Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

A tragic accident at a Salem, New Hampshire Sears Auto Center has left one young man dead and another seriously injured. On Saturday morning, 22-year-old Sears Auto employee, Justin Almon, suffered life-threatening injuries when a tire he was filling “exploded off the machine,” hitting both he and a customer in the head. According to Salem police, the 911 call came in just before 8:00 a.m. When police arrived at the scene, they found Almon with blunt force trauma to the head and 23-year-old Adam Sproul, a customer who had also suffered serious head injuries. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.

Incident Under Investigation by OSHA

Almon was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Parkland Medical Center. Sproul, a resident of Boothbay Maine, was first transported to Lawrence General Hospital and then airlifted to Boston Medical Center. His condition has not been released. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Salem Police Investigative Services Unit are currently investigating the explosion, but preliminary investigation shows that Almon was using an industrial tire changer to fix a large truck tire at the time of the accident.

Following the incident, Sears released this statement, “”First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our associate, and we send our deepest condolences to them.  We also send our thoughts and concerns to our customer who was injured in this tragic accident. We are working closely with local authorities as they investigate this matter.”

Defective Equipment Can Be Deadly

Certain occupations pose a much greater risk of serious injury and fatality than others. For example, mining, offshore drilling, and some construction-related jobs. However, freak accidents, such as the tragic incident above, can happen in any work environment. Even seemingly innocuous equipment should be operated with extreme care, and regularly maintained and inspected.

Further investigation into this case will likely reveal the cause. It may have been due to a design defect or manufacturing defect. If this is the case, the manufacturer may be liable. It is also possible that the accident was a result of employer negligence. If, for example, the equipment was sound at the time of purchase but hasn’t been adequately maintained, Sears may be liable for the employee’s death. Continue reading

In a tragic accident on Monday morning, a 31-year-old Sturbridge woman was killed and two children were seriously injured when her vehicle collided with a cement truck on Route 20 in Oxford. At approximately 8:30 am, the unidentified woman crossed the center line and hit the cement truck. The impact of the collision forced her car into a third vehicle, an SUV driven by RobesPierre LaFleur. According to police, the cement truck’s front wheels broke off and the massive vehicle skidded several hundred feet down the road on its side before coming to a complete stop. Contact a Boston Injury Attorney.

8-Month-Old-Baby on Life Support, 2-Year-Old Boy in Serious Condition

The driver of the truck and the SUV received non-life threatening injuries. However, the woman driving the car that collided with the truck has been confirmed dead. An 8-month-old baby boy sustained life threatening injuries and is currently on life support, and a 2-year-old boy is also in serious condition. The children were both taken to UMass Medical Center in Worcester. The other two surviving victims were each taken to a local hospital.

The driver of the SUV is in agony over the accident. RobesPierre LaFleur was in serious pain after the collision, but he immediately ran to the car when he saw it had been crushed by the cement truck. “I was trying to help the mother,” LaFleur said.  “I touched her, and I said, ‘Mom, are you OK?’ However, it didn’t take long to determine that the woman hadn’t survived the crash.

After checking on the woman, LaFleur saw the little boy in his car seat and attempted to get him out. “He was coming in and out of consciousness,” he said. It wasn’t until a few moments later that he noticed the baby, crushed against the door. First responders were able to free the infant, but he remains on life support. Continue reading

A man was struck and killed by a train Monday afternoon according to reports provided by The Boston Fire Department. Law enforcement officials received a call at approximately 2:30 PM stating that man had become pinned underneath a Red Line train at the JFK/U Mass MBTA station. Though responding officers worked to release the man from beneath the train, the victim was later pronounced dead on scene following the retrieval efforts.

The name of the victim has yet to be released by authorities are stating that the unidentified man is between the ages of 50-60 years old. The exact events surrounding the accident are currently under active investigation but police have stated that they do not suspect foul play in the matter. According to an MBTA police officer, the man allegedly stumbled onto the tracks in the Dorchester neighborhood that houses the JFK/U Mass MBTA station. It is not clear at this time if the man accidently stumbled onto the tracks or if he does so purposefully. He was subsequently struck by a Red Line train destined for the Braintree station shortly after falling onto the tracks.

Transit police detectives for the MBTA are currently investigating the incident with help from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in an effort to determine what lead to the fatal accident. Continue reading

The recent death of a bicyclist on a busy intersection in Boston has prompted city officials to make safety improvements to the surrounding area. On August 7th of this year, 38 year old Anita Kurmann was struck and killed by a tractor trailer when she was riding her bike along Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street in Boston. That particular intersection has been the site of multiple accidents in recent years, and those who frequently travel along the route believe that significant changes need to be made in order to prevent further tragedies from arising.

