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outdoor swan boatWith the warm summer months underway, many Massachusetts residents are flocking to the coastline and waterways to enjoy some of the state’s most popular recreational activities. Whether it is canoeing, swimming, boating, or something else, it is critical that people use caution at all times when engaging in their favorite new or old hobby.

According to a recent news report, a 14-year-old boy recently lost his life while kayaking in the New England region. According to the report, the teenage boy was traveling in a two-person kayak when the vessel flipped over in the water. Another person was in the kayak at the time of the accident, a friend of the teenage boy. The victim was not wearing a life jacket at the time the vessel capsized, but his friend was wearing one. The authorities who discovered the victim’s body believe that the fact that the other boy was wearing a life jacket was instrumental in his survival and that the unfortunate victim may have survived had he been wearing a life jacket.

A strong current near the bridge where the drowning took place may have had something to do with the vessel capsizing. The report also indicated that this was the victim’s first time using a kayak and that the boy had not been taught how to swim. The family lived in an area that is a common hotspot for boating, swimming, and fishing activities. The boys had gone to the river to relax and enjoy some time at the water.

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12429334035_91cb638105_bMassachusetts is one of many states that have enacted a statute allowing accident victims to hold businesses liable for over-serving a patron who leaves the establishment and causes an accident. These statutes are frequently referred to as dram shop acts and provide a basis for recovery for personal injury as well as wrongful death.

One of the most hotly disputed issues in a lawsuit involving a dram shop statute cause of action is whether the patron at the bar was obviously intoxicated at the time the business served the person who caused the accident more alcohol. To proceed in this type of lawsuit, the plaintiff must submit an affidavit providing sufficient facts to raise a legitimate question regarding the establishment’s liability. If the plaintiff cannot raise sufficient facts, the restaurant will be entitled to summary judgment, and the dram shop claim against it will be dismissed.

In the recent case of Bayless v. TTS Trio Corp., the plaintiff was the personal representative of the estate of a person who was killed in an auto accident after driving home from a restaurant. The decedent was proven to be a regular patron at the establishment. Evidence offered by the plaintiff showed that the patron had become intoxicated at the establishment on multiple occasions and that he frequently became loud and boisterous. On the night of the accident, the decedent left the establishment, lost control of the vehicle he was driving, and died in the ensuing accident.

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The infamous Bay State Bike Week took place in mid-May, calling upon bike enthusiasts throughout Massachusetts to organize hundreds of events statewide designed to promote bicycling as a form of exercise and travel as well as creating opportunities for cyclists to mingle. Cycling has a variety of benefits, including providing exercise, reducing the emissions from vehicles, and reducing traffic on the roadways. Due to their exposure to the elements and frequent proximity to motorists, however, bicyclists face serious risks of suffering injuries in a collision with a vehicle.bicycle

One of the most critical things a cyclist can do to protect him or herself is to purchase a properly fitted helmet. If the helmet is cracked, worn, or old, it may not provide the full level of protection that you need. Brain injuries are a common injury that happen as the result of bicycle accidents. Brain injuries can lead to a variety of both temporary and long-term injuries, like memory loss, cognitive disabilities, trouble sleeping, chronic headaches, and personality modification. Depending on what you do for a living, these symptoms could have a serious negative impact on your career.

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nursing home coupleNursing homes provide an important service, providing care and attention for elderly individuals. Unfortunately, there have been many reports and horror stories detailing the abuse, neglect, and horrible treatment that goes on in some of these facilities. A recent example of how some facilities fail to provide the care and respect that residents deserve involves social media. A 76-year-old resident at a Belvidere facility was admitted for dementia and Parkinson’s. Two nursing aides took videos of the patient while she was receiving treatments for both of these conditions. The aides later shared these videos on a social media messaging app called Snapchat.

The prosecutors handling the case indicated that this is not the first instance of neglect and abuse at nursing homes in Massachusetts, with at least four other nursing homes receiving violations during the last year. An investigative report also revealed that an out-of-state company had set up a number of nursing homes in the state that had avoided scrutiny from regulators. Patients at these facilities were reported to have suffered from serious and painful conditions, including medication errors, infections, festering sores, and improper care resulting from inadequate training.

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black ice roadMassachusetts law allows a business guest, invitee, or visitor to sue a property owner for injuries that he or she sustains as a result of the property owner’s failure to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Property owners must also make reasonable repairs to their premises while providing visitors with warnings about any dangerous conditions of which they knew or should have known. This seems like a straightforward standard, but it can get complicated when it comes to determining whether a property owner can be held liable for the type of injury that resulted.

