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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Earlier this week, a tragic accident involving a 16-year-old boy and an automatic seat in a Honda Odyssey Minivan occurred in Cincinnati, Ohio. As he reached into the back of the minivan to retrieve tennis equipment, Kyle Plush became trapped between the vehicle’s third row of seats and its rear gate. According to reports, the seats flipped backward as the high school sophomore was kneeling on them, trapping him in the cargo well. Following the accident, Autoweek reported that Honda Odyssey seats have been the cause of multiple vehicle recalls in recent months. The model involved in Plush’s death, however, was not one of the recalled vehicles. A Boston defective products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Were Emergency Responders at Fault?

Plush’s tragic death has called into question the safety of the minivan and whether the seat was defective. The response of emergency responders is also being investigated. According to police reports, Plush called 911 by way of Siri on his smartphone. However, due to the distance between Plush and his phone, the young man was unable to hear the 911 responder asking for his location.

Five minutes after his 911 call, police arrived at Plush’s school—where the Odyssey was parked—but were unable to locate Plush or his vehicle. He was finally found, nearly six hours after his call for help, by his father. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner’s report listed asphyxia as the cause of death.

Following the incident, Cincinnati police have launched an investigation into Plush’s death. According to some reports, 911 responders may have failed to accurately relay information to the officers who searched for Plush in the moments following the call. Had they found him then, the 16-year-old may have survived.

800,000 Honda Odysseys Have Been Recalled

Between 2011 and 2017, approximately 800,000 Odysseys were recalled due to a defect in its second row seats. Apparently these seats could tilt forward if not properly latched. This defect caused a total of 46 minor injuries, but Plush was the first case involving a person being trapped in the Odyssey’s cargo well. Although Plush’s death was likely a freak accident, it may be indicative of a larger problem with Honda Odysseys, and many other recently-recalled automobiles. A MA defective products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Besides posting videos about how to resolve the potential issue, Honda has yet to address its previous seating problems. And over the past few years, serious defects have plagued the auto insurance industry, with more than 70 million cars being recalled. One of the worst defects in recent history involved exploding Takata airbags, which contributed to at least 11 fatalities. Continue reading

According to a recently-released National Safety Council (NSC) report, the number of accidental deaths and injuries is at an “all-time high.” In fact, the rate of accidental deaths spiked more than 7 percent in 2015, accounting for an additional 146,571 lives lost that year. As a result, accidental deaths have become the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease take more lives.

According to the NSC’s Ken Kolosh, we shouldn’t refer to these deaths as accidental because “they’ve been proven over and over again to be 100 percent preventable.” By using terms like accidental or unintentional, we create the assumption that nothing can be done to prevent these injuries and fatalities. The reality is, when people follow certain safety precautions, the risk of accidental injury or death drops dramatically.

Over the past thirty years, U.S. deaths have actually dropped by nearly 20 percent, while “accidental” deaths have risen about 27 percent. To further emphasize the severity of this problem, consider the following calculation: if accidental deaths had followed the trend of overall deaths, nearly 60,000 lives would have been saved in 2015. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Why the Increase in Accidental Deaths?

According to the NSC, factors contributing to the increase in accidental deaths may include:

  • An increase in unintentional poisonings, fueled mostly by the nation’s opioid crisis (opioid overdoses are involved in 46 deaths every day in this country);
  • An unexplained rise in fall-related deaths;
  • Rise in deaths related to car crashes (nearly 38,000 deaths in 2015)—many experts believe distracted driving is to blame, but there are also simply more motor vehicles on the road than at any time in history.

The NSC predicts that the 2016 figures will be even higher—it estimates a six percent or greater increase (these figures won’t be released for at least several months).

