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Articles Posted in Car Accident

It is not unusual for people to lend their cars to acquaintances or family members. However, what appears to be a simple favor might unwittingly expose someone to liability. To put it another way, if the person renting the car is later involved in a collision, the vehicle’s owner may be held accountable for negligent entrustment. However, as a recent Massachusetts case indicated, simply lending a person an automobile is insufficient to establish a negligent entrustment claim. You may be able to pursue claims against various parties if you were hurt in a car accident caused by a motorist who was driving a rented car, and you should consult with a qualified Massachusetts personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your possibilities.

The Subject Accident

The plaintiff was in a car collision with the defendant driver, according to the evidence. She was seriously injured in the collision, and she eventually filed a case against the defendant driver and the owner of the car she was driving at the time of the crash, who happened to be her father-in-law. The plaintiff brought a negligent entrustment suit against the defendant owner, claiming that he either knew or reasonably should have known she couldn’t drive safely. The defendant owner then filed a move for summary judgment, saying that the plaintiff’s negligent entrustment claim would be impossible to prove and, as a result, should be dismissed.

Proving a Claim of Negligent Entrustment

There are three aspects to negligent entrustment in Massachusetts. To begin, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the owner of a vehicle rented it to someone who was unsuitable or unqualified to drive, and that the person’s incompetence caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must then establish that the owner gave the person authorization to operate the car, either generally or specifically. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the owner had real knowledge of the driver’s incapacity. Continue Reading ›

People frequently allow their spouses to drive their cars without a second thought. If the spouse causes an accident, though, both the spouse and the owner may be held responsible for any injuries that arise as a result of the collision. Under Massachusetts law, though, liability will only be imposed on both spouses, if the courts can exercise personal jurisdiction over them. This was demonstrated in a recent lawsuit arising out of a car accident, in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against an out of state defendant who had no contacts with the state.   If you were hurt in a car accident, numerous parties could be to blame, and you should consult with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury lawyer about your possible claims.

The Subject Collision

Allegedly, the plaintiff and his wife both resided in Massachusetts. The defendants, who were married, lived in Virginia. They visited Massachusetts in September 2018 to attend a family friend’s wedding. The defendant husband was waiting for his wife to pick him up outside of a hotel. At the same time, the plaintiff was riding a motorcycle. The defendant wife, who was operating her husband’s car, struck the plaintiff, causing him to suffer significant harm. The plaintiff subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant husband moved for dismissal of the claims against him, arguing the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction Over an Out-of-State Vehicle Owner

A court can exercise jurisdiction over a person who causes a tortious injury through an omission or act, either directly or through an agent, under Massachusetts’s long-arm legislation. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant wife was acting as his agent. However, the court determined that there was insufficient evidence to show agency. Continue Reading ›

Ride-sharing companies generally maintain that the people who drive on their behalf are independent contractors, not employees. As such, if a person working for a ride-sharing company causes an accident, the company must likely will deny that it is vicariously liable. Discovery is critical in such cases, and it allows plaintiffs to obtain information that could support their claims, but defendants often deny that such discovery is necessary and refuse to comply with plaintiffs’ requests. This was demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts case in which the defendant ride-sharing company moved for a protective order to quash the plaintiff’s requests. If you were hurt in a collision involving a ride-sharing company, it is advisable to speak to a capable Massachusetts car accident lawyer to assess what damages you may be owed.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was walking in a crosswalk when he was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant driver. The plaintiff sustained injuries in the crash and subsequently filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts seeking compensation from the defendant driver, as well as the defendant ride-sharing company, who the plaintiff alleged employed the defendant driver.

Allegedly, the plaintiff sent the defendant company interrogatories and requests for production of documents seeking, among other things, information regarding the relationship between the defendant company and the defendant driver. The defendant company filed a motion for a protective order, asking the court to rule that it did not have to answer the requests. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel the defendant company to respond. Continue Reading ›

A person who lends a vehicle to a dangerous driver in Massachusetts may be found negligent if the driver causes a collision that results in bodily injury. However, there are specific requirements that a plaintiff must meet in order to demonstrate an automobile owner’s culpability for an accident. A Massachusetts court recently considered the negligence of a car owner and what a plaintiff needs show to establish the right to claim damages. If you were injured by a negligent driver while driving a loaned car, you may be entitled to compensation, and it is crucial to talk with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

The Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff

The plaintiff was injured in a collision caused by the defendant driver, according to reports. At the time of the collision, the defendant driver, who was 26 years old, had ADHD and autistic spectrum disorder. He lived alone but was supported by his legally split parents. The automobile that the defendant driver was driving at the time of the accident belonged to the defendant’s mother.

