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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Planes rarely crash, but when they do, the damages sustained are usually catastrophic. Plane crashes are typically caused by malfunctioning parts within the aircraft, and in many cases, more than one party bears liability. While parties have the right to seek compensation for losses caused by plane crashes, it may not be evident which jurisdiction’s laws apply to their claims. In a recent Massachusetts opinion, the court explained the analysis it must undergo to assess what laws are applicable. If you lost loved ones in a plane collision, it is in your best interest to contact a Cape Cod personal injury attorney about your options for seeking compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in October 2015, a plane crashed in Mexico, killing all four people that were aboard. The cause of the crash was determined to be a failure of the plane’s horizontal stabilizer actuator. The plane was owned by a Massachusetts corporation. In 2012, the owner sent the plane to a facility owned by another Massachusetts company, where it underwent an inspection, maintenance, and repairs of various parts, including the plane’s horizontal stabilizer actuator.

Allegedly, representatives of the estates of the people who died in the crash instituted a lawsuit against the owner and repair facility in a Massachusetts court, asserting claims of negligence and breach of warranty. The defendants moved for the court to apply Mexican law to the case, but their motion was denied. Continue Reading ›

People who are hurt due to the negligence of others can often recover damages in civil lawsuits. While some harm is abundantly clear, other injuries are less obvious. As such, it is not uncommon for a defendant to request that a plaintiff undergo an independent medical examination. While such examinations are permitted under Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure 35, only certain parties are authorized to conduct them. In a recent opinion, a Massachusetts court analyzed whether neuropsychologists are among those authorized to conduct such examinations. If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s carelessness, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should meet with a Cape Cod personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked on a construction site where the defendant acted as the general contractor. He was involved in a catastrophic accident that caused him to suffer significant cognitive and physical injuries. His conservators then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm.

It is reported that during discovery, the plaintiff produced an opinion from a neuropsychologist outlining his cognitive harm. After reviewing the opinion and the plaintiff’s medical records, the defendant disputed the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and moved to have him undergo an examination with a neuropsychologist pursuant to Rule 35. The plaintiff objected, arguing that an examination with a neuropsychologist was not permitted under Rule 35, as neuropsychologists are not doctors. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

Typically, a plaintiff alleging a defendant should be deemed liable for negligence under Massachusetts law must offer evidence that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty and that it breached the duty, thereby causing the plaintiff to suffer harm. Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, however, a jury can infer the negligence of the defendant without actual proof of the elements. Recently, a court discussed the elements of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor in a case in which the plaintiff sought damages from a restaurant after the chair he was sitting in collapsed. If you were hurt in an accident, it is smart to talk to a Cape Cod personal injury attorney about your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was eating lunch at the defendant’s restaurant when the chair he was sitting in collapsed. He suffered injuries in the fall and subsequently brought a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligence caused his harm. After discovery was complete, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff had not offered evidence of a breach of a duty owed or causation as required to demonstrate negligence under Massachusetts law. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor would allow the jury to infer the negligence of the defendant.

Res Ipsa Loquitor in Massachusetts

The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff and reversed the trial court ruling. Ultimately, the court found that the defendant clearly owed the plaintiff, who was a business invitee, the duty to exercise reasonable care. This included, among other things, the duty included the obligation to ensure that the seat the plaintiff sat on was in a reasonably safe condition. The appellate court also found that the evidence readily allowed for the inference that the chair offered to the plaintiff was defective. Continue Reading ›

Subject to certain parameters, people generally have the right to pursue claims in the forum of their choosing. If a party files a personal injury lawsuit in Massachusetts for harm that occurred in another state, though, it may not immediately be evident which state’s laws apply, and the court will have to make a determination. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the factors weighed in conducting a choice of law analysis in a matter arising from an accident that occurred in Rhode Island. If you were hurt due to another party’s carelessness, you could be owed compensation, and you should meet with a Cape Cod personal injury attorney to assess your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff, a resident of Massachusetts, was working on a construction site in Rhode Island when a piece of machinery crushed his leg. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in Massachusetts court, arguing that his harm arose from the negligent supervision. The matter proceeded to trial, and the jury found that the plaintiff was 65% at fault while the defendant was 35% at fault and that Rhode Island’s comparative negligence law applied. The parties all appealed.

