that another party is legally responsible for your injury, you will need to show all of the following:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff: For example, an airbag manufacturer has to exercise reasonable care that its airbags are safe for the general public.
  • The defendant failed to exercise that duty of care: If a driver is injured when his airbag explodes for no reason, sending metal debris into the air, the airbag manufacturer may be liable.
  • The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s failure to exercise that duty of care: If the court finds that the airbag manufacturer knew about the risk of sudden explosion but failed to recall the airbags, the manufacturer will likely be found negligent.
  • The plaintiff suffered measurable injuries or losses: If the victim suffered a brain injury due to the exploding airbag, he will likely be awarded compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs.

In a scenario like the one above, proving negligence should be a fairly straightforward task. But brain injury lawsuits are rarely this cut-and-dried. In many cases, simply proving that a brain injury occurred can be difficult. Broken bones and burns are easy to see, but brain injuries – unless severe – are not always apparent. As the victim, you may experience pain and cognitive difficulties on a daily basis, but proving this to the court may be an uphill battle.

Further, even when a brain injury is obvious, proving that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury can be a challenge. For example, if your brain injury occurred in a car accident involving another vehicle, proving that the defendant’s bad driving was the cause may be difficult. For this reason, gathering as much evidence as possible following a brain injury can have an immensely positive impact on the outcome of your case. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid legal claim.

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Brain injuries can be mild or severe, and so can the related symptoms. If you have suffered trauma to the head, or were involved in a high-impact accident, such as a motor vehicle accident, the following symptoms may indicate a brain injury.

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Chronic headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Memory loss
  • Problems concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

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Even a minor car accident can be startling. Feelings of fear, frustration, anger, and embarrassment often follow. This mix of emotions can make it difficult to determine the appropriate way to handle the next steps. However, what you say and do following a car accident can have a profoundly positive or negative impact on the outcome. The information below provides key steps to take if you’ve been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident.

  • Do not leave the scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident is probably the worst decision you can make following a crash. If someone was injured, or if property damage occurred, you could be facing a “hit and run” charge, which carries harsh penalties and hefty fines. Stay at the scene until the police arrive. If, for any reason police are not called, do not leave before exchanging insurance and contact information with the other driver.
  • Make sure everyone is safe. The first step following a motor vehicle accident is to check for injuries. If you are unharmed, check your passengers first, then proceed to other drivers and passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists that may have been involved. If someone is injured, call for first aid immediately. Do not move an injured person. If no injuries are apparent and property damage to vehicles is minimal, move vehicles to a safe location before exchanging information. If damage is extensive or injuries are present, call the police immediately. The police will create an incident report, which can be immensely helpful if you decide to file a personal injury claim.
  • Exchange information with other drivers and witnesses. Although tensions may be high, it is still important to exchange information with anyone involved in the accident. Jot down or record in your smartphone the following information from other drivers:
  1. Names
  2. Addresses
  3. Phone numbers
  4. Insurance
  5. License plate numbers
  6. Driver’s license numbers
  • If witnesses were present, you should also ask for their contact information. Whatever you do, do not discuss the accident with any other parties involved. What you say can be used against you. Even something as innocent as “I’m sorry” can come back to bite you. Simply ask if everyone is ok, and then proceed with the recommended steps.
  • Take pictures. If you have a cell phone, you likely have a decent camera on you at all times. Detailed pictures of injuries, property damage, and the scene can make all the difference in the world when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. Take photos from multiple angles. In addition to injuries and damage, photograph any contributing factors, such as an icy patch on the road, a hidden yield sign, or construction debris. Skid marks and tire tracks should also be photographed. Don’t worry about taking too many pictures, or taking the “wrong” pictures. A Boston car accident attorney can help you determine which pictures will be useful to your case.
  • Call a lawyer. Following an accident, the quicker you contact a lawyer, the better your chances of success with a personal injury claim. In addition to negotiating with the insurance companies, a MA motor vehicle accident attorney can handle any disputes that may arise during the claims process. A good lawyer can shoulder the burden of dealing with insurance companies and the complicated claims process, but he or she can also ensure that you get the compensation you deserve if you were harmed due to another’s negligence.

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If another’s negligence caused a car accident and you were injured, the experience can be emotionally, physically, and financially difficult. If you were pregnant at the time, the experience can be devastating. In the wake of such an occurrence, it’s important to know how to act to protect yourself, your baby, and your financial future.

