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Articles Posted in Car Accidents

People injured in car accidents will often pursue damages from the party responsible for causing the accident via a personal injury lawsuit. When the defendant in a case arising out of a collision is a person, the process of proving liability is relatively straightforward, but when the responsible party is an agent of the federal government, demonstrating fault can be challenging. This was illustrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against the United States in a case arising out of a crash involving a postal vehicle. If you were hurt in a collision, you might be owed damages, and it is wise to speak to a capable Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Subject Accident

It is reported that the plaintiffs were minor children riding on a school bus that was rear-ended by a contractor delivering mail for the defendant, the United States Postal Service. The plaintiffs suffered severe injuries and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant under the Federal Tort Claims Act, arguing that the failure to properly maintain the postal vehicle caused the collision. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, which the trial court granted, and the plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Liability Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

On appeal, the court explained that a dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction essentially equates to a finding that the court has no authority to decide a case either way. The United States, as a sovereign, is immune from liability unless it assents to being sued. The Federal Tort Claims Act provides consent in certain instances, allowing the United States to be sued for injuries caused by federal employees who are acting within the scope of their employment at the time they cause harm.

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In Massachusetts, a person that lends a vehicle to a dangerous driver may be deemed negligent if the driver ultimately causes a collision that results in bodily injury. There are certain things a plaintiff must prove to establish a car owner’s liability for an accident, however. In a recent opinion, a Massachusetts court discussed the negligence of an owner of a borrowed car and what a plaintiff must prove to demonstrate the right to recover damages. If you were hurt by a negligent driver operating a borrowed vehicle, you might be owed damages, and it is critical to speak with a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury lawyer promptly to protect your right to recover compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a collision caused by the defendant driver. The defendant driver, who was 26-years-old at the time of the accident, had ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. He lived alone but was subsidized by his parents, who were legally separated. The defendant’s mother owned the vehicle the defendant driver was operating at the time of the accident.

Allegedly, the defendant’s mother was aware that he was involved in other collisions but let him operate the car as if it were his own regardless. The plaintiff ultimately filed a lawsuit against the defendant and his mother, alleging, among other things, a negligence claim against the mother. She then moved to have the case dismissed via summary judgment. Continue reading →

Generally, lawsuits asserting negligence allegations involve factual disputes that can only be resolved by a judge or jury. In some instances, however, it is clear based upon the facts of a case that a party cannot prove or refute negligence as a matter of law, and the court will grant summary judgment. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the standards for granting summary judgment and each party’s burden of proof, in a case in which the plaintiff’s negligence claims arose out of a car accident. If you were hurt in a collision caused by someone else’s careless acts, it is advisable to meet with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assess what compensation you might be able to recover in a civil lawsuit.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the plaintiff was riding in a van driven by the defendant driver and owned by the defendant corporation. The defendant driver was traveling on an interstate highway and sought to change lanes. He activated his turn signal and began to move into the adjacent lane when he noticed a truck owned by the defendant moving company and operated by the defendant mover. The defendant driver attempted to move back into the prior lane but was unable to do so in time to avoid a collision. The van rolled over, and the plaintiff suffered severe injuries.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging claims of negligence. The defendant moving company and mover filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the defendant mover’s contributory negligence was a substantial cause of the crash.

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It is not uncommon for people to allow friends or family members to borrow their cars. What may seem like a simple favor can unintentionally expose people to liability, however. In other words, if the person borrowing the vehicle is subsequently involved in a collision, the owner of the vehicle may be deemed liable for negligent entrustment. Merely lending a car to a person is not sufficient to prove a negligent entrustment claim, though, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you were injured in a car accident with a driver using a borrowed car, you might be able to pursue claims against multiple parties, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine your options

The Underlying Accident

It is determined that the plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant driver. She suffered severe injuries in the accident and ultimately filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver and the owner of the vehicle she was operating at the time of the accident, who was her father-in-law. Specifically, the plaintiff filed a negligent entrustment claim against the defendant owner, arguing that he knew or should have known she could not safely operate the vehicle. The defendant owner then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff would be unable to prove her negligent entrustment claim and, therefore, it should be dismissed.

