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How Do I Document My Car Accident Injuries?

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, your life can be turned upside down. In addition to dealing with the normal hurdles that life brings, you also have to deal with an injury. Now you’re also having to go to doctor’s appointments and therapy visits while also having to deal with the fact that your normal activities now aren’t as easy to do.

How an injury affects your life on a day to day basis is what is generally known as pain and suffering. While many rightly assume that it’s their Personal Injury Lawyer’s job to prove your pain and suffering, it’s actually a joint venture. Like a basketball player without shoes, a personal injury attorney can only do so much to prove injuries if he or she doesn’t have a client who properly documents those injuries.

As we get into the summer months, it is time for all of the fun activities associated with the warm weather and all the “tough” decisions. Hamburger or hot dog? Beach or pool? Red Sox or Yank…(we all know there’s no decision to make there!). One of the state’s best warm weather activities is the annual summer tradition – a trip to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox. Few things compare with watching a game on a cool summer night at Fenway.

As great as the game is, it can be very easy to get distracted. You look at your phone to respond to a text or take a photo of your family; flag the vendor for a hot dog or cold beverage; or turn to your neighbor to discuss how good the Sox lineup looks. In that instant, a batted ball or a splintered bat can come flying into the stands, causing serious personal injury. Unfortunately, this is becoming a more and more common occurrence. So what happens if you are injured at a baseball game or any other sporting event when something comes from the field of play into the stands? Can I recover damages for my injuries? This article will discuss what causes of action, if any, are available as well as the little-known and very old, “Baseball Rule.”

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on baseball and use Fenway Park where examples are necessary, but these legal issues would also extend to other sports, for example, hockey. If you were injured at a game by a ball or bat, any lawsuit would be filed under a negligence claim. Under a negligence claim, you need to establish that the owners of the stadium did not take reasonable precautions to keep you safe. This is why when you attend a game at Fenway, the team has placed signs all over the park warning fans of the dangers of hit balls and bats, as well as making an announcement over the loudspeaker at the beginning of the game.

Many lawyers use the term “premises liability,” which is a phrase that most people don’t use. Therefore, there’s often a misconception about what the term means. In reality, it’s a way to describe the duty owed by a business or property owner. These claims are a type of a negligence lawsuit, which means the focus of a claim is usually on the duty of care owed and whether or not that duty was breached. For your reference, some common examples of these types of claims include, but are not limited to:

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are about 77 million dogs in the United States. That is a lot of dogs! If you were to go for a five-to-ten minute walk in your neighborhood, the chances are that you would see at least a dog and very likely come into close contact with one. The majority of the time the interactions are enjoyable – for you and the dog! However, this is not always the case. As car accidents become a likelihood due to the volume of vehicles on the road, the quantity of dogs and interactions with them can also lead to accidents.

The most common of these accidents is in the form of a dog bite, which will be the focus of this article.

Under the Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute, a dog’s owner may be found civilly liable for any damages caused, to person or property, by their dog. The statute applies when a dog causes personal injury or property damage. Even though it is referred to as the Dog Bite Statute, all injuries resulting from a dog are included, not just bites. For example, the statute would apply if a person was knocked down by a large breed dog and suffered a broken wrist. Notably, the statute adds an exception: the injured person must not have been trespassing or committing

Given the prevalence of ridesharing services, i.e., Uber and Lyft, it is understandable that rideshare car accidents involving these services are on the rise. As common as motor vehicle accidents are, it stands to reason that these services would be as likely to be involved in an accident as any other vehicle. However, due the nature of their employment relationships and often three (3) or more parties being involved, ridesharing accidents present a unique set of circumstances that differentiate them from normal motor vehicle accidents and even accidents involving taxi cabs, the service they are replacing.

Where these accidents often differ with ridesharing, is that there are now multiple levels of personal involvement; the rideshare company itself, the driver – who is an independent contractor, the passenger, and any other 3rd parties involved in the accident. The competing interests and responsibilities of these multiple actors can lead to difficulty obtaining relief for an injured party.

An important fact to know is that individuals who drive for rideshare companies are not “employees,” in the legal sense. Rather, they are independent contractors. This is significant for a couple for reasons. First, from the perspective of the driver, they are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation in the event of a workplace accident. Next, you are required to carry your own insurance. As we will see, when the accident occurred in the course of the driver’s day has huge significance. For example, according to Uber’s website, they offer supplemental coverage of

As the weather turns from winter to summer (does spring even exist anymore in New England?) and as we move back to normal, we will find ourselves outside more often. Walking is a great way to get outside, clear your mind, and generally improve your well-being. Most cities and towns have clearly marked areas for pedestrians to walk, usually in the form of sidewalks and crosswalks. However, accidents do occur. So what happens when, through no fault of their own, a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle? And what are the responsibilities of each party; the pedestrian and the driver?

