Michael S. Mehrmann

convenience storeWhen you experience the loss of a loved one due to an accident, it is always devastating. If that accident occurred because someone else was negligent, the issues you may be facing multiply. In addition to your family issues, that negligence may create legal issues. The loss of your loved one undoubtedly did major damage to your emotional happiness, and it may also have done major damage to the financial stability of your family. For all of these processes, it is important to retain a skilled Massachusetts wrongful death attorney to represent you and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Developing and presenting a persuasive case in a wrongful death action involves many types of evidence. A recent example was the case of a man named Albert, who sued a convenience store chain for the wrongful death of his wife, Kimmy. When the couple stopped at the store’s location in Chicopee, Kimmy went inside for coffee while Albert parked the vehicle. As the woman began to enter the store, an 81-year-old man, who may have had a stroke, raced his Ford Explorer through the parking lot and into the façade of the store at more than 55 mph. A store worker was hurt, and Kimmy was killed.

Albert sued the convenience store chain for Kimmy’s wrongful death. In a wrongful death case like this, you can pursue your case under a premises liability theory. This means that, much as with a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident that causes injuries, you can establish the property owner’s liability by showing that there was a dangerous condition present on the property, that the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about the hazard, that the property owner failed to fix the problem, and that this unresolved hazard caused the victim’s injuries.

Delayed injuries are a reality that happens for a variety of reasons. After an accident your body releases endorphins. According to howstuffworks.com  “Endorphins are neurotransmitters whose functions range from blocking pain, to generating feelings of pleasure.” In the time following in accident it’s hard to gauge levels of pain or trauma as a result of the endorphins released in your body. This effect can last for days or even weeks, leading some injuries to go unnoticed in the immediate aftermath following an automobile accident.

whiplash, delayed injury

Simulated whiplash

In the coming weeks following an accident, it’s not uncommon for one to feel abdominal pain, headaches, pain in the neck and shoulders, back pain, or a sense of numbness or tingling as a result from the impact of a car accident. Conditions of this type occurring after an accident are likely the result of said accident. It is important to see a doctor to get a proper valuation following these symptoms to determine your condition.

You’re driving your car on a two lane highway in the right hand lane, and you observe the posted speed limit as 60 MPH. Looking at your speedometer you note that you’re reasonably matching the speed limit within 1-2 miles. For the most part traffic is flowing consistently and smoothly along with the posted speed, however after sometime you find yourself behind someone traveling slower than the flow of traffic. You signal to switch lanes, but there’s not enough room to make the change. The person in front of you glances at their rearview mirror and sees you tailgating them. Meanwhile you haven’t slowed your vehicle to account for the drop in speed, either hoping the driver in front of you speeds up or you can make the lane change. The driver in front of you is growing agitated from your close proximity and performs a maneuver called the “break test.” Then crunch, you’re involved in a car accident. You’re convinced this accident is an act of road rage, but proving that you weren’t in violation of the common law -Assured Clear Distance Ahead (ACDA) is going to prove highly difficult. So what exactly is ACDA, and how can we better understand it to mitigate our liability in accidents.

  • First lets define what following too closely is. According to the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety following too closely is defined as “situations in which one vehicle is following another vehicle so closely that even if the following driver is attentive to the actions of the vehicle ahead he/she could not avoid a collision in the circumstance when the driver in front brakes suddenly.” So what is considered a safe distance?
  • tailgaiting

    A driver not maintaining an assured clear distance

It’s five o’ clock on a Friday and you’re heading home after an exhausting week of work. You’re practically on auto-pilot with the thought of the impending weekend being the only fuel guiding you home, and then BAM-it happens. You find yourself in a car accident. Everyone understands when you get behind the wheel you run the risk of finding yourself in a surprise collision, yet we never think about the odds of it actually happening to us, and even worse we don’t know the steps to take to protect ourselves in the event of an automobile accident adapted from the Massachusetts DMV site.

Car Accidet

EMS Clearing A Car Accident

  1. First and foremost, you must never leave the scene of an accident. It seems obvious and trite, but flight is a guttural reaction to stimuli. You must remain as calm and reposed as you can, given the circumstance. Find a safe place to pull over your car, staying as reasonably close to the vehicle, or property you collided with without obstructing traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and any other potential dangers, such as fire, or a downed electrical wire.

falling manSometimes, the key to achieving a truly full success in your workers’ compensation case is not succeeding in the initial hearing but overcoming your employer’s (or your employer’s insurer’s) efforts to terminate your benefits. Getting the full benefit of your workers’ compensation means not just being prepared to win your benefits hearing but also preparing for a hearing regarding the reduction or elimination of your benefits. For all of these processes, it is helpful to rely on experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation counsel who is well-versed in every type of hearing and process.

One worker who fought successfully to maintain his benefits in a recent ruling was Robert, a vending machine route delivery driver for many years. The driver’s job involved a great deal of heavy physical labor, including transporting boxes of coins that could weigh as much as 100 pounds. One day in the spring of 2015, Robert became injured when he fell down five steps at work.

Robert filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The judge in his case concluded that his injuries were very serious, including a fractured and dislocated elbow, along with a wrist injury. Robert was awarded temporary total disability benefits. Less than a year later, the insurer made an effort to reduce or eliminate the benefits. The basis for the insurance company’s effort was an examining physician’s opinion that Robert could perform light duty work with lifting restrictions.

