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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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 ›

Generally, employees who are injured while on the job are limited to seeking workers’ compensation benefits, as the exclusivity provision of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) precludes them from pursuing civil claims against their employers. There are exceptions to the exclusivity provision, however, that permit for the imposition of liability on an employer that causes a plaintiff’s harm. The exceptions to the exclusivity rule were the subject of a recent Massachusetts decision in a case involving a law firm employee seeking redress for harm caused by willful acts. If you sustained losses due to someone else’s reckless or wanton acts, it is smart to consult a Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked at the defendant’s law firm. She was his only employee at first, but over time he added more members to his team. He belittled and verbally attacked the plaintiff on a frequent basis, and screamed and shouted in her face.

It is reported that the plaintiff eventually stopped working for the defendant. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against him, alleging he intentionally caused emotional distress and asserting other claims. The defendant moved for the trial court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, on the grounds that that they were barred by the Act’s exclusivity provision. His motion was denied and the case was tried. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant appealed. Continue Reading ›

International travel is available on several of the airlines that serve Massachusetts. As a result, if a passenger is hurt while flying or disembarking from a plane, it may be difficult to determine whether the airline is liable under US law. In many cases, the Montreal Convention applies, and in order to receive damages, a plaintiff must show that specific factors were present at the time of the accident. A recent Massachusetts case addressed the proof that a plaintiff must present in order to claim damages under the Montreal Convention. If you were injured while traveling, you may be entitled to compensation, and you should speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer about your options.

The Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff

The plaintiff was reportedly flying from Boston, Massachusetts, to London, England. She was disembarking from the plane in London when she lost her footing on the penultimate step and collapsed, hurting both ankles. Although the step that led her to fall was larger than the previous one, no warnings were given, and no one from the defendant airline offered her aid when she disembarked. Following her fall, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, claiming negligence and seeking damages under the Montreal Convention. The court granted the defendant’s petition for summary judgment on all counts.

Providing Evidence for Claims in Accordance with the Montreal Convention

The court pointed out that both the US and the UK are signatories to the Montreal Convention, which limits liability for international air carriers. A carrier is liable for bodily harm incurred by a passenger if the injury happens while the passenger is on the plane, disembarking, or embarking, and all other claims are preempted if a claim for damages arises under the Convention. To put it another way, an air carrier will not be liable for state law claims for harm covered by the Convention; instead, the Convention will be the sole remedy. Continue Reading ›

Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation laws generally preclude people who suffer injuries in the workplace from pursuing civil claims against their employers. People hurt at work may be able to recover damages from third parties that contributed to or caused their harm, however. Generally, they must establish that the negligence of the third party caused their harm; otherwise, they will be denied compensation, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts personal injury case. If you were injured at work, you should meet with a skillful Cape Cod personal injury lawyer to determine whether you may be able to pursue claims against parties other than your employer.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff worked for a roofing company. The defendant hired the plaintiff’s employer to remove snow from a flat roof on an apartment building. While on the job site, the plaintiff fell off of the roof and sustained critical injuries. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth claims that it negligently failed to provide adequate fall protection on the roof.

Allegedly, prior to trial, he moved in limine for an order allowing him to introduce evidence of certain publications and regulations issued by OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), but the court denied his motion. The jury attributed thirty percent of the fault for the accident to the defendant and seventy percent of the fault to the plaintiff, and therefore, returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed an appeal, asserting that the trial court erred in excluding the OSHA regulations. Continue Reading ›

People often volunteer in their communities. Unfortunately, during the act of performing good deeds, some people suffer injuries due to the negligence of others. While they can pursue claims for their losses, their ability to recover from their towns may be limited by Massachusetts law, as discussed in a recent opinion. If you were hurt because of another party’s negligence, it is smart to speak to a skillful Cape Cod personal injury attorney about your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, in 2014, the plaintiff worked as a volunteer for the band parent organization (BPO) for the defendant town’s high school band. He was sitting in the driver’s seat of a golf cart that was located in the back of the truck to assist with the process of unloading the truck. The golf cart fell from the truck, causing the plaintiff to suffer a traumatic brain injury. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant as well as the co-presidents of the BPO, arguing their negligence caused him to suffer harm.

