According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one out of every five fatal work accidents occurs in the construction industry. Considering that more than one-third of these fatalities are due to falls, it’s in the best interest of construction workers in the Commonwealth of MA and nationwide to familiarize themselves with the dangers of construction falls, and how to avoid them.

To protect workers, OSHA has established fall protection safety standards. Unfortunately, fall protection is the number one OSHA standard to be violated by employers. If you work in the construction industry and have concerns about the safety standards at your workplace, speak up. If your supervisor doesn’t readily address and resolve the issue, contact OSHA. It is OSHA’s duty to investigate claims of workplace safety violations.

OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign

Of the 991 construction deaths in 2016, 370 were falls from high elevations. In partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA has developed a Fall Prevention Campaign to educate employers and workers about how to prevent falls from roofs, scaffolds, ladders, and other high elevations. The campaign has three main components: Plan, provide, and train.

Plan

Working from heights requires proper planning beforehand, to ensure that workers are safe at all times. Planning can include outlining tasks that will be involved, listing necessary safety equipment, identifying potential hazards—such as skylights or leading edges—and deciding which workers have proper training to work from heights. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.

Provide

When it comes to working at high elevations, the right equipment is essential. Any worker who is at least six feet above lower levels must be provided with fall protection equipment. This can include everything from a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) to proper scaffolds and ladders. In addition to providing the equipment, employers must ensure proper fit and that the equipment is well-maintained and in working order.

Train

Any individual who will be working from a high elevation must first receive adequate training. In addition to proper use of safety equipment, workers should be able to identify potential hazards and know how to deal with them. A MA workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fall-related construction deaths between 1992 and 2005 occurred from the following places:

  • 33% – roofs
  • 18% – scaffolding or staging
  • 16% – ladders
  • 8% – girders or structural steel
  • 25% – other

Fortunately, the vast majority of fall-related construction deaths can be easily prevented. You can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death by reporting any fall hazards to your employer, and by contacting OSHA if those hazards are not resolved. Continue reading

Summer camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to enjoy nature, make new friends, and get healthy exercise all summer long. Whether it’s a day camp or sleep away camp, safety is always a number one concern. Scrapes and bruises are common, but what about more serious injuries? How can you ensure that your child stays safe and healthy at summer camp?

Summer Camp Safety Checklist

  • Is the camp accredited? To obtain accreditation, a camp is required to pass hundreds of health and safety tests. If the camp is not accredited, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t send your child there, but ask why they are not.

Motor vehicle collisions involving large, commercial trucks often result in significantly more damage than those involving passenger vehicles alone. This can be due to multiple factors, such as the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, as well as an increased risk of fatigue among long-haul truck drivers. Fortunately, if you are involved in an accident with a large truck (a.k.a. big rig, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer), several options are available to obtain compensation.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit after a collision with a commercial truck can help you obtain the compensation you deserve, but it can also be a complicated, lengthy process. A skilled Boston personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in trucking accidents can help to ensure that you receive full compensation in a timely manner. And filing a lawsuit might be your only option to recover damages; insurance carriers often require the insured to attempt to get the responsible party to pay before they will issue any funds. When the other party refuses, a lawsuit may be necessary.

When filing a lawsuit after an accident involving a large truck, one of the challenges is determining who to file it against. Was the truck driver negligent—was he/she texting while driving, or driving recklessly? Was the truck company negligent—did its failure to provide proper maintenance result in a mechanical issue that caused the accident? Was a parts manufacturer negligent—did faulty tires contribute to the accident? Was a third-party responsible—did a bar knowingly over-serve the driver, lending to his/her intoxicated driving? As you can see, determining fault can be a complex matter. And in many cases, multiple parties are at fault.

Driver

Even if the truck driver was obviously negligent (i.e. falling asleep behind the wheel), he/she may not have the financial ability to compensate you for repair bills and medical expenses. In most instances, however, the trucking company is at least partially at fault. A MA trucking accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck.

Trucking Company

Generally speaking, truck drivers are working for a company. As such, the company may be held vicariously liable for resulting collisions. For example, if the driver fell asleep behind the wheel, was it because he/she was working excessive hours at the company’s request? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations on the amount of hours truck drivers are allowed to work. These are known as “hours of service” regulations. Drivers may not drive more than 14 consecutive hours, and they cannot resume driving until a minimum of 10 consecutive off-duty hours have passed. Further, they cannot drive more than 60 hours during a seven-day period, or 70 hours during an eight-day period. Violations can result in civil penalties and fines.