According to studies, the actions a pregnant woman takes following a motor vehicle collision have a significant impact on the health of her pregnancy. Pregnant women are uniquely vulnerable in any type of collision, even a minor fender bender. Without immediate treatment, trauma from a car accident can result in pre-term labor, hemorrhaging, birth defects, a high-risk situation that did not previously exist, and miscarriage. On a more subtle level, a car accident can result in emotional stress, which can be bad for both mother and baby.

Symptoms to Watch For

If you’ve been involved in a car accident while pregnant, seek immediate medical attention. Although you and your baby may be perfectly fine, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. In addition, if you notice any of the following symptoms following a car accident, contact your physician immediately:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Leaking of vaginal fluid
  • Umbilical cord protrusion (if you believe that the umbilical cord is protruding into your vagina, contact your doctor and immediately get down to your knees, making sure that your buttocks are higher than your head. If your umbilical cord is indeed protruding, this will reduce pressure until help arrives).

Sometimes symptoms don’t present for several days following a car accident. If any of the following symptoms appear days or weeks after a motor vehicle collision, seek medical attention:

  • Swelling of the face
  • Swelling of the fingers
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Constant headaches
  • Pain in abdominal area
  • Pain in shoulder area
  • Fever or chills
  • Vomiting not associated with morning sickness
  • Change in frequency of baby’s movements
  • Painful urination
  • Dizziness

Even when the mother has not suffered physical injury, it is still possible for the fetus to be injured. A contra-coup injury occurs when a concussion or shock is produced by a blow or jolt to another area of the body. For example, a violent stopping motion could jostle the baby within the mother’s womb, resulting in a concussion to the baby. If you have been involved in a car accident while pregnant, contact a Boston car accident lawyer today.

If another drivers’ negligence caused you harm, it’s in your best interest to seek the counsel of an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. In addition to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve, a skilled attorney can help reduce the stressful impact of legal proceedings and dealing with insurance companies at a time when you should be focused on your health, and the health of your baby. Continue reading

Walking and biking are two modes of travel that, as traffic times bubble and motor vehicle accidents continue to pose large threats to public safety, are increasing in popularity. Especially in Massachusetts, where scenic towns and accessible streets give plenty of reason to take things a little more slowly.  But as with anything else when you venture out in the world, regardless of your transportation method, there are inherent risks. Pedestrians and cyclists are incredibly vulnerable when walking in even moderately-populated areas, since the slightest mistake made by somebody in a car can mean life-threatening consequences for anybody without a protective, metallic shield around them.

Fatal accidents involving pedestrians thankfully do not happen with alarming frequency, but when they do happen they are often catastrophic. A 65-year-old Watertown resident was just killed, and another 70-year-old was seriously injured, when an SUV hit them while walking through a pedestrian crosswalk. Two cyclists have been killed in Cambridge since June while passing through a highly-populated area.  According to the Boston Globe, between 2010 and 2012 there were nearly 5,000 people injured or killed by cars while walking in Massachusetts (meaning nearly five accidents a day), based on MassDOT records. However this number is most certainly on the low end of an estimation, since large municipalities like Boston have been criticized in the past for not properly reporting pedestrian accidents.

MassDOT keeps detailed records of all recorded accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, including an interactive map that can be filtered for more specific data. According to MassDOT data, Cambridge had the highest fatality total for pedestrian accidents between 2004 and 2013 with four deadly accidents occurring. There were 136 other nonfatal accidents involving pedestrians in Cambridge.  According to crash cluster data by MassDOT ranging from 2004 to 2013, 8 of the top 10 most dangerous spots to be a cyclist in Massachusetts were found to be in Cambridge or Somerville, accounting for one death and 884 total crashes. Continue reading

Going for a walk is the healthiest thing that many of us do all day. Fresh air, exercise, and endorphins are all essential to physical and mental health. But walking isn’t without risks, especially in cities and high-traffic areas. As the number of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles on city streets increases, so does the risk of pedestrian injury accidents. If you are injured in a collision with one of these vehicles while walking, should you sue?

This is a question our firm receives frequently, some of the things to consider is of course is the severity of the injury. Also, if you will miss time from work? If you medical expenses will be ongoing? How much this accident will impact your life now and in the future? These questions and many others should be considered when deciding whether of not to file a lawsuit.

Struck by a Motor Vehicle?

When a pedestrian is struck by a car, truck, or motorcycle, legal liability will depend on whether or not the motor vehicle driver was negligent. How can you illustrate driver negligence? If it can be proven that the driver was speeding, failing to obey traffic signals, or distracted or intoxicated, you have a good chance of obtaining compensation for any injuries that were a direct result of the accident. How can you prove these things? It’s not always easy, but detailed information, witness testimony, police reports, and photographs can help your case immensely. Photograph the scene of the accident and any injuries you sustained from multiple angles, and do the same with property damage to the vehicle and any surrounding property.

