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Tragically, it happened again yesterday: Another death from a bicyclist being hit by a motor vehicle – in this case, a dump truck. Given the large number of bike riders on the traffic-congested streets in and around the Boston area, it was only a matter of time. And worse, it will only be a matter of time until the next such Massachusetts pedestrian-motor vehicle accident happens.

According to media reports including The Boston Globe, the bicyclist who was killed in the collision was named Meng Jin, and he was a 24 year-old Boston University graduate student from Shanghai.  Boston University’s official news site, BU Today, also released this information. Technically, the collision occurred in Cambridge, but it was only feet from the Boston city line and the Science Museum, at the intersection of Monsignor O’Brien Highway and Museum Way. Massachusetts State Police reported that the young man was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead due to his injuries. Continue reading

Everyone loves Halloween – especially two groups: Kids and candy manufacturers.

But here’s a horrifying reality: More than any other day of the year, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by or killed by a motor vehicle (car, truck, SUV, or whatever) on Halloween. In 2017, the month of October ranked No. 2 in motor vehicle deaths for the year, with 3,700 occurring. July was No. 1 in the year, reaching 3,830 deaths. 

Locationally, Halloween injuries occur in one of two places: 1) At a residence property that trick-or-treaters are visiting , or 2) Streets and roadways. Between face masks, flowing costumes, eye make-up, darkness and leaves on the ground, when it comes to a perfect mix for accidents and injuries, this combination is an ominous “thriller”, to quote Michael Jackson’s macabre hit song.   Whether you’re a homeowner passing out candy to visitors, or a parent accompanying your kids out for fun, everyone needs to exercise care and caution to prevent injuries. Otherwise, one or both of two things can happen: 1) Someone gets hurt – a fall down stairs leading to a homeowner’s front porch; a trip & fall on a homeowner’s walkway; a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident. (These are just a few examples, see more below.)  Then, 2) Someone gets sued (usually a property owner or a driver.) No one wants this outcome, so here are five important safety points to bear in mind this Halloween:

By now, millions of people have learned about how, in seeming staccato fashion, dozens of homes in North Andover, Andover and South Lawrence Massachusetts literally blew up, one after another, yesterday (September 13.)  Fire, police, and disaster crews from across northeastern Massachusetts poured in to these communities in response.  As of right now, there has been one fatality reported – a young man – 18 year-old Leonel Rondon of Lawrence, was killed when a home on Chickering Road exploded, causing the chimney to collapse on a car that Rondon was in, inside the driveway of that home.  A photo of the boy is below.  Other fatalities may follow.

News helicopters observing from the sky have commented that these communities looked like they were bombed by enemy airplanes, strafing the region.  The word “Armageddon” has been used by more than one source to describe the devastation, which from accounts issued so far, would indeed replicate house after house, exploding one after the other, as if either on timers or bombed from above.   I hope to observe some of the damage myself, but rescue and safety crews will likely mean that aerial news footage will have to suffice, for now.

MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz stated that emergency crews have so far responded to somewhere between 60 and 80 fires, and multiple explosions within a brief time frame.

The Boston Globe published a story recently, that as a Boston construction worker injury lawyer, I find very illuminating about a fact that many people, in the midst of the current opioid epidemic don’t know. Which is: Nearly a quarter of the overdose deaths recorded in a five year time frame involved construction workers. That’s a lot, and it’s no surprise: Construction jobs involve a lot of physical stress, injuries are common, and the pressure to stay on the job even though pain can be severe, is very prevalent. The pressure to continue to stay on the job is due largely to two reasons: 1) Financial & economic pressure to continue working, and a social culture that highlights machismo, or a “tough guy” attitude. (Think about it: Did Arnold Schwarzenegger’s characters ever quit or take time off because he was hurt somehow? Or – for readers of a certain age – John Wayne? Didn’t happen. A construction site is usually male-dominated, and “wimps” usually aren’t welcome. Continue reading

Readers of both this blog and my Massachusetts criminal law blog, , know that I’ve written a great deal recently on the subject of the 3 deaths that resulted last month from a car crash in Cotuit Massachusetts, that followed a high-speed police car chase of a criminal defendant who was out on probation at the time. In fact, I wrote a 3-part post on that subject, which dealt with the criminal law aspects of that case and probation issues.

Today’s post here deals with potential civil liability of the Town of Mashpee Police Department, for engaging in a high-speed chase of that suspect, who according to police reports was driving at speeds of 100 MPH or faster. To its credit, the Mashpee Police Department issued a public statement just a couple of days ago, publicly acknowledging that the police should have broken off the high-speed chase in the interests of public safety. Readers will likely have two questions: 1) Can the Police Department here be held liable for the 3 deaths that resulted – one of whom was Kevin P. Quinn, a 32 year-old Afghanistan combat veteran who was killed by the speeding driver being pursued by Mashpee Police – even worse so – after he had just left the hospital where his wife had given birth to his and his wife’s newborn son? 2) Why would a police department call off a pursuit of a criminal suspect?