Even if the truck was well-maintained and inspected, and the trucking company adhered to hours of service regulations, the trucking company may be deemed liable for the driver’s negligence. Consider the following scenario: Harold is driving recklessly when he crashes into Maude. Had Harold’s employer, CBA Trucking, conducted a thorough background check prior to his hire, they would have seen multiple terminations due to reckless driving. For this reason, any resulting lawsuit may allege that CBA used negligent hiring practices and is, thus, partially liable for Maude’s injuries. Continue reading

Bicycling in and around Boston  is fun, healthy, environmentally sound, and good on the wallet. As such, cycling—as both a recreational activity and a mode of transportation—is skyrocketing in popularity. This pollution-free, cheap alternative to gas-guzzling cars and trucks is not, however, without risks. In fact, without adequate knowledge of bicycle safety, cycling can be even more dangerous than driving. And without the four-walled protection of a motor vehicle, bicycle accidents frequently result in serious injury, and even death.

Although the most serious cycling injuries typically involve a motor vehicle traveling at 40 MPH or more, accidents can happen anywhere, and at any speed. Cycling injuries often include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, and internal injuries. If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident, there are certain steps you should take immediately. These include:

  • Report the accident to police. If you are unable to call yourself, ask if someone else can. As soon as the crash is reported, both police and paramedics will be dispatched to the scene. In addition, police will investigate the accident, creating an official police report and collecting witness statements, both of which may be invaluable if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident.
  • Obtain immediate medical attention. Even if you do not have obvious injuries or feel pain, it is important to seek medical attention after a cycling accident. Internal injuries can take days or weeks to present symptoms, and some of these injuries can be extremely serious. Further, medical records can prove quite valuable in an injury lawsuit.
  • Consult with a lawyer. If you have been involved in a serious cycling accident, a MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other costs. Not all bicycle accidents lead to injury claims, but a serious crash may warrant legal assistance.

How to Prevent Having a Bicycle Accident in the First Place

Unless you are riding only in bicycle lanes and on trails, you will be sharing the road with motor vehicle drivers. As a result, you must follow the same rules. The steps below will help you protect yourself, and everyone with whom you share the road.

  • Always ride with the flow of traffic, and remain to the far-right of the lane.
  • Obey all traffic signals, and use hand signals to indicate turns.
  • Always wear a helmet when cycling, and dress in brightly-colored clothing.
  • If you ride at night, wear reflective gear and affix a headlight to the front of your bike.
  • Wear proper shoes when cycling.
  • When riding past a parked car, give yourself as much distance as possible to prevent “dooring.”
  • Use extra caution at intersections.
  • Never expect that a driver will use his/her turn signal.
  • Proceed slowly when exiting a driveway, and always look left and right.
  • Avoid listening to music, texting, or talking on the phone while riding.
  • Never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Continue reading

The Brookline woman who was seriously injured by a foul ball at a 2014 Red Sox game has lost her case against the team. Stephanie Taubin was sitting in a luxury box at Fenway Park when David Ortiz hit a foul ball that smashed into her face. “It was so insanely fast,” she said. “The ball had definite spin on it.” Taubin sued the Red Sox and owner John Henry, alleging that they were negligent for not protecting luxury seats with glass or netting. She sued for $9.5 million, claiming that she suffered from neurological damage and facial fractures.

The jury did not agree with Taubin’s claim of negligence, however. Last week, they ruled in favor of the Red Sox. Following the verdict, Zineb Curran, a spokeswoman for the team said that while they “regret the injury,” they are “pleased with today’s outcome,” and that the “Dell/EMC Club is a safe and enjoyable area from which to watch a Red Sox game. Many of our valued fans, guests, and family and friends have enjoyed the space and return to it time and again.” She went on to say that the safety of fans “is an issue we take seriously, and since 2014, we have twice expanded our protective netting, and continue to evaluate the safety of all seating areas within the ballpark. We thank the jury and the court for their service in this matter.”