The director of planning for Boston’s Transportation Department, Vineet Gupta, has stated that improvements have already begun at the dangerous intersection in an effort to increase safety for bicyclists and motor vehicle operators alike. The road where Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street intersect has already been repaved following the accident, and workers are applying new striping as well. Gupta went on to say that flexible posts will be installed this week to protect the bike lane. “Our goal is to make it safe for everyone at that intersection,” Gupta said.

In addition to the measures already being taken, the Transportation Department will also install bike boxes marked with green paint that will permit cyclists to rest within those designated areas while they wait for signal changes on the road. The bike boxes will be placed in front of motor vehicles lining up in the same area and will primarily be located in the southbound lane of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street. Continue reading

The decision to file a lawsuit for wrongful death is typically made in the wake of tragedy. Negligence leading to wrongful death can occur in the form of medical malpractice, defective products, catastrophic vehicle accidents, and work-related accidents, to name a few. The categories of losses to be paid by the defendant – known as damages – vary from state to state. Survivors representing the victim’s estate may receive compensation for three different categories of losses – economic damages, non-economic damages, and  punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Any financial losses suffered from the event of the victim’s death are considered economic damages. Medical expenses incurred by the victim’s family can range from one-time emergency room costs to long-term nursing care and pharmaceutical costs prior to the victim’s death. Reimbursement for funeral expenses may also be included. A lesser-known kind of economic damage exists in the form of lost income and may include:

  • Loss of benefits (medical coverage, pension plans)
  • Loss of expected earnings
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of the value of goods and services that would have been provided had the victim not died

Non-Economic Damages

Sometimes referred to as “pain and suffering” damages, these are the more intangible losses suffered by a wrongful death victim’s family members. Although these factors are more difficult to place a value on, they are often more devastating than economic damages.

  • Compensation for mental anguish (pain and suffering)
  • Loss of the victim’s care, protection, guidance, and nurturing
  • Loss of the victim’s love and companionship
  • Loss of consortium from the deceased partner

Recently ignited debate within the legal community focuses on each state’s choice to place caps on non-economic damages. Because this type of compensation is “higher-priced” yet less concrete than financial-based damages, lawmakers are calling for a re-evaluation of the constitutionality of these cap statutes. Today, 38 states uphold caps at varying levels. Massachusetts’ non-economic damages cap is $500,000, unless a jury specifically pronounces that amount to be unfairly low in relation to losses suffered by the victim’s representative. Continue reading

A fraternity at the esteemed Yale University is facing charges after a car accident in 2011 left one woman dead and seriously injured two others. The lawsuit against the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity was filed in 2013 by the families of the victims. After years of waiting, the case is finally heading to trial.

According to reports, members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon were heading to a tailgating event for a Yale vs. Harvard football game that was taking place on November 19th, 2011. Members of the fraternity were driving to the event in a U-Haul truck that contained kegs when the driver of the vehicle, Brendon Ross, lost control of the truck. It was not made immediately clear what caused Ross to lose control at this time. Police responding to the scene have stated that Ross accelerated into a crowd of pedestrians in the area shortly before the U-Haul struck another truck nearby. The pedestrians had been gathered in an area typically used for tailgating outside of the Yale Bowl. At some point during the accident, Ross struck and killed Nancy Barry of Salem, Massachusetts. He also seriously injured two other women, one of whom was a student at Yale at the time by the name of Sarah Short. The two victims were treated for their injuries.

The families of Nancy Barry and Sarah Short want to hold the fraternity responsible for the actions of Brendon Ross. Brendon Ross entered a probation program following the accident which therefore absolved him of criminal charges. The families of Barry and Short wanted to sue Ross, Yale University, the national chapter for Sigma Phi Epsilon, and the U-Haul company for damages. The lawsuits for these are still currently pending. The lawsuit against Sigma Phi Epsilon includes charges against not only Brendon Ross, but all 86 members of the fraternity. Some of the 86 members included in the lawsuit were former members and some are still currently members of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

A pedestrian was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Mansfield, Massachusetts early this morning, Thursday August 13th. In one news report, it was said that personnel from the MBTA Transit Police had reported a man trespassing in the area around Track 2 shortly before they received reports of an individual being struck and killed by a train. The identity of the individual that was unfortunately killed has not been disclosed at this time, as family notification is still pending. Responding officers have indicated that the victim is a man, which attests to earlier reports of a man seen trespassing along the tracks.

