Articles Posted in Car Accident

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 :

shutterstock_1809160840-300x200It is a common misconception that when criminal charges are filed against an individual for an accident a civil lawsuit cannot be filed too. In an instance of wrongful death—where an individual is responsible for the wrongful death of another—criminal charges are often initiated by law enforcement if drinking or other substances played a role. However, families can also financially recover in these cases by filing a wrongful death lawsuit too. Every state has different requirements for a wrongful death lawsuit, and Massachusetts is no exception.

Recently in Leominster, there was a multiple-vehicle crash in the breakdown lane. One individual was changing the tire on his vehicle when another man drifted into the breakdown lane and struck the rear of the first car. The man changing the tire was also hit and sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. State police indicate the crash remains under investigation.

A person can legally be held liable for another’s wrongful death under two circumstances: (1) if the person’s negligence causes the death of another; or (2) if they willfully or recklessly acted and this act caused the death of another. Massachusetts courts use a standard utilized in many other states to determine if a lawsuit can be brought: the defendant can be held liable if the deceased could have recovered damages for the personal injuries if he had not died.

shutterstock_1132794227-300x200Thousands of people rely on the public transportation systems in cities to get to work and school every day. In Massachusetts, many people specifically use the MBTA, especially the agency’s buses, trains, subways, and ferries. However, when an accident occurs on the MBTA or other public transportation systems, individuals may be unsure of how to obtain financial compensation. While pursuing a lawsuit is different than if a person was suing a person or private business, individuals injured on public transportation still have the ability to bring a negligence suit against the responsible party.

According to a local news article reporting on the accident, a train on the Green Line of the MBTA recently crashed into another train on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. The former train was traveling 30 miles per hour—three times the area’s speed limit. While there were no casualties, 27 people aboard the trains were injured, including four train operators. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading an investigation into the crash to determine the cause of the accident.

There are important aspects to remember when a person has been injured on public transportation and is thinking of bringing a personal injury lawsuit. For example, in Massachusetts, an employer is responsible for an injury or death caused by the negligent act of one of its employees. This includes public agencies like the MBTA. Therefore, if an individual was injured on public transportation in Boston, they would bring a lawsuit against the MBTA—not the worker driving the train. This is because employers are expected to properly train and oversee their employees, ensuring they do not make drastic mistakes that endanger passengers.

shutterstock_1426522853-300x200Massachusetts car accidents can cause serious injuries and damages to anyone in the vicinity of the collision. However, passengers are often particularly vulnerable as they have very little control over the driver’s actions. Moreover, passengers are typically unable to escape a potential collision, unlike bikers and pedestrians who might have the ability to quickly move out of harms’ way. After an accident, passengers can recover damages from the at-fault party, even if they were a passenger in the negligent driver’s vehicle.

While the law permits recovery against the at-fault driver, passengers are often left in a precarious position, especially when the passenger and driver are friends or family. Passengers fear that filing a claim or lawsuit against their loved one or their insurance provider will impact that person’s premiums. However, this line of thought can leave an injury victim without the critical funds they need to recover from an injury. However, an attorney can assist victims in understanding all potential avenues for relief and how best to achieve their goals.

Drivers should take steps to protect all road users, including their passengers. The failure to do so can result in serious injuries and fatalities. For example, a Massachusetts news report recently described a harrowing incident that took the life of a drunk driver’s passenger. According to the report, police responded to the accident scene where they discovered a rolled-over vehicle. Police explained that the small SUV rolled over into a gully on an infield between the exit ramp and road. After toppling over several times, the car stopped upside down in a flooded area of the gully. Troopers extricated the vehicle’s passenger, but he died shortly afterward. The vehicle’s driver was transported to the hospital but was released. Police indicated that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and he admitted that he consumed alcohol before the incident. The driver was charged with several offenses, including felony motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of liquor.

shutterstock_181828862-300x200Drivers traveling on Massachusetts highways and interstates often face the frustration of being stuck behind a slow driver. When traffic laws permit, as indicated by a dashed white or yellow line between the lanes, drivers are allowed to pass other vehicles on the road. Drivers must be prudent and use caution when attempting to pass. However, because the presence of a dashed line alone does not mean that it is safe to pass. A fatal Massachusetts car accident recently occurred when two vehicles attempting to pass another vehicle collided with each other, slid off the roadway and struck trees.

