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When the defendant in a Cape Cod personal injury case is a governmental entity, the plaintiff faces an uphill battle. There was a time – back before there were any exceptions to the doctrine of sovereign immunity – when the plaintiff could not recover compensation at all. Now, however, the issue of whether the government has waived sovereign immunity in a particular situation can be a subject of great dispute.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a high school athlete (joined in the lawsuit by members of her family) who suffered a concussion and other injuries after being hit by a field hockey stick wielded by a teammate during a practice session. She filed suit against the defendant school district, seeking compensation under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. More specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in failing to properly train and supervise coaches and students, in not monitoring the plaintiff’s injuries in an appropriate fashion, and in not implementing a written academic re-entry plan following her injuries.

stop suicide
Suicide claims tens of thousands of lives annually in the United States alone, including a disproportionate number of those in their teens and twenties. Given that there are more than 10 times the number of emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries as there are completed suicides, there can sometimes be a window of opportunity to prevent a successful suicide.

If an individual or entity that owes a duty of care to a suicidal person does not act in a way that is reasonably prudent under the circumstances, a Cape Cod wrongful death action may be appropriate.

Facts of the Case

newspaperIn a Cape Cod workers’ compensation case, there are several things that a claimant must prove in order to recover benefits such as paid medical care and temporary disability benefits. First and foremost, the claimant must be able to prove that he or she was an employee of the entity from which he or she seeks compensation.

This may sound simple enough – either the claimant worked for the defendant, or he or she did not, right? Actually, the question of whether a claimant was an “employee” as that term is defined in the law can be a rather complex issue. If the alleged “employer” is able to show that the alleged “employee” was, instead, an independent contractor, the claimant’s case is likely to fail.

Facts of the Case

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Cases involving injuries at one’s workplace can be wrought with many potential complications. For example, a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim might be met with a denial of benefits on the ground that the “employee” was actually an independent contractor.

Under Massachusetts law, independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, they may be able to sue their “employer” (the person or business with whom they had a contractual agreement to perform work) for negligence, if the employer’s failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner caused physical harm to the worker.

Often, a negligence case has the potential for a larger amount of money damages if the plaintiff is successful; a workers’ compensation case, however, has the advantage of not requiring the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was at fault in his or her accident.

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powerlinesElectricity is one of those things to which most of us give little thought – until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, things can sometimes go very wrong when a power company acts negligently, sometimes triggering a Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Governmental tort liability, including the possibility of immunity from suit, can be an important factor in such cases, depending upon the particular defendant that is being sued. Such cases must be handled with the utmost care, since a procedural mistake can result in a finding that the governmental entity is not liable for the plaintiff’s harm, even when obvious negligence occurred.

Facts of the Case

legal advice
When someone is injured in a Cape Cod car accident, the responsible party’s insurance company has certain responsibilities toward the injured individual. When the insurance company fails in this regard, the plaintiff may have a separate legal action against the insurer.

As with a traditional tort case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the insurance company acted wrongfully. Due to the punitive nature of the statute, a successful case can result in substantial damages, including up to three times the amount in controversy.

Facts of the Case

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There are many procedural hoops that must be jumped through in order for a person injured by an act of medical negligence to be successful in a Cape Cod medical malpractice lawsuit. While potential pitfalls are common in the area of negligence law, this is particularly so in claims against doctors, hospitals, nurses, and so on. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that an otherwise valid (and potentially very valuable) claim falls through the cracks due to a technicality.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) Massachusetts Appeals Court case, the plaintiff was a woman who sought compensation for the alleged medical malpractice of several defendants related to complications from gallbladder removal surgery she underwent in 2013. In an earlier case, the plaintiff (on her own behalf and on the behalf of her two minor children) asserted claims against a hospital, a surgeon, and two “John Doe” (unknown) defendants, claiming that she had suffered a bile duct injury during her surgery that required her to undergo several other (otherwise unnecessary) medical procedures later. That case was dismissed by the medical malpractice tribunal on the ground that the plaintiff had not provided sufficient evidence to raise a legitimate question of liability, and the plaintiff’s complaint was dismissed with prejudice.

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In personal injury and wrongful death cases, there are sometimes multiple theories of liability. In a Cape Cod product liability case, for instance, the plaintiff may allege that the defendant manufacturer was negligent in the design of an unreasonably dangerous product and that the defendant should be held accountable for its failure to warn the consumer of the dangerous propensity of the product in question. These theories are not necessarily inconsistent.

Sometimes, however, a plaintiff may have to decide between legal theories that could be considered inconsistent. A recent case explored the complications that can arise in such situations.

Facts of the Case

prescription medicationApproximately seven out of every 10 Americans take a prescription medication. While the majority of these drugs are reasonably safe (virtually every medicine has some side effect), there has been a trend in recent years for drugs to be put on the market before the full effects are adequately studied.

A number of Massachusetts product liability lawsuits have arisen as a result of personal injuries or wrongful deaths allegedly caused by prescription medications. One common claim in such lawsuits is an allegation that the patient was not adequately warned of the medication’s side effects. A complication arises, however, when the patient takes a generic version of a drug. This is because federal law requires that a generic drug provide an identical label to its name-brand counterpart, even though the drugs may be made by different manufacturers.

Facts of the Case

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Being in a car crash can trigger many months (or even years) of painful consequences for those involved. In addition to physical injuries, those hurt in an accident may be off work indefinitely, have their vehicle declared totaled, and experience other financial losses due to the negligent driver’s conduct.

Compensation for these damages may be available from the defendant’s insurance company, but the plaintiff bears the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. An early start – and assertive legal representation – can prove very helpful in an injured person’s pursuit of full and fair monetary payment for losses suffered in a Cape Cod car accident.

Facts of the Case