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Massachusetts – January 23, 2023

Drivers who are determined to show that another person was at fault for a motor vehicle accident in which they suffered harmful losses may benefit from effective Massachusetts car accident legal representation. Massachusetts is a “no fault” state regarding car accidents, allowing individuals to seek compensation for medical costs and related damages with their own insurance company.  As a modified no fault insurance state, accident victims can sue for damages if an injured person shares less than 50 percent of the fault, but a victim’s insurance must pay up to the policy limit before other means are addressed.

Common driver fault.

Massachusetts – January 11, 2023

A tractor-trailer slammed into a low tunnel on the ramp to the arrivals level at Terminals B and C at Boston Logan International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.  The incident occurred on a ramp near the central parking facility. Signage on the tunnel indicates that it has a clearance of 11-feet 10-inches. A similar incident involving another tractor-trailer happened in the same location last October when a big rig got stuck under an overpass at Boston Logan International Airport, creating roadblocks.  A tractor-trailer is approximately 65-75 feet in length and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, causing any type of crash between it and another moving vehicle, stationary object, or person to be catastrophic and/or fatal in many cases. Life-changing consequences of a big rig accident may include serious personal injuries and losses such as those that cause permanent damage, scarring, incapacitation through physical or mental injury, bodily deformity and loss of life or limb. Talk to a Massachusetts truck accident lawyer if you have suffered loss in a truck accident.

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shutterstock_1769535560-300x200Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most serious offenses a driver can commit on the road. Unfortunately, DUI accidents can often result in severe injury or death. These accidents are especially tragic because they are preventable by simply avoiding drugs or alcohol before driving. When a victim dies in a DUI accident, the deceased’s family is left to pick up the pieces.

A recent news article reported that a man died and 20 people were injured after a driver under the influence crashed into an Apple store. The accident occurred in Hingham, Massachusetts, when the driver pressed down on the accelerator and was unable to brake. His SUV then crashed through the front of the store, striking a construction worker who was moving a barrier. The worker sadly died from his injuries. Twenty people were also hospitalized, some with life-threatening injuries. Police arrested the driver hours after the crash.

What Are the Civil and Criminal Penalties for a DUI in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts law refers to DUI crimes as “Operating Under the Influence” (OUI). Under OUI laws, drivers who operate their vehicles under the influence with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 and cause serious bodily injury faces either 2 ½ to 10 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, or 6 months to 2 ½ years in a county prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. These penalties apply regardless of whether the accident occurs on a roadway or in any other place available to the public. An example of the latter scenario is an intoxicated driver who crashes into a building, as opposed to another vehicle on the road. If a person dies as a result of a driver operating a vehicle under the influence with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the driver is guilty of homicide by motor vehicle. As punishment for this crime, Massachusetts law imposes between 2 ½ to 15 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, or 1-2 ½ years in a county prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

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shutterstock_1595586631-_1_-300x154When someone suffers injuries in a Massachusetts pedestrian accident, the person responsible can face both civil and criminal penalties. Massachusetts imposes criminal charges for certain forms of negligence, which are similar but not identical to a negligence claim in a civil damages case. However, both Massachusetts civil and criminal law work to hold parties responsible for their negligent actions.

Recently, a serious accident occurred at a car wash in Peabody, Massachusetts. A pickup truck was waiting in line to enter one of the car wash’s self-service lines when it slammed into the back of the car parked in front of it. Sadly, when the pickup truck struck the car, it also hit a pedestrian standing in between the two vehicles. The pedestrian suffered severe lower body injuries and was flown to the hospital for treatment. Police issued the driver a criminal summons for negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

What is the Difference Between Criminal vs. Civil Negligence in Massachusetts Car Accidents?

Massachusetts law makes it a crime to negligently operate a motor vehicle. To convict someone on a negligent operation of a motor vehicle charge, the prosecution must prove the person operated a motor vehicle on a public way in a manner that could endanger the public. Notably, the law does not require someone to actually endanger the safety of the public. Instead, prosecutors only need to show that a person’s conduct when operating a motor vehicle, when taken as a whole, might have endangered the lives or safety of others.

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shutterstock_302738369-300x200Too often, tragic accidents occur on the road without any warning. These freak accidents can happen at random and in the absence of any intent to cause harm. When a victim loses his or her life in an accident, the responsible party may face criminal and/or civil penalties. On many occasions, a responsible party may not face criminal charges, but the injured victim’s family may pursue monetary damages in a civil suit.

For example, a driver was killed on I-95 in Massachusetts last fall when a construction worker’s tool pierced the driver’s windshield. The worker was operating a ramp truck for his construction company when a steel tool on the bed of the truck cut through the windshield of the driver’s car, killing him almost instantly. His wife, a passenger in the car, was not injured. Right before he died, the driver pulled over to prevent his wife from being harmed in an accident.

Recently, a news article reported that the construction worker would not face criminal charges. Following an investigation into the accident, the District Attorney’s Office in Essex found insufficient evidence to support criminal charges.

