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Worcester Personal Injury Law Blog

Out-of-court settlements in the aftermath of truck accidents

When a person is injured in an accident caused by a large commercial vehicle, such as a semi-trailer truck, that person may be able to file a civil lawsuit to seek damages. However, both parties may want to avoid spending time and money on litigation, so they instead may choose to reach an out-of-court settlement. Settlements in the aftermath of a truck accident can typically be of two types: lump-sum settlements and structured settlements, which makes payments at pre-determined intervals over a period of time.

Before making a decision about whether to pursue a litigated claim for damages or to reach an out-of-court settlement through arbitration, mediation or negotiation, it is important for people in Worcester, Massachusetts, and elsewhere, to know the advantages and disadvantages of both of these methods.

Motorcycle accident leaves man critically injured

Motorcyclists in Massachusetts face dangers that occupants of motor vehicles do not face. A motorcycle doesn't provide riders with the structural protection and safety features motor vehicles have. Motorcyclists are generally left open to the elements, meaning that if a motorcycle accident occurs the motorcyclist could be seriously injured or even killed.

A motorcycle accident in Massachusetts has left a motorcyclist critically injured. The incident occurred on Route 101 in the evening of August 15. The motorcyclist was traveling west when a Dodge Dart rear-ended him. The force of the collision threw the motorcyclist from his bike, causing him to suffer injuries that officers described as life-threatening. The driver of the Dodge Dart refused medical treatment.

State panel frustrated over motorcycle accident investigation

Our readers may remember a serious motorcycle crash in a neighboring state back in June, in which seven bikers lost their lives. The motorist responsible for the motorcycle accident was from Massachusetts. However, as the crash is being investigated, some legislators are becoming frustrated with the lack of cooperation from Governor Baker's administration.

The Massachusetts Legislature's Transportation Committee is probing the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in relation to an investigation into this tragic accident. The panel of legislators is investigating the Registry's failure to take action when it was notified that the Massachusetts commercial truck driver who caused the accident had been placed under arrest in another state weeks before the crash for drunk driving. This situation should have led to the suspension of the motorist's driver's license, a fact that officials in the Massachusetts have recognized.

Who is liable if teens cause auto accidents with the family car?

Getting their driver's license is a right of passage for many teenagers in Massachusetts. While some teens may have their own car to drive, many times teens borrow mom or dad's car if they don't have a vehicle of their own. However, teens oftentimes lack the maturity and experience that older drivers have. They may be more likely to be involved in an auto accident. If they cause a car crash while using their parent's vehicle, the question of liability is likely to arise.

Many states follow what is known as the "family car doctrine." This doctrine basically means that if a parent owns a family vehicle and allows their teen or even another family member to use the vehicle, the parent who owns the vehicle may be responsible for car accidents caused by the person driving the family vehicle.

Despite bait program, rabies may be an issue in animal bites

A bait program initiated this spring that aimed at preventing wild animals from contracting rabies and then spreading the disease onto pets and people has seen considerable success according to the co-chair of the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force. In Massachusetts there are two strains of rabies. One strain infects land mammals and another infects bats. A dead bat found in a residence on Martha's Vineyard in February was determined to be rabid.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of the animal carrying the disease should the animal bite. Symptoms include fever, headache, discomfort and will go on to cause mental health problems, paralysis, fear of water and excessive salivating. If left untreated, the rabies victim can die in a matter of days.

Ride-hailing services may contribute to rise in fatal accidents

Ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft, are rapidly growing in popularity, especially among those who need a ride home after drinking. It may seem like having more sober drivers and fewer drunk ones on the road would be a good thing. However, Massachusetts residents may be surprised to hear that, according to a study from the University of Chicago, the rise in ride-hailing services correlates to an increase in the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents, not a decrease in them.

The study found that fatal accidents have gone up around 3% since the advent of ride-hailing apps in 2011. In 2010, nearly 33,000 people lost their lives in fatal car accidents. However, in 2016, 37,400 people died in car crashes. And, the sobering fact is that this increase is only expected to grow worse over time, as ride-hailing apps increase in popularity. Researchers hypothesize that the rise in fatal accidents is due to the simple fact that ride-hailing services put more vehicles on the road, which naturally leads to more crashes.

The link between road construction and car crashes

Like most people, you may try to find an alternate route anytime you learn of upcoming road construction, and statistically speaking, you may be wise to do so. In addition to being a time-waster and an annoyance, construction zones can be downright dangerous places to drive, and the number of people losing their lives in work zone crashes in America is on the rise.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, fatal work zone crashes in the U.S. rose 3% in 2017 in comparison with the year prior. Fatal crashes that took place outside of road construction zones, however, decreased during this period, highlighting just how hazardous work zones can be for drivers and passengers.

The problem of incentivizing delivery schedules for truck drivers

It is amazing how quickly businesses can ship and deliver their products to consumers. Whether Massachusetts residents order straight from sellers or use third parties to locate and buy goods, those items can often be delivered to the buyers' doors within a few days. While internet ordering has undoubtedly played a big role in speeding up the time it takes a business to receive a customer's order, delivery companies have also stepped up their schedules to meet the demands of both sellers and buyers.

Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx work around the clock to ship, receive, and deliver packages throughout the nation. They may have workers hustling all hours of the day to ensure that the packages their vendors have prepared reach their destinations on schedule. It can also mean that truck drivers are pushed to their limits to deliver more packages in less time to keep up with demand.

Motorcyclist flown to hospital after accident

The condition of a Massachusetts motorcyclist is unknown after they were involved in a devastating collision with a car over the Fourth of July holiday. The accident occurred in the late afternoon on the holiday at an intersection in Montague. A car made an abrupt left-hand turn and struck the motorcyclist, who had the right of way at the junction. The car's driver tried to avoid the collision by speeding up but was unsuccessful.

As a result of the crash, the victim was taken from the accident scene to a hospital by helicopter and was originally listed in serious condition. Although law enforcement officials do not believe that the driver of the car was drunk when the accident happened, that driver was cited for several moving violations for their actions.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Massachusetts?

The death of a Massachusetts resident due to an accident may impose significant hardships on their surviving relatives and closely-held loved ones. When an accidental death occurs, it is sometimes possible for a wrongful death action to be filed to help the deceased party's estate recover the losses attributable to the victim's death. However, in Massachusetts, relatives and loved ones are generally not permitted to file a wrongful death action.

It is the role of a decedent's executor to file a wrongful death action if one is appropriate. When a person passes away of old age or natural causes, a wrongful death claim may not be included in the estate executor's list of responsibilities. However, when the decedent's demise is the result of another person's negligence, their executor may need to file a civil action to ensure the decedent's estate is compensated.

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