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shutterstock_1357162304-300x200Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege and huge responsibility for all those who share the road. Drivers have a duty to take utmost care, use their best judgment, and follow traffic laws that are designed to keep everyone safe.

Every state has laws put in place to protect drivers and pedestrians, including laws around intoxication. The Massachusetts law prohibits driving while intoxicated by either alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. Massachusetts law prohibits non-commercial drivers aged 21 and plus from drinking alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more in your system. For drivers under the age of 21, under Massachusetts law, there’s a maximum BAC of .02 or higher. Drivers of commercial vehicles in Massachusetts are legally drunk when their BAC is .04 or greater.

In Massachusetts, there are Operating Under the Influence (OUI) laws which refer to the criminal act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For individuals injured in New England motor vehicle accidents who are victims of drunk driving, connecting with a good lawyer can be key to a successful lawsuit.

shutterstock_1071495587-300x200As teenagers get behind the wheel and experience the excitement that comes along with being able to legally drive, parents and families also face the task of helping ensure that their teen drivers are safe while on the roads. According to the CDC, in 2019, almost 2,400 teens in the United States aged 13-19 were killed and about 258,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, accidents happen every day and sometimes are unavoidable, but reminding teen drivers of tips on how to remain safe while on the road can be an important task.

In a recent news article, three teenagers were killed in an early morning crash in Brimfield, Massachusetts. According to the report, a single-vehicle crash occurred shortly before 1 a.m. and when troopers arrived, they found a Nissan Senta that had gone off the road and rolled over 40 feet into the woods. Two 17-year-old males and an 18-year-old male were all killed in the crash. According to the news article, a fourth person who was in the car, a 17-year-old male, left the scene prior to the arrival of state police. The fourth person had gone to the hospital with his own serious injuries.

For teenage drivers, there may be several factors that cause high rates of accidents. Studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have shown that one passenger doubles the risk of a crash among teen drivers. Teens are more likely than older drivers to have less experience and may not be able to recognize dangerous situations according to the CDC. Driving in the dark and/or driving during weekends can present more risks, and statistics show that in 2019, 40 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teens aged 13-19 occurred between 9 pm and 6 am according to the CDC. In addition, reminding teens of the importance of wearing seat belts, avoiding distractions while driving including texting while driving, and reminding teens to drive at the appropriate speed and avoid speeding is very important. Finally, drinking alcohol or being under the influence of drugs before driving is illegal and should not occur in any situation.

shutterstock_1721672650-300x169When a car accident happens, on top of dealing with one’s own injuries suffered from a car crash, it can be difficult to understand state-specific laws that dictate how to bring a civil lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries. Victims of car accidents should consider filing insurance claims and when to do so, how to prove that the defendant was negligent, and any defenses the defendant may try to raise, to name a few factors. There are many other factors that must be considered and that must be considered in a timely fashion.

A recent news report provided details about a major accident that occurred in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Six people, including adults and children, were transported to local hospitals with serious injuries after a multi-vehicle crash that shut down a Massachusetts highway. Crash reconstruction analysts determined that a 66-year-old Plymouth woman was southbound on Route 1 in a Jeep, while simultaneously, a 2003 Honda CRV operated by an 18-year-old Wrentham woman was traveling on the northbound side. As the Jeep approached a motel, the driver of the Honda attempted to turn left toward the motel lot. The Jeep’s front end came into contact with the right rear of the Honda.

After a car accident, to hold someone liable for the injuries suffered as a result of the accident, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the accident was caused by that other person’s negligence. In the state of Massachusetts, there is a three-year statutory limitation, or in other words, a three-year deadline for filing most car accident lawsuits in civil court. Additionally, in the state of Massachusetts, there is a no-fault system that requires filing insurance claims before pursuing legal damages against another party.

shutterstock_1086784649-300x200When Massachusetts drivers choose to flee from a police stop, they are putting everyone else at serious risk of harm. Law enforcement officers are required to use their judgment when responding to a driver who refuses to stop, as an escalation to a high-speed chase could put innocent citizens at risk of injury or death. A local news report discusses a recent high-speed chase that ended with several serious injuries, as the man who fled from Boston police in a pickup truck ended up on the wrong side of the highway and ultimately crashed into another vehicle head-on.

According to the facts discussed in the local news report, the suspect was driving on Route 118 and allegedly speeding, when officers attempted to make a stop. The driver refused to stop and reportedly tried to ram a police vehicle in making his escape. Later, the chase made its way to Route 195, where the driver went into the eastbound lanes while traveling westbound. Once the driver started driving into oncoming traffic, the police officers backed off. Although the police stopped chasing the driver, he continued to flee at high speeds and was eventually involved in a head-on collision. Police eventually arrived at the scene of the crash and apprehended the driver.

According to the news report, the driver of the truck has 97 arraignments on his record and was arrested for involvement in a high-speed chase in 2017. Police may have considered this information in making their decision to back off from the chase once the man entered oncoming traffic. Although police officers have a duty to enforce the law, they also must protect members of the public from dangerous situations. Police officers who are involved in a high-speed chase often need to make a decision whether to keep chasing a suspect or to let them go to preserve immediate public safety. Innocent people have been killed in high-speed chases that could have been avoided if the law enforcement officers backed off of the suspect and tried to find them later.

shutterstock_1258474228-300x200Urban construction and demolition work can be extremely dangerous for workers and the public. The use of heavy equipment, the risk of falling, as well as environmental hazards can place people in the vicinity of a construction project at risk. As economic development and gentrification continue to change the landscape of many Boston neighborhoods, the dangers of hurried construction projects could continue to increase. A Boston-area news source recently discussed a building collapse at a former South Boston power plant which left three workers injured.

According to the facts discussed in the news report, the former Edison Power Plant in South Boston has been undergoing demolition, as the area is being developed into an economic zone that includes offices, residences, a hotel, and many restaurants and businesses. Earlier this month, construction crews were performing the demolition when a portion of flooring above the workers collapsed. Three workers were trapped below. Two of the workers escaped relatively easily, but the third was buried in the rubble. After an “extensive extraction operation” which included over 100 firefighters, the third worker was removed and transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Seeking recourse for workplace injuries can be a difficult and complicated endeavor. Most Massachusetts employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the medical expenses and partial lost wages related to an employee’s injury on the job. While the workers’ compensation coverage can be beneficial to an injured employee, such coverage is not designed to compensate injured employees for all of their losses related to an injury on the job.

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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