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Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding the effects of a traumatic brain injury

At Finbury & Sullivan, P.C., we understand how serious a concussion can be. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may be worried about the potential short-term and long-term effects of a brain injury. Even a small collision can result in moderate to serious damage to the brain: When the head is suddenly jolted or bounced back and forth, the brain can be bruised by the action, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of a mild to moderate concussion can be subtle and easy to miss, but may worsen over time if not treated properly. Sometimes brain injury symptoms don’t show up until weeks or months after an accident. The signs of a traumatic brain injury can include:

  • Irritability, anxiety and nervousness.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or thinking clearly.
  • Dizziness, headaches, trouble balancing or vision problems.
  • Lack of energy, trouble falling asleep or excessive sleeping.

National Teen Driver Safety Week in October

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to find out a child has been involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, auto accidents are the main cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, more than 2,600 teenagers were killed and almost 292,000 were injured in car accidents throughout the U.S. To try to raise awareness of this preventable danger, Congress has designated the third week of October as National Teen Driver Safety Week in Massachusetts and every other state.

During National Teen Driver Safety Week, many communities across the country will be participating in awareness activities and other efforts to keep families from experiencing the devastation of losing a child in a car accident. State Farm, which worked with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2007 to promote the designation of National Teen Driver Safety Week, is one of the many companies involved in getting teens to recognize the importance of safe driving habits.

Dump truck crash kills bicyclist in Wrentham

It’s common to see large trucks on highways across Massachusetts, but people may not realize there is also a danger of being harmed in a truck accident on city or country roads. One of the most common types of trucks to encounter on a residential street, increasing the potential for serious injuries, are dump trucks.

In late September, a 48-year-old man was struck and killed by a dump truck while riding his bicycle in Wrentham. The truck accident occurred in a rural area, where the two-lane road was very narrow with a speed limit of only 15 miles per hour. It was unknown whether speeding was a factor in the crash, but authorities believe that the late afternoon glare from the sun could have been a contributing cause. Creating an additional dangerous scene was the fact that the dump truck severed a utility pole in the crash, and electrical wires were reportedly almost touching the ground in some places.

Is it important to have uninsured motorist coverage?

If you’re injured in an auto accident, one of the worst nightmares you can face is not being able to pay your medical bills. Massachusetts residents who have been in an accident through no fault of their own may assume they’re covered by the other party’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Just because a minimal amount of auto insurance is required by law doesn’t mean that people abide by this law. And in many cases, the lowest liability coverage may not be enough to cover the medical expenses of someone who was hurt in a car accident.

Fortunately, Massachusetts has the lowest number of uninsured drivers in the country at only 4 percent, the Insurance Information Institute states. Even so, it’s impossible to predict if the driver who causes a car accident is going to be one who’s uninsured. Is there any way to further protect yourself if the person who hurts you is uninsured or underinsured?

Injured employee has right to file for workers’ compensation

There are many jobs that come with a high risk of being injured, including the construction and maintenance industries. Depending on what an employee is tasked with, he or she can be injured at work from falls, burns, debris, chemicals, contagions or even seemingly harmless office equipment. Employers in Massachusetts have a duty to keep their work sites safe and to ensure those working for them are educated on safety procedures. Despite such measures, workplace accidents still occur frequently throughout the U.S.

Recently, a Comcast employee who was working on cable wiring in Somerville received serious head injuries from a fall. According to authorities, the man fell two stories off of a ladder and hit his head on a retaining wall, requiring hospitalization. Serious head injuries typically take a long time to recover from, and in some cases may cause permanent disability. During his recovery, the man and his family would be entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim to help with their expenses while he is out of work.

Determining fault in a slip-and-fall accident

Slips and falls are not an uncommon occurrence; according to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the top cause of accidental injury in the U.S., accounting for more injuries than car accidents. Over two million people are injured every year from slipping or tripping on a ground-level surface.

But just how much of the responsibility should rest on the shoulders of the property owner? In some cases, the fault could just as easily point to a careless customer. In this post, we’ll discuss the factors that can help an attorney decide if an injured client may have a case for compensation.

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.

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