Proving a Negligent Entrustment Claim

In Massachusetts, negligent entrustment is comprised of three elements. First, the plaintiff must show that the owner of a vehicle lent it to a person who was unfit or incompetent to drive, and the person’s incompetence caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must then show that the owner either generally or specifically granted the person permission to drive the vehicle. Finally, the plaintiff has to prove that the owner possessed actual knowledge of the incompetence of the driver. Continue reading →

Typically, when one car crashes into another, it is due to the negligence of the second driver, and the second driver should be held liable for any harm caused by the collision. In some cases, though, an accident is brought about by a sudden, unavoidable event, and no one will be deemed legally responsible for causing it. This was illustrated in the recent Massachusetts car accident case in which the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant were dismissed despite the fact that the defendant’s vehicle struck the plaintiff at a high rate of speed, causing her to sustain severe injuries. If you were injured in a car crash, it is prudent to meet with a Massachusetts personal injury attorney to determine whether you may be able to assert a claim for damages in a civil lawsuit.

The Subject Accident

It is alleged that the defendant was driving an SUV on a Massachusetts highway, with her friend sitting in the passenger seat when she suddenly lost consciousness. The friend attempted to steer the vehicle to the side of the road but was unable to regain control. The defendant proceeded to speed up and slow down, all while unconscious. She ultimately struck the plaintiff’s vehicle at a high rate of speed, causing the plaintiff to suffer severe injuries. The defendant, who did not regain consciousness after the accident, was injured as well and was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Reportedly, during the defendant’s admission, it was revealed that she had a benign brain tumor that caused her to suffer a seizure. The plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against the defendant setting forth a negligence claim. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that she could not be deemed negligent because she suffered a sudden medical emergency. The court agreed with the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, after which she appealed.

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It is not uncommon for people to allow other individuals to drive their cars. For example, people typically allow their spouses to operate their vehicles. If the spouse then causes an accident, the spouse and the owner could potentially be deemed liable for any harm that ensues. As shown in a recent Massachusetts ruling, though, a court must be able to exercise jurisdiction over both parties in order for it to preside over a case in a matter arising out of a car accident. If you were injured in a collision, multiple parties might be responsible for your harm, and it is prudent to speak with a dedicated Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff and his wife were residents of Massachusetts. The defendants are a married couple who live in Virginia. In September 2018, the defendants were in Massachusetts for the wedding of a family friend. The defendant husband was outside of the hotel with friends waiting for his wife to pick him up. The defendant wife, operating the defendant husband’s car, struck the plaintiff who was operating a motorcycle. He suffered severe and debilitating injuries, after which he filed a lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant husband moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against him for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction Over a Vehicle Owner from Another State

Under Massachusetts’s long-arm statute, a court can exercise jurisdiction over a person who, either directly or through an agent, causes a tortious injury via an omission or act. The plaintiff argued that the defendant wife was acting as the defendant husband’s agent at the time of the accident. The court found, though, that there was no evidence that would demonstrate agency.

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When a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit seeking damages for harm allegedly caused by an accident, the plaintiff places his or her health at issue. Thus, the defendant in the lawsuit is permitted to seek evidence regarding the plaintiff’s health prior to and after the accident, which can include examinations by a neutral third party. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed what examinations a defendant is permitted to request in a case in which the plaintiff alleged injuries caused by a car accident. If you were injured in an accident caused by another party, it is advisable to speak to a zealous Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what steps you may be able to take to protect your rights.

Factual History

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries when she was riding as a passenger in a car that was involved in an accident. She subsequently sued the driver of the car for damages, alleging in part that she suffered a closed head injury due to the defendant’s negligent driving. Following the accident, the plaintiff had to be hospitalized three times for the management of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. She subsequently underwent an evaluation with a neuropsychologist who stated that her recent mental health symptoms were consistent with a traumatic brain injury.

Allegedly, the plaintiff also identified an expert who would testify as to the plaintiff’s loss of earnings due to the accident. The defendant moved to compel the plaintiff to undergo two separate independent evaluations, one by a neuropsychologist and one by a vocational expert. The plaintiff opposed the defendant’s motion, arguing that the defendant should rely on the evaluations produced by the plaintiff.

