Articles Posted in Evidence

Many students find college challenging and struggle to adapt and succeed. Tragically, some students feel as if they are unable to go on and ultimately die due to suicide. Whether a school that is aware of a student’s mental health struggles can be deemed liable for the student’s death by suicide was the topic of a recent Massachusetts opinion in which the court declined to grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s negligence claims. If you or your child suffered injuries while attending a college or university, you might be owed damages, and it is advisable to speak to a Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Struggles and Untimely Death

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent began attending school at the defendant college when she was sixteen. Shortly after she arrived on campus, she advised a mental health counselor that she had a history of suicidal ideation and self-harm. Throughout her years of attendance, several reports were made regarding concern for her safety, and wellness checks were conducted. The counseling department was advised on several occasions that the decedent was abusing substances as well.

Allegedly, the defendant was also advised that the decedent was sexually assaulted, engaged in acts of self-harm and that she wrote a play in which the lead character ended her own life. The defendant never advised the decedent’s parents of any of the foregoing. The decedent was found dead one morning, and the manner of her death was determined to be suicide. The plaintiffs, the decedent’s parents, filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging negligence and other claims. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing it did not owe the decedent a duty.

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In Massachusetts, the law requires any person wishing to pursue a medical malpractice action to provide a sufficient offer of proof of liability at the onset of the claim.  Recently, in Moalli v. Genesis Healthcare, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts overturning a trial court’s dismissal of a claim due to insufficient proof, explaining that proof offered will be sufficient if it shows a likelihood that the defendant’s negligence caused the harm alleged.  If you or a loved one was injured due to negligent medical care, you should consult a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to analyze the facts of your case and assess whether you may be able to recover damages.

Facts Surrounding the Decedent’s Illness

Allegedly, the decedent was admitted to the defendant rehabilitation facility following a hospitalization for pneumonia. He was 87 years old at the time of his admission. He was placed in a room with an individual suffering from a Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff) infection. The decedent’s family members were not informed of the infection. Additionally, the decedent’s daughter observed the staff members performing their duties without gloves or gowns. Twelve days after he was admitted the decedent was transferred to another room. He began reporting loose stools and had an elevated white cell count, which was not revealed to the decedent’s family. He was ultimately discharged to an assisted living facility where he continued to be treated for loose stools. Approximately one month after his admission to the defendant facility he was diagnosed with C. Diff. He passed away twelve days later while in hospice. Colitis was listed as one of the significant factors contributing to his death. The plaintiffs, decedent’s family, filed a medical malpractice suit against the defendant facility. The plaintiffs’ complaint was ultimately dismissed for failure to provide sufficient offer of proof of liability. The plaintiffs subsequently appealed.

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Under Massachusetts law, entities that offer means of transportation to the public are known as common carriers. In addition to the general duty of reasonable care imposed on most companies and individuals, the law imposes a duty on common carriers to provide safe transportation for their passengers. As such, if a person is injured while traveling with a common carrier, it may be deemed liable for the person’s harm. Recently, a Massachusetts court addressed the question of whether a company that uses ridesharing applications to connect drivers and passengers is considered a common carrier and, if so, whether it can be held liable for harm caused by drivers using its application. If you were hurt while using a ridesharing service, you may be able to recover damages and should meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff used the defendant company’s ridesharing application to hire the defendant driver to transport her to her home in Massachusetts. Instead of taking her home, however, the defendant driver drove the plaintiff to a secluded parking lot where he raped her. The defendant driver was subsequently charged with rape but absconded to another country prior to his criminal trial. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit, alleging negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, and vicarious liability claims against the defendant company, and assault and battery, and other claims against the defendant driver. The defendant company filed a motion to dismiss, arguing in part that it was not a common carrier and could not be deemed liable for the acts of the driver.

Common Carrier Liability in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, common carriers are companies that operate any motor vehicle on public roads for the transportation of passengers who choose to purchase the carrier’s services. The goal of common carriers is to provide an affordable means of transportation. Thus, common carriers are obligated by law to provide safe transport for their passengers. The Massachusetts courts have found that this duty includes protecting passengers from harm caused by the intentional torts that are committed by the carrier’s own agents.

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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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Generally, when a customer is injured while shopping at a business, it is due to a dangerous condition. Although a customer injured by a dangerous condition at a business can pursue damages from the business, in most cases, the business will only be deemed liable if it knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused the customer’s harm. This was discussed in a recent Massachusetts case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to insufficient evidence that the defendant knew of a foreseeable risk of harm. If you suffered personal injuries due to a dangerous condition at a business, you should meet with a trusted Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim for damages.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant’s store to shop for groceries. When she entered the store, she took a shopping cart. She placed a newspaper in the cart and noticed it was slightly wobbly, but did not exchange it for another cart. When she was emptying the shopping cart at the check-out counter, the weight of the shopping cart shifted, and the cart fell on top of her, causing her to sustain injuries. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing the defendant was negligent for allowing customers to use a defective shopping cart. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish the elements of negligence as required to recover damages.

Proving Liability for a Dangerous Condition at a Store

Under Massachusetts law, an owner of a store has a duty to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition in consideration of all of the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of a potential injury, and the burden of eliminating the risk of injury. Pursuant to that duty, store owners must guard against risks of harm that are foreseeable. In other words, a store owner must prevent risks of harm that it knows about or reasonably should know about, and which can be diminished via reasonably preventative measures.

