Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

OK, folks.  Time to talk about something that may not be sexy or on the average person’s radar screen, but if you drive a car in Massachusetts (and over 85% of residents here do,) it’s far more important to everyday life than you think.

I’m talking about your auto insurance coverages – specifically, uninsured motorist coverage – called “UM coverage”, and underinsured motorist coverage – called “UIM coverage.  Why so important?  Because your statistical chances of being injured by another driver, or you injuring someone else, are very high. If you don’t know enough about your auto insurance policy, you could find yourself in real legal and financial trouble.

I’ll make this explanation as easy to understand as I can.  Note:  If you have easy access to your auto insurance policy right now, getting your policy out and looking at your Coverage Selections Page, otherwise called your “DEC Page” (for “Declarations,”) will make what I’m going to talk about a lot easier to understand.  If you don’t have your policy in easy reach, keep reading because you’ll still learn valuable information that can protect you, legally and financially.

Many people as of now have heard about the wrong-way collision earlier this week on Route 496 in Middleborough, which killed all occupants of both vehicles – 5 people in total.  They included the 31 year-old drive of the vehicle driving the wrong way on Route 495, and the 4 occupants of the vehicle that she hit.  Those 4 occupants were college students from schools in the Worcester area.

There’s been some talk lately about how, on a statistical level, wrong-way motor vehicle crashes or head-on car crashes are fairly rare.  On a purely statistical level, that’s true:   These type of motor vehicle accidents amounted to just 3 percent of crashes on divided highways recently, killing about 360 people every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.)  But while those numbers may not seem so high, here’s another truth:  These types of motor vehicle accidents are, statistically, far more fatal than other types of car accidents.   In my long career as a Massachusetts highway accident attorney, I’ve seen the reality of this on an up-close, more often than I care to say.  The reasons for this are just a few, but very powerful: Continue reading

I’ve posted about the lunacy of texting & driving repeatedly.  Here’s a link to some of my previous  recent posts on this subject.

Most of what I have had to say on this subject, is, of course, in written format in this blog.  But despite my efforts and the efforts of many other professionals in the legal and public safety fields, this problem continues, unchecked.  Thinking that perhaps people just can’t or don’t get the important message of not texting or using a cell phone when driving, by only reading something, I thought readers might get the point more viscerally, through a video.  As a Massachusetts distracted driving lawyer, I know first-hand how important it is that people cease this insanity – yesterday.    Therefore, take 3 minutes to watch this video on the insanity – and even cruelty – of texting while driving:

First, I hope that my readers and friends have had a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day. Given the fact that this is one of, if not the most, high motor vehicle traffic days in the year, staying safe on the roads can be a challenge.

Right now, I’m vacationing with my wife Debbi on Maui, Hawaii (Note: If you’re a current or prospective client, don’t worry: All my cases are being covered by my colleagues!) When most people get away on vacation, they usually don’t think of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. You’re on vacation, right? What can go wrong? The answer: Plenty. In fact, more than you think – and the reasons are obvious: Problem #1 – “How Do You Work This Thing?”: When traveling a long way from home (vs. locally,) most people are driving a rental car. Rental car drivers are not familiar with the vehicle they’re renting, so the risk of operator error increases substantially. Problem # 2 – “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” – The layout of the roads, the terrain, directions, are all strange and unfamiliar – and this increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident even more. Problem #3 – “I need some sleep”: Travelers driving rental cars are probably quite tired from the stress of travel – and this too, increases the risk of a car accident. Problem #4 – “Get Outta My Way:This is probably the worst one: Our impatient and often insensitive, inconsiderate culture. So many people these days just don’t care about consideration and civility toward other drivers. So many people will cut you off in a heartbeat, just to get a couple of car lengths ahead of you; just to ‘beat the light” ahead of you. This behavior is, of course, what earned Massachusetts drivers the nickname “Massholes” – and unfortunately, as a Boston Massachusetts motor vehicle accident lawyer, I can regrettably attest to the truth of this term. Continue reading

I’ve blogged here several times previously about the dangers of texting and driving – actually, of any smart phone use while driving.  But most of my posts have had to do with the everyday drivers out there – known legally as “private passenger vehicle operators.”

As annoying as it is to look at the car next to you and see an inconsiderate driver using his or her cell phone while behind the wheel, imagine seeing the driver of a 12-wheeler doing it.  And that’s the other major threat on the roadways:  Commercial truck drivers.  People who drive trucks for a living – whether as an employee of a company or as an independent trucker – are known legally as “CDL Operators.”  This stands for “Commercial Driver’s License.”  The legal penalties that CDL operators, or truck drivers, face for texting while driving and/or cell phone use while driving are more severe than for non-commercial drivers – and with good reason:  Weighing in at potentially several more tons than a private passenger vehicle, it takes much longer to stop or re-direct a truck, than it does for a sedan.  This is simple physics.  Most of those stiffer legal penalties are federal, not state – and many states need to catch up on making these laws tougher throughout the country. Continue reading

I love what I do for work, but sometimes it just amazes me how – sorry to be so blunt – downright stupid some people can be.

