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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

In order to recover damages following a slip and fall accident, you will have to prove that your injuries were caused by another’s negligence. As such, the more evidence you can collect, the greater your chances of a successful claim. One of the most compelling types of evidence is pictures. In the past, getting pictures of an accident scene immediately following the accident was dependent on one of the witnesses having a camera. However, with today’s smartphones, just about everyone is equipped with a high-quality camera at all times.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere and at any time. Common causes include:

  • Ice or snow
  • Uneven steps or flooring
  • Debris or clutter in walkways
  • Poor lighting
  • Exposed wiring
  • Cracked pavement
  • Wet or slippery flooring
  • Missing handrails
  • Holes in flooring
  • Lack of warning signs
  • Worn carpet
  • Broken tiles

Types of Slip and Fall Injuries

According to the National Safety Council, slip and fall accidents send nearly nine million people to the emergency room each year. Some of these injuries are minor, but injuries can be serious, and even fatal. Common slip and fall injuries include:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Bruises
  • Sprains or fractures
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Broken hips
  • Back and spine injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Elderly people have a significantly higher risk of being seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, but all ages are at risk. A Boston personal injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident.

Was Negligence a Factor?

If your slip and fall accident was a result of another’s negligence, you may be able to obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. But to do so, you have to prove negligence. Collecting solid evidence to substantiate your claim is the best way to prove negligence. Read on for more information about collecting evidence.

Take Pictures

If you are immediately able to take pictures, do so. Photograph any visible injuries, such as bruises and scrapes, as well as the accident scene and all surrounding areas. Did you slip on a spilled substance? Photograph it. Take pictures from multiple angles to show other potential factors. For example, did staff fail to place a “wet floor” sign next to the spill? Is there a visible clock on the wall showing the time? The more pictures you take, the better.

Ask a Friend to Take Pictures

If you do not have a camera on you, or you are physically unable to take pictures, ask a friend, relative, or witness to do so for you. It is important to get pictures before anyone alters the area in which the accident occurred – by placing a “wet floor” sign after the fact, for example. This is especially true of ice and snow-related slip and fall accidents. These conditions can naturally change within minutes. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident. Continue reading

When we think about motor vehicle accidents in Boston, we typically imagine high-speed collisions that occur on the interstate or other roadways. But believe it or not, about 20 percent of auto insurance claims are actually related to accidents that occur in parking lots. The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association conducted a study on parking lot accidents, and found that the main contributing factors are distraction and low visibility. Add snow and ice to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 92,000 people were injured in non-traffic motor vehicle accidents between 2012 and 2014. About 1,900 more were killed. Of those injured and killed, approximately a third were cyclists or pedestrians. A Boston auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Causes of Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot accidents can occur year round, but they are most prevalent during winter months when snow and ice create hazardous conditions. The most common causes of parking lot accidents include:

  • Poor parking lot maintenance
  • Traffic congestion (especially during the holidays)
  • Distracted drivers
  • Vehicles backing out
  • Lack of enforcement of traffic laws

Tips to Prevent Parking Lot Accidents

The following tips will help you avoid being injured or killed in a parking lot accident. With an increase in parking lot chaos during the holidays, it’s especially important to use extra caution at this time of year. Simply looking both ways before you cross a road or intersection can save your life.

  • Avoid walking down the center of a parking lot aisle. Keep to the side and watch for cars at all times.
  • When walking in a parking lot in winter, wear non-slip footwear, such as boots or attachable treads.
  • NEVER talk on the phone, text, or send emails while you are walking through a parking lot. Keep your head up at all times.
  • If a vehicle is approaching you, make eye contact with the driver. Don’t assume they can see you.
  • Adjust your mirrors, stereo, and buckle up before you pull out of your parking space.
  • Parking lot speed limits signs and lane designations are put there for a reason. Don’t speed or cut across lanes.
  • Stop at a parking lot stop sign just as you would a roadway stop sign.
  • Keep in mind that a thick blanket of snow muffles sounds.
  • Be on the lookout for snow blowers, people shoveling, and snow plows. A MA auto accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
  • Turn on headlights, even during the day.
  • Avoid the crowded areas, park away from the entrance.
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Always wear your seatbelt, even in a parking lot.

About a quarter of all parking lot accidents involve a vehicle that is backing up. Fortunately, most of these accidents are easily preventable. Use your mirrors, never drive distracted, obey signs, drive slowly, and always wear your seatbelt. Doing so will dramatically reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a parking lot accident. Continue reading

Choosing the right daycare center for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make during their early years. You want them to have fun and be happy, but their safety and well-being is the primary concern. It is crucial that parents do their due diligence by researching facilities, performing their own inspections, and interviewing staff.

Tips for Choosing the Right Daycare Center

The tips below will help to ensure that you choose the right daycare center, the first time.

