Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Under Massachusetts law, a party who is injured by someone else’s negligence typically has three years from the date of the injury to pursue a claim against the negligent party. In certain cases, however, such as when a person is injured on a public way, the law requires that the injured party provide notice of any potential claim to the allegedly negligent party in a much shorter time frame.

As shown in a recent case decided by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, the failure to provide notice of a claim for injuries arising from a defective way can be fatal to a plaintiff’s case, regardless of the cause of the delay. If you suffered harm due to an accident caused by a defective way, you should consult a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for seeking damages.

Factual and Procedural History

Allegedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries to her foot while she was walking on a public way in Boston, due to a depression in the road. She provided notice of the claim to the city within thirty days, as required by G. L. c. 84, §§ 15 & 18, commonly referred to as the defective way statute. About three months later, the city sent a letter to the plaintiff denying liability and stating that the defendant gas company was the party responsible for the way in question. The plaintiff sent notice to the defendant gas company the following day and subsequently filed a lawsuit against both the city and the defendant gas company. The defendant gas company filed a motion to dismiss due to late notice, which the court denied. The case proceeded to trial. After the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant gas company filed a motion for a directed verdict due to the late notice. The court granted the motion, and plaintiff appealed.

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The adverse effects of smoking cigarettes are common knowledge. While currently cigarettes must be sold with warning labels, that was not always the case. As such, if someone began smoking decades ago and suffered harm as a result, he or she may be able to pursue claims against cigarette manufacturers on various theories of liability.

Notably, Massachusetts is a jurisdiction that allows such claims, as shown in a recent case in which the Superior Court of Massachusetts ruled that a plaintiff could proceed with its product liability claims against a cigarette manufacturer, denying the defendant manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a dangerous product, you should meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss your options for pursuing compensation.

Plaintiff’s Decedent’s History of Smoking

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s mother began smoking the defendant’s cigarettes in 1963 when she was 13 years old after she was given free cigarettes by one of the defendant’s representatives. She became addicted to cigarettes and smoked two packs per day for decades. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and ultimately succumbed to the disease. She smoked until her death. After the decedent’s death, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence, breach of warranty, conspiracy, and violation of G.L.c. 93A. The defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment, which the court denied.

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Many activities require participants to sign a release in which the participant waives the right to recover damages for any injuries sustained during the activity. As such, even if an entity’s negligence causes a participant harm, he or she may not be able to recover compensation. If a release is ambiguous, however, a person may still be able to pursue damages.

This was illustrated in a recent case decided by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, in which the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s negligence claim, where the terms of the release were unclear. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should confer with a seasoned  Massachusetts personal injury attorney to formulate a plan to help you pursue compensation.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Injury

 It is alleged that the plaintiff was a patron of one of the defendant’s yoga studios. She signed up for training classes, and prior to the classes signed a participation agreement and release of liability. During one training session, the plaintiff used a metal frame stackable chair. When the session was over, the plaintiff folded the chair, lifted it over her head, and carried it to the area of the room where the chairs were stacked. Allegedly, one of the defendant’s employees grabbed the chair without warning, which caused the chair to swing and strike the plaintiff in the head. The blow caused the plaintiff to sustain a concussion. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging she suffered damages due to the negligence of the defendant and its employees. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was no negligence and the release precluded liability regardless. The court denied the defendant’s motion.

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Individuals injured by the negligence of another person typically do not contemplate the procedural aspects of filing a lawsuit, but they are vital to consider because the failure to follow the rules of procedure can result in the waiver of your right to pursue a claim. For example, the court in which a lawsuit was filed must have jurisdiction over both the claim and the parties, or the case may be dismissed.

Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court examined the factors necessary to establish jurisdiction over an out of state defendant, in Roch v. Mollica. If you were injured by an individual that does not reside in the state, you should consult a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the best manner in which to proceed in your pursuit of damages.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Injury

Reportedly, the plaintiff attended college in Massachusetts and was a member of the school’s softball team. She traveled to Florida with the softball team and stayed at a house rented by the defendants, who were the parents of the head coach. While she was there the plaintiff was pushed into a swimming pool as part of a hazing ritual and sustained an injury to her shoulder. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendants for negligence. The defendants, who reside in New Hampshire, were served with process while attending a softball game in Massachusetts. The defendants subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the court lacked jurisdiction over them. The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

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Under Massachusetts law, recovering damages from a government entity, while not impossible, is complicated and there are strict guidelines that must be followed in any claim asserted. While governmental entities are afforded certain immunities and defenses, as set forth in a case recently decided by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, if a government entity fails to assert a defense in the required manner, it can result in the waiver of the defense. If you suffered an injury that was caused by the negligence of a governmental entity, you should consult a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Plaintiff’s Allegations

Allegedly, the plaintiff was assaulted by a bus driver who worked for the defendant transportation authority. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of negligent hiring, training and supervision, and vicarious liability. The defendant filed an answer to the lawsuit, then filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing the plaintiff failed to sufficiently notify the defendant of the negligence claim as required under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (the Act), and that it was immune to liability for the vicarious liability claim under the Act, due to the fact the liability was based on an intentional tort. The trial court granted the motion as to the vicarious liability claim, but denied it regarding the negligence claim, finding the defendant had waived the defense by failing to specifically assert the defense in its answer. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts took the case under review.

