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shutterstock_429248770-300x200Commuters who use public transit in Massachusetts should be able to count on a general level of safety while using the public services. Although not all accidents or injuries can be prevented, it is reasonable for members of the public to expect basic and consistent protections when using potentially dangerous transit services. Sometimes, mistakes are made and innocent members of the public are tragically hurt or killed. The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on an incident that occurred last month where a man was killed after his arm was stuck in a subway door while the train departed the station.

According to a local news article discussing the incident and subsequent NTSB investigative report, the incident occurred in the early morning hours of April 12 at the Broadway Station on the Red Line MBTA subway. A 39-year-old man was attempting to exit the train when one of his arms became stuck in the door. The man was unable to remove his arm, and the train left the station, dragging the man over 100 feet along the platform and onto a lower surface near the tracks. Once authorities arrived, the man was pronounced dead on the scene.

The NTSB investigation noted that the MBTA trains are designed with a safety feature that would prevent the train from leaving a station if the door was not fully closed. According to the report, there was a “short circuit” in the train’s safety systems, and the error allowed the train to depart with the door open and the passenger stuck outside the train. In addition to the electronic safety features on the train, the article noted that the train operator should ensure that all doors are closed and clear of passengers before departing the station. Because these two independent safety methods failed, a preventable incident became a heartbreaking tragedy.

shutterstock_1094276840-300x200Population growth and a red-hot housing market have affected the quality of infrastructure in many northeastern U.S. metropolitan areas In the Boston area, infrastructure improvements have not accompanied population growth and private economic development, threatening the safety of residents and commuters alike. A local news report discusses a recent construction accident in Boston that killed a 51-year-old construction worker and left municipal services disrupted.

According to the local news report, the Government Center Parking garage on Congress Street in Boston collapsed last month while the building was under renovation. The deceased construction worker was operating a piece of heavy equipment on the top floor of the garage when the building partially collapsed, causing the man to fall nine stories to his death. The heavy equipment he was operating also fell and was destroyed, however, the article does not mention any other injuries or deaths.

Hazardous jobs such as construction work have inherent risks that workers generally accept before agreeing to perform a job. By choosing to engage in a risky job or activity, a person may be giving up some rights to the expectation of safety. A worker who chooses to perform a dangerous job does not give up all their rights. If a construction worker is injured or killed in an accident that was the result of the negligence of another person, that person cannot be relieved of liability for their negligence simply by claiming that the job was dangerous.

shutterstock_1258346320-300x200Anyone who has spent time in Massachusetts knows that the winters can be particularly unforgiving. When it comes to rain, snow, or sleet, the winters mean that most residents and locals are familiar with slick conditions during the cooler months. Knowing about the potential of slick conditions, however, is not enough to prevent accidents from taking place. When the weather is wet and icy and road conditions are poor, it often makes for a recipe for disaster for drivers. Understanding what steps to take to keep yourself and your passengers as safe as possible could make a big difference.

According to a recent local news report, winter weather swept through the Boston area, which caused major traffic crashes for many proceeding through their morning commute. Massachusetts State Police responded to multiple reports of accidents, including a tractor-trailer crash involving several vehicles in Andover, a spin-out accident nearby, and several other accidents throughout the Boston metropolitan area. Accidents were also reported across the state involving upwards of six to seven vehicles, a disabled bus, and crashes reaching as far as the New Hampshire state line.

In 2019, there were an estimated 182,000 accidents related to icy conditions across the country. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is no stranger to similar winter weather oriented accidents and conditions.

FMRacmtWYAYltmR-300x171Operating a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by other substances is one of the most dangerous behaviors that a driver can engage in. DUI-related accidents cause many deaths on Massachusetts roads each year, and hundreds are injured because of the reckless conduct of drunk drivers. Nobody is safe from the hazards of drunk driving, as is demonstrated by a local news article discussing a recent DUI-related crash that left a Massachusetts State Trooper hospitalized.

According to the local news report, the state trooper was driving home from work at 11:30 PM in Marshfield, when another driver crossed over the center line and crashed into the trooper head-on. The trooper was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and was released the next morning. The driver of the other vehicle, a 20-year-old man from Marshfield, was questioned by police after the crash, where he appeared intoxicated. After failing several sobriety tests and admitting he had drank alcohol earlier in the night, the man was arrested and charged with a DUI.

In addition to the criminal liability for DUI, and even assault, that drunk drivers may face after an accident, they also are subject to civil liability for their reckless conduct. When a DUI accident causes injury or death, accident victims are able to pursue a civil personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Because driving under the influence or while impaired is a crime, civil liability for a drunk driver who causes an accident is relatively easy to prove. Although liability may be easy to prove, that doesn’t mean that insurance companies will be willing to pay out the damages that a victim is entitled to.

shutterstock_192945038-300x199Road safety is a priority for Massachusetts’s local and state government authorities, primarily for health, humanitarian, and financial reasons. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that traffic accidents cause death for over 1 million people every year globally. In Massachusetts specifically, there are an average of about 350 fatal car accidents each year. While driver error accounts for a significant number of Massachusetts car accidents, other factors may increase the likelihood of a collision.

Most research on accident causes focus on three primary significant risk factors:

  1. Human factor and vehicle conditions
  2. Environmental conditions
  3. Technical design of highways

Data on the human factor highlights the judgment errors and deliberate violations drivers make while operating their vehicles. Environmental factors involve the interplay between road accidents and weather conditions on different types of roadways. The environmental factors often overlap with research regarding geometric road design and accidents.