According to a local news article reporting on the recent crash, two vehicles were involved in the crash on Route 391 near Chicopee. The two vehicles were traveling southbound in the center lane when they each crossed the dashed white line into the left lane to pass another slower vehicle in the center lane. After completing the pass, one of the vehicles lost control and struck the other vehicle, causing both vehicles to spin out of the traffic lanes, across the right shoulder, and into the heavy vegetation. Both vehicles struck trees at dangerous rates of speed, and the drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

Passing other vehicles is one of the most dangerous actions to be taken on the road. All drivers involved in a pass or in the proximity of other drivers attempting to pass should be mindful of the dangers. Passing is legal in Massachusetts when there is a single dashed yellow or white line dividing lanes on a roadway. A dashed yellow line divides single lanes from oncoming lanes, and passing should only be attempted if there are no other vehicles in the oncoming lane and visibility is sufficient to overtake any vehicles safely. Dashed white lines divide traffic going the same direction, but vehicles should only attempt to pass other vehicles if the maneuver can be completed at a safe speed and control of their vehicle can be maintained. If multiple vehicles are passing at the same time, the drivers should allow sufficient space between themselves to prevent a multi-vehicle accident if one of the cars loses control.

shutterstock_1274312725-e1622138775946-300x232Hit-and-run accidents present unique challenges for victims and their families. Massachusetts accidents involving a fleeing driver tend to result in serious injuries and, in turn, significant legal consequences. Victims and their families often face visceral anger towards the fleeing driver and the aftermath their reckless negligence caused. The feelings are understandable, as these accidents can leave victims in a precarious financial and medical situation. Those who have suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident should contact a Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Under Massachusetts’ hit-and-run statute, drivers who knowingly get into an accident that results in injuries or property damage must provide the other driver with their relevant identifying information. Pertinent information includes the driver’s name, address, and vehicle registration number. The failure to do so may result in significant civil and legal penalties. There are many reasons individuals leave the scene of an accident. In some rare cases, a driver may not realize they were involved in an accident, or they might be frightened of the consequences. However, in the overwhelming majority of instances, the driver leaves because they are engaged in illegal activity, do not have insurance, are under the influence, or have a warrant out for their arrest.

If a driver is identified, their defense attorney will likely purport various defenses to avoid liability. In some cases, a defendant may argue that they were unaware they caused an accident. Further, they may claim it is a case of mistaken identity. These cases are complicated and require plaintiffs to prepare a compelling and legally sound case, especially when the facts and circumstances are unclear. For example, police are investigating a recent New Bedford crash involving a 19-year-old. Officials received a call around 2:30 a.m. reporting a car in the woods near an off-ramp. Emergency responders discovered that the car had struck a metal pole and hit a tree in the woods. Tragically, the driver was ejected from the vehicle and succumbed to his injuries later in the day. Officials are investigating whether another vehicle was involved in the accident.

shutterstock_1753657874-300x204Most drivers and passengers who have driven on a large highway have probably experienced the fear of a fast-moving large truck or tractor-trailer. These instances are especially frightening when traffic is slowing, and a truck is quickly approaching from behind. In some cases, the driver can maneuver their vehicle to get out of the truck’s path. However, despite safe driving techniques, some drivers cannot avoid an accident with a negligent truck driver. These Massachusetts truck accidents tend to result in the most severe injuries and damages.

There many ways that a Massachusetts truck accident can occur. However, the most common types of collisions are jackknife accidents, tire blowouts, unsecured load accidents, underride accidents, and hazmat accidents. These accidents tend to result from distraction, alcohol or drug use, speeding, driver fatigue, unsafe driving and techniques. Although any accident can result in serious damages, these accidents often result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, organ laceration, and death.