Despite the fact that the defendant’s mother was aware of his previous accidents, she allegedly let him to drive the car as if it were his own. The plaintiff eventually filed a case against the defendant and his mother, citing negligence against the mother among other reasons. She then filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the matter. Continue Reading ›

Although car accidents generally arise out of negligent driving, other factors can contribute to the damages sustained in collisions. For example, a defective car part may injure a person involved in an accident. Manufacturers of defective car parts may be deemed responsible for any losses they cause, but they may try to avoid liability by arguing the court in which a lawsuit is filed does not have jurisdiction over them. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the exercise of personal jurisdiction over entities that are based in another state in a case in which the plaintiff suffered harm due to a defective headrest. If you were injured in a collision, it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled Cape Cod car accident attorney about your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in a car accident while riding in a vehicle manufactured and sold by the defendant car company that had headrests made by the defendant manufacturer. She sustained injuries due to the headrest, which she deemed defective. Thus, she filed a product liability lawsuit against the defendants in the federal district court. The defendant manufacturer moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, arguing in part that the court could not validly exercise personal jurisdiction over it. Upon review, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Establishing Personal Jurisdiction Over Out of State Defendants

Personal jurisdiction is the term used to define a court’s power to compel parties to abide by its orders. Parties who file a case in a court are deemed to consent to its jurisdiction. In regards to parties who do not consent to a court’s exercise of jurisdiction, though, the Due Process Clause of the constitution protects their liberty interest in not being held to judgments of a forum with which they have no meaningful ties, contacts, or relationships. Continue Reading ›

Having an insurance policy that covers accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists is important. Without such coverage, it is extremely difficult – often impossible – to receive fair compensation for personal injuries or a wrongful death caused by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance at all or who has only minimum coverage.

Unfortunately, simply having “UM/UIM” (as it is called in the insurance industry) does not mean that there will not be protracted litigation before the case is finally settled. Consequently, it is important to consult an attorney if you have been involved in a Cape Cod car accident, even if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in place.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently considered by a federal district court sitting in Massachusetts, the plaintiff was an insurance company, acting as the subrogee of its insured (who was covered by an uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy), who was involved in a car accident in 2016. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the accident was caused by the negligence of the defendant motorist, who was allegedly issued a citation for failure to yield the right-of-way to the plaintiff’s insured. At the time of the crash, the motorist was driving an automobile owned by her father-in-law, the defendant vehicle owner. The plaintiff alleged that the vehicle owner had negligently entrusted the automobile to the defendant motorist and that this negligence had contributed to the cause of the accident. The defendant vehicle owner filed a motion for summary judgment.

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Most Cape Cod car accident cases focus primarily on the personal injury aspect of the accident at hand. However, there is another potential claim in most car crash cases: property damage.

The reason that we rarely hear about the property damage aspect of a plaintiff’s case is that such claims are usually relatively small compared to personal injury claims, and, because less money is at stake, more apt to settle out of court. This is often true even when the personal injury portion of the case is highly contested and eventually proceeds to trial.

In a recent federal case, however, there was a rare exception to this general rule. When you consider the value of one of the vehicles involved in the collision – a Lamborghini worth over $100,000 – it is easy to understand why the insurance companies decided to fight about which was responsible for paying for the car, all the way to the federal court of appeals.

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When someone is injured in a Cape Cod car accident, the insurance company that insures the at-fault motorist has certain responsibilities to the injured individual(s). If these obligations are not met, there is a possibility of litigation against the company later on.

In many instances, it is the insured motorist who brings suit against his or her own insurance company. For example, a person whose insurance company had an opportunity to settle a lawsuit against him or her for policy limits but refused to do so might seek money damages after a jury awards a substantially higher verdict at trial.

There are also some situations in which someone else might bring suit against the insurance company. One way that this can happen is through an assignment of rights from the insured person to a third party, perhaps a person injured in the accident.

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Cape Cod car accident cases require the plaintiff to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant breached the applicable duty of care and that this breach of care was the proximate cause of the damages for which the plaintiff seeks compensation. Generally speaking, a defendant who crashes her car into an innocent motorist will probably be found to have violated the duty to keep a proper lookout.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. The defendant’s liability hinges on whether he or she failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner, hence causing the accident. There are several factors that can come into play in determining whether the defendant’s actions were reasonable.

Although the issue does not come up very often, it is possible that the defendant may be able to avoid liability by proving that he or she was incapable of acting in a reasonably prudent manner. An example would be a motorist who experiences a sudden medical emergency that causes him or her to lose control of his or her vehicle. While such an event will not always relieve the defendant of responsibility for an accident, there is a good chance that it could. After all, the purpose of negligence law is to encourage individuals to act reasonably. When a medical emergency arises, this may not be possible.

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While the right to a trial-by-jury in a Cape Cod car accident case is very important, there are sometimes occasions when the parties to such a matter may opt to submit their dispute to arbitration rather than move forward with a traditional trial. Like other kinds of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, arbitration takes the case away from the consideration of a traditional judge and jury and places decision-making into the hands of one or more neutral persons.

In such a situation, there may be a single arbitrator, or there may be several. The result of the arbitration may be binding or non-binding (although, typically, “arbitration tends to be binding, while “mediation” tends to be non-binding).

Arbitration can sometimes be mandatory (such as when someone has signed an agreement to arbitrate all claims prior to the accident or event at issue). Arbitration can also be entered into by the agreement of the parties when all sides believe that it is the most fair and effective means of resolving the issues in a particular case.

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