It is very common to discover (especially after a recent auto accident or similar surprise trauma) alternative health treatment services such as visits to a chiropractor or acupuncture treatments are not covered by your average health insurance policy. According to health insurance expert Louise Norris, a contributor to Healthinsurance.org and Medicareresources.org chiropractic visits and services are commonly excluded from many health insurance policies. “In the under-65 market, individual health insurance is not specifically required to cover massage therapy, acupuncture, or chiropractic care,” says Norris in an article at the Huffington Post addressing the things insurance companies do not cover.

chiropractor, alternative treatment, pip, injury, personal,

Seeking alternative treatment with a chiropractor

This lapse in coverage might be deemed inessential to most; however, after experiencing trauma from an automobile accident or similar event, one may find themselves in dire need of such treatments. One such person in need of chiropractic treatments, resulting from a car accident, became a patient at Dupilka Family Chiropractic.

hit and runLosing a loved one to a fatal hit-and-run accident can be especially traumatic. The disregard for the well-being of the person you loved (and whom the at-fault driver struck) can be very challenging to process. It can also create problems when it comes to recovering the compensation to which your family is entitled. Knowing what to do and taking prompt action are key. One of your first steps should be to retain an experienced Massachusetts car accident attorney to help you in your pursuit of the identification of the at-fault driver and the compensation your family deserves.

Back in April, AAA reported that fatal hit-and-run crashes were at a record high. AAA’s statistics from 2016 showed that more than one hit-and-run accident per minute took place on U.S. roads. The 2,049 hit-and-run deaths logged in 2016 was up 60% from 2009 and was the highest number since AAA began recording this statistic. Maine and New Hampshire were among the states with the lowest per-capita incidences of fatal hit-and-run accidents.

The AAA statistics also broke down the type of victim most frequently killed in hit-and-run accidents. Almost two-thirds of the 2,049 people killed by these drivers were either pedestrians or bicyclists. Many times, the reason why a driver may cause a hit-and-run accident is connected to either distracted driving or drunk driving.

A “cold joint” or “construction joint” is formed during the process of laying concrete when the second batch of concrete is placed after the first set of concrete has begun to settle. As a result of the delay, the two batches are unable to form a completely uniform mix, resulting in a possible “plane of weakness.” This definition is according to The Concrete Society a website dedicated to providing independent concrete advisory services that include impartial technical advice on concrete.

cold joint

A common cold joint

While cold joints happen during the concrete process, sometimes due to the limits of how much concrete can be poured in a day or in some cases additional support such as rebar is needed before continuing; regardless of these circumstances proper planning and execution is required to ensure the cold joint will not jeopardize structural integrity, or cause harm to a civilian. Claire LaPosta was one such civilian who had the misfortune of tripping over a negligently placed cold joint resulting in her injury.

personal care assistantUnfortunately, workplace accidents are a reality in almost any field of employment. Whether you’re an office worker or a construction worker, you have some risk of getting hurt at work. If that happens, you may have to clear several hurdles in order to get the award of benefits you deserve. One of the key parts of this process can be determining whether or not you remained totally disabled or became partially disabled. To make sure that you have a strong opportunity to get the full amount of benefits you need, make sure your claim has representation from an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

One recent case that involved an issue of total disability versus partial disability was the case of Shirley, who had worked for several years as a personal care assistant. One summer day in 2012, while Shirley was helping her bedridden employer, she felt a sharp knifing pain in her lower back that went down into her leg and foot. The following April, an impartial doctor examined Shirley and determined that she had a lumbar strain and a degenerative condition in her lower back. Her limitations caused by these conditions meant that Shirley was no longer able to do the work of a personal care assistant.

A different doctor examined Shirley in September and October 2013. After the September examination, the doctor concluded that the worker could resume doing light duty work if that type of work was available. In the second appointment, though, the same doctor said that Shirley had no capacity to work until she underwent additional treatment.

agreementFor many people, the decision to enter (or to place a loved one in) a nursing home is a difficult and stressful one. The time when the patient first goes into the facility is one filled with many changes and many necessary things to consider. One thing that may be easy to overlook is the paperwork that must be signed as part of the admissions process. Don’t make the mistake of just “glossing over” this step and automatically signing everything put in front of you without legal counsel. Some of these documents may be optional, and signing them may not be in your family’s best interests in the event that you or your loved one is harmed as a result of negligence by the facility staff. Instead, make sure you are armed with knowledge before you sign by relying on the representation of a knowledgeable Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorney.

Knowing before you sign is important because, once you sign, you may not be able to “take it back,” and that signature could be a significant negative for your family. For example, take the federal case involving Emma, an elderly woman who entered a Chestnut Hill nursing home in early February 2013. Later that month, Emma’s daughter Jackalyn signed several documents related to the nursing home admissions process. Over the course of the month, the daughter signed in excess of a dozen documents, ranging from DNR to an authorization for assignment of insurance benefits. Among the numerous other documents Jackalyn signed, one was something called an “Arbitration Agreement,” which the daughter signed but didn’t date.

Early the following December, Emma died. Jackalyn subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. According to the daughter’s complaint, Emma died due to an extreme sepsis infection brought on by the pressure sores (or bedsores) on the woman’s body.