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Articles Tagged with Massachusetts

A wrongful death civil lawsuit in Massachusetts is not limited to fatal motor vehicle accidents. Rather, our laws deem a wrongful death to have occurred whenever someone loses their life as a consequence of the negligence of another. If the negligence is deemed to have caused or substantially contributed to the death complained of, liability may attach in a civil legal proceeding. One area of potential personal injury and wrongful death litigation involves the manufacturing and sale of so-called energy drinks.

A significant number of personal injuries and some fatalities suffered by those ingesting these drinks have caused regulators to focus on the ingredients that comprise these popular items. Amid reports that consumers are spending more than $12 billion annually to purchase these items, the FDA has identified the dietary supplement dimethylamylamine as a potential culprit. The federal Food and Drug Administration has stepped up efforts to educate consumers to the potential dangers, as well as to go after drink makers that use the illegal supplement, otherwise known as DMAA. The supplement has not been approved for use as an additive in energy drinks in the absence of proof that it is safe for consumers.

At least one Massachusetts internist, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, likened DMAA to an amphetamine. He noted that his patients get addicted and suffer from headaches when they stop using the drinks. Part of the confusion is attributable to the lengthy process the FDA must navigate in order to have the drug removed from the marketplace.

Despite the efforts of local and state police, as well as the Norfolk County District Attorney, a Massachusetts grand jury refused to indict the driver of a tractor trailer on proposed charges stemming from a fatal accident in Wellesley. The crash occurred on a Friday in late Aug. 2012. The victim, a 41-year-old father of a 6-year-old son, was struck down and killed by the truck near a local intersection. The trucker then fled the scene. Though the grand jury did not return an indictment, the family of the deceased man has moved forward with a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the trucker.

The victim was training for a triathlon and was apparently equipped with appropriate safety gear. He pedaled through an intersection ahead of the semi. The truck subsequently turned in the same direction as the biker and struck the cyclist from the rear. The 51-year-old truck driver did not stop at the scene of the fatal accident, though police located him several days after the tragedy. When emergency responders arrived at the scene of the crash, the cyclist was lying unresponsive and was later declared dead at a local hospital.

After what appears to have been an extensive investigation, the office of the Norfolk District Attorney agreed with the conclusions of the police investigation. Charges were sought for negligent vehicular manslaughter and related accusations. Though no explanation was offered for its decision, the grand jury decided against further criminal proceedings.

A tragic fatal collision on Cape Cod that occurred over six years ago has resulted in a civil settlement. The surviving family of the 63-year-old male victim recently agreed to terms settling a lawsuit brought against a trucking company, a motor vehicle inspection company and the truck driver. The claim arose from a Sept. 2006 fatal accident in West Yarmouth on Route 28.

The crash occurred when a car entered Route 28 from the parking lot of a local restaurant. A truck headed west and owned by a West Bridgewater construction company crashed into the car, killing its driver. Subsequent investigation disclosed that the nearly two decade old truck had inoperable rear brakes. Though the truck was apparently inspected less than two weeks before the fatal accident, it was documented that a Massachusetts inspection company failed to test the brakes in the field.

The lawsuit was waged by the victim’s widow and four children. They will all receive part of the $750,000 settlement proceeds. The terms of the settlement were recently finalized in Plymouth Superior Court.

Fortunately, not every Massachusetts car accident results in life threatening injuries. However, that does not mean that the consequences for victims are necessarily limited to just bumps and bruises. In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the victims may not know the extent or severity of their injuries. One recent crash in Shrewsbury resulted in hospitalization for three victims, though they were all expected to survive their injuries.

The car accident happened in the late morning hours in early December. A Massachusetts man from Worcester was headed eastbound on Route 20 when he tried to turn left into the Olde Shrewsbury Village Shopping Plaza. In doing so, he collided with a westbound car driven by a man from out of state.

In all, injuries were reported to three people. It is not clear in which vehicles these individuals were riding. Further, the specific nature and extent of any injuries sustained was not reported. Beyond the fact that no one was said to be in danger of losing their life, no updated medical conditions were immediately available.

A workplace injury can occur at just about any job site in Massachusetts. However, the chances for a serious workplace injury are increased when an employer ignores safety guidelines in the face of multiple OSHA investigations. One employer identified as a recidivist offender has now agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to OSHA as well as to completely revamp its safety guidelines and procedures.

The company focuses on work involving underground sewer and water mains and has received nine OSHA citations over the past 12 years. The principal cause for concern is that workers are said to be exposed to risk of a workplace injury due to cave-in hazards. The latest violations involved two projects in the metropolitan Boston area, and OSHA originally issued fines in excess of $350,000. The company contested the OSHA findings, and that led to a settlement that was recently announced by OSHA.