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shutterstock_466224800-300x200Over the past five years, approximately 70 people died annually in Massachusetts pedestrian accidents, according to the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. On average, more pedestrian accidents occur during evening hours and rush hours when drivers are in a hurry. Sadly, driving in a hurry without paying attention to pedestrians carries potentially fatal consequences. By failing to notice pedestrians or stop at a crosswalk, drivers may place pedestrians at risk of severe injury or death.

Recently, as a local news article reported, a mother and her two young daughters suffered injuries after a pedestrian accident in Peabody, Massachusetts. According to a witness, the driver of an SUV attempted to pass a bus on the righthand side. As the SUV approached a busy intersection, it struck the family as they were crossing the street. The SUV also knocked down a street sign near the sidewalk. After the children suffered serious injuries, the family was taken to the hospital. Police held the SUV driver in custody for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

Who Has the Right of Way at Massachusetts Pedestrian Crosswalks?

In Massachusetts, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians in the absence of traffic control signs. The state prohibits drivers from passing another vehicle that has stopped at a marked crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross. When approaching a crosswalk, drivers must leave enough distance from the crosswalk to fit their entire vehicle, as opposed to blocking any part of the crosswalk. When a driver does not follow these steps and injures a pedestrian, Massachusetts law mandates that state or local police investigate the cause of the injury and any violations of Massachusetts traffic laws. If violating the law results in harm to a pedestrian, a driver may face criminal charges.

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shutterstock_459837451-300x200Between 2019 and 2021, the state of Massachusetts saw a 24% increase in traffic fatalities, according to a national transportation research nonprofit. This was faster than the growth of 19% seen nationally over the same time period. 413 people died on Massachusetts roads in 2021, including motor vehicle operators, passengers, motorcycle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. In the United States as a whole, 42,915 people died in traffic accidents in 2021.

According to a recent article, one woman died and six other people were injured in a multi-vehicle crash in Massachusetts. A Toyota Corolla sedan and Toyota Tundra pickup truck collided head-on. Of the three women in the Corolla, two were transported by helicopter to a hospital with severe injuries, and the third died. All four people, including two children, inside the Tundra were taken to the hospital via ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries. An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the crash.

Wrongful Death in Massachusetts

Many people injured in car accidents know that if the other driver was careless, they can bring a lawsuit for damages to cover expenses associated with their injuries. The families of people who die in lawsuits, however, know that no amount of money can bring back their loved ones. But in many cases, suits can be filed to make the associated costs less taxing on grieving families. Wrongful death claims can generally be brought in any case where the victim could have filed suit for damages for injuries.

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shutterstock_1787783405-300x200When a car crash occurs, especially a serious one, on top of dealing with injuries and issues of insurance, it can be difficult to understand or interpret state laws when it comes to civil lawsuits to recover damages for injuries you sustained. Prudent steps in the aftermath of a serious crash include filing an insurance claim. When filing a successful claim, one should consider when and how to file, how to prove the defendant was at fault and or negligent, and how to navigate potential defenses raised by the defendant.

A recent news report provided details about a serious and fatal Massachusetts crash that occurred in Brockton. The crash happened shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of Pleasant Street and Nye Avenue, according to the Brockton police. The collision involved pedestrians, vehicles, and motorcycles. One man died and four others were hurt following a series of collisions, first between a car and pedestrians, then between two motorcycles, and finally between a motorcycle and another car. Authorities believe that the initial collision triggered the second crash, which then caused the third accident to occur. The full cause of the accident is still under investigation by the police.

Following a car accident, in order to hold the other party liable for injuries and damage suffered as a result of the crash, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that the accident was caused through negligence by the defendant. In the state of Massachusetts, there is a no-fault system that requires filing insurance claims before pursuing legal damages against another party, so beginning that process is essential prior to the filing of any legal suits. Finally, it is important to bear in mind that the state of Massachusetts operates under the rule of modified comparative fault, which means that a plaintiff can only recover damages if the plaintiff is not more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Further, the amount a plaintiff can be awarded can be reduced based on the degree of their fault. That is to say, if you are partially to blame for the accident, damages you won will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of your own negligence. That being said, if the jury determines that the plaintiff is above 50 percent at fault for the accident, the plaintiff will be barred from recovering damages.

shutterstock_2148918243-300x207Many drivers take utmost precaution to ensure their vehicles never break down—on-time oil changes, avoiding debris or other sharp pieces on the road, regular maintenance, and inspections, to name just a few steps drivers take. However, many drivers fail to consider what to do if a breakdown or other vehicle failure does occur, which can leave them stranded on the road or in a breakdown lane with little idea of what to do.

According to a recent article, one driver’s quick thinking in the event of a breakdown saved her life. That driver’s vehicle stalled and she pulled into the breakdown lane on a Massachusetts highway. While sitting in her car waiting for help, she noticed a tractor-trailer driving quickly in the breakdown lane and heading straight toward her car. Before that tractor-trailer collided with her vehicle, she exited the car and ran to safety. The collision completely totaled the vehicle and smashed the rear of the car.

The driver of the disabled vehicle escaped the accident injury-free, according to police on the scene, but many Massachusetts drivers aren’t so lucky. Police remind drivers there are steps you can take to maintain your safety in the event of a vehicular breakdown, including getting out of your car and away from the road, if it is safe to do so.

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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.

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