According to preliminary reports being released, MBTA police contacted the Mansfield Public Safety Dispatch at approximately 10:50 AM to report that a pedestrian had been struck by a train. The Amtrak train was traveling south at the time, and the accident occurred just south of the MBTA train station that is located near George Street in Mansfield on Route 128. After striking the victim, the train stopped on the tracks while they waited for emergency officials to respond to the scene.

According to a spokeswoman for Amtrak, Vernae Graham, the train was traveling a route from Boston to Washington D.C. at the time of the accident. She also stated that there were roughly 189 passengers on the Amtrak train at the time and that no injuries were reported for any of the passengers following the crash. Continue reading

New information is being released in relation to the circus accident that took place Tuesday night in Lancaster, New Hampshire and claimed the lives of two people. Officials have confirmed that the circus company that had set up on the Lancaster Fairgrounds did not have the necessary permits for the tent that collapsed due to severe weather conditions. The “place of assembly” permit primarily used in these situations had not been acquired at the time of the accident.

Officials have not specifically indicated at this time how the lack of permit plays into the situation that took place on the Lancaster Fairgrounds. According to reports from investigators responding to the scene, winds in the area reached approximately 75 MPH at the time of the tent collapse. A storm warning had been placed into effect by the National Weather Service which advised individuals to seek cover until the storm has passed—a warning that circus organizers did not heed when they made their decision to proceed with the 5:30 PM show Tuesday night. Now, the National Weather Service is providing assistance into the investigation following the accident. Continue reading

An incident at a circus that took place Tuesday night in Lancaster, New Hampshire has left two people dead and thirty two others injured. Over one hundred people were in attendance at the Walker Brothers International Circus when severe weather caused a circus tent to collapse, trapping spectators inside. Accordingly to preliminary reports, the National Weather Service had issued a statement approximately twenty three minutes prior to the tent collapse, stating that due to imminent extreme weather conditions, people should be advised to take cover until the storm had passed. This warning did not deter circus operators from proceeding with their 5:30 PM scheduled show—motivations for this decision remained unclear to New Hampshire’s fire marshal as he began his investigation on scene Tuesday evening.

New Hampshire’s fire marshal, William Degnan, has said that the two victims have been identified as 41 year old Robert Young and his 8 year old daughter Annabelle Young, both of whom were from Concord, Vermont. Degnan went on to say that autopsy results for both victims indicate that they died of blunt-force trauma. The additional thirty two individuals who were injured during the collapse were treated for a variety of injuries, some severe, at four local hospitals.

Witnesses describe the scene Tuesday night as chaotic. One man, Rick Cadieux, who had attended the show with his wife and grandson, said that once the winds picked up (winds that, according to the National Weather Service, reached approximately 75-90 mph at the time of the tent collapse) the sides of the tent began to blow open. Around this time, large hailstones began pummeling the tent. Cadieux has also said that he glanced up around this time to check the security of the poles and found that they appeared to be fine. Once the wind picked up, however, the steel infrastructure of the tent collapsed causing the entire structure to fall to the ground. “There were two large 50-foot towers and they started to go and pulled the whole tent with it.” Cadieux told reporters. Thankfully, he was able to get himself and his family to safety inside their vehicle. He said that after he safely secured his wife and grandson inside his car, he ran back to the tent in order to help those who may still be trapped inside. Continue reading

A horrible escalator accident in Jingzhou, China, a province in Hubei that has approximately 5 million citizens, has left a young woman dead as she put herself in the way of danger in order to save the life of her son. 31-year-old Xiang Liujuan was at the AZG Mall in Jingzhou enjoying a Sunday shopping trip with her son when they unknowingly stepped onto an escalator that had a panel loose at the top landing strip. The loose panel had been discovered just a few minutes earlier by mall employees—but none of them warned customers of the safety issue. No one was contacted in order to fix the problem, and the employees did not place a safety barrier around the escalator to prohibit anyone from stepping onto it. These simple steps could have prevented a young child from losing his mother so early on in life.

Officials in Jingzhou that are investigating the matter have stated that they believe human error is to blame for this terrible accident taking place. Video surveillance of the tragedy has been released and clearly depicts how Xiang Liujuan had little to no time to react to what was happening. Xiang Liujuan is shown lifting her son up once they reach the top of the escalator in order to allow him to exit the mechanism safely. As she goes to lift him up however, the loose panel collapses underneath her. Xiang then falls into the opening gap, but somehow manages to keep her upper body above the structure—just long enough for her to push her son into the arms of mall employees who witnessed the accident unfolding and ran over to help. The boy is whisked away to safety by an employee while two others work toward pulling Xiang Liujuan from falling completely into the escalator. Their efforts were sadly unsuccessful however, when after just a few seconds Xiang falls into the hole that opened up beneath her feet. Continue reading

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