Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute conducted two studies which found an in increase in collision claims in four states following the start of the legalization of recreational marijuana.  “Despite the difficulty of isolating the specific effects of marijuana impairment on crash risk, the evidence is growing that legalizing its use increases crashes,” IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey said in a statement.

The operation of a vehicle under the influence of marijuana is illegal in all 50 states. This remains the case even after certain states made the move to legalize recreational marijuana use. However, accurately testing and determining marijuana impairment has been challenging for professionals. One study by safety ex

Marijuana car accident

Number of drivers involved in fatal accidents who tested positive for Marijuana in Colorado

According to published reports, the limousine company involved in the accident on October 6, 2018 had a record of repeated safety violations. Such violations included a failure to pass an inspection in early September of 2018. During  inspection in September, the limousine was found to have 18 seats, but was only approved to carry 10 passengers including the driver. The vehicle was also cited for a break line that was hanging loosely near one of the vehicles tires. The warning light for the brake hydraulic system was staying on the reports showed. The inspection that happened 7 months prior cited the break light being on as well. Prestige Limousine was cited for not having rectified it in September. Authorities made their first move against the company, arresting its operator outside Albany and charging him with criminally negligent homicide.

“That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60 miles per hour,” said Jessica Kirby, 36, themanager of the Apple Barrel Country Store, where she said customers were hit near the parking lot. “All fatal.” The area where the limousine blew the stop sign was also a notoriously dangerous area. The spot, an intersection right by Apple Barrel Country Store had prior accidents involving larger vehicles.

The worst automobile accident in nearly a decade

Understanding “Pain and Suffering”

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident and you’re seeking compensation from a liable defendant, chances are very high you may have heard the phrase “pain and suffering” being used by Attorneys. While, most all of you reading are familiar with the use of these words, their use as legal terms carries a fair share of subtle distinctions.

Pain and suffering resulting from an accident is used as an umbrella term that encompasses the physical and emotional damages that are a result of the accident. To elaborate further, “pain” would include bruises, a broken arm, fractured rib, etc, while “suffering” would be the emotional fallout resulting from those injuries, emotional and mental injuries would be one way to understand “suffering.” These emotional injuries would include feelings such as depression, grief, anxiety, and even fear to name a few.

If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you probably understand that the operator of the vehicle is someone who potentially is liable for your injuries. However, there may be others, even if they were not involved firsthand in the accident itself, who may owe you compensation. In order to pursue these others successfully, you have to be able to show that the ultimate incident that injured you was the foreseeable result of that party’s action or inaction. To be sure your case includes all of the individuals and entities who potentially may be liable to you, be sure you’ve retained an experienced Massachusetts injury attorney.

A recent ruling from the Appellate Court is a reminder that, even if someone took a vehicle without the owner’s authorization, there may be facts that allow you to pursue the vehicle’s owner. That recent case was actually a property damage case, not an injury action. A sand and gravel company’s employee left a front-end loader unattended during a snowstorm, with the keys in the ignition, idling. The employee left the vehicle at 10 P.M. and at 2 A.M., he returned to the lot. Sometime during the intervening four hours, an “unknown and unauthorized” person had taken the vehicle and smashed into two trucks belonging to another company, substantially damaging them.

The owner of the damaged trucks sued. The trial judge threw out his case, deciding that the damage was not a “foreseeable consequence” of leaving the keys in the front-end loader. The appeals court reversed that decision and revived the damaged trucks’ owner’s case.

Approaching a work zone

As the flowers bloom and the trees leaf out, it’s a familiar sign as any that the warmer months are coming in Massachusetts. A sign nearly as familiar as the vibrant greens on the trees are the equally vibrant orange cones signifying a work zone. In Massachusetts there is only so much appropriate weather to get road work done in a given year, so as the leaves and flowers proliferate so to do the work zones. A great deal of effort goes into making work zones safe, from deploying state and local police, to temporarily dropping the speed limit, to reducing lanes of traffic, it would seem there’s no shortage of methods of increasing safety of workers in these zones, as well as the safety of the drivers passing through them. Yet despite attempts to improve safety precautions accidents involving personal injury and even fatalities continue to happen.

According to statistics from the Federal Highway Administration on average in 2015 a work zone crash occurred once every 5.4 minutes, 70 crashes occurred in a day with at least on resulting in injury, and every week 12 work zone crashes resulted in at least one fatality. The data shows a trend with work zone crashes comparing similarly with non-work zone crashes. The problem is work zones are designed with the intention of reducing the risk for accidents, yet the data shows a negligible reduction in accidents in work zones versus those outside of work zones.

Negligence is defined as a failure to use the level of care someone of ordinary prudence would have used under the same circumstances. Negligence consists of actions or omissions where there is an expected duty or responsibility owed by one person to another person. Events which cause injury not due to fault of another person involve negligence, and the elements of negligence are as follows.

  • Duty of Care: This boils down to, does the defendant have a responsibility to the plaintiff that it must legally uphold? Is it a responsibility of which the plaintiff is the intended recipient of the defendant’s actions? Establishing a legally defined duty and recognized responsibility of the defendant is the first step to determining a defendant’s negligence.
  • Breach of Duty: After the duty of care has been established, it must be determined whether or not the duty of care was breached. For example was the plaintiff lawfully on a premise owned by tenant? Did the person injure him or herself on the defendant’s premises? Did the owner of the business fail to reasonably prevent the injury? These are but one example of many situations involving a breach of a legally recognized duty.

There are many different types of wrinkles one may encounter in an effort to obtain compensation for the harm you suffered in an auto accident. On the surface, your case might seem straightforward: prove that the person you sued was, in fact, at fault, prove that the accident injured you, and prove that those injuries caused you to suffer damages. Seems simple, right? But what happens when the person who hit you has all his assets held by an irrevocable trust? Questions like these are a reminder of the importance of retaining experienced Massachusetts injury counsel, so that you are prepared for whatever twists, turns and surprises your case may throw at you.

Recently, such a “twists and turns” case was the Massachusetts lawsuit brought by S.C. The backstory underlying S.C.’s injury accident dated back several years. In 2001, B.M. was injured in an auto accident. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. In 2007, an irrevocable “spendthrift” trust was established for the benefit of B.M. The trust held more than $4.1 million in assets, including $3.5 million in stocks and bonds, a house in Plymouth worth $538,000 and $120,000 of other assets.

Fast forward to 2014, and B.M. and S.C. were involved in a head-on collision. Allegedly, B.M. was traveling 76 mph in a 35 zone, crossed the center line to pass and slammed head-on into S.C.

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.

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?
  • 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.

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.