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Like many attorneys, I’ve been getting a lot of calls recently from present and potential new accident and injury clients, who want to know how their cases are going to impacted by the quarantine and social distancing measures currently in effect in Massachusetts (as well as across the United States).  Potential new clients who have been recently injured due to someone else’s neglect also want to know if we can take on new cases.  I want all of our existing clients, as well as potential new clients, to know that we are providing uninterrupted legal services and communications during this time.  While most law offices and insurance companies have instructed all staff to work remotely, we can and we are still actively litigating and negotiating our cases.


While this blog’s purpose is to help clients, media and the public better understand important legal issues affecting criminal law and injury law in Massachusetts, my post today has to do with some bragging rights.

On March 4 2019, I was sworn in at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to become a member and officer of the Court.  The ceremony took part along with other selected members of the bar and Suffolk University Law School.  Obviously, I was very proud of this accomplishment, as not every practicing attorney is admitted as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. A nomination to the Court must first be submitted by a sponsor who is a member of the Court, and certain credentialing criteria have to be first met before the nominee will be considered.  This accomplishment distinguishes me as having reached a very high level of professional achievement and credentialing in my fields of practice, and I would be displaying false modesty if I said it was “no big deal.”  But I would never have had the chance to achieve this level of professional recognition, if a lot of people along the way hadn’t invested their confidence in me as an attorney and an individual.  Those people range from my clients of many years ago to my clients of today, to fellow attorneys, and to mentors that I looked up to.  In life, we all provide each other wisdom, professional and personal.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to produce the superior legal results that I do for my clients.

I hope that this career accomplishment instills even further confidence in people to turn to me when they have a legal problem or issue that needs the counsel of an effective and experienced Massachusetts attorney, especially in the fields of injury/accident law and criminal defense law.  There are a great many lawyers and law firms to choose from these days, and I’m flattered each time someone calls me to represent them or to provide them legal counsel.

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:

OK – The holidays are now over, it’s now officially 2017, and we all (or at least I) face three cold, icy, miserable months ahead until we can hope for signs of spring.  (Sorry to you ski-lovers for this description, but I’m made for summer.)  Cold, ice, snow and slush make for dangerous conditions, whether it’s driving or walking.  A lot of different types of accidents can happen in winter, most notably slip and fall accidents as well as car accidents.  This being so, I thought a “Top Ten List” of what people should do right away if they’re injured, would be helpful, so here goes:

  1. First, get appropriate medical attention: Obviously, this is the most important thing after suffering a serious accident or injury. There are many types of injuries, where physical symptoms do not become immediately apparent, but instead take time to symptomize.
  2. If at all possible, use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene! If you are so badly injured that you cannot take pictures, and but there is a passenger or a witness who can take photos, have them do it.  Also, have several photos taken of yourself, even if you are bleeding, or on a stretcher.  It is extremely important to secure and preserve photographic evidence of an accident scene!   While this may seem gory or extreme at first thought, such photos will become very important later on when the defendant’s insurance company claims that you were not seriously injured (which they almost certainly will.)

As if we here in Massachusetts haven’t spent the past 11 months being inundated with the media’s (especially The Boston Globe’s) nonstop dead-horse-beating of last year’s April 2013 Marathon bombings, the media here is now gearing up to re-hype the whole thing all over again. Talk about both sickening and pathetic …

When this happened last year, the first thing I thought of was the direct victims of this event. However, the second thing I thought of, being a Boston injury lawyer, was the liability insurance claims that would follow the event, from affected businesses and individuals. The claims I’m referring to aren’t injury claims, but instead property/casualty claims. They’re filed by businesses and individuals that suffered both physical property damage to stores and facilities, as well as economic losses from the events of that day. Claims submitted to insurers for economic losses generally arise from loss of revenues due to the fact that the businesses could not operate for several days or weeks after the bombing events. That type of claim is made pursuant to a special type of coverage known as “Business Interruption Insurance.”

Within all this renewed news media “coverage,” a little factoid has made its way out: I know this will come as a shock to many readers of this blog, but guess what? Many business in the Boylston Street, Dartmouth Street and Newbury Street areas of the Back Bay, are still fighting with their insurance companies because their coverage claims have been denied. Yes, even almost one year later. According to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, the state’s largest property /casualty insurers have paid a total of $1.9 million in bombing-related claims. First of all, as an attorney who works with liability insurance companies all the time, I can say that’s not a very high figure, given the number of businesses involved. Second, according to reports from The Boston Globe, insurers have rejected nearly half of all bombing-related claims connected to losses from business interruption. Third, insurers have also rejected payment for just fewer than 50% of claims for commercial property damage.

What to say today?

That I hope all who read this blog, whether occasionally or regularly, will be spared the suffering of an accident or injury this day and this season. But that won’t happen. In fact, a story of a motor vehicle accident beyond comprehension in its tragedy occurred this very day, Christmas Day, in nearby New Hampshire. I’ll write it about it tomorrow – it’s late and I’m tired. But I am all too conscious that this story could be about me or someone I love.

Never take your eyes off the road. Not for a second. The tragedy that can happen in an instant is beyond words. As a Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer, I know this all too well.

Move over, Big Tobacco. You may be soon joined by Big Football in being named defendants in personal injury lawsuits, as more victims of traumatic brain injuries realize where their injuires came from, and hold the responsible parties legally accountable.

That’s right. There has recently been a new spate of concussion lawsuits filed on behalf of retired National Football League players. Inevitable comparisons are now being made, comparing these concussion lawsuits to those filed by smokers who sued tobacco companies many years ago. An Associated Press review found that more than 2,400 retired football players are now plaintiffs in concussion-related lawsuits filed against the NFL. It includes players, spouses and other relatives or representatives as plaintiffs in the suits. They hope to win settlements that would approach the landmark, $206 Billion settlement that Big Tobacco shared among 46 states almost 15 years ago.