How to Prevent Accidental Deaths

Accidental poisonings by way of opioid and other prescription drug overdoses can be avoided by discussing possible drug interactions with your doctor and ensuring that all medications are properly labeled and stored in your medicine chest. You should also:

  • Take medications exactly as prescribed;
  • When first taking a medication, report any problems to your physician immediately;
  • Never take another person’s painkillers’
  • Use a pill box to organize multiple medications;
  • Keep a diary of how much medication you are taking and when you take it.

Motor vehicle accident fatalities can be reduced by following the safety precautions below:

  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Do not speed;
  • Always wear a seatbelt;
  • Avoid driving in inclement weather whenever possible;
  • Avoid driving late at night whenever possible;
  • Never text or talk on the phone while driving;
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order at all times;
  • Obey traffic rules.

Accidental deaths related to falls can be reduced by following the tips below:

  • Avoid getting excessively drunk;
  • If you need glasses, wear them;
  • Area rugs should have non-slip backing, and corners that stick up should be nailed down;
  • Place a rubber mat in your tub or shower;
  • Keep walkways well lit and clear of clutter and debris;
  • If using a ladder, make sure that it is in good repair and you know how to use it properly;
  • Avoid walking on icy sidewalks or wet floors;
  • If you have balance problems, use a walker or cane;
  • Maintain your health and physical fitness through regular exercise.

A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in any type of accident. Continue reading

Most U.S. parents work outside the home. As a result, most small children receive some type of child care. Although many of these child care arrangements involve another family member (grandparent, aunt, or sibling), nearly one-quarter of young children are place in some type of organized child care, such as a day care center or preschool.

There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our children. If you need to find child care from someone other than a family member, it is important to ensure that the child care arrangement you choose is best for your child. With so many kids in day care centers across the country, injuries and accidents do happen. Fortunately, most of these injuries are minor and are not a symptom of negligence or abuse. But there are exceptions.

Child Care Safety Tips

Follow the advice below to ensure that your child is well cared for, happy and safe while at day care. In addition to protecting your child (and other children at the center) from abuse and neglect, the tips below can give you the reassurance and peace of mind you need to go about your day in a positive, healthy way.

  • Do your homework. Day care centers must be licensed and are required to follow state regulations. Part of the licensing process involves random site audits of the facility. When violations occur, they are generally made public via online databases.
  • Take a tour. Prior to enrolling your child in a day care center, it is important to understand the environment he will be in each day. Do staff seem to enjoy their jobs? Are they cuddling the babies, playing with the toddlers, and speaking to the children kindly? Are the kitchen and bathrooms clean, and are dangerous items, such as knives and scissors, placed out of children’s reach? Do the kids seem happy?
  • Talk to staff. Ask if they like their jobs, how long they have worked there, and what kind of qualifications they have. A high turnover rate (if most staff members have worked there for no more than a few months) can indicate a problem. And staff should have at least the minimum levels of training and education in early childhood development. A Boston day care negligence attorney can help you determine how to proceed if your child has been harmed due to another’s negligence.
  • Ask for the center’s safety policy with regard to handling injuries. Do their standards match your own? You can take this a step further by requesting a copy of their individual safety audits. Although this may feel like an uncomfortable question to ask, safety audits can provide important insight into the center’s history of safety and overall care.

Once your child begins going to a day care facility, it’s important to remain vigilant. Regularly reassess the level of care your child is receiving. Keep your eyes open for warning signs? Does she seem scared, anxious, or withdrawn when it’s time to go to day care each day? Is she always hungry or thirsty at pick-up time? Is she often covered in bruises, cuts, or bite marks? A MA child care abuse attorney can help you recover damages if your child has been harmed due to another’s negligence. Continue reading

If you can no longer work due to a physical or mental disability, you may be eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). SSDI payments are based on your current earnings, with the average amount being $1,197 monthly in 2018. Let’s say you are receiving SSDI benefit payments for an injury or illness and you are injured in a separate accident due to another’s negligence. You file a lawsuit and are awarded a lump sum of money for your damages. Will this settlement impact your SSDI benefits in MA?

