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Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Blog

“Contributory negligence” cited in slip and fall defense

A slip and fall accident that occurs anywhere in Merrimack Valley may be accompanied by a good deal of embarrassment. Most people pride themselves on being able to avoid such mishaps, and often don’t want it to be known that they were caught in such a vulnerable position. Yet problems can arise when one allows that embarrassment to keep him or her from seeking necessary medical attention following such an accident. Not only can it contribute to the worsening of any injuries that one sustained during the fall, but it could potentially call into question his or her claims against those whose negligence may have contributed to the accident in the first place.

A woman currently involved in a legal dispute with the Illinois hospital where she fell is currently facing such skepticism. She claims that the hospital, where she worked as a housekeeper, failed to maintain adequate safety conditions when she slipped on liquid lying on the facility’s cafeteria floor. In her lawsuit filed against the hospital, the woman claims to have sustained serious injuries in the accident, which have left her facing large medical bills coupled with lost wages from having to miss work.

Drunk drivers cause two fatal accidents in Yarmouth

The holidays are well known for being one of the times of the year when people often drink and drive. New Year’s Eve revelry has come and gone, but there is always the chance of getting hurt by a drunk driver. This danger can increase during Massachusetts’ cold winter months, when drinking and driving and slippery roads create a deadly combination.

This past December, two separate drunk driving accidents turned tragic in Yarmouth. According to authorities, at about 1:30 in the morning on December 27 the driver of one car appeared to have hit a boulder and went airborne. The man’s 28-year-old passenger was ejected from the car and killed. Police found alcohol in the vehicle, and the driver faces motor vehicle manslaughter charges.

What can I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied?

If you received a job-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation can be a valuable resource to help you get back on your feet and ready to return to work. Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts are denied. This may be due to a variety of factors, including how soon you reported your injury to your employer or whether someone else witnessed the injury. Some conditions, such as work-related post-traumatic stress disorder or a job-related illness, may be difficult to prove and can initially result in the denial of your claim.

Fortunately, you have the option to appeal the rejection of your workers’ compensation case. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, there are numerous steps you will need to take to appeal your workers’ compensation claim. These include:

Federal law targets texting and driving in the trucking industry

Texting and driving has become a serious danger for people in Massachusetts as well as the rest of the country. Distracted driving has always been an issue, but the danger is compounded when a person is distracted by looking at a phone screen. Accidents involving large trucks are particularly grave. This is why laws have been enacted to address the problem of texting and driving among commercial truck drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 30 fatalities in Massachusetts in 2013 that involved large trucks. Any number of these truck accidents could have been the result of an inattentive truck driver who was texting or otherwise not paying attention to the road.

Road construction zones are particularly dangerous

You may not see road construction as much during the winter months as during the spring and summer, but it’s important for roads and highways to stay in good repair no matter the weather. In fact, road construction zones can be even more dangerous in Massachusetts over the next few weeks, due to the weather and because you may encounter road crews when you didn’t expect them. At Finbury & Sullivan, P.C., we have seen numerous cases in which motorists were injured in work zone crashes.

According to State Farm, at least 40,000 people are injured annually throughout the country in work zone accidents. Most of these involved drivers and passengers in construction zone crashes. It can be easy for distracted, intoxicated or careless drivers to fail to notice reduced speed signs or stalled highway traffic and plow into other vehicles. In fact, the most common type of crash you can face in a work zone is the highly dangerous rear-end collision.

Dozens of people injured during icy weather in Massachusetts

With the winter weather setting in, Massachusetts residents face an increased risk of accidents due to wet and icy conditions. These include slip-and-fall accidents as well as car accidents. Parking lots, sidewalks and store entrances are areas that frequently accumulate ice. This can result in a slippery surface that’s particularly dangerous in the early morning hours.

A storm that rolled in on December 10 resulted in numerous schools throughout western Massachusetts being delayed or closed because of the dangerous icy conditions. In fact, area hospitals and fire departments took care of more than a hundred people who had suffered accidents as a result of the weather. Some people were injured in car crashes, although the majority were hurt in slip-and-fall accidents.

Do I qualify for workers' compensation?

If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness in Massachusetts, one of the biggest concerns you may have is whether you qualify for workers’ compensation. According to The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, most employers in the state must provide workers’ compensation insurance to employees to cover their medical treatment and other expenses after being injured at work. Your line of work will determine whether your employer is required to provide this coverage. For example, if you work in a domestic service job you are not eligible for workers’ compensation if you work fewer than 16 hours per week.

To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to prove that your injury occurred while on the job. If, for instance, you were struck by a falling object while working on a construction site and sustained a brain injury, this would qualify for workers’ compensation. If you were in a car accident while off the job site, but had been running a work-related errand for your employer, it could also count as an on-the-job accident.

Injured employees have right to workers’ compensation in Massachusetts

Many industries, such as construction, truck driving and agricultural work, are known for their high accident rates. Workers in these high-risk positions are regularly hurt on the job. However, any Massachusetts employee can receive a job-related injury or illness regardless of the job he or she does. For example, repetitive stress injuries are common for office employees. Food servers or retail workers may be injured in a slip-and-fall accident. Employees can become ill by long-term exposure to asbestos or harmful chemicals that are prevalent in the workplace.

Employees in Massachusetts are protected by laws that allow them to receive compensation for a workplace injury or illness. According to the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, every employer in the state must provide workers’ compensation insurance to employees. This is to ensure that a worker receives necessary medical care after being injured at work. Workers’ compensation may also pay for lost wages after an employee is fully or partially disabled from a work injury. Additionally, the insurer is responsible for legal fees if the employee wins in a workers’ compensation dispute.

Motorcycle collision proves fatal for Agawam man

Enjoying a motorcycle ride through Essex can be quite a thrill. Such a ride does not come without its risks, however. Due to the lack or protection that a motorcycle provides in a collision, motorcyclists will often emerge from accidents involving other vehicles in far worse condition than the motorists involved. Thus, it becomes imperative that motorcycle riders do all that they can to avoid collisions. Yet the responsibility for accident avoidance doesn’t fall solely on their shoulders; motorists must also be mindful of those on the roads around them. A failure to do so will often produce catastrophic results.

Such was the outcome of a recent motorcycle accident in Agawam. According to reports, a car traveling westbound along a city street in the early evening collided with a motorcyclist while attempting to make a left turn. Law enforcement officials are still investigating the accident to determine who was at fault. The motorcyclist was rushed to a local hospital, where he later died from injuries sustained in the crash. The condition of the car driver was not reported. 

Whiplash is a common and painful result of rear-end crashes

As winter sets in and people in Massachusetts begin to face wet and icy weather conditions on the road, there is an increased risk of getting into an accident. At Finbury & Sullivan, P.C., we know that one of the most common types of crashes is the rear-end collision. Rear-end fender benders and more serious crashes frequently occur throughout the year, but are particularly common when the roads are slick and drivers underestimate their vehicles’ ability to stop before hitting the car in front.

Even if you’re in a minor rear-end crash, you can suffer long-lasting injuries, according to Consumer Reports. One of the most well-known results of a rear-end collision is whiplash. This painful condition occurs when a person’s head is rapidly snapped back and forth in a collision, especially when the car is hit from behind. This motion damages the neck’s muscles, ligaments and nerves and can result in chronic pain and stiffness. Women and tall people are particularly prone to experiencing serious whiplash injuries, which can occur even at speeds as low as 10 miles per hour.

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