It is alleged that the defendants moved for dismissal via summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA). The court ruled in favor of the defendants, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

When a restaurant serves unsafe food to a patron and that person is injured as a result, a personal injury claim may be possible. In asserting a Cape Cod food contamination case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, meaning that he or she must present evidence sufficient to convince the jury, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she is entitled to money damages due to the incident and injuries at issue.

Damages may include compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earnings, and the like. The exact amount to be awarded is in the jury’s discretion but is subject to appellate review.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent appeals court case was a woman who was injured when she allegedly bit down on a piece of bone that was in a hamburger purchased from the defendant restaurant. According to the plaintiff, the bone caused one of her upper molars to split, necessitating over two years of dental and medical treatment. This included two root canals, sinus elevation surgery, and a bone graft. The plaintiff’s lawsuit, filed in 2013, asserted claims for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability under Massachusetts General Laws ch. 106, § 2-314 and violations of Massachusetts General Laws ch. 93A. (The plaintiff also asserted a negligence claim and a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, but these claims were voluntarily dismissed prior to trial.) Continue Reading ›

Timeliness can be an important issue in a Cape Cod negligence case. Typically, cases not filed within the applicable statute of limitations and/or statute of repose will be dismissed unless the circumstances fall within some very narrow exception to the general rule.

Sometimes, time can also factor into other issues in a given case, including the determination of whether a duty to a particular plaintiff existed. If the passage of time was such that the defendant did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, then the case will be subject to dismissal.

Facts of the Case

In a recent negligence case considered on appeal, the plaintiff was a minor child, suing through his mother as next friend. The plaintiff’s suit attempted to assert claims for both negligence and violation of Massachusetts Gen. Law ch. 93A against the defendant lead inspector, but the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff case, arguing that the claims were not viable. Although the defendant admitted that he had, in fact, performed a lead inspection on the property at issue, he pointed out that the plaintiff had not become a tenant at the property until some 20 years after the inspection.

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In a Cape Cod premises liability case, evidence regarding the accident scene can be crucially important. Without photographs or video surveillance of the place where the accident happened, it can be difficult for the plaintiff to convince the jury that the landowner was negligent in creating the dangerous condition that caused the accident or, if a third party caused the situation, in allowing the condition to persist past the time that a reasonable property owner would have noticed and corrected the issue(s).

Of course, not every piece of evidence is as reliable as it might first appear. There is technology available that can alter the appearance of both photographs and videos, a fact to which anyone who has skimmed through a fashion magazine can attest.

The case described below dealt with a situation in which the image shown in the photograph was real; it accurately reflected the scene at the time it was taken. However, there may have been a discrepancy regarding when the party offering the photographs into evidence said the picture was taken and when it was actually taken.

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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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One of the more common defenses in a Cape Cod premises liability lawsuit is an assertion by the defendant that the condition was so open and obvious that any reasonable person would have noticed it and avoided it. Of course, each case must stand on its own facts when it comes to such matters.

Even if a particular case involves a condition that was arguably open and obvious, the case will not necessarily be futile. Liability may still be had in a case against a premises owner under some circumstances.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case was the personal representative of the estate of a customer who sustained serious personal injuries when she fell down an unmarked step in the defendant restaurant’s dining room. The customer filed a personal injury lawsuit against the restaurant, alleging that its negligence had been the proximate cause of her fall. The case was tried to a jury and resulted in a verdict in favor of the customer. (Some time after the trial, the customer apparently died, and the personal representative of her estate was substituted as plaintiff.) The restaurant filed an appeal, seeking review of case and asserting numerous errors.

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