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If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall in a public area such as a hotel garage, it may not immediately be evident who is responsible for maintaining the portion of the premises in which you were injured. Massachusetts law permits you to pursue claims against all parties that may be potentially liable, and where it is unclear which party’s negligence caused your injury, it is left to the fact finder to determine liability.

Recently, in a case before the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the court held that it was up to the jury to decide whether a hotel or a company that provided valet service for the hotel was responsible for injuries suffered by an individual who fell in the hotel parking lot. If you sustained an injury because of someone else’s negligent behavior, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss your options for seeking compensation from the party that caused your harm.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Injury

The plaintiff worked as a manager for a rental car company at a location in a Boston hotel. He was responsible for checking nine parking spots in the hotel’s garage. He was inspecting the spots in the spring of 2014 when he claimed that he tripped and fell on an uncovered drain hole in one of the parking spots. He sustained serious injuries in the fall.

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Most personal injury claims assert a theory of liability based on negligence. Parties alleging negligence must prove a duty, a breach of the duty, and causation to recover on their claims. To show causation, a plaintiff must set forth sufficient evidence to show that the harm sustained was a foreseeable result of any alleged breach. In Almeida v. Pinto,  the Court of Appeals found that the tenuous connection between the injuries the plaintiff sustained and the defendant’s breach was insufficient to permit the plaintiff’s case to proceed.  If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to analyze the facts of your case and whether you should seek damages.

Factual Scenario

Allegedly the defendants hired a contractor to install vinyl siding on the second and third floor of their residence. The defendants paid the contractor $200.00 which was the price suggested by the contractor. The contractor began the installation without a helmet, harness, or any other safety equipment. He fell from a ladder and struck his head and ultimately passed away from his injuries. The plaintiff, who was the administrator of the contractor’s estate, subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging their negligence led to the contractor’s death. The defendants moved for summary judgment, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff appealed, and the appellate court affirmed.

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In Massachusetts personal injury cases alleging a breach of duty, it is common for one or both parties to engage expert witnesses, to offer an opinion regarding whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, and whether the breach of any duty resulted in harm to the plaintiff. The testimony of expert witnesses can be precluded or limited if the court finds that the expert has a conflict of interest or has insufficient qualifications to opine on a certain issue.

In a recent case, Kahyaoglu v. Adams, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts held that if a party fails to request a hearing to establish the reliability of expert testimony, he or she waives to right to object on that issue, affirming Commonwealth v. Fritz. If you sustained personal injuries because of someone else’s negligent actions, it is important to retain a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to prevent expert testimony that should be precluded from being used as evidence against you.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff alleged she suffered personal injuries due to the defendant’s negligence in exiting his vehicle. Following a trial, a jury found in favor of the defendant. The Plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which the trial court denied. Plaintiff filed a pro se appeal of both the jury verdict and the denial of her motion. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

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If you seek to pursue compensation for personal injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, it is essential to retain an attorney that can identify all parties that may be responsible for your harm and set forth all possible theories of liability, as the failure to do so can be fatal to your claim. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts recently held in Williams v. Steward Health Care System, that a hospital could not be held directly liable for harm caused by a psychiatric patient that was released by his treating physician. While the court noted that it was possible for the hospital to be liable under a theory of vicarious liability, plaintiff did not assert that cause of action. If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and your options for recovering damages.

Factual Background   

Allegedly, in Williams, the assailant fatally stabbed his neighbor. The assailant had been a patient at the hospital under multiple court orders. The orders directed he was to be committed to the hospital due to mental illness until there was no longer a danger of serious harm due to his illness, for up to six months. The assailant was admitted for twenty-one days, after which the doctor treating the assailant purportedly determined he no longer posed a risk of harm due to his mental illness and discharged the assailant. Approximately three weeks after his release the assailant allegedly broke into his neighbor’s apartment and fatally wounded her.

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Under Massachusetts law, if you slip and fall due to ice on someone else’s premises, you are required to provide the party responsible for the premises written notice of the place, time and cause of injury within thirty days. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts recently held in Lewis v. Rocco Realty Trust, that a plaintiff who failed to provide the required notice was precluded from recovering from the defendant. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident caused by ice, it is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible, as any delay may result in the waiver of your right to recover.

Factual Background

Purportedly, plaintiff filed a Complaint in which he alleged that he sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident that occurred three years earlier in a parking lot owned by the defendant. Plaintiff asserted the defendant’s negligent maintenance of the parking lot caused his fall. Defendant filed an Answer asserting, in part, plaintiff’s Complaint should be dismissed due to plaintiff’s failure to provide notice of the claim within the required time period. Defendant then filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Defendant attached correspondence from plaintiff’s counsel to its motion. The letter, which was dated eight months after the fall, included the date of the alleged incident and stated plaintiff suffered injuries because of the negligent condition of the premises but did not state plaintiff fell or allege that ice was the cause of plaintiff’s injuries.