Struck by a Bicycle?

Although not usually as serious as motor vehicle-pedestrian collisions, bicycle-pedestrian collisions can still result in injuries. As cycling grows in popularity – for much the same reasons as walking – so do accidents involving bikes and pedestrians. Similar to collisions involving motor vehicles, injured pedestrians must show negligence on the part of the cyclist to have a successful claim. If a cyclist was disobeying traffic signs or signals, intoxicated, or distracted due to texting or talking on the phone, you may be able to show that his or her negligence caused the accident. Continue reading

There were 4,735 pedestrian deaths from traffic crashes in the United States in 2013.  On average, this comes to one crash-related pedestrian fatality every 2 hours.  Excluding fatalities, there were 150,000 pedestrians who required medical attention after being injured in traffic crashes in 2013.  There are certain risk factors that contribute to these numerous pedestrian deaths resulting from traffic accidents.  Being a child or an older adult puts you at a greater risk of being a pedestrian injured in a car accident.  Older adults, ages 65 and older, make up 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths and about 10 percent of pedestrians injured in 2013.  Also looking at data from 2013, 20 percent of children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.  Another risk factor, which is not surprising, is alcohol.  Alcohol was involved in almost half of traffic crashes in which there was a pedestrian death, including alcohol consumption by drivers and by pedestrians.  In the cases where alcohol was consumed, 34 percent of fatal crashes involved a pedestrian who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above or at the legal limit and 15 percent involved motorists with a BAC above or at the legal limit.  Speed is also a risk factor.  As vehicle speed increases, the probability of a pedestrian being hit also increases, and the severity of the injury worsens.  It has been found that most pedestrian deaths transpire in urban, non-intersection areas when it is dark out.

It is essential that both motorists and pedestrians exercise reasonable care while traveling on or near the roads.  Although in many situations, the negligent party may seem obvious, courts assess several factors when determining negligence.  Motorists are required by law to exercise reasonable care while driving.  Operating without reasonable care is considered negligence.  Motorists who are found negligent may owe damages for personal and property damages that resulted from their negligence.  Several common factors that have been deemed negligent are distracted driving, speeding, not yielding for pedestrians who have the right of way, violating traffic signs or signals, failing to signal when completing a turn, ignoring weather or traffic conditions, and operating while using drugs or alcohol.  Drivers also have a special duty of care in regards to children.  In areas such as school zones, parks, and thickly settled residential areas where children are likely to be found, drivers need to exercise even greater caution than they usually would.

However, it is not only the responsibility of the motorist to act carefully while driving.  Pedestrians must also act with reasonable care to protect their own safety.  Pedestrians can be found to have acted in contributory negligence if they did not exercise reasonable care, which may have contributed to their sustaining of their injuries.  Some common actions by pedestrians that are negligent include not waiting for the signal to walk at intersections, entering traffic and unnecessarily disrupting it, jaywalking instead of utilizing crosswalks, and darting in front of vehicles.  Continue reading

 

A pedestrian was struck by a duck boat in Boston on Sunday morning.  The accident occurred on the corner of Newbury and Clarendon Streets around 11:30 a.m.  Boston police said the pedestrian suffered non-life-threatening injuries but was taken to Tufts Medical Center with some head trauma.  The woman who was hit admitted that she was crossing the street against the crossing signal.  Witnesses confirmed that the duck boat had the right of way.  Police said the investigation is ongoing with no charges being filed to date.  Boston Duck Tours made a statement saying, “We are grateful to learn from police that no one was seriously injured in today’s incident.”  This is the second crash involving a duck boat in Boston in three months.  In April, 28-year-old Allison Warmuth was riding a moped near Boston Common when she was struck and killed.  Earlier this week, Warmuth’s parents were in Boston addressing lawmakers regarding adding regulation to the vehicles.  Anna Warmuth, mother of Allison, made a statement saying, “Anybody that is near them is at risk because the driver may not see them, just like the driver did not see my daughter.”