To answer that we should look at where the accidents typically take place. Two (2) common locations where pedestrian accidents occur are in crosswalks and parking lots. Intuitively, this makes sense as these are areas where people and cars intersect. By their nature, these are high pedestrian-traffic areas. Drivers are taught to be aware of pedestrians in these areas.

Crosswalks

More and more towns and cities are adapting their streets to be more “bicycle friendly.” Whether through the creation of curbed or painted bicycle lanes or bicycle-only roadways, local governments are encouraging citizens to use bicycles more. The hope is to help alleviate congested roads, reduce car emissions, and simply promote health.

Due to the increased amount of bicycle traffic, vehicles and bicycles are often vying for the same road space. Drivers often believe that they always have the right-of-way and that cyclists are the ones who need to move to the side. However, the fact is that drivers share the road with all vehicles, including cyclists. A cyclist is entitled to use an entire travel lane, even if there are other vehicles sharing the road. Due to differences in traveling speed, drivers often perform unsafe maneuvers in an effort to pass the slower-moving cyclist. It is not uncommon for a driver

to “clip” a cyclist when attempting to pass. Similar to pedestrian accidents, bicycle accident injuries can be very serious due to the size and weight difference between bicycles and vehicles. Further, like pedestrians, bicycles offer no protection from vehicles.

The death of a loved one is a truly traumatic experience, especially if that death was sudden and unexpected . The sudden loss of a loved one leaves families with emotional burdens and oftentimes financial ones. So what happens when the death of a loved one is the result of someone else’s accident? This is known in the legal world as a “wrongful death” and you may be entitled to compensation. In Massachusetts, in the event of a wrongful death, the family of a loved one “steps into their shoes” and collects compensation on behalf of the deceased. Those who have lost a loved one due to wrongful death may be eligible to receive compensation for medical costs, funeral costs, loss of income, and other expenses.

Massachusetts law states that a person or company may be liable for wrongful death if that death was caused by: 1) negligence (failing to exercise reasonable care); 2) a “wanton or reckless act,” or 3) a breach of warranty. In all three cases, a wrongful death claim may be filed if the deceased person could have filed a personal injury lawsuit based on the same incident, had he or she survived. 

What this means, functionally, is that a wrongful death claim is similar to a standard personal injury claim. In both cases, the action or inaction of one party is the cause of the injury or death of another. Obviously, in a wrongful death case, the injured person is unable to sue the liable party. Rather, another party must bring the claim on behalf of the deceased person.

One of life’s ironic twists is that someday we may be tasked with caring for an elderly parent, just as they spent the early parts of our lives caring for us. Unfortunately, there are often times when the care needed by an elderly parent or relative exceeds what you are reasonably able to provide. Many times, an elderly parent requires around-the-clock medical attention. Other times, even staying at home alone while you work isn’t an option for someone who needs constant attention. Often, the best place for this type of care is at a nursing home.

Nursing homes can be an excellent resource at providing sustained care for medically at-need individuals. They have the time, money, and resources to provide the care that your mom, dad, or loved one needs. That’s why the cost is extraordinary, costing thousands of dollars every month, which is rarely covered by private health insurance. However, just like every other health care provider, they owe their patients a higher duty of care. Sometimes, that duty may not be met. Accidents happen, but when they happen to someone in a vulnerable sect, like a nursing home resident, those accidents can have severe results. 

Nursing home injuries could involve multiple causes of actions, but the most common claims are for negligence on the part of the staff at the nursing home. If a patient/resident at a nursing home suffers injuries due to negligence on the part of the staff, the staff and facility could be found liable for resulting damages, e.g., pain and suffering. 

Hit-and-Run Accidents

Many of us have been involved in a car accident, whether it be a “fender-bender” or something more serious. Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is a jarring experience. Because it happens so suddenly, it takes some time to realize what actually happened. Your brain is processing not just how the accident happened, but also trying to evaluate whether you’re injured. Our mind rattles off a million questions – “Am I OK?,” “Is the other person OK?,” “How bad is this?,” “What happened?,” “Whose fault was it?” 

After those few seconds pass, the normal thing to do is to make sure everyone is OK. Then, the parties exchange contact and insurance information and call the police (even if no one is seriously injured, the police will file an accident report that is often needed by your insurance company). What few people expect is for the other vehicle to leave the scene. In Massachusetts, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident if someone was injured or property was damaged over a certain amount. If you are the victim of one of these “hit-and-run accidents,” you may also be entitled to compensation. 

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