The plaintiffs are saying that the NFL knew that there were correlations between player head injuries and permanent brain injuries, and that the NFL was guilty of negligence and failed to take appropriate action — that they knew that concussions could lead to brain damage, yet hid that information. The plaintiffs are accusing the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the dizziness, headaches and dementia that the plaintiffs suffered. The NFL, of course, denies this, citing as evidence of their “concern”, a “committee” that they formed in 1994 to “study” the issue. Thisi group, the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee , was, in my opinion as a Boston-Dedham brain injury lawyer, a classic public relations distraction strategy: When an organization knows they’ve done something wrong in some serious manner, they immediately follow the standard public relations playbook strategy: Form a “committee” to “study” the issue, which is designed to make observers and the public think that something serious is being done to effectively address the issue, when in fact nothing of any substance is being done, and nor is anything going to be done. It’s a standard “Smoke and Mirrors” evasion & distraction strategy. The proof in this example? I’m aware of no aggressive, responsive, corrective measures taken by either the NFL, or this “Committee,” since 1994. If such aggressive, responsive, or corrective measures were ever taken by the NFL in the last 18 years, I’d be open to hearing about them.

In my previous post on this subject, I wrote about how many people who suffer an injury or accident due to someone else’s negligence, often don’t seek the advice of an attorney experienced in this area of law, because they think their cause “doesn’t qualify.” That’s unfortunate, because the law provides such people with legal rights to in many circumstances seek compensation for their injuries under the Massachusetts laws of negligence.

Another frequently overlooked type of accident, in which people simply “stick it out” without talking to a lawyer – is Massachusetts slip and fall accident. This is one of the most common accidents that people can suffer, and they can occur on someone’s private property (say, at someone’s home) or, more frequently, at a store or a business. There is absolutely no reason that you should suffer often serious injuries from a slip and fall accident, and not try to secure financial damages to compensate you. Broken wrists, fractured ankles, back spasms, nerve damage – these and other kinds of serious injuries can last for years if not a lifetime, and should be viewed lightly.

Many people (of course) also simply do not understand product liability law. This area of law covers almost every product marketed in the United States, whether it’s an automobile (remember the Ford Pinto?), a defective pool slide, or a children’s toy that has dangerous manufacturer’s defects. A skilled Massachusetts product liability attorney will make sure that you receive financial damages you deserve for any injuries you suffer due to the negligence of a person or a business.

As a Boston-Dedham injury attorney, I am always shocked when I talk to people who have suffered a Massachusetts personal injury – and learn that they never brought their case to a Massachusetts injury lawyer. I find the reasons to be sometimes shocking. Most either minimze the importance of their injury or they mistakenly believe that they have to pay exorbitant legal fees, when the fact is that in all injury cases, lawyers are paid on a contingent-fee basis. Thisi means that an attorney is paid only AFTER the attorney wins the case and the client receives compensation for his or her injuries. The contingent legal fee system isn’t “jackpot justice,” as critics of our civil justice system like to call it. Quite the opposite, the contingent legal fee system provides the “Keys to the courthouse” for average Americans who could otherwise never afford to take on large corporate defendants and their liability insurance companies.

I’m here to tell you now about some of the Massachusetts injury cases that can often cause life-long injuries and are important to seek qualified plaintiffs’ legal counsel about.

For example, many people don’t follow up with a lawyer after a Massachusetts car accident, because they erroneously believe that their injury “doesn’t qualify” for a lawsuit. I can assure you that even if you suffer minor soft-tissue damage, it is important to speak with an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer, because this is a complicated area of law, and the vast amjority of people wouldn’t know what their auto insurance policy says, or what their rights were. The fact is, the majority of soft-tissue type injuries that occur in a car accident, don’t fully develop symptoms for days and perhaps weeks later. Even if you did not suffer broken bones or scarring, you can still seek legal compensation for your damages, after your medical bills exceed $2,000. This $2,000 figure is a “tort threshold” that must be met first before an auto accident victim can file suit for damages in Massachusetts. Even a minor soft-tissue damage injury may involve multiple visits to a doctor, chiropractor, orthopedist, licensed physical therapist, and even muscular massage treatments. All these therapies can qualify in reaching the $2,000 medical expense threshold, and there’s no reason that an auto accident victim should be denied the legal right to seek compensation in court, if necessary. And when a catastrophic injury results in someone being maimed, or when a car accident results in a fatality, the compensation can amount to extremely large sums of money.

As a Boston-Dedham personal injury attorney, I’ve handled a great deal of personal injuries due to many forces, including cases of food poisoning. In fact, most people would be surprised to learn of the number of injuries that can result from improperly or negligently prepared food. In this case, the alleged culprit was somethign we all love: A chocolate chip cookie.

The plaintiff in this case alleged that she sustained injuries to her mouth and teeth from a hard object when she bit into a chocolate chip cookie while visiting her mother at an assisted living facility, called Sunrise. Importantly in this case, the cookie had been given free to the plaintiff by the facility. She did not purchase it. Not a big deal, you say? It is a big deal in the eyes of the law, especially when dealing with Massachusetts negligence claims.

That’s because whehter or not the defendant facility (Sunrise) could have been found liable for the plaintiff’s injuries here, would depend upon whether or not the facility could be shown to have breached something in Massachusetts law called the “Warranty of Merchantability.” This is an implied warranty (which means it doesn’t need to be stated in writing,) dealing with Massachusetts consumer law. Boiling it down to a brief explanation, it states that a particular product that a merchant sells, must be suitable and safe for the purpose it was produced. The legal question in this case? Did the assisted living facility, in providing this free food item to the plaintiff, qualify legally as a “merchant”?