Fortunately, the answer to the above question is a resounding “No.” SSDI is not affected by a personal injury settlement in MA. SSDI is a federal program for individuals who cannot work due to disability. To receive these benefits, the disabled individual must go through a thorough screening process.

Personal injury settlements are an entirely different animal. When negligence is acknowledged between two parties, the injured party will likely receive an agreed upon sum of money as compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. SSDI benefits and personal injury settlements are not in conflict with one another. Your SSDI benefits will not be reduced if you receive a personal injury award, even if it’s substantial. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

SSDI Benefits and Unearned Income

SSDI benefits are intended to help you stay afloat if a disability prevents you from working for a period of time, or indefinitely. These benefits can even extend into retirement and provide support for dependents. Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – which is the low-income version of the program – SSDI does not limit the amount of unearned income or assets you are allowed to have. There is a limit on the amount you can earn by working, but that does not apply to personal injury settlements. And just as there are no limits on funds you can receive through an injury lawsuit, there are no limits on other types of unearned income if you are on SSDI. This includes interest income, a spouse’s income, and income from investments.

How Can I Apply for SSDI?

If you are unable to work due to a disability, you may wish to apply for SSDI benefits. In addition to being able to demonstrate that you cannot perform your usual job tasks, you must also prove that you are unable to reasonably be trained for another job due to your age, physical or mental fitness, or your level of education. Further, you must have paid into Social Security at some point during the past 10 years through your previous job(s), and you must have worked a minimum amount of years during that time frame (usually five).

The process to apply for SSDI benefits can be long and complex, and most claims are denied at first. This shouldn’t discourage you; many previously-denied claims are accepted during an appeals process. As such, it is imperative that you obtain legal counsel if you wish to apply for SSDI. A MA injury lawyer can help you obtain the benefits you deserve if you are unable to work due to injury or illness. Continue reading

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally-occurring fiber commonly used in building for decades. Before the dangers of asbestos were known, construction workers and other professionals often spent hours working with this toxic substance every day. As mesothelioma is a particularly slow-growing form of cancer, it’s not uncommon for people who were exposed more than 30 years ago to just now be diagnosed with the disease.

Mesothelioma begins as small tumors that form on the lining of the abdomen or lungs. Symptoms don’t usually become apparent until the tumors begin to press against the abdominal cavity or chest wall, which usually occurs around state III or IV.

In addition to slow growth, mesothelioma is commonly overlooked or misdiagnosed because its symptoms often mimic those of less serious conditions. Initial symptoms may include pain in the chest or abdomen, shortness of breath, dry cough, and bloating.

Most Common Mesothelioma Signs and Symptoms

If you ever worked with asbestos and have developed any of the following symptoms, it may be in your best interest to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Of course, all of the symptoms below can be related to other, less serious conditions. But when it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Wheezing
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal distention
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Hernia
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pleural effusion (when fluid forms around the lungs)
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing

In most cases, mesothelioma is first detected by accident through a routine blood test or X-ray. Anyone who worked with asbestos for an extended period of time should inform their physician and request cancer screenings to improve the chances of an early diagnosis. If you have developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, a MA work injury attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries.

Misdiagnosis

There are two main types of mesothelioma – pleural and peritoneal. Pleural affects the lining of the lungs, whereas peritoneal affects the lining of the abdomen. Both types of mesothelioma are frequently misdiagnosed. The pleural form is commonly misdiagnosed as COPD, pneumonia, or a bronchial infection, while doctors often think the peritoneal form is irritable bowel syndrome or ovarian cancer.

Is Mesothelioma a Work Injury?

In most cases, an individual’s asbestos exposure occurred at work, years ago. As such, resulting injuries are work injuries. Most work injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, but mesothelioma is typically an exception. Since symptoms of this deadly cancer often fail to show up until 20 or 30 years after exposure, few people still work at the employer responsible for their exposure. Many of these employers don’t even exist anymore. This is why it is so critical to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. Continue reading

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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