Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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There are drug stores throughout Massachusetts that people visit regularly to fill their prescriptions and purchase health and grooming implements. Drug stores are like any other retail establishment, in that they have a duty to make sure their premises are reasonably safe for any customers shopping in the store. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently addressed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages following a slip and fall accident in a drug store. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in a retail store it is essential to consult a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assess whether you may be able to seek compensation for your harm.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant drug store when she slipped and fell on a lip balm ball that was on the floor. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. The defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to allege that the defendant owed plaintiff a duty or breached any duty owed. The plaintiff did not respond to the motion. The court subsequently granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s claim.

Retail Store Liability for Plaintiff’s Harm

In Massachusetts, a retail store may be held liable for injuries suffered because of a dangerous condition on the premises that the store did not create, but only if the plaintiff can show that the store knew of or should have known of the dangerous condition, and that the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm. Further, the plaintiff must show that the store could not reasonably have expected the plaintiff to discover the dangerous condition or protect himself or herself from harm and that the store failed to use reasonable care to protect the plaintiff.

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Under Massachusetts law, a property owner has a duty to keep the property in a safe condition to prevent the harm of individuals entering the property. When a property owner breaches this duty and a person is injured due to a dangerous condition, the property owner may be liable for the injured person’s harm. In some instances, a dangerous condition will clearly constitute a breach of the duty to keep a property reasonably safe, but in other cases, such as when a person is injured due to a hidden defect, it may not be clear if the property owner should be held liable. Recently the Appeals Court of Massachusetts analyzed a property owners’ duty to disclose hidden defects in a case in which a contractor was injured when he fell through a roof that was structurally unsound. If you suffered injuries due to a hidden defect on a Massachusetts property it is vital to engage a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assist you in seeking any compensation you may be owed from the landowner.

Facts Regarding the Injured Party’s Fall

It is reported that the plaintiff was hired by the defendant contractor to install a roof on a building’s property. The defendant contractor was hired by the defendant property owner. Prior to the completion of the project, the defendant property owner advised the defendant contractor that he wanted the roof of the porch to be re-shingled. The plaintiff began working on the porch roof. Initially, the plaintiff used a ladder, but he then climbed onto the porch roof to continue re-shingling. The porch roof collapsed, causing the plaintiff to fall twelve feet to the ground. The plaintiff, who was a hemophiliac, required extensive medical treatment. He subsequently filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant property owner and defendant contractor. The plaintiff ultimately settled with the defendant contractor.

Allegedly, it was undisputed that the porch roof was not a safe work surface. The plaintiff argued that the defendant property owner should be held liable for his injuries regardless, due to the fact that the roof had hidden defects. Following a trial, the jury found the defendant property owner negligent but found the plaintiff’s negligence exceeded the negligence of the property owner and therefore, awarded the plaintiff no damages. The plaintiff subsequently appealed.
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It is commonly understood that parties harmed due to someone else’s negligence must pursue their claim within the time frame set forth by the applicable statute of limitations, otherwise they waive the right to recover. In certain instances, a statute of limitations can be tolled, such as in cases where an illness or defect could not have been discovered within the time permitted. In other cases, a statute of repose applies and strictly limits the time frame in which a case can be pursued.

Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the six-year statute of repose for tort actions arising out of improvements to real property related operated to eliminate all claims after the applicable period has run, even if the cause of action was not discoverable within that time frame. If you suffered harm due to exposure to a dangerous chemical or product you should meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and your potential claim for compensation.

Alleged Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, the defendant manufactured and sold turbine generators and directed that asbestos be used in the installation of the generators. The defendant also supervised the installations. The plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos during the installation of the generators in two different power plants, which were constructed between 1971 and 1978. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015 and subsequently sued the defendant, alleging the defendant negligently exposed the him to asbestos during the construction of the plants. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the claims were barred by the six-year statute of repose for tort actions arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, administration, or construction of any improvement to real property. The district court stated that it was unclear whether the statue applied to cases involving diseases with extended latency periods and certified the question to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

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In most Massachusetts personal injury cases, the injured party is free to pursue damages from the party that caused his or her harm, as long as certain procedural requirements are met. In cases in which the person that caused the alleged harm is an employee of the federal government, however, pursuing a claim can be more difficult, due to immunities provided to the government. There are waivers to the immunities set forth by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), that allow a plaintiff to pursue a claim.

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently discussed the timeliness of a claim under the FTCA in a case in which the plaintiff sought damages from the United States of America due to the negligence of a government physician. If you live in Massachusetts and you or a loved one suffered harm due to the acts of an employee of the federal government, you should speak with a capable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case.

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent treatment for amphetamine addiction in 2011. He successfully completed treatment and remained clean through July 2012. In August 2012, the plaintiff began treating with the defendant doctor, who is a government physician. The plaintiff’s medical records indicated he was recovering from an amphetamine addiction and plaintiff’s mother advised the defendant doctor of the plaintiff’s addiction. The defendant doctor nonetheless prescribed the plaintiff several amphetamine-based medications.

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It is commonly understood that the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act provides that if a person is injured at work and recovers workers’ compensation benefits from his or her employer, the injured party’s acceptance of benefits will act as a release, preventing the injured party from pursuing any further claims from the employer arising out of the incident. However, the injured party is not precluded from pursuing personal injury claims from other parties who may be liable.

A Massachusetts appellate court recently analyzed whether an injured party’s release of his employer via a workers’ compensation claim prevented a non-employer defendant from joining the employer as an additional defendant and alleging the employer was liable for the injured party’s harm. If you were injured while working, you may be able to recover damages from parties other than your employer, and you should speak with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and to develop a plan for seeking damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Employment

Reportedly, the plaintiff was hired by the employer to perform construction work. The defendant contracting company subsequently hired the employer to work as a subcontractor at a home owned by the owner of the defendant contracting company. During the course of construction, the plaintiff fell in an unguarded area and suffered severe injuries. He received workers’ compensation benefits from the employer, after which he filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant contracting company. The defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint but subsequently sought leave to amend the answer to add the employer as an additional defendant. The defendant wished to assert claims of breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and indemnification against the employer. The court denied the defendant’s request for leave, after which the defendant appealed.
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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.