Factors Weighed in Conducting a Choice of Law Analysis

On appeal, the court addressed the issue of which state’s law applied. In resolving questions regarding conflict of laws, the courts apply the conflict of laws rules of Massachusetts to determine which state’s laws apply. First, the court must assess whether the choice between the laws of the jurisdictions in question will impact the outcome of the case. Next, the court will determine whether the issue is substantive or procedural. Continue Reading ›

People in the military can receive health care at facilities run by the federal government. If they suffer harm in such facilities, they may be able to pursue claims for damages. However, proving liability can be difficult as the Federal Tort Claims Act (the Act) insulates the federal government from liability in many situations. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed immunity under the Act in a case in which it ruled that it was unclear whether the harm in question was caused by negligence as required to trigger the Act. If you were hurt due to the failure of a government employee, you should speak to a Cape Cod personal injury attorney to assess what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Decedent’s Harm

It is reported that the decedent, who was a veteran, was admitted to the defendant federal government’s medical facility for numerous mental health concerns. Before his admittance, he was searched for any weapons and illicit substances, but none were found. Throughout his stay, he expressed suicidal ideation and was subsequently closely monitored.

Allegedly, one afternoon a staff employee checked on the decedent sitting in a lounge area and found that he appeared calm. He was found dead approximately two hours later. The cause of his death was determined to be a fentanyl overdose. Neither he nor anyone else at the facility was prescribed fentanyl. The plaintiff instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligence led to the decedent’s death. She later filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability. Continue Reading ›

Typically, people who suffer losses due to car accidents can recover benefits from their insurer. While some insurance claims are straightforward and are paid promptly, in others, the insurer will dispute the harm suffered or the damages owed. In such instances, the parties will typically turn to the courts to interpret the applicable provisions. For example, in a recent Massachusetts opinion, a court answered the question of whether emotional distress constituted bodily injury under the terms of a policy, ultimately determining that it did not. If you were hurt in a car accident, you may be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a Cape Cod car accident attorney to discuss your possible causes of action.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff and her husband were driving towards one another on a highway; she was driving a car and he a motorcycle. As they approached the intersection, the car in front of the plaintiff turned and struck her husband. The plaintiff witnessed the accident and saw her husband fly through the air and land on the pavement. He later died from his injuries.

Reportedly, the plaintiff developed PTSD and filed a lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident. Her insurer tendered $250,000 to the plaintiff, which it alleged was the maximum amount she was entitled to as only one person suffered bodily harm. The plaintiff rejected this assertion, arguing she suffered bodily harm as well in the form of post-accident trauma. The insurer then filed a declaratory judgment action. The trial court ruled in favor of the insurer, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

People typically rely on police forces to keep their communities safe. While generally, the risk of harm is from outside sources, some people are in danger of injuring themselves. In such instances, if the police fail to perform their professional duties to stop a person from committing acts of self-harm, they could potentially be liable for negligence. This was illustrated in a recent Massachusetts case in which a mother sued a town and its police force for failing to stop her daughter’s suicide. If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to a proficient Cape Cod personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent lived in the defendant town. The defendant police department received a call from the decedent’s boyfriend stating that the decedent indicated she wanted to end her life. The defendant police officer was dispatched but did not go to the decedent’s apartment. The decedent ultimately died by suicide. Her mother filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting numerous claims. As to the defendant officer, she alleged claims of gross negligence and wrongful death. The defendants moved to dismiss her complaint.