According to Taubin’s attorney, his client was paying attention to the game, but the ball was moving too quickly for her to avoid being hit. Taubin says that she could hear her bones crack when the ball struck her face. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Red Sox Owner Admits that the Lack of Glass Made the Box Seats More Dangerous

During the civil trial, which took place earlier this month, Red Sox owner John Henry testified that a section of glass had previously shielded the Dell EMC Club and that it had been removed. “We took the glass off, we took the seats out, we just gutted it,” he said. When asked if he thought that the area had become more dangerous following the glass removal, Henry responded by saying, “yes.” Even so, the jury reached a unanimous decision that the Red Sox were not negligent.

How Many Fans Have Been Injured in Similar Accidents at Fenway Park?

According to reports, a minimum of 51 fans have required medical treatment for injuries sustained while sitting in the same area. Only two weeks before Taubin’s injury occurred, a 44-year-old woman was nearly killed when she was struck by a broken bat. In 2014, a 36-year-old woman was hit in the face with a foul ball, requiring more than 30 stitches to repair the damage.

If there’s any silver lining to this outcome, it’s that this string of injuries has led to the installation of extended netting by all 30 MLB teams. But that doesn’t help Stephanie Taubin obtain the compensation she deserves for her injuries and pain and suffering. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been harmed by another’s negligence. Continue reading

Most women would prefer to do a multitude of things rather than go to the gynecologist, but periodic check-ups are necessary to ensure good health. Finding a gynecologist with whom you are comfortable is the best way to make these visits at least slightly more tolerable. Fortunately, the majority of gynecologists in the United States have the best interests of their patients in mind at all times. But there are exceptions. Case in point—52 women have come forward alleging sexual abuse at the hands of former University of Southern California (USC) staff gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall.

According to LAPD reports, Tyndall, now 72, abused patients—most of them USC students—for a 26-year period…basically his entire career. Despite numerous complaints and accusations during that time, Tyndall remained employed at USC until a 2016 incident, after which he was asked to resign, and given a severance package.

According to the abuse allegations, Tyndall groped women’s breasts, and penetrated their vaginas and anuses for “no legitimate medical purpose,” other than “to satisfy his own prurient sexual desires.” He also made lewd remarks about his patients’ sex lives and bodies. A MA sexual abuse victims attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been sexually harassed, raped, or assaulted.

Position of Power

One of those patients, now a nurse practitioner, said that Tyndall used his position of power to take advantage of his patients. He knew that certain actions could be perceived as medically necessary, and he used that knowledge to exploit women.

At a recent press conference, LAPD officials encouraged Tyndall’s victims to come forward to the authorities. “We are empathetic and ready to listen,” said Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala.

“In mid-May, news broke of allegations brought forth by faculty and students within the University of Southern California against Dr. George Tyndall — a gynecologist there at USC whose behaviors and practices appear to go beyond the norms of the medical profession and gynecological examinations,” said Girmala. “As the LAPD works with the University of Southern California, its board, staff, faculty, and very importantly, student community — both past and present — we wanted to personally outreach to those who may have been impacted and believe they may have been the victim of criminal conduct by Dr. Tyndall.”

Was USC Negligent?

In addition to the criminal investigation into Tyndall’s actions, numerous lawsuits have been filed against USC claiming that the university failed to respond to dozens of complaints made over a period of more than two decades. The lawsuits allege that USC allowed Tyndall to have “unfettered sexual access to the young female USC students in his care.” His abuse was overlooked by USC staff until 2016, when a nurse reported Tyndall to the school’s rape crisis center. Continue reading

When an Uber SUV in self-driving mode struck an Arizona pedestrian in March, it was the first fatal crash of its kind. But it was far from the only accident involving an autonomous vehicle. In fact, such accidents have dominated the headlines in recent months, raising questions about the safety of self-driving technologies.

How Do Autonomous Vehicle Computers Work?

There are three different modules in the computer systems used to operate self-driving cars—the perception module, the prediction module, and the response module.

  • The perception module uses sensors—such as cameras, radar, and pulses of light—to identify nearby objects.
  • The prediction module determines how these objects are likely to “behave.” For example, is the truck ahead going to switch lanes?
  • The response model uses the information above to determine the most appropriate response. For example, should the autonomous vehicle accelerate, decelerate, or change lanes?

These technologies are currently being tested on public roadways in states across the nation. Arizona’s dry climate has played a major role in its becoming a hot bed for testing self-driving vehicles (which still perform better on dry roads). But Arizona’s loose laws and regulations concerning self-driving vehicles may see some changes now that someone has been killed. A Boston car accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

So, what actually caused the Uber self-driving crash that killed an Arizona woman this spring?

