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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 :

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_106140917-1-300x199As the weather heats up in New England and people are out in our waterways for recreation or work, the risk of accidents on the water increases. Massachusetts boating accidents and collisions can be especially deadly when passengers are ejected from a watercraft into open water as the trauma from a crash is compounded by the risk of drowning. A local news report discusses a recent boat collision in Boston Harbor that resulted in the death of a 27-year-old woman.

According to the report, a boat with eight people on board collided with a fixed navigational beacon that was in the harbor. The collision sent all eight people into the water. After emergency responders were notified of the accident, Coast Guard and other authorities were able to rescue seven of the occupants. The last occupant was not found until the next morning when her body was recovered from the harbor. The article does not state if any of the occupants of the boat were wearing life jackets at the time of the crash or if intoxication was involved in the cause of the accident.

Navigating crowded or shallow waterways can be very dangerous, especially at night. All occupants of a boat should be wearing life jackets at all times the boat is in motion, and the operator of the craft must be careful to avoid potential hazards, as not all features or beacons are illuminated at night. In the event of an accident that results in injury, death, or drowning of a passenger, the owner or operator of the boat may be liable for the damages incurred.

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.

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