For example, recent news reports described a harrowing Massachusetts tractor-trailer accident. Preliminary investigation reports state that as traffic was slowing, the tractor-trailer slammed into the back of the sedan; the sedan then slammed into a van. The driver of the sedan died from his injuries, and the van driver suffered serious injuries. The tractor-trailer driver did not sustain any injuries in the accident. In addition to potential civil charges, the District Attorney announced that their office would be pursuing criminal charges against the tractor-trailer driver.

shutterstock_614637563-300x200Those who travel by car understand that there is a certain level of risk that driving entails, because, despite safe driving habits, motorists cannot control the behavior of other drivers. However, in some cases, drivers can modify and adapt to traffic conditions to ensure their safety or mitigate their harm. In contrast, passengers usually maintain a total lack of control to avoid an accident. Those who suffer injuries as a passenger in a Massachusetts car accident can file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. In some instances recovering compensation is more straightforward for passengers because they usually do not share liability for the accident.

Massachusetts law provides passengers with rights and remedies if they suffer injuries because of another’s negligence. In effect, passengers maintain the same rights as the non-negligent driver, and in some cases, they have additional rights. Generally, a passenger in a car accident may be able to sue the at-fault driver for damages. Further, if the driver of the vehicle the passenger was traveling in was responsible, that driver may be held liable as well. In essence, a passenger can file a lawsuit against any responsible party that contributed to the accident or damages.

Drivers will often claim that the passenger somehow contributed to the accident or their damages. However, in most cases, a passenger cannot be responsible for the driver’s negligent actions. For instance, a driver may claim that they became distracted because the passenger was talking to them. Even if that is the case, responsibly hinges on the driver’s decision to take their attention off the road.

shutterstock_643457788-300x168Hit-and-runs are accidents in which the at-fault party leaves the scene of the incident without providing identifying information or rendering care to the victim. Massachusetts hit-and-run victims often face severe and potentially life-threatening injuries as well as significant expenses. The inherent nature of these accidents leaves victims and their families in a precarious position because the victim may face a long road of recovery with little recourse against the culpable driver.

For example, recently, a local news source reported a Massachusetts hit-and-run accident resulting in a fatality. The police department is asking the public to help identify the driver that hit the pedestrian. Grainy security footage depicts the driver crashing into the pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident. The 54-year-old pedestrian was taken to a local hospital but has since tragically succumbed to his injuries.

Hit-and-run accidents are more complicated than typical collisions because victims often need to undergo significant medical procedures and extended rehabilitation. Insurance coverage rarely meets the treatment costs that victims accrue. Many victims decline appropriate treatment because they cannot afford these expenses.

shutterstock_738975676-scaledSpeeding is one of the most common causes of Massachusetts car accidents. Speeding occurs when a motorist drives over the posted speed limit or drives too fast for the weather or road conditions. Massachusetts speeding collisions often result in serious and potentially fatal injuries due to the significant forces involved went the cars collide. The faster a car is traveling, the more force it creates upon impact. Additionally, speeding drivers have less time to prevent a crash when they are traveling at accelerated rates.

For instance, recently, a Boston news source reported that the District Attorney identified the teen who died in a speeding accident. When officers arrived at the accident scene, they discovered a mangled car wrapped around a pole. Emergency personnel transported a young girl to a local hospital, and an 18-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The vehicle was split in two, and the utility pole cracked, causing a power disruption for several hours. Given the vehicle’s state, local mechanics estimated that the car was likely traveling over 100mph at the time of the accident. Local residents explained that despite the stoplights, people often speed down the stretch of roadway where the accident occurred.

There are many reasons drivers speed; however, these individuals should be held liable for their actions despite the reasons. Drivers often speed because they do not pay attention to posted speed limits or are otherwise distracted. Further, drivers may speed when they are engaged in road rage or emotional situations. Drivers also speed when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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