Our son was injured. Do we have a personal injury case?

Additional Information:

My family was going to restaurant in Ashland where there is an attendant directing patrons into and out of the limited number of parking spaces on the side and rear of the restaurant.   We had parked our car and were heading into the restaurant.  Our 3 year old son got hit by a car backing out of it’s parking space, as directed by the parking lot attendant.  Thankfully he suffered only a broken leg, but we were wondering if we have a personal injury case against either the attendant or the restaurant?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

A few questions come to mind.  Was it day or night when this happened?  If it was night was the lot well lit?  Were you holding the three year old’s hand or if not how far away from you was he? Did you see the car backing out before it hit your son?

If the answers to the above questions show you acted reasonably then there would be a claim against both the driver and the restaurant. The employee seems to be acting on behalf of his employer and would not be personally liable.   You should contact your case with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling cases involving injuries to children. [Read more...]

I tripped,fell and broke my wrist at my mom’s condo.

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I tripped and fell and broke my right (dominant) wrist when visiting my mother at her condominium in Marlborough. My mother had reported a ripped area of the carpet several days earlier to the condo management — but it had not been repaired and I tripped and fell and broke my wrist.  The insurance company for the condo development has been in contact with me and has paid me $5,000 and indicated that they would be “working with me toward a settlement”.  Do I need a trip and fall attorney? What should I do?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

Usually “working with you” only goes so far. If you ask for compensation beyond what the insurer throws out to you, you’ll find the friendliness starts to dissolve.

A few initial questions; does your mother own or rent the condo?  Where exactly did the fall take place? In a common area such as the building hallway on in your mother’s condo?  Since you mentioned your mother called to report ripped carpeting it sounds like she had an expectation that management would maintain the carpet.  If you speak to an attorney now, once your medical treatment is finished your attorney will be in a position to realistically evaluate your case and negotiate with the insurer.     [Read more...]

I work on a cruise ship out of Boston and was injured on the job.

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I work as a cook on a Boson dinner cruise ship and fell lifting a heavy box.  The anti-slip mats had recently been removed but they weren’t replaced at the time I fell.  I ended up breaking my arm and needing therapy.  I haven’t been released to return to work but I’ve been denied worker’s compensation benefits.  Can I sue my employer for my personal injury?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

You fall into one of the very few categories of workers that do not receive worker’s compensation benefits when injured on the job.   When a seaman is injured in the course and scope of his job aboard a ship, he or she is entitled to bring a negligence suit under a federal statute called the Jones Act.  Unlike land based personal injury cases, Jones Act litigation is very specialized and requires an attorney versed in maritime and Admiralty law.  Different fault, causation, damage and contributory negligence rules apply in Jones Act cases.  In addition to your rights under the Jones Act, you are entitled to medical benefits called Cure and a daily living allowance called Maintenance.  If you are a union member, these benefits are in your contract.   [Read more...]

Our daughter slipped and injured herself boarding a whale watch tour in Boston.

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My family was boarding a ship for a local Boston whale watching tour when my daughter slipped on the wet walkway connecting the dock to the boat and suffered a knee injury. She had surgery and continues physical therapy.  One of the boat’s employees was approaching with a “caution- slippery” sign just as our daughter slipped and fell.  Do we have a personal injury case?  Would we look for a boating injury attorney even though we weren’t yet boarded?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

Yes, you probably have a viable personal injury claim.  And, yes, you should consult with an attorney who practices maritime law.  Although your daughter slipped before she boarded the vessel, she was in the process of boarding and the dock appears to be under the control of the boat operator.  Therefore, aspects of maritime law may apply.  In addition, the dock owner might be a defendant as well for failure to maintain the dock.  Either or both the vessel owner or the dock owner will be liable for your daughter’s injuries if we can show either was negligent.  That is, if either failed to act reasonable, e.g. get those signs out faster, then she has a good case.  Like land based law, maritime law provides for a range of damages including medical bills (even if you have health insurance), lost wages and pain and suffering.  [Read more...]

What should I consider when hiring a personal injury attorney?

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My daughter and I were involved in a car accident with a delivery truck while driving on the Mass Pike near Southborough.  My daughter suffered from a mild traumatic brain injury, broken nose, jaw and teeth and is having post traumatic stress.  I am having continued debilitating migraines and am being monitored by a neurologist.  What should I think about when I make a decision to  hire a personal injury attorney for this auto accident?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

Hire an attorney who handles personal injury cases as his or her primary focus.  An attorney who dabbles in personal injury claims and especially in serious injury claims will likely not know how the insurer approaches a claim like yours. The experienced personal injury attorney knows if and when to file a lawsuit and if your condition is permanent, to have the appropriate medical evaluation.  [Read more...]

What can I expect when I hire an auto accident lawyer?