Under the settlement, the company will pay a $200,000 fine, characterized by a representative speaking on behalf of OSHA as hefty. The company has agreed to reconstitute its safety procedures and allow OSHA access to its excavation work sites for the next three years without the necessity of a warrant. Further, a new safety program will be developed and implemented by the company. Finally, the company also agreed to formulate a permit system which will identify workplace accident hazards for each job and implement a specific plan for addressing the dangers.

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc throughout Massachusetts recently. The State Police are investigating whether the foul weather may have been one of the factors in a fatal accident which occurred on Route 128 in Peabody shortly before 6:30 p.m. on a Monday evening at the end of October. The crash happened in the southbound lanes when an SUV flipped after striking the right guardrail along the highway.

There were four occupants in the car, including the 26-year-old driver. The vehicle ultimately came to a stop upside-down in the passing lane, and the three passengers were all ejected. Both the driver, who was not ejected, and a 31-year-old passenger escaped with minor injuries. An 18-year-old passenger remained hospitalized after the collision, though he was expected to survive and was listed in good condition. Sadly, the remaining passenger, who was said to be 19 years of age, was later declared dead at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The State Police now have the responsibility to investigate the fatal accident and come to a conclusion as to what actually caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Preliminary reports suggest they will focus on speed and the inclement weather as playing a part. There was no mention of alcohol as a possible factor, though toxicology testing is typically part of an investigation of an accident where someone is killed. The specific family relationships of the car occupants were not disclosed, though it appears that some share the same last name.

A recent Massachusetts motor vehicle accident resulted in horrifying injuries for at least one man. The crash occurred shortly after 6 a.m. on a Monday morning in the southbound lanes of Interstate 495. Police described the motor vehicle accident as an accordion collision, which is said to occur when one vehicle rear ends another and sends that vehicle into yet another vehicle.

Preliminary reports suggest that this crash was initiated by a tractor trailer truck. That vehicle inexplicably rear ended a van. In the course of doing so, a male occupant of the van was thrown from that vehicle. The tractor trailer ran over the man’s lower legs. Emergency personnel used inflatable airbags to lift the massive vehicle off the legs of the victim.

The injured man was said to be conscious during the entire ordeal. However, he was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital. In all, five people were sent to two nearby hospitals. While one victim was treated and released, there was no further word on the updated medical condition of the others, including the man whose legs had been pinned by the truck.

Earlier this month, a Massachusetts man in his 30’s was attacked by two dogs outside this home in Dalton. The dog bite attack resulted in injuries to the man’s face and left thigh. The incident occurred at about 4 in the afternoon. The dogs were said to have exited an apartment nearby and attacked the man.

Police at the scene ultimately killed one of the dogs and captured the other. Both were thought to be a pit bull mix, though that fact was not confirmed. The dog that was shot by police was said to have been a male dog and was put down after he continued to be aggressive. It was considered too dangerous to further attempt to obtain the animal.

The other dog was a female who was captured and turned over to an animal shelter. The dogs’ owner was not home at the time of the incident. Police were said to be continuing their investigation, and no decision had been made about filing criminal charges.

A wrongful death lawsuit is not limited to a fatal motor vehicle accident. Massachusetts law provides that any fatality which results from the negligent or intentional conduct of another party can properly be the subject of a wrongful death claim. In order to prevail, the victim’s surviving family must prove that negligence occurred in a manner that caused or contributed to the death that resulted. One incident recently reported involves an individual who died while in police custody in New Bedford.

The death occurred more than two years ago. The 42-year-old man was in police custody, though the reason for his detention is not clear. His family has now pressed forward with a wrongful death action against five Massachusetts police officers. Crucial evidence upon which the family relies in bringing the federal lawsuit is a surveillance video which recorded the events upon which the legal claims are based.

The video apparently shows that the man was pepper sprayed by one police officer, who also placed handcuffs on him. While the man thereafter was face down on the ground, the group of police officers are said to have ignored the man for at least 10 minutes before calling for medical assistance. It is claimed that the negligence of the officers in failing to adequately care for an individual in their custody led to the victim’s death.

A horrific Massachusetts car accident has resulted in the death of a 38-year-old man and critical injuries to the 4-year-old daughter of his girlfriend. The fatal car accident occurred in Whitman at around 2 p.m. on a recent Sunday. The man was crossing the street, along with the young girl on her pink bicycle, when tragedy struck. He was thrown about 10 feet from the crash, and the bicycle ended up underneath the front portion of the pickup truck which struck them.

Details of the crash were sparse, though a throng of neighbors rushed out of their houses when they heard the collision. One noted that it sounded like a rear-end collision but does not recall hearing the screeching of brakes. The male victim was said to have rushed to save the girl and thus received the majority of the impact from the vehicle. The girl apparently awakened during the ambulance trip to the hospital and was crying for her mother. She was subsequently reported in stable condition at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Neighbors noted that the roadway was dangerous. Other accidents have apparently occurred at the same location, though this was said to be different because it involved two pedestrians. Few details of the crash itself were disclosed, and it is unclear what caused the pickup to strike the pair. The driver is a 46-year-old Attleboro resident.