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Worcester Personal Injury Law Blog

Preventing fatal truck accidents with side-guards

Some of the most dangerous motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts and nationwide occur when a standard automobile collides with the side of a semi-truck. In what are known as an under-ride accidents, the automobile is forced underneath the side of the semi-truck, shearing off the roof, smashing the windshield in and often causing a fatality. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, under-ride crashes constitute about 50 percent of all deadly accidents that occur between automobiles and semi-trucks. In fact, in 2015, 750 fatalities occurred in such crashes.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that if a semi-truck is equipped with strong side guards, it could prevent fatalities in such accidents. In tests performed with side guards, automobiles travelling at 35 miles an hour that struck the side guards were not forced underneath the semi-truck.

Deadly crash at auto auction reveals potential safety issues

Last week this blog reported on an auto accident that took place at an auto auction in Massachusetts. In that collision, a worker drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee into a building, and struck 12 people. Three of the victims died and nine were injured. It was an unfortunate incident that never should have happened.

Moreover, according to a recent report, the auto auction had violated federal safety regulations in the past. Back in 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a citation for seriously violating regulations twice. The citation came after the business was inspected by OSHA. The inspection found that the business did not utilize proper traffic control instruments while workers were engaged in maintenance tasks in the vicinity of automobiles that were being driven. According to records, the business was ultimately fined $2,200, and the business remedied the reported violations.

Fatal car accident recently took place at an auto auction

Some people in Massachusetts enjoy going to auto auctions, in hopes of purchasing a vehicle for less than what they would pay at a car dealership. Most people do not anticipate that they could be injured at an auto auction. However, anywhere where automobiles are operated there is the possibility that a major accident could occur.

Three people lost their lives and nine people were hospitalized with injuries in a motor vehicle accident that took place at the Lynnway Auto Auction, located in Billerica, Massachusetts. The accident occurred at 10:13 in the morning. A person operating a Jeep Grand Cherokee all of a sudden quickly accelerated and sped into the building. The operator of the Jeep worked at the auto auction. He was 70 years old.

Take precautions to avoid being bitten by a dog

Dog bites are a common injury, especially in the spring and summer months when it is nice outside. Children are especially susceptible to dog bites and should be under careful supervision when around dogs even if the dog is familiar with the child. 

Dog owners need to be responsible and prevent their dogs from attacking another person. Understanding the dog’s body language can help you avoid a bite. The ASPCA recommends watching for these signs that a dog may be feeling threatened and aggressive: 

  • Aggressive dogs try to look bigger by raising the hair on the back or putting the tail straight up. You should not approach dogs that are baring their teeth.
  • A scared dog is dangerous, too. The dog may crouch down, lower its head or flatten its ears to appear smaller. If you continue approaching, the dog may think it has no other choice than to bite.
  • If a loose dog approaches you, do not run away or scream. Do not make eye contact with the dog. Stand very still until the dog loses interest.
  • Err on the side of caution when dealing with unfamiliar animals. Ask before petting any dog and approach the animal slowly.
  • Supervise your children around dogs. The vast majority of dog bites to children are from a dog known to the child. 

Animal attacks go beyond dog bites

While most people in Massachusetts know that sometimes even the gentlest of dogs can lash out and bite a person, other animals besides dogs can bite or attack. For example, sometimes a horse can hurt an innocent person, and some people in Massachusetts even keep wild animals as pets.

Let's take a look at horses. Oftentimes a horse will kick a person, unlike a dog that will bite a person. Injuries caused specifically by horses may not be addressed in state statutes. Therefore, oftentimes a horse-kick injury will be evaluated under the laws of negligence. In general, under the laws of negligence, if the owner knew or should have known that the horse presented a hazard, he or she could be held responsible for the horse's actions.

Seek legal help for wrongful death cases in Massachusetts

Most people in Massachusetts expect and hope that their loved ones will live long, fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, sometimes a person's life is cut short due to the negligence or recklessness of another. For example, car accidents, workplace accidents, defective products and medical malpractice could all cause a person to die before their time is due, causing their loved ones left behind to experience a great deal of grief.

Unfortunately, this grief also comes with a financial cost. Funeral and burial expenses must be paid. There is the loss of companionship to cope with. In addition, if the victim incurred medical expenses before passing away, these must also be addressed. And all of these costs may be compounded by the loss of income the victim provided.

Motorcyclist, passenger injured after being struck by a car

Winters in Massachusetts are long, so once the ice and snow have melted and sunny warmer days arrive, people are itching to get outside and enjoy the weather. When warm weather is in the forecast, motorcyclists are ready to take their bikes out of storage and go for a ride. Whether they ride for pleasure, or simply as a quick way to get from point A to point B, it is important for all drivers in Massachusetts to pay attention to their surroundings, including the presence of motorcyclists. It only takes one moment of inattention to cause a serious motorcycle accident.

A motorcyclist and his passenger are lucky to be alive after suffering severe leg injuries when they were struck by a car that had weaved into the lane of traffic they were riding in. The accident took place at approximately 2:30 p.m. in Swampscott, Massachusetts. The driver of the motorcycle was a man, age 51, and his passenger was a woman, age 40. The man's leg was severely bleeding, prompting a neighbor to apply a tourniquet until help arrived.

Dog Bite Prevention Week brings attention to animal attacks

Our furry canine friends may seem to be "good with children" or "family pets," but it is important to remember that dogs are still animals with the propensity to bite. In fact, this week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. This week brings the public's attention to the need in Massachusetts and across our nation to reduce the number of dog bites suffered. For example, in 2016, 6,755 U.S. postal workers suffered from dog attacks.

In fact, State Farm reports paying out $121 million in injury insurance claims involving dogs -- an all-time record for them. Some of these injuries were specifically dog bites, but some were other types of injuries caused by dogs, even happy dogs. And, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million individuals will suffer a dog bite annually, especially children.

Could you have prevented your adverse drug reaction?

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) addressed attendees of the Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit this year, outlining the common errors made by health care workers as reported to federal agencies. Adverse drug events, which are “injuries resulting from a medical intervention to a drug,” are one of the most prevalent medical errors. 

Effects of adverse drug events 

How long does one have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

When a person in Massachusetts loses a loved one in a fatal car crash, workplace accident, medical malpractice or in any other way due to an act of negligence, their grief can be all-encompassing. Practicalities, such as funeral arrangements and winding up the deceased's affairs must be attended to, and then there is the emotional blow. All of this can cloud a person's mind as they try to get through their day-to-day lives.

However, if their loved one's death was due to the fault of another, residents of Massachusetts should not put-off seeking legal advice. This is because there is only a certain amount of time in which a person has to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is known as the "statute of limitations." After the statute of limitations passes, it is no longer possible to bring such a lawsuit, regardless of the situation.

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