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shutterstock_1721662744-300x169The National Motor Vehicle Causation Study (NMVCS) by the US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration addressed an ongoing initiative to understand the cause of roll-over crashes. Roll-over crashes are one of the most fatal types of Massachusetts car accidents. These accidents refer to situations when a vehicle flips over onto its roof or side. Despite the introduction of advanced safety features, roll-over accidents continue to occur and remain a common cause of car accident fatalities.

 

 

 

Roll-over crashes generally involve eight types of scenarios. These include:

  • Trip-over: When the vehicle suddenly slows or stops inducing a rollover.
  • Flip-over: When the vehicle rotates along its longitudinal axis.
  • Bounce-over: When a vehicle hits a static object and overturns.
  • Turn-over- When a sharp turn caused the vehicle to rotate and turn.
  • Fall-over: When a traversing slope affects a vehicle’s center of gravity.
  • Climb-over: When a vehicle climbs over a barrier or an object that lifts the vehicle off the surface.
  • Collision: When a crash causes the roll-over.
  • End-over-end: When a crash causes the vehicle to roll on its lateral axis.

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shutterstock_221586889-300x200When a car accident causes injuries, the period directly after that accident can be crucial. Oftentimes, injuries can worsen at the scene of a crash, and medical personnel need compliance from everyone involved in the accident to be able to give injured parties their best chance at receiving quick and substantial care. Because of this reality, Massachusetts drivers must stay at the scene of the crash until their legal duties have been fulfilled. If they fail to meet their legal requirements, injuries can worsen, and at times, passengers can die. This is one of the reasons that lawmakers have made hit and run accidents a crime.

Recently, a driver in Massachusetts was arrested after he tried to flee the scene of a crash in Duxbury. According to a local news report, the man was driving in the evening, around 10:00pm, when he struck the guardrail on the side of the highway. This initial collision caused a chain reaction crash in which three other cars swerved in order to avoid hitting the original driver. All four vehicles were affected by the accident.

One of the car’s passengers was seriously injured. Two other passengers faced minor injuries, and all three injured individuals were brought to the hospital to be examined after the accident.

shutterstock_1194126490-300x180Every year, the holidays are often a time for gatherings and celebrations. But for some, the holidays can mean a lot of stress and chaos, and our roads are no exception. With more people out and about for the holidays and an increase in celebrations and gatherings involving alcohol, there may be more pedestrian and car collisions. Thus, Massachusetts pedestrians must remain vigilant to best protect themselves from potential accidents.

According to a recent local news report, a pedestrian died after a fatal car accident. State Police reported that the accident took place on I-291 on Sunday evening and left the left and middle lanes closed. The accident remains under investigation.

With 2022 upon us, celebrations associated with ringing in the new year also mean an increased risk of pedestrian crashes. People may be traveling to unfamiliar areas for gatherings, which may increase the likelihood of collisions. In addition, new year celebrations involving higher rates of alcohol consumed may also be an issue for drivers and pedestrians alike, especially because driving under the influence is one of the main contributing factors or causes of pedestrian accidents.

shutterstock_1434011420-300x225A person who negligently operates a motor vehicle or watercraft can be subject to both civil and criminal liability for their conduct, allowing two or more court proceedings to proceed simultaneously in response to a single incident. Although the procedures, burdens of proof, and consequences of liability for criminal and civil claims against a negligent party may vary, both types of cases play a role in holding reckless or negligent people accountable for their actions. A recently published news report discusses criminal charges being brought against the operator of a watercraft that was involved in a fatal crash near Boston harbor this July.

According to the news report, the operator of a boat that crashed into a fixed navigational beacon and ultimately sunk is being charged with manslaughter as a result of the incident. These criminal charges are proceeding independently of any civil claims that may be brought by the family of the woman who drowned after the crash. Criminal and civil claims based on negligent conduct follow different procedures from each other.

A criminal complaint is brought on behalf of the government (usually a state or municipality) in response to alleged criminal conduct. Unlike a civil suit, a criminal conviction does not necessarily require any victim to suffer an injury, meaning that a reckless motorist can be convicted of a crime for their conduct even if nobody was injured during the incident. Criminal convictions, however, do require the government to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a higher burden of proof than the standard needed to prove civil liability (civil liability must only be proven by the preponderance of the evidence). Because of this higher burden of proof, criminal convictions are generally more difficult to obtain than a civil judgment.

shutterstock_1525846904-300x200Many people in Massachusetts utilize the state’s railway system for daily transportation, business, school, and leisure. While trains are typically safe, they pose some inherent dangers that can have deadly consequences to anyone in the vicinity—asserting rights and recovering damages after a Massachusetts railway accident is challenging and requires a thorough and nuanced understanding of various state and federal laws and regulations.

Train accidents and injuries may stem from engineer impairment, manufacturing defects, negligent drivers, weather conditions, or train car fires. These accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and fatalities. For instance, according to a recent news article, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authorities (MBTA) recently released a preliminary report on the July Green Line accident. The light rail vehicle slammed into another MBTA train while the trains were traveling west. The collision caused 24 passengers and three crew members to suffer injuries requiring hospitalization. The preliminary investigation revealed that the striking train sped to 31 mph, triple the speed limit, before slamming into the train ahead. That train was traveling approximately ten mph when it was struck from the rear. The MBTA announced that they were in the process of terminating the employee that was involved in the accident. They also noted that the local district attorney’s office investigated the operator’s conduct just before the collision.

These cases present challenges, especially when the victim is an employee of the railroad. Unlike other employment injury cases, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system does not cover railroad employees. Instead, they must file a claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). In these situations, the injury victim must prove that they meet the elements of a claim. The victim must establish that they were :

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