Since 2010, property owners in MA can be legally responsible for damages and injuries caused by a failure to remove snow and ice. The 2010 ruling replaced 125 years of legal precedent. Previously, owners were not liable for removing “natural accumulation” of snow and ice. But today’s landlords are legally obligated to treat snow and ice as a dangerous condition. Failing to do so could result in a personal injury lawsuit.

So, How Often Does a Landlord Have to Shovel Snow or Remove Ice?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. In Boston, businesses have three hours and private residences have six hours to remove snow and ice. In Worcester, however, property owners have 12 hours. To be safe, snow and ice should be removed early and often. While it is not necessary to shovel every hour during an ongoing blizzard, doing so every few hours is a good idea. Once the snowfall has stopped, it is important for the property owner to ensure that snow is removed as quickly as possible.

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common, and costly, workplace accidents. About $70 billion is spent annually on compensation and medical costs related to on-the-job slip and fall accidents. But people don’t only fall at work. Each year, fifty percent of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by falls. Slip and fall accidents in stores, parking lots, and stairwells also occur with surprising frequency.

As one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries and accidental death, falls also lead to quite a few personal injury lawsuits. Below are some recent slip and fall cases that resulted in substantial awards for the injury victims. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident.

 

  • Earlier this month, an Alabama man who tripped over a pallet and fell while shopping in a Walmart was awarded $7.5 million for his injuries, which included a shattered hip. Although slip and fall lawsuits often settle for large sums of money, an award of more than seven million is rare. In this particular case, however, footage from the security camera revealed that many shoppers had tripped over the same pallet.

 

  • Xiaolei Zeng was recently injured in a Virginia Ikea store when a stack of countertops fell on her, crushing her pelvis. According to doctors, Zeng will experience chronic pain as a result of her injuries. A jury awarded her $3.2 million. A Boston slip and fall accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

 

  • George Wallace, a Las Vegas comedian, sustained serious injuries in a slip and fall accident at the Bellagio. The casino was found liable for the faulty wiring job that tripped Wallace, resulting in permanent tendon damage. The jury awarded Wallace $1.3 million for his injuries and lost income.

 

  • Earlier this year, Bill Waite tripped on an unmarked step along a sidewalk, striking his head on a chair. Waite, who was left blind by the accident, was awarded $4 million in damages.

 

  • Colorado trucker, Holly Avery, slipped on a grease spill at a Walmart loading dock earlier this year. As a result, Avery suffered debilitating injuries to her back. Walmart denied the spill existed only to later find that an investigation into a grease spill at the site was noted in city records. In this case, Walmart had to pay even more than in the pallet case above. Avery received $10 million in damages.

 

  • Lorna Bernhoft, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, was paralyzed when she fell through a fourth floor skylight in an off-campus residence. Bernhoft settled with the building’s owners for $11.6 million.

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The frequency of traumatic brain injury (TBI) for Americans is eight times greater than that of breast cancer, spinal-cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS combined. TBI is a serious, and potentially-life threatening medical condition that affects an estimated 1.7 million people annually. Of those, about 275,000 will require hospitalization, and approximately 52,000 will die.

Common causes of TBIs include high-impact sports, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. Although TBIs can affect any person at any age, our risk of TBI increases as we get older. Adults age 75 and older have the greatest risk of hospitalization and death from TBI.

Despite its prevalence in the U.S., TBI remains a commonly misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and mistreated medical condition. The myths below can lead to improper treatment, irreparable damage, and even death.

Myth #1 -TBI is always preceded by a loss of consciousness.

Recent advances in the medical community’s understanding of TBI have debunked this rather controversial myth. Today, the general consensus among doctors experienced in TBI is that a patient does not need to lose consciousness to suffer a TBI.

Myth #2 – If the individual looks fine and has no immediate symptoms, TBI is not a concern.

A person who has suffered a TBI may retain consciousness, appear healthy, and be able to walk and talk normally. TBI symptoms are often so subtle that the patient simply feels “off,” or slightly different. For some people, TBI symptoms don’t become apparent for weeks or months. Even so, they may have sustained serious internal damage. If untreated, this damage could lead to permanent psychological and neurological problems. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you believe you’ve suffered a TBI.

Myth #3 – Mild TBIs are not a big deal.

Even mild concussions and TBIs can have life-long psychological and neurological consequences. Symptoms of a mild TBI may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, noise and light sensitivity, problems with balance, vision and hearing problems, sleep problems, memory loss, personality changes, irritability, impulsivity, aggression, and depression.

Myth #4 – A TBI will always show up on a brain imaging scan.

