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Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Blog

What should you do after a hit-and-run accident?

Dealing with the aftermath of a hit-and-run can be traumatic and confusing, especially if you have been seriously injured. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are becoming increasingly common across the U.S. According to USA Today, fatal hit-and-run accidents, particularly those involving pedestrians, have risen by nearly 14 percent in the past few years. Meanwhile, overall traffic fatalities have been decreasing in comparison.

The following are some important steps you should take if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident:

Risk of child pedestrian accidents increases as school starts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for very young children and those ages 11 to 14, with 4,743 children killed in car accidents in 2012; 22 percent of these cases were pedestrian fatalities. The most common times of the day for child pedestrian accidents are mid-afternoon and morning, respectively, which coincides with the times children are walking to or from school.

Drivers should be aware of the most common scenarios children are likely to be hit by a car:

Truck drivers' hours frequently not conducive to public safety

Every day on roadways across Massachusetts and the rest of the U.S., commercial truck drivers work long hours to transport their loads. While they perform a necessary service to businesses and consumers who need their goods, a truck driver’s average work week can contribute toward a growing safety menace for millions of people sharing the road. Truck accident statistics provided by Insurance News Net state that for every year over the past decade, an average of 100,000 people were injured and more than 4,000 people killed on U.S roadways by large trucks. Since 2009, these accident rates have increased significantly, which may be due in part to federal trucking regulations that govern how many hours a truck driver is allowed to drive each week.

Truck drivers are required to take 34 hours off after working 60 to 70 hours in a week; however, after this break, they are allowed to resume driving, resulting in an average maximum work week of 82 hours for many drivers. Because this can allow a truck company to hire fewer drivers, and many drivers are paid by the mile, there are several financial incentives for truckers to work long hours and, therefore, become dangerously drowsy. This point was highlighted in the recent well-publicized trucking accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan.

Woman sues restaurant after falling on its slippery floor

Those businesses operating in Essex that expect customers to visit their locations are themselves expected to provide a safe environment for those customers. While it’s understood that things such as a split glass of water at a restaurant or clothing items falling to the floor at retail store will happen during the course of a day, it’s expected that those things will be immediately attended to so as to guarantee the safety of the patrons. If and when such issues go unaddressed and later cause an accident that results in an injury, employees and business owners alike may be subject to accusations of negligence.

Such is the claim being made by an Illinois woman who was involved in a slip and fall accident at a local restaurant. She claims that the store failed to clean up a spill, creating a wet floor on which she later slipped an injured herself. She has since filed a lawsuit claiming that by failing to promptly address the spill, the restaurant and its employees failed to provide a safe environment for her and other restaurant patrons.

Man seriously injures leg in motorcycle accident in Chicopee

Local motorcyclists are probably already well aware that for all of the exhilaration that comes with riding one’s bike in and around Essex, the constant sense of caution that one must maintain while on the road can be quite taxing. Yet such diligence is necessary due to the lack of protection that such bikes provide in the event of an accident.

Accident prevention, however, is not a responsibility that rests solely on motorcyclists. Motorists are also expected to be mindful of motorcyclists on the road around them. Unfortunately, the protection that their vehicles are designed to provide for them may cause drivers to momentarily drop their guard while behind the wheel. Sadly, a momentary lack of focus by a distracted driver can result in life-altering (or, in some cases, life-ending) consequences for a motorcyclist.

Tree branch causes roller coaster to derail, injuring 4

When you visit an amusement park in Massachusetts, you probably expect to have a day of carefree fun and excitement with your friends and family. You likely don’t give your safety a second thought as it is the responsibility of park owners to ensure that their ride equipment is checked regularly to ensure that it is safe.

For a group of visitors to a Six Flags amusement park in Southern California, their day of fun turned into a nightmare when a roller coaster car derailed and hung suspended around 40 feet off of the ground. The accident happened just before 6 p.m. when a car ran into a tree branch that was on the track, causing the car to derail. Several other cars had to be shut down, stranding riders for hours while crews worked to rescue those in the derailed car.

Driver fleeing from accident causes another deadly accident

It is the law in Essex County, Massachusetts for drivers who are involved in an accident to stop and check on the wellbeing of the other motorists involved. If there are injuries, authorities should be notified and medical personnel called in to attend to those who are hurt. Although it is against the law to flee the scene of an accident, there are drivers who think they can get away with it. Sometimes they may be able to, but many times they end up causing more trouble as they are fleeing.

This is the case for a 53-year-old driver who is believed to have crashed into the back of a car that was stopped at a red light. Although he stopped and got out of his car after the accident, he got back in and drove away after he got into an argument with the other driver and she called 911.

Pedestrian dies after being hit by delivery truck

With the large number of pedestrians on the streets of Massachusetts, unfortunately it is not uncommon to hear of one being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle from time to time. The reason for these accidents are varied; sometimes they are caused by the negligence of a driver; other times they occur when pedestrians are being careless and not paying attention to their surroundings. As a general rule, pedestrians typically have the right of way at crosswalks where there are no traffic lights and on sidewalks that cross driveways, alleyways and other roadways. However, pedestrians should take care to allow motorists plenty of time to stop before stepping onto the road.

A truck accident that ended with the death of a pedestrian occurred in Somerville, Massachusetts recently. Authorities are still investigating the accident, and no charges have been filed yet.

CDC Employees accidently exposed to anthrax

It is the responsibility of an employer in Essex County, Massachusetts to provide a safe work environment for employees. This includes minimizing risks to workers’ physical and mental health and taking necessary steps to properly train employees regarding specific safety guidelines. When an accident occurs on the job, the employer may be held responsible. This even applies to workers who are employed at jobs that may be considered high risk.

Workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been exposed to anthrax, a potentially lethal bacterium. Apparently one of the labs did not properly inactivate samples of anthrax before they were taken to three different laboratories. These labs were not suited to handle active anthrax in a safe way and lab workers did not wear protective equipment when they handled the samples because they believed the anthrax was inactive. It is believed that the anthrax could have been aerosolized in two of the three labs, affecting workers in both the labs and hallways.

Truck driver charged with vehicular homicide after crash

There are labor laws set that govern the number of hours an employee in Massachusetts can work on any given shift. One of the reasons for this is to ensure that workers are being treated fairly. Another reason is to protect employees from accidents that can occur from overworking and being tired. One area where this is particularly important is the trucking industry. Because trucks come into contact with a high number of automobiles on the road, it is vitally important that drivers get the rest they need. This is why federal laws have been set that mandate drivers work no more than 14 hours a day, 11 of which can be spent driving.

A 35-year-old driver that may have been awake for 24 hours caused a fatal truck accident recently. He was charged with vehicular homicide and four counts of assault by automobile. The man was driving a Walmart truck when he crashed into a vehicle carrying comedian Tracy Morgan. Morgan was hospitalized and listed in critical condition after suffering a broken nose, femur and a number of broken ribs. Another comedian, James McNair, was riding in the same vehicle and was killed in the accident.

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