First, as to whether a municipal police department can be held civilly liable (i.e., ordered to pay monetary damages) for the injuries or death of someone caused by a high-speed chase by its officers, the answer is: Yes – depending on the specific circumstances involved. The legal test is one of negligence, and in order to determine if the police were negligent under the factual circumstances that were present, a number of factors will need to be weighed as evidence, including but not limited to:

In my previous post on this topic, I discussed what pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure ulcers (all the same thing) are, and why they develop. These types of rehabilitation facility and nursing home injuries fall into four basic categories:

Stage 1: This type is the least damaging. These sores only affect the upper layer of the skin. It may appear red or feel warm to the touch. If re-positioned, the sore may disappear within 2 or 3 days.

Stage 2: This occurs when the sore digs deeper beneath the surface of the skin. The skin is broken, leaving an open wound that may ooze pus or develop a blister. It’s painful. Again, re-positioning is critical, but the wound first needs to be cleaned with sterilized water or a salt-water solution and dressed with sterile gauze. Improvement should be seen within a week to ten days. Continue reading

One of the more frequent injuries we seen in our nursing home neglect clients, are pressure ulcers. While they are also clinically referred to as decubitus ulcers, plainly put, these are bedsores. They are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, which result from prolonged pressure being placed on an isolated area on the skin. Bedsores and pressure sores/pressure ulcers most often develop on skin and underlying tissue that lies over bony areas of the body, such as the coccyx (tailbone), the buttocks, the hips, the outside surface of the knees, and the ankles.

These injuries to the body can be excruciatingly painful. Worse, because they are open wounds to the skin, they are incredibly convenient portal for infection – most often bacterial, but viral, also. Not only are they painful and dehumanizing, they are literally open doorways to sepsis and septic blood infections. Most of the reasons for this high danger, is due to the fact that most nursing homes and rehabilitation and hospitals are filled with bacteria and viruses. Why? These facilities are filled with sick people – and the sanitation conditions in these places are far, far from anything approaching “ideal”. Continue reading

I don’t know how many of my readers were aware of this at the time it happened, but five months ago, last February 2018, two Needham High School students were killed when two separate vehicle drivers hit both students as they were walking across Webster Street, in the town just next door to me here in Westwood. It was a stunning tragedy that took the lives of Talia Newfield, age 16, and Adrienne Garrido, age 17. Both were Juniors at Needham High School.

February 10, 2018 was a Saturday – not even a school day. The weather was uncomplicated, in fact rather warm for that day of the year (approximately 50 degrees). Yet, in a freak accident that still begs for comprehension, both friends were struck as pedestrians by two separate cars. Just a day ago, Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s office released news that the drivers of those two cars, Robert Berry, 65, of Needham, and Dania Antoine-Guiteau, 52, of Wellesley, have been indicted by a Norfolk County grand jury on criminal felony homicide charges: Mr. Berry was charged with motor vehicle homicide and two counts of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Ms. Antoine-Guiteau was indicted on charges of manslaughter and negligent motor vehicle homicide. Now, beyond the grieving families of these two young students, two more families will suffer even more grief, knowing that their family members have been criminally indicted on Massachusetts motor vehicle homicide charges. Continue reading

As I write this post, I am on Cape Cod, in the early hours of July 4 2018, having spent a glorious, happy day on the Cape Cod National Seashore. I am, with thousands of other people, celebrating our nation’s Independence Day. Everyone seems happy.

Yet, hidden among the pleasure, happiness and enjoyment that bring so many people to Cape Cod in summer, tragedy can occur . It happened most recently within a subject matter that I have blogged about previously: The subject of swimming pool accidents, and of how dangerous swimming pools actually are. In fact, while they are nowhere near as common as other types of accidents such as car accidents, truck accidents, or slip-and-fall accidents, Massachusetts swimming pool accidents are not exactly rare. Swimming pool injures are quite common, and when the reasons for this are examined, it’s not surprise why these types of injuries happen. Continue reading

The media has been doing a lot of broadcasting and publishing recently – very justifiably – on the subject of the Massachusetts Legislature’s shameful failure to act promptly in passing a revised distracted driving bill in this state. In the meantime, the lives of millions of drivers on the roads of Massachusetts remain at heightened risk due to people using their cell phones while behind the wheel. Distracted driving – whether talking on a phone, texting, or surfing through apps – is killing people every month that state government fails to crack down – as in, “Big Time.’

When is this Roadshow of Russian Roulette going to cease? Continue reading

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