How stupid, you ask?

How about driving a car while you’re dialing, talking, or texting on a smart phone? But don’t a lot of people do it, you also ask? Yes. And a lot of people drive drunk, too – which is, in terms of neurological motor skills, functionally about the same as using a cell phone while driving. Yet so many drivers continue to do this – placing not only themselves, but more importantly, their own passengers and other drivers at risk of horrific injuries and even death.

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If there is one bit of informal advice I’d give to newly-arriving Massachusetts college students, as well as to new grad school students in the Boston area, it’s this: Watch out when you’re traveling on a bicycle adn even walking as a pedestrian: The roads in Massachusetts, in particular the metropolitan Boston area, are anything but easy to navigate or understand. Massachusetts bicyclist-motor vehicle accidents, as well as pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents, are increasing in frequency. Accidents like this tend to spike with the annual late August arrival of hundreds of thousands of new students to the eastern Massachusetts and greater Boston area: Massachusetts is, after all, known (among other appellations) as the “College Capital of the Nation.”

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I constantly tell my wife Debbi to be careful on the road. As a Dedham, Massachusetts car accident lawyer, I know all too well the danger that lurks on the road – everywhere. And when you least expect it.

Recently, we were traveling from Connecticut back to Massachusetts, after a wonderful family gathering. Debbi was driving, and I laid down in the front passenger seat, trying to get a catnap.

Then the most scary and incredible thing happened. We were somewhere on the Massachusetts Turnpike, and I suddenly was startled – I unexpectedly heard a car fly by us in the left lane, going at least 100 miles an hour. It jolted me awake. I heard Debbi gasp and I sat up and saw the car whizzing by. We were both alarmed by the unexpected appearance of that car speeding in the left hand lane – it came out of nowhere – and the driver was clearly going way too fast. My wife said, “Thank Goodness I was in the middle lane – if I had been in the extreme left lane, we wouldn’t have had time to switch lanes and move over. We undoubtedly would have been one more Massachusetts Turnpike car accident.”

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In my work as a Boston car accident lawyer, I have seen firsthand the devastation that is caused by accidents – everything from distracted driving to drunk driving. Texting, talking on cellphones, eating, applying makeup – these are all threats to everyone’s safety, when done when you are sitting in the driver’s seat.

But now, an auto manufacturer – one of the most upscale – has come up with a new feature in their cars, that is almost certainly going to make drivers fall asleep at the wheel. I’m not kidding.

Mercedes-Benz has designed a new car so that it creates a spa-like experience while you drive. My jaw has dropped as I read about this. I have represented people who have fallen asleep at the wheel, and trust me — it isn’t pretty. The new Mercedes-Benz S550 4-Matic was designed by German engineers to become a spa-like escape on four wheels. To me, this is the very definition of distracted driving.

We’ve all been there. You’re driving your car after yet another snowstorm. Traffic begins to move, and both the cars in front of you as well as yours, pick up speed. And then suddenly, from the vehicle in front of you, a totally unexpected block of snow or an “ice missile” smashes into your car windshield.

Like most motor vehicle accidents, it happens in the blink of an eye – you barely have time to react. You may not have even seen where the snow or ice came from. 9 times out of ten, it was from a vehicle in front of yours – and not necessarily the one immediately in front of yours: Depending on the speed of the vehicles in motion and the wind speed, that flying chunk of snow or ice may have come from two or even three vehicles ahead of yours. Most times, the snow dislodges from the roof, the hood or trunk lid of a vehicle. Why? Because the driver of that vehicle in front of you didn’t remove the snow from the hood, the roof or the trunk lid of his vehicle. It doesn’t take an engineer to figure out what happens when a large amount of snow or ice is left sitting on a vehicle that’s heated inside and is moving at any speed faster than 10 MPH: Driven by the wind speed produced by the car’s movement, that snow and ice will come off the vehicle – either in a blinding cloud of snow, or a huge piece of snow and ice,crashing into someone else’s windshield.

The result? The startled driver slams on the brakes, swerves into another lane, loses control of the vehicle and either crashes into another vehicle or something like a tree, pole, or worse. These are the kinds of circumstances that can cause a fatal Massachusetts car accident. As a Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer, I’ve seen too many of these otherwise preventable accidents. Many drivers don’t realize that when they don’t remove snow from their car roofs, they’re creating extremely serious safety hazards on Massachusetts roads.