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Unlike other personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, Massachusetts medical malpractice claims must be reviewed by a special tribunal before they may proceed in a regular courtroom. If the tribunal does not believe the claim has merit, the plaintiff has the option of filing a bond and continuing with his or her case. A recent appellate court decision dealt with this procedure, answering the question of whether the bond has to be in cash or whether a surety bond will suffice.doctor

Facts of the Case

In the recently reviewed appellate case, the plaintiff was a man who sought to recover compensation for an alleged act of medical negligence by the defendant health care provider. He commenced his action pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 231, § 60B, and a medical malpractice tribunal was convened to review the evidence against the defendant. After consideration, the tribunal concluded that the plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to raise a legitimate question of liability appropriate for judicial inquiry, as required under Massachusetts law.

Modern medicine is a complicated endeavor in which an individual may see several different medical providers for various conditions. Unless these providers are able to communicate effectively with one another for the patient’s benefit, tragedy can result.hospital

A recent Massachusetts medical malpractice case arose from just such a situation. In the case, a former teacher and marathon runner incurred permanent injuries that will require around-the-clock care for the rest of her life – all because a doctor failed to note an MRI report properly on her medical chart.

Facts of the Case

car doorMost Cape Cod automobile accident and other personal injury cases are settled outside of court. In most situations, the parties are eventually able to reach an agreement concerning issues like liability and the damages to which the plaintiff is entitled for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and the like.

Some cases, however, cannot be settled and must proceed to trial. It is not unusual for the party that finds himself or herself on the losing end of the jury’s verdict to appeal from the trial court’s decision. However, having a entry of judgment upon a jury’s verdict set aside on appeal can be a difficult task.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) case, the plaintiff was a woman who claimed that she sustained serious personal injuries as a result of an accident that was allegedly caused by the defendant’s lack of reasonable care in exiting his vehicle. The case was tried to a jury and resulted in a defense verdict. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court judge mishandled his “gatekeeper function” with regard to an expert witness called by the defendant and/or that the plaintiff was deprived of a fair trial. Continue reading

workers compMost Cape Cod workers’ compensation cases are opened and closed within a few months or, in cases involving more severe injuries, perhaps a few years. Sometimes, however, a particular injury is of such a nature that the case may not be fully resolved for decades.

In a case recently decided on appeal, the original injury happened some 20 years earlier. The insurance company that paid the original claim resisted being held liable for surgery needed by the employee some 14 years later, but both the workers’ compensation tribunal and the appellate court held otherwise.

Facts of the Case

premisesThere are many different circumstances through which a Cape Cod premises liability lawsuit may arise. In a “slip and fall” case, a person may be injured due to a fall caused by a slippery substance on the floor of a grocery store or poorly constructed stairs outside a public building. If the property owner breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, the plaintiff may be able to recover money damages to compensate him or her for medical costs, lost wages, and other losses caused by the injury.

In a negligent security case, a property owner may be held liable for failing to protect the plaintiff from harm caused by a third party – typically a criminal whose intentional actions harm to the plaintiff. Such cases can be challenging, as the defendant typically attempts to shift the blame away from itself and onto the third party.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who was stabbed while waiting in his car for a friend outside a theater in 2011. The man sued the theater (and its parent companies), alleging that they were negligent in failing to provide police detail on the theater premises. (The plaintiff’s stabbing occurred on a Tuesday evening about 10 p.m. For some years prior to 2008 or 2009, the defendants had police detail on their premises seven nights a week, but they then restricted the detail to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings only.) Continue reading

financial resources
There are many different types of issues that can arise in a Massachusetts car accident lawsuit – who is at fault, whether the plaintiff or a perhaps a third party are also to blame, whether a certain policy of insurance is applicable considering the particular facts giving rise to the cause of action.

Sometimes, the issue is not who is at fault or whether there is liability insurance available, but, rather, whether the defendant’s personal assets can be used to satisfy the judgment. Typically, this only happens when the defendant is either uninsured or underinsured.

However, when a particular defendant has significant wealth in addition to (or in lieu of) insurance coverage, it may be possible for the plaintiff(s) to attach the defendant’s personal assets. Of course, each case is unique and must be decided on its own merits.

cell phone towerIf you are like millions of other Americans, you probably have a cell phone in your hand or in your pocket right now. As any Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can tell you, there is a lot of data on your cellphone that, potentially, could be used against you in court if you are accused of a crime.

What you may not know is that all of the potentially incriminating data is not on your phone itself. Wireless carriers across the country log a time-stamped record of each cell site and sector each time a cellphone connects to a cell site, thereby providing a very detailed record of a user’s whereabouts.

It is important to note that this doesn’t just happen when the user is making a phone call or sending a text message; the average smart phone taps into a wireless network at least once a minute any time the signal is on, even if the phone is not being used for calling, texting, or searching the internet at that moment.

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pillAccording to studies, about two out of three Americans take at least one prescription drug. To get their medications, most patients must visit a pharmacy at least once a month. What happens when there is a problem with the paperwork that would normally allow the patient to receive the medicine in a timely fashion?

In a recent Massachusetts pharmacy error case, a 19-year-old patient died after she was denied a life-saving medication because her doctor had not completed a certain insurance form. The pharmacy claimed that it owed no duty to the patient under the circumstances, but the state’s highest court held otherwise.

Facts of the Case

stairsIn most circumstances, a person who is harmed by the negligence of another party can seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the act of negligence.

In the case of a public entity defendant, however, there are limitations on, among other things, the maximum amount of money that the injured person can receive in a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit arising from a governmental unit’s negligence. While this may seem unfair, the idea is that a judgment against “the government” is ultimately borne by the taxpayers. Controlling the maximum amount of a potential payout preserves the public coffers, purportedly inuring to the good of all.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a public housing development resident. According to allegations in his complaint, he slipped and fell while navigating the stairs at his unit. He filed a lawsuit against the housing authority, a “controlled affiliate” of the authority, and the managing agent authority, seeking compensation for his injuries. The housing authority and the managing agent sought partial summary judgment, asking the trial court to deem them public employers under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (codified at Massachusetts General Laws ch. 258, § 2) and therefore not liable for damages exceeding $100,000. The trial court judge denied the motion, concluding that the Act “clearly defines the scope of a public employer” and does not include controlled affiliates within that definition.

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review
Generally speaking, in a Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, it is the jury’s job to determine not only which party was at fault but also the amount of damages to which the plaintiff is entitled if the defendant is determined to have been negligent.

That having been said, it is important to note that the trial court judge may override the jury’s decision on damages in some cases. Such an action is the exception rather than the rule, however, and it is subject to review by the appellate court if either party challenges the ruling.

Facts of the Case