According to Sebastian Thrun, the Stanford professor who formerly led Google’s autonomous-vehicle department, the most challenging of the three modules mentioned above is perception. Although bicycles, pedestrians, and other vehicles are relatively easy to identify, rarely-seen objects (think of a plastic bag floating across the road) pose a problem. Thrun says that when Google first began testing autonomous vehicles, its “perception module could not distinguish a plastic bag from a flying child.”

Confused Computer

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the Arizona accident, and determined that the autonomous Uber’s computer system failed to identify Elaine Herzberg as she walked across the road with her bicycle. Her presence was detected six seconds prior to the crash, but the perception module identified her first as an unknown object, then as a vehicle, and then as a bicycle, with a path the system was unable to predict. A MA car accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

According to the NTSB report, at 1.3 seconds before the crash, the computer system recognized the need for emergency braking, but the emergency braking had been disabled due to a potential conflict with the autonomous system. In such an event, the human driver is expected to react. Unfortunately, the safety operator was looking at the self-driving display screen at the time of the accident, and was unable to brake in time.

It was determined that, although the Arizona accident had multiple causes, the fault ultimately lies in the system’s design failure. The AV system should slow down, for example, if the perception module becomes confused. Of course, unexpected braking can have its own consequences. Confused self-driving vehicles have been rear-ended by human drivers when they slowed down unexpectedly. In fact, this is the exact reason why the responsibility of braking has been officially assigned to human safety operators, who are tasked with being the safety net when the AV system malfunctions or gets confused. In order for this to work, however, the human driver must be paying attention to the road as closely as the driver of a non-autonomous vehicle. Continue reading

A person can fall and get injured for a variety of reasons—icy walkways, uneven pavement, intoxication, and even a bad knee or hip—to name a few. When the accident is the result of another’s negligence, the injury victim may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. But proving that someone else is responsible for your injury isn’t always an easy task. Read on for more information about slip and fall injuries and how to prove that another party is liable.

Proving Liability

To prove liability in a slip and fall case, you must be able to show that one of the following two situations contributed to your injury:

  • The owner of the property, or an employee of a company, should reasonably have recognized the hazardous condition, such as an icy walkway or uneven pavement, and repaired the problem, but failed to do so.
  • The owner of the property, or an employee, caused the hazardous condition (i.e. spilled a slippery substance on the floor of a grocery store) and should have reasonably foreseen that someone could be injured if the condition wasn’t removed or repaired.

If, for example, you slipped on a substance that had been spilled only moments earlier, and a wet floor sign had been placed beside the spill while an employee went to get cleaning supplies, you may have a difficult time proving negligence. A Boston slip and fall attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Important Questions to Consider

In order for a slip and fall case to be successful, the responsible party must have failed to act in a manner that a reasonable person would have acted in under the same or similar circumstances. To determine this, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did the dangerous condition exist for a long enough time that a reasonable person could have removed or repaired it (consider the spilled substance example above)?
  • Did the owner of the property perform routine checks and maintenance on the property? If so, did he/she keep a log?
  • Was there a justifiable reason for the hazardous condition, and was it still present at the time of the accident?
  • Could the potential danger have been lessened with preventive measures, such as blocking access to the area or placing warning signs next to the hazard?
  • Did poor lighting contribute to the accident?

The above questions can help you and your attorney determine whether or not negligence played a role in your injuries, and who may be liable. A MA slip and fall lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Helpful Tips

In addition to the questions above, you can improve your chances of success by following the tips below:

  • Take pictures of the scene of the accident. If you are unable to do so, ask if a witness can help. Photograph anything that contributed to the accident, such as a wet floor or debris in a walkway, and any injuries.
  • Ask witnesses for their contact information. If you decide to file a lawsuit, witness testimony can be invaluable to your case.
  • Write down everything that happened before you forget the details. Memories fade surprisingly fast.
  • Seek medical attention immediately following the incident. An official medical record will help to substantiate your claim.

Continue reading

Uber and other ride-sharing services have completely changed the landscape of transportation in Boston and millions of other locations across the globe. For the most part, Uber has provided a loved, and much needed service. But the company has also attracted a lot of negative press in recent months and years. Numerous scandals, controversies, and lawsuits have people questioning Uber’s safety and morals.