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I was involved in a car accident on Rte 135 in Ashland.  My car was struck from behind.  As a result of the auto accident my doctor has said I have 25% permanent partial  loss of function of lumbar spine.  What can I expect when I hire a auto accident lawyer?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

A  permanent injury means you may seek money damages from a wrongdoer now that will take into account an injury that will continue into the future. These permanency damages are part of the total package your lawyer should send to the adverse insurer, including medical bills, lost wages, total and partial disability and a demand for settlement.

Many attorneys send in your information piecemeal to the insurer and then try to negotiate a settlement. A complete package sent to the insurer when you have finished your medical treatment with a final medical report from your doctor describing how any permanent injury effects you is the best  way to maximize a settlement.  [Read more...]

Injuries at home may be covered by workers’ compensation

By Krasnow Keller Boris

Workers who are hurt on the job in Massachusetts can generally expect to have their injuries covered by worker’s compensation. But in some cases, this benefit can extend even to workers who are injured at home, as long as the worker was hurt while engaging in a work-related activity.

For instance, an Oregon woman worked for J.C. Penney as a custom decorator. Though J.C. Penney provided her with an office that she shared with others, she usually worked from her van, traveling to and from appointments at customers’ homes.

She suffered a broken wrist in her own garage when she stumbled over her dog while trying to move fabric samples into her van.

[Read more...]

I tripped and fell in a store in Dover and injured my knee.

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Recently, I tripped and fell in a store in Dover.  There was loose carpeting and as a result of the accident, I injured my knee.  A witness told me she saw a few other shoppers who tripped over the carpet before me, which is right in front of the register.  I’ve had knee surgery and continue physical therapy.  Do I have a case against the store and can I sue for damages as I probably won’t be able to enjoy skiing as I have in the past?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

Store owners are required to use reasonable care in providing a safe premises.  If the store owner or employee knew or should have known about  an earlier problem with the carpet that would be important for your attorney to point out that they failed to address a hazardous condition. If your doctor agrees you shouldn’t ski as a result of your injury; this becomes part of your damages along with your medical bills and lost wages.  [Read more...]

What is MA law in regard to snow and ice, slip and fall liability for a landlord?

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In this market, we couldn’t sell our first home in Sherborn so we are planning to rent it.  Neither my wife nor I have ever been landlords.  With the winter snow and ice approaching, can you please explain Massachusetts law regarding snow and ice, slip and fall liability for a landlord?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

Legal exposure for injuries resulting from slipping on snow and ice is an evolving area of the law.   Until recently, it was very difficult to prove these cases because our Supreme Judicial Court held that a land owner is not legally responsible for these injuries because ice and snow naturally falling from the sky was not considered a “defect” or hazardous condition.  That has now been changed.  The new rule is that a land owner must use reasonable care in maintaining the property.  This means that ice and snow must be addressed by the owner, but only reasonable care under the circumstances is required.  For example, if an ice storm occurs without warning in the middle of the night and the paper boy falls the next morning before you awaken, the lad probably has no case.  You didn’t act unreasonably under these circumstances.  As a landlord, it is crucial you inform your homeowner’s insurance company if you rent your property to another.  Ice and snow cases are covered by that insurance.  Further, best practices dictates that you require any tenant to purchase renter’s insurance which names you as an “additional insured.”  This type of inexpensive coverage will protect both you and your tenant if someone slips and falls on your property.  The fact that you have rented the house and no longer have direct control over the walkways and driveway does not insulate you from being legally liable or sued whether or not you did anything wrong.   [Read more...]

As a vacation home renter am I responsible for a guests’ personal injury?

Additional Information:

My wife and I rented a home for a week’s vacation and invited some friends to enjoy the place with us. One of our friends tripped on a broken step, fell, and injured herself. She has medical bills and lost wages. As the home renter, am I liable for her injury claims, or is it the landlord’s liability?  Furthermore, we live in Framingham, MA but the house we rented is in NH. Does that matter?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

You’ve raised several complex legal issues in your question, including jurisdictional, substantive and insurance.  First, jurisdictional:  because the injury occurred in New Hampshire, a Massachusetts court might not have the power to render a judgment against a NH landowner for an injury occurring in NH.  I say “might” because if the NH owner had sufficient contacts with MA, such as advertising on Boston Craig’s List, then, arguably, a MA court has jurisdiction.  Second, substantive:  a MA court would probably use or apply NH law because that’s where the injury occurred.  Laws differ state to state.  So, depending on the issues, a different result could happen might occur under NH law than under MA law.  Finally, insurance:  the owner’s home owner’s insurance should cover this accident.  And, yes, you could be sued as well even though you are not an owner.  You had control over the property at the time of the accident and that might be enough to “bring you in.”  Your homeowner’s insurance probably will NOT cover you.  Therefore, it is imperative you seek legal counsel so you may try to protect your assets.  [Read more...]