Although MRI and CT scans can be helpful, this type of neuroimaging is rarely able to detect the structural differences caused by a mild TBI. These scans may appear normal, even if serious damage has been done. Slight differences, such as axonal shearing, may be too subtle to appear on the scan. That being said, other types of neuroimaging may be more effective at detecting structural differences in the brain. Functional imaging, including functional PET and MRI scans, may detect mild TBI and concussion. Unfortunately, functional testing is rarely used in clinical settings.

It’s important to know the symptoms of TBI, but it’s equally important to understand that symptoms may not be immediately apparent. If you have suffered any type of trauma to the head, it is in your best interest to seek immediate medical attention. There are many myths about TBI, and some of these misconceptions can lead to long-term or permanent damage. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been harmed due to another’s negligence. Continue reading

A little girl suffered a fatal fall on a Carnival cruise ship last week, raising questions about whether cruises are safe for young children. Zion Smith, an eight-year-old from the Bahamas, was waiting with her family to disembark the ship. Smith and her brother were leaning on an upper-deck railing to watch other guests disembark when she fell two stories to a deck below. According to Miami Dade Police, the ship was docked at PortMiami at the time of the accident. The child was rushed to the hospital, where she later died.

Jennifer de la Cruz, a spokeswoman for Carnival, assured the public that Carnival is an extremely safe cruise line for everyone, children included. She said that the railing from which the girl fell was 47-inches high.

“We hold broad appeal to the family market based on the fun, safe and secure vacation experience we provide,” said de la Cruz. She went on to say that more children cruise on Carnival than any other cruise line. Approximately 800,000 children are expected to sail on Carnival in 2017.

Lifeguards on Duty?

Other cruise lines, including Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, have made headlines in recent years for drownings on onboard swimming pools. In response, several cruise lines have added lifeguards, but it’s still “swim at your own risk” on many cruise ships. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on a cruise ship.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 30 reported incidents during the three-month period between April and June 2017. These included 19 sexual assaults and a missing person. And in 2016, the Carnival Pride struck a gangway while docked in Baltimore, causing more than $2 million in damages.

Types of Cruise Accidents

The numbers above may sound high, but remember that millions of people take cruises without incident every year. When accidents do occur, they are generally classified as one of the following:

  • Mechanical – power loss, fire
  • Weather related – storms, hurricanes, heavy fogs
  • Illness – gastrointestinal problems, such as Norovirus and Influenza, and other outbreaks of food poisoning or fever
  • Injuries – fractures, assault, sexual assault
  • Criminal offenses – theft, indecent exposure, drug possession
  • Deaths – missing persons, onboard drowning, falling or jumping overboard, murder, suicide, heart attack
  • Disasters – collisions, sinking, pirate attacks, capsizing

Although the above accidents and incidents are all possible, most are rare. Norovirus illness is actually one of the most common cruise injuries, with an average of 15 outbreaks annually. Continue reading

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have what are known as “metal-on-metal” hip implants. These all-metal implants were thought to be stronger and provide better range of motion than their ceramic and plastic counterparts. Although all-metal hip implants may be more durable, they are definitely not safer.

The Worst Offenders

All hip implants come with a risk of complications, but the all-metal hip implants with the worst failure rates are the following:

  • Depuy ASR
  • Depuy Pinnacle
  • Stryker Accolade
  • Stryker ABGII
  • Stryker LFIT Anatomic Heads
  • Stryker Rejuvenate

The above hip implants are linked to unreasonably-high incidences of infection, nerve damage, dislocation, fracture, blood clots, and a serious condition called Metallosis. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by an all-metal hip implant.

Symptoms of Complications with a Hip Implant

The above medical complications can be quite serious if left untreated. So, how do you know if your hip implant is failing? Common symptoms of implant failure include:

  • Severe and chronic pain in the hip, groin, or leg
  • Mobility problems
  • Swelling around the hip joint
  • Clicking and grinding noises while walking

What Causes All-Metal Implants to Fail?

The hip implants listed above are made of chromium and cobalt, two different types of metal that create friction when rubbed together. Unfortunately, this friction may result in the release of metal debris into the blood stream and surrounding tissue. The release of too much metal debris can become toxic. When metal builds up in the blood and soft tissues, it can lead to a painful inflammatory condition called Metallosis. Left untreated, Metallosis can be fatal. A MA defective medical device lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by an all-metal hip implant.

Thousands of patients have suffered serious medical conditions and debilitating pain after receiving an all-metal hip implant. In addition to the medical complications listed above, all-metal hip implants are linked to the formation of pseudo tumors (non-cancerous cell masses filled with fluid), kidney and thyroid problems, bone deterioration, and cancer. And most of these patients required costly, painful revision surgeries to remove and / or replace the failed implant. Hip implants are supposed to improve mobility, reduce pain, and make life easier. Unfortunately, for thousands of patients, the opposite has been true. Continue reading

Last month a fatal charter bus accident killed three people in Queens, New York. This tragedy has called attention to a glaring, and growing, problem. Thousands of private bus companies with countless violations and terrible safety records continue to operate in the United States every day. While public transportation is closely regulated by local governments, private bus companies are not.