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Many sports and activities present an inherent risk of harm, and the people who engage in those activities are deemed to consent to the risk of the type of injury ordinarily caused by such activities. If a person engages in a reckless act during such an activity, though, they may potentially be held liable for the harm caused by the act. The appeals court of Massachusetts recently assessed the standard for imposing liability on a person for harm sustained during a sporting event, in a case in which a hockey player sustained significant injuries. If you sustained injuries due to the reckless acts of another person, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what compensation you may be owed.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff was injured during a hockey game, that was held during a championship tournament.  The plaintiff, who was 17 years old, was checked into the boards by a player from the opposing team. It is disputed as to whether the hit was a charge, in violation of hockey rules. After the hit, the plaintiff fell to the ice and temporarily lost consciousness. While he was on the ice, his wrist was sliced by the blade of another player’s ice skate. The plaintiff subsequently suffered a partial permanent loss of his right hand, which was his dominant hand. He then filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants, including the player that struck him, alleging claims of recklessness and negligence. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed.

Liability for Harm Suffered During a Sporting Event

On appeal, the court noted that generally, issues of recklessness and negligence are issues for the jury, but when it is clear based upon the evidence of record that no rational interpretation would permit a finding of negligence, judgment in favor of the defendants is proper. The court stated that with regards to liability arising out of an act committed during a sporting event, participants engaged in such events have a duty to refrain from engaging in reckless acts.

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Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of personal injury in Massachusetts. While a slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, some businesses, such as grocery stores and restaurants, experience a greater number of slip and fall accidents due to the increased likelihood of a by debris or liquid on the floor, causing a dangerous condition. As demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts appellate court case, regardless of where a fall occurs, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages in a slip and fall lawsuit must produce sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant could have prevented the plaintiff’s harm and, therefore, should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Massachusetts, it is prudent to speak with an assertive Massachusetts slip and fall attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that a surveillance video showed a child dropping a bottle on the floor of an aisle of the defendant’s grocery store. Approximately three minutes after the child dropped the bottle, the plaintiff fell in the same area. The plaintiff did not see anything on the floor prior to the fall, but after she fell, she observed a brown, sticky substance on the ground. The plaintiff sustained injuries to her shoulder, knee, and hip in the fall and subsequently filed a negligence claim against the defendant.

Allegedly, there was no evidence introduced at trial that the defendant had knowledge of the substance prior to the plaintiff’s fall, but its employees were trained to inspect the aisles for spills or other hazards, and if they discovered a spill how to prevent harm prior to when the spill was cleaned. A jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $50,000. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in instructing the jury regarding constructive notice or mode of operation.

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It is not uncommon for a victim who has suffered injuries to name more than one defendant in a civil lawsuit. While naming multiple defendants allows a plaintiff to seek compensation from anyone liable for his or her harm, it may present issues in resolving claims against the defendants individually. This was demonstrated in a recent personal injury case decided by a Massachusetts appellate court, in which the court vacated a defendant’s order for certification of separate and final judgment. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of multiple parties, it is in your best interest to meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assess the claims that you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background of the Case

The plaintiff was a tenant of the defendant property owner. The stove in the plaintiff’s apartment was defective, but, rather than replace it, the defendant property owner hired the defendant repair company to repair the stove on three different occasions. The defendant repair company ultimately advised the plaintiff that the stove was fixed. When the plaintiff attempted to light the pilot light after it went out, however, he suffered severe burns on his right hand. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against both defendants.

The plaintiff and the defendant repair company reached a settlement and executed a release. The defendant repair company then filed a motion for entry of a final and separate judgment. The defendant property owner opposed the motion on the grounds that it was not warranted and that he had outstanding claims for indemnification. The judge granted the motion regardless, and the defendant property owner appealed.

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Car accidents are common in Massachusetts, and people involved in car accidents often sustain injuries and property damage. Thus, in many cases, a person who incurs damages due to a car accident will pursue claims against one of the drivers involved in the accident. There are numerous categories of damages a person can recover following a car accident, including damages for pain and suffering. Recently, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts discussed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages for pain and suffering following a car accident, under Massachusetts law. If you suffered harm due to a car accident, it is advisable to speak with a diligent Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover from the party that caused your harm.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by a Vermont resident, when they were involved in an accident with a driver from Massachusetts. The plaintiff reportedly sustained injuries in the accident and subsequently asserted claims against the Massachusetts driver, the Vermont driver, the insurance company of each driver, and his own insurance company. Subsequently, each of the plaintiff’s claims was dismissed,with the exception of the negligence claims against each driver. A jury found that the Massachusetts driver was negligent but that her negligence was not the cause of the plaintiff’s alleged harm and, therefore, entered judgment on her behalf. The plaintiff appealed.

Recovering Damages for Pain and Suffering Following a Car Accident

On appeal, the court noted that during the trial, the plaintiff expressed that he was only seeking damages for pain and suffering from the Massachusetts driver. As such, he was required to prove his injuries met one of the enumerated threshold requirements set forth under Massachusetts law. Specifically, in Massachusetts, a plaintiff can only recover damages for pain and suffering in a lawsuit arising out of a motor vehicle collision in certain circumstances, which includes when the plaintiff’s medical expenses exceed $2,000.00.

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