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Under Massachusetts law, people who suffer harm at work are generally precluded from seeking damages from their employer in a civil lawsuit. Instead, their only available remedy is workers’ compensation benefits. They can seek compensation from other parties whose negligence caused their harm, however. If they do, the defendant in the civil lawsuit may attempt to introduce evidence of their workers’ compensation claims to attempt to reduce their liability. Recently, a Massachusetts court addressed the question of whether evidence of a plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim was relevant or admissible at a personal injury trial when both matters related to the same harm. If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s carelessness, you could be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to speak to a proficient Cape Cod personal injury lawyer.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that while he was at work, the plaintiff slipped and fell in the parking lot. He filed a workers’ compensation claim and was subsequently awarded benefits. He also filed a personal injury lawsuit in which he asserted negligence claims against the defendant, the party responsible for clearing the subject lot of snow and ice. The parties exchanged discovery, which included the plaintiff providing the defendant with documentation of his workers’ compensation claim. Before trial, the plaintiff filed motions in limine asking the court to preclude evidence of his workers’ compensation claim from use at trial.

Evidence of Workers’ Compensation Claims in Personal Injury Matters

First, the court examined the plaintiff’s motion in limine with regard to his current workers’ compensation benefits on the ground that it could detrimentally impact his recovery of damages. The defendant did not object to the plaintiff’s motion; as such, it was granted as unopposed. The plaintiff also filed a motion in limine asking the court to prohibit the defendant from introducing evidence of other injuries or his prior workers’ compensation claims, arguing that they were not relevant and would be overly prejudicial. 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 ›

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 ›

In many cases, a person who has been harmed by a dangerous product lives in a state other than the one where the product was created. As a result, if the aggrieved party chooses to sue the manufacturer for damages, the case may be filed in federal court. When determining blame in a product liability case involving parties from several jurisdictions, there are a number of considerations to consider, including which state’s laws apply in the end. A federal court in Massachusetts has outlined the process a court will go through to decide whether state’s laws control the plaintiff’s claims in a case where the plaintiff was injured by a harmful medical device. If you have been hurt by a defective product, you should consult with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to see what claims you may be able to file.

Injuries Suffered by the Plaintiff

The complainant had a hernia that needed to be repaired surgically, according to reports. The defendant’s mesh was implanted into her abdomen during the surgery. The mesh eventually broke down, resulting in serious inside damage. She subsequently sued the defendant, claiming carelessness, strict liability for poor manufacturing and design, negligent misrepresentation, and fraudulent concealment, among other things. The action was filed in federal court in Massachusetts because the plaintiff lived in Nebraska and the defendant’s primary business location was in Massachusetts. The defendant then moved for the plaintiff’s claims to be dismissed.

Federal Choice of Law Considerations

The court said that it must first perform a choice of law analysis to identify which state’s laws applied to the plaintiff’s claims before deciding whether they were adequate to defeat the defendant’s request to dismiss. The court must conduct an examination using the forum state’s choice of law rules to determine which laws apply in cases brought in federal court under diverse jurisdiction. 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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Those who are hurt on the job may be eligible to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. They may also be able to file civil claims for damages if their injuries were caused by someone other than their employer. During civil cases, defendants will commonly try to submit proof of the plaintiff’s  payments from other sources, but typically be barred from doing so because it would be prejudicial to the plaintiff. Recently, a Massachusetts court recently addressed the question of whether the inverse is true, in  a dog bite case in which the plaintiff introduced evidence of the workers’ compensation benefits he received.  If you were hurt in a dog attack, it is smart to speak to a Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Defendant’s Injury

Reportedly, the plaintiff, a mailman, offered to cover a route for one of his coworkers. When the plaintiff was delivering mail to the defendant’s house, the defendant’s dog approached him. He attempted to give the dog a treat, but the dog attacked him. He was eventually able to free himself from the dog, at which point the defendant came out of his house to inquire if the dog had bitten him.

Allegedly, the plaintiff submitted a workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits for a wrist injury he sustained in the attack. He subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant as well, seeking damages under the dog bite statute. The plaintiff requested that the court allow him to introduce evidence of the workers’ compensation benefits he received following the incident at trial. The defendant opposed the plaintiff’s request, arguing that that jury would interpret the evidence as proof of the defendant’s fault and the plaintiff’s damages. The plaintiff’s motion was granted, and the jury ultimately found for the plaintiff. The defendant subsequently appealed. Continue Reading ›

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