Dahlia Group, the bus line involved in last month’s fatal accident, has had two other fatal crashes. And the bus driver in the Queens crash, who is reported to have been speeding, has a past drunk driving conviction. As horrible as Dahlia’s record may sound, it’s far from the worst. Yep Tour is a private bus company currently operating in NYC. In the past two years, Yep has received more than 200 safety violations. Despite the fact that Yep has failed to pay more than $300,000 in fines, the city still issued a transportation permit to the Massachusetts-based company.

In the United States, there are currently more than 3,200 private bus companies, many of which have horrific safety violation records, and are notorious for overworking employees and overlooking vehicle maintenance. Unfortunately, these dangerous violations often go unnoticed until a tragic bus accident makes headlines. Budget bus companies certainly provide an in-demand service, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of riders’ lives. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Public Transportation isn’t Always Safer

At least not when it comes to the Boston area. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has recently been in the spotlight for serious safety violations, injuries, and even fatalities. Crushing debt may be at least partially to blame. Trains catching fire, speeding and texting bus drivers, train collisions, and bus-pedestrian crashes are just a few of the high-profile accidents marring MBTA’s reputation in recent years. The transportation agency’s $7.3 billion repair backlog certainly isn’t helping. At about 1.3 million rides per day and counting, the MBTA is the country’s fifth-largest transit system, but funding is only a fraction of that of peer agencies.

“The problem we have is a problem of literally decades of disinvestment,” former Massachusetts DOT director Jim Aloisi told Streetsblog. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a bus accident.

Local Law takes a Back Seat to Federal Law

Despite MBTA’s checkered past, public transportation is generally safer, and held to higher standards, than private companies. California state lawmakers attempted to improve private bus line safety regulations last year, following a fatal charter bus crash that killed 10 people. When he proposed the addition of certain safety features, State Senator Ricardo Lara learned the hard way that federal law is king when it comes to private bus lines. Local laws took a back seat, and his requests for safety windows and better data keeping were replaced with markedly weaker legislation, such as requiring drivers to show passengers how to use emergency exits.

“It is frustrating that local legislatures can’t do more to make buses safer, even if it just means putting recommendations made at the federal level into state law,” said Mr. Lara. “We got the most we could with safety lights and training for passengers, but our hands were tied by outdated federal safety regulations.” Continue reading

If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog, who is liable for your injuries? In MA, a dog’s owner may be liable for any damages the dog causes, barring certain circumstances. For example, if the victim was trespassing at the time of the incident, the dog’s owner will likely be off the hook. Read on for more information about dog bite injuries in MA, and how to proceed if you’ve been bitten.

Negligence vs. Strict Liability

When it comes to dog bites, states generally operate under the theory of “negligence” or “strict liability.” MA is a “strict liability” state. This essentially means that the injured person does not need to show that the dog’s owner was negligent. The owner may even be liable if the victim had been informed that the dog was prone to biting before the incident. And the strict liability rule also applies to other injuries and damages caused by dogs. If a dog knocks an elderly person down, for example, the owner may be liable for resulting injuries.

Statute of Limitations

In MA, you have three years from the date of the dog bite within which to file suit. This state of limitations is extremely important; if you fail to file a court case before the specified deadline, your chances of success are almost non-existent. A Boston dog bite injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog.

Dog Bite Statistics

The following facts and figures provide insight into the frequency and severity of dog bites in the United States.

  • About 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States annually.
  • In 2016, dog-related injuries accounted for more than 30 percent of all homeowners insurance liability claims – a total of more than $600 million.
  • More than 6,750 U.S. postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2016.
  • Between 1993 and 2008 there was an 86 percent increase in hospitalizations involving dog bites.

When is the Owner Liable?

In Chapter 140, Section 155 of MA General Laws, a dog’s owner may be liable for injuries under the following circumstances.

  • The dog caused damages or injuries

            and

  • The victim was not trespassing at the time of the incident.
  • The victim was not committing a tort at the time of the incident.
  • The victim did not provoke the dog.

The above statute also applies to other injuries and property damage caused by dogs. If, for example, a dog chews through a neighbor’s fence, the neighbor may sue for property damages. A MA dog bite injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a dog.

Owner Defenses

As with most personal injury lawsuits, the individual being sued is likely to present a defense explaining why he or she should not be liable. When it comes to dog bites, the owner will usually present one of two defenses.

  • Trespassing: If the victim was trespassing on private property, homeowner liability is seriously limited.
  • Provocation: If the victim was provoking the dog, the owner may not be liable. The MA dog injury statute specifically states that the owner is not liable if the injury occurs while the injured person is “teasing, tormenting or abusing” the dog.

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