Some are going even further than requesting more regulations.  Bob Mongaluzzi, Philadelphia attorney, asks, “How many deaths will it take for cities and organizations to wake up and ban the ducks?”  Mongaluzzi has been asking this question for years, claiming the duck boats are inherently dangerous “both on land and on the water.”  He goes on to state the major hazards with the vehicles, stating, “They take up almost the entire lane of travel. They’re cumbersome. They have huge blind spots. They are built on chassis from the 1940s.”  Mongaluzzi represents the families of three people killed by duck boats dating back to 2011.  He has also uncovered more than 20 deaths involving duck boats since 1999.  He notes the first major duck boat tragedy occurred in Arkansas in 1999 killing 13 people after they were trapped beneath the canopy of a capsized duck boat and drowned.  Mongaluzzi believes that the design of the boats is an “intrinsic safety flaw.”  Aside from the sheer design of the boat being difficult to maneuver, the driver also acts as a tour guide for the vehicles.  “Having an operator who is also a tour guide, telling jokes at the same time, is an enormous distraction,” Mongaluzzi states.  After last year’s collision between a duck boat and a charter bus in Seattle that killed five and injured 50 others, Seattle enacted several new rules to make the vehicles safer, including separate tour guides on board the duck boats.  Continue reading

On June 21, two pedestrians were struck by a vehicle on Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue. Fortunately, the injuries were not life threatening. But the accident reconfirmed the need to tackle the growing problem of accidents involving pedestrians. In response to the rise in accidents, Boston’s Vision Zero effort is currently underway. Vision Zero aims to reduce to zero accidents involving motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists. Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Today.

Vision Zero plans to make design improvements to several roadways, but one corridor in particular, from the Massachusetts Avenue to Beacon Street, hones in on the spot of last week’s accident. At a meeting last week, city planners unveiled improvements that can be made quickly, leaving the longer-term improvements for a later date.

According to Charlotte Fleetwood, a City transportation planner, Vision Zero wants to focus on protecting the most vulnerable. “We want to understand why crashes are happening,” said Fleetwood. “We want to focus on the most vulnerable uses – the walkers and bikers. If you make the streets safer for the most vulnerable, it is safer for everyone. Pedestrian and cyclist accidents are on the rise. We had four pedestrians killed in January. Whatever the reason, that’s unacceptable.”

Massachusetts Avenue is of Special Concern

In Mayor Martin Walsh’s own words, walking and cycling on Boston’s streets “should not be a test of courage.” Unfortunately, the increase in accidents tells otherwise. Mass Ave seems to be a particularly dangerous area for pedestrians, which is the main reason Vision Zero’s task force has chosen Mass Ave as a starting point. According to residents, dangerous situations are exceedingly common along the corridor. Poorly-timed lights, heavy traffic, and impatient drivers only exacerbate the problem. “First of all, speed matters,” Fleetwood said. “One major goal is to reduce speed on the street.” According to Fleetwood, the risk of an accident at 20 mph is 18 percent, but it jumps to 77 percent at 40 mph. That’s a major difference.

Proposed improvements include creating a protected bike lane running from Huntington Avenue to Beacon Street, improving pedestrian crossings in various locations, and “daylighting” which refers to the process of building a kind of “bumper” on curbs to prevent cars from parking there. In certain locations, such as at the corner of St. Botolph and St. Stephen Streets, pedestrians who are crossing may not be visible due to parked cars at that corner.

“The changes we want to make are rapid changes,” Fleetwood said. “We want to focus on quickly, with things like markings, signal timing, flex posts, and speed radar signs.” VIsion Zero’s task force includes the Boston Fire Department, Boston Police, Boston Transportation, the Bicyclists Union, WalkBoston, and Boston EMS, among others. Continue reading

The Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative was launched by the U.S. Transportation Department to help communities develop safer walking and bicycling networks. The department is conducting research and providing new resources to pedestrians and bicyclists so that everyone can have a safer, more enjoyable experience. For example, field offices for the department are working with various transportation agencies to assess the safety of roadways across the country. As bicycling continues to rise in popularity, accidents rise right along with it. Bicycling and walking are healthy, environmentally-friendly activities, and we should encourage their growth. Let’s work together to make the roadways safer for everyone, non-motorized travelers included. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today.

Fewer People are Getting Behind the Wheel

Millennials use motorized vehicles significantly less than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Young people drive fewer miles, use public transportation frequently, and often postpone getting their driver’s licenses. That means more people on the roads, biking and walking. In fact, annual ‘miles driven’ statistics are lower than they’ve been in decades. With ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and apps such as Uber, people are much less reliant on cars and trucks to get them from here to there. This trend is likely to continue.

The good news is, walking and bicycling are excellent forms of exercise. They also save money, and are much better for the environment than driving. The bad news? Since 2009, pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths have steadily risen. Due to high populations and heavy traffic in cities, urban areas see the most accidents. In 2012, 73% of pedestrian fatalities and 69% of bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas. Sadly, the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur in lower-income sections of urban areas. This is often due to poorly maintained roadways, uneven walkways, and other ‘environmental’ issues that typically plague low income areas. Continue reading