Now a woman is suing Uber and her driver for injuries she suffered when her driver ran a red light, causing a serious accident. According to Jimena Martinez’s lawsuit, Ricardo Melendez II was distracted by his smart phone at the time of the accident. As a result, he ran a red light and was t-boned by a 16-year-old driver. A Boston car accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Martinez claims that she suffered head trauma, a joint separation in her shoulder, and multiple abrasions in the accident. And according to the police report, the driver’s distraction was the primary factor in the crash. But Martinez blames more than just the driver. She believes that Uber is guilty of gross negligence for encouraging its drivers to routinely look at and touch their smart phones while driving.

Is Uber Encouraging Drivers to be Negligent?

Martinez’s lawsuit alleges that Uber requires drivers to mount their phones on the vehicle’s dashboard to better see and respond to ride requests. When a request comes in, drivers have a mere 15 seconds within which to tap the phone, thus accepting the fare. It is not difficult to see how this system could contribute to distracted driving. Few, if any, drivers are going to pull over to a safe location before responding to these time-sensitive requests. And with more and more Uber drivers on the road, this problem is not just an inconvenience.

Although Martinez is seeking more than $1 million in damages, she has requested that the jury make a determination on the exact amount. According to her lawyer, Martinez’s medical bills are already in excess of $80,000. In addition, she had to quit her job and drop out of college due to her injuries. A MA auto accident lawyer can help you protect your rights if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle crash.

Distracted Driving Statistics

The reality is, the case above highlights a problem that is much bigger than Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing apps. Distracted driving continues to be one of the primary causes of motor vehicle crashes across the country. In fact, 3,450 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2016 alone.

  • Of the 2.5 million people car accidents that occur annually in the United States, about 1.6 million involve a cell phone.
  • Texting while driving contributes to more than 330,000 serious injury accidents annually.
  • One out of every four accidents involves texting.
  • Your chance of having an accident while texting is six times greater than if you were drunk driving.
  • Distracted driving involves more than just texting and talking on the phone; adjusting the stereo system, navigating, eating, and applying make-up are all forms of distraction.

Continue reading

Mass shootings have dominated the media in recent months and years, resulting in a heated debate about gun control laws nationwide. The number one question following every one of these tragedies is: How did the shooter get a gun?

In many recent mass shootings, the shooter obtained the gun legally, prompting many Americans to call for stricter gun legislation at the state and federal levels. In the most recent shooting, in which a white man shot four African-Americans in a Tennessee Waffle House, the shooter obtained the gun from his father, who had a legal right to possess the firearm.

Can Victims Sue Gun Sellers?

In a 2012 mass shooting that also claimed four lives, the gunman bought his gun at online gun retailer Armslist.com. Now the daughter of one of those victims is suing Armslist, alleging that they contributed to the murder of her mother. The court initially dismissed the case, but an appeals court has ruled that it can continue. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if another’s negligence has caused you harm.

Radcliffe Haughton shot and killed four people at a spa in Milwaukee in 2012. Among the victims was his estranged wife, Zina. According to federal law, Haughton was prohibited from owning any type of firearm due to his history of domestic violence. But Haughton found a loophole. In Wisconsin, purchases at dealers require a background check and waiting period, but private sales do not. Therefore, Haughton was able to purchase a gun, from a private seller, through the Armslist website.

The lawsuit against Armslist was actually filed by the shooter’s stepdaughter. Yasmeen Daniel, the daughter of one of Haughton’s victims who also happened to be his estranged wife Zina, alleged that Armslist lacked necessary safeguards to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands, and even facilitated and encouraged the illegal sale through its website’s design.

After the circuit court determined that Armslist could not be liable for the death of any of Haughton’s victims, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that the company may have used a “website design feature to facilitate illegal firearms purchases,” and allowed the lawsuit to continue. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Statistics on Mass Shootings

Between 1966 and 2018, there have been 154 mass shootings, resulting in 1,081 deaths. Some of the shooters had criminal pasts or a history of domestic abuse, while others seemed perfectly normal up until the attack. All of the shooters but three were men. Most were between 20 and 49 years of age, and more than half died at the scene, often an act of suicide.

There has been an increase in large, mass shootings in recent years, with just three—those at Sandy Hook elementary school, a Las Vegas club, and Parkland high school—claiming the lives of nearly 100 people, many of them children. Several states have tightened their gun legislation in response. With MA having one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, our rate of gun violence has seen a dramatic drop. Continue reading

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