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Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages from a defendant in a car accident case must not only prove that the defendant caused the accident, but also that the plaintiff suffered actual harm due to the accident. As such, if a plaintiff cannot establish that he or she sustained injuries in a car accident, the jury may find in favor of the defendant, as shown in a recent Massachusetts case in which an appellate court affirmed the jury’s ruling. If you were harmed in a car accident caused by someone else’s reckless driving, it is in your best interest to speak to a capable Massachusetts car accident attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to recover compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant struck the plaintiff’s vehicle as the defendant was turning left out of a gas station. The plaintiff admitted that she was either not moving or moving at a rate of fewer than five miles per hour when the accident occurred, and there was minimal damage to either vehicle. The plaintiff ultimately filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant was negligent and that her negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer a concussion, tinnitus, exacerbation of back and neck pain, and vertigo. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial, which was denied. The plaintiff then appealed, and on appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Overturning a Jury’s Verdict Under Massachusetts Law

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff asking a court to overturn a jury verdict on the grounds that the jury’s ruling constitutes an error as a matter of law faces a high burden. Specifically, if the court finds that any evidence from any source demonstrates circumstances from which an inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, the verdict will not be disturbed. The verdict is especially high when the plaintiff is the party challenging the jury’s verdict, as the plaintiff bears the burden of proof.

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In most cases in which a party alleges harm due to someone else’s negligence, the injured party is required to prove the acts or omissions of the defendant constituted a breach of the duty owed to the plaintiff. In some cases, however, a defendant who is guilty of violating a law may be deemed negligent as a matter of law. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts discussed the standard for determining whether a person found guilty of violating a criminal statute may be deemed negligent based on the violation. If you or someone you love were injured by someone during the commission of a crime, it is prudent to consult a skillful personal injury attorney to discuss what you can do to protect your interests.

The Underlying Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was stopped on a bridge because her car had a flat tire. She called for assistance, and while she was waiting, twenty-four vehicles passed her car. The defendant driver, however, struck the rear of the decedent’s car when he was driving a truck over the bridge, which caused the car to burst into flames. The decedent ultimately died due to injuries sustained in the collision. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant and his employer, alleging negligence and gross negligence, as well as wrongful death claims. The parties both filed motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff sought, in part, to have the defendant driver deemed negligent as a matter of law due to the fact that he was convicted of motor vehicle homicide due to negligent operation.

Collateral Estoppel in Civil Cases

Under Massachusetts law, anyone that causes the death of a person by operating a vehicle negligently can be convicted of homicide by a motor vehicle. Specifically, the statute requires the Commonwealth to show that the defendant operated a vehicle on a public road, in a negligent or reckless manner that endangered the lives and safety of other people and subsequently caused the death of another person.

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Most drivers in Massachusetts carry automobile insurance. Thus, if a driver causes an accident that harms another person, the driver’s automobile insurance carrier will typically make payments to the injured party on behalf of the driver. If an insurance company declines to make payments to an injured party on behalf of a negligent driver, however, the injured party cannot pursue claims directly against the insurer, as explained in a recent Massachusetts appellate court case. If you suffered harm in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, it is in your best interest to speak with a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your options for seeking damages for your harm.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in an accident with a driver that was insured by the defendant. The defendant’s insured was at fault for the accident, and therefore the defendant attempted to negotiate a settlement agreement with the plaintiff. The parties were unable to independently resolve the matter, however. As such, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for the damages caused by the defendant’s insured. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff then appealed the trial court’s dismissal of his case.

An Insurer’s Liability for the Acts of its Insured

Under Massachusetts law, a person injured in an accident cannot pursue claims against a liability insurer for the acts of its insured. Instead, a person injured in an accident must engage in a two-step process to recover damages from an insurance company. First, the injured person must obtain a judgment against an insured party. If the injured person obtains a judgment and the judgment is not satisfied, the injured person may then pursue a bill to reach and apply against the insurer of the liable party.

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