Establishing Gross Negligence Under Massachusetts Law

The court denied the defendants’ motion as to the gross negligence claim. The court explained that gross negligence differs from ordinary negligence in that rather than a simple failure to exercise ordinary care, it is an omission or action pertaining to a party’s legal duty that is aggravated in character. In other words, the element of fault that characterizes all negligence is magnified to a high degree in gross negligence as opposed to ordinary negligence. Further, gross negligence is a much smaller degree of vigilance than the circumstances require of people of ordinary negligence. Continue Reading ›

Passengers on flights are not exempt from harm, but it is not always apparent when and where their claims must be brought when their injuries are caused by another party’s intentional or negligent behavior. This was illustrated in a recent decision by a Massachusetts district court, which upheld the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims due to the plaintiff’s failure to file an action within the time limits set forth by the Montreal Convention, which governs the criteria for pursuing specific claims against air carriers. If you were hurt on a flight, it’s a good idea to talk to a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury lawyer about what steps you might be able to take to preserve your rights.

Facts Concerning the Plaintiff’s Injuries

According to reports, the plaintiff, a Massachusetts citizen, boarded a plane operated by the defendant airline. The airplane took off from Boston and arrived in London the next day. A flight attendant accused the plaintiff of stealing bags during the voyage. As a result, his possessions were inspected without his knowledge, and he was kept on the plane after it landed and in the London airport until it was proven that he did not steal the missing bags.

The plaintiff allegedly filed a complaint against the defendant in a Massachusetts court three years later, which the defendant allegedly moved to the district court. The defendant subsequently filed a request to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiff’s claims were prohibited by the applicable statute of limitations since they were controlled only by the Montreal Convention. The district court granted the request after agreeing with the defendant’s reasoning. The plaintiff then filed an appeal. Continue Reading ›

The right of a plaintiff to choose the venue in which to bring a personal injury case is well-established under the law. As a result, the ultimate issues of the case are normally decided by the court in the jurisdiction where the plaintiff files the lawsuit. However, in some cases, a defendant may argue that the case should be heard in a different venue and would petition the court to dismiss the case. A Massachusetts court recently reviewed the grounds for dismissing a case based on forum non conveniens in a personal injury case in which the plaintiff was injured in Greece. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should speak with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to see what steps you can take to obtain compensation for your losses.

Historical Facts

According to reports, the plaintiff was injured while on vacation in Greece with her husband when the boat she was riding in was struck by a boat owned by the defendant, necessitating significant treatment in Greece and the United States. The Greek Port Authority undertook an inquiry after the disaster, which included acquiring thirteen witness accounts. The plaintiff then filed a personal injury action in Massachusetts district court against the defendant, who was a Massachusetts resident. On the grounds of forum non conveniens, the defendant filed a request to dismiss.

Dismissing a Case Due to Inconvenient Forum

The law stipulates that a plaintiff’s choice of forum should be respected only in exceptional circumstances. As a result, a defendant asserting forum non conveniens must show that a sufficient alternative forum exists and that judicial efficiency and convenience weigh heavily in favor of litigating the issue in a different forum. An adequate alternative forum exists, according to the court, if the defendant can show that the other forum meets the plaintiff’s claims and that the defendant is willing to be served in that forum. Continue Reading ›

While parties can usually be held responsible for inflicting bodily harm on others, recovering damages might be difficult when the person who caused the injury works for a public employer, such as a city. Specifically, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA), guards public corporations from liability in a range of situations and places strict notice obligations on potential litigants. A court in Massachusetts recently reviewed what is considered adequate sufficient notice of a potential tort claim under the MTCA in a case involving injuries incurred during an arrest. If you suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation and should confer with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer promptly.

Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff

The plaintiff was apparently driving home from work when he was stopped by a police officer that worked for the defendant city. The officer apparently apprehended the plaintiff due to an anonymous tip that the plaintiff was carrying a gun. The officer hauled the plaintiff out of his car, pushed him to the ground, and fractured his neck, collarbone, and shoulder. The officer did not find a gun in the plaintiff’s possession, and therefore he was released.

The plaintiff allegedly filed a case against the defendant city pursuant to the MTCA, asserting it was liable for the officer’s negligence. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the plaintiff failed to provide the required notice under the MTCA. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Continue Reading ›

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