In Fleming v. A Plus Auto Body, Inc., the plaintiff sued an auto body repair shop for injuries she sustained when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice located on the repair shop’s property and broke her leg. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion.

On appeal, the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the lower court’s ruling. First, the intermediate court stated that the plaintiff was on her way to pick up her vehicle from the repair shop. The plaintiff was exiting her rental car, which was parked on Walnut Street, when she slipped on the ice. The defendant argued that it did not own Walnut Street and therefore could not be held liable for the injuries the plaintiff sustained on the public way in front of its premises. The defendant also contended that there was no evidence in the record suggesting that it created the dangerous condition on the public sidewalk.

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1024px-FEMA_-_40814_-_Clearing_debris_with_construction_equipment_in_ArkansasThere are many ways that product liability accidents can occur. Although people are familiar with cases involving motor vehicles, sporting goods, food contamination, and medical devices, countless product-related accidents occur on-the-job. In a recent action, a Massachusetts appellate court considered whether a supposedly defective product was to blame for a construction worker’s death.

The case, Williamson-Green v. Equipment 4 Rent, Inc., involved the following facts. The decedent was working with a large piece of construction equipment called an articulating boom lift to inspect a rooftop of a building. While the plaintiff was perched in the basket at the end of the equipment’s arm, the equipment fell over and toppled into the building, which resulted in the man’s death. The decedent’s wife filed a wrongful death claim and product liability claim against both the maker of the equipment and the rental company who leased out the device.

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HK_Cheung_Sha_Wan_Night_Cheung_Wah_Street_Un_Chau_Street_traffic_accident_Ambulance_Nov-2013Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents and collision-related fatalities today. In 2011, for example, roughly 23 percent of all motor vehicle accidents involved a driver operating a mobile phone device while behind the wheel. That translates to a whopping 1.3 million accidents. Although many drivers who use their phones while driving believe they are capable of keeping their eyes on the road, studies have shown that looking at your phone or another device for as little as five seconds can cause an accident to occur. Overall, texting while driving makes it 23 times more likely that an accident will take place.

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a piece of legislation that would prohibit the use of any handheld mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. The bill, S. 2093, is entitled “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Mobile Telephones While Operating a Motor Vehicle.”

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baby-was-receiving-his-scheduled-vaccine-injection-in-his-right-thigh-muscle-ie-intramuscular-injection-725x490A Massachusetts jury recently returned a verdict in a case involving an alleged birth injury that has garnered national attention. In the complaint, the parents of the child alleged that their daughter suffered injuries during birth as the result of negligent care. The daughter was age 11 at the time the plaintiffs brought the complaint. The plaintiffs named six health care providers that participated in the birth procedure, but they did not name the hospital.

The complaint states that sometime on September 5-6, 2004, the mother was 28 weeks pregnant when she began suffering reduced fetal movement. She reported to the medical facility, where she was admitted for overnight observation. At 5:30 pm the next day, the baby’s heart rate reduced rapidly, and the doctors decided to perform a cesarean section to remove the fetus. After the baby was extracted from the uterus, she required immediate resuscitation. Documents admitted at trial and during discovery indicated that the baby suffered a severe injury to her brain due to a lack of oxygen and blood flow. The daughter is unable to walk or speak, is legally blind, and requires a feeding tube.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that these injuries could have been avoided had the physicians performed the cesarean procedure earlier.

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640px-Go-kartsIn Amaral v. Seekonk Grand Prix Corp., a woman suffered injuries while observing her children operate go-carts at the defendant’s go-cart facility in Massachusetts. The injuries occurred when one of the drivers on the course lost control of the go-cart in which he or she was riding, and it crashed through the fence where the woman was standing. Although the woman was required to purchase tickets for her children to use the go-cart facility, she did not have to buy a ticket in order to observe her children from behind the fence.

Shortly after the accident, the woman filed a negligence action against the owner of the go-cart facility, requesting compensation for her physical injuries, which included a painful pulmonary embolism that resulted from a blood clot that formed in the woman’s leg.

In response to the complaint, the defendant filed a motion indicating that summary judgment was appropriate according to the recreational use doctrine. Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws C. 21 Section 17C, a property owner that allows the general public to use its land for recreational activities without imposing a fee or charge for the use cannot be held liable for any injuries that an individual sustains during his or her time on the property. An exception to this statute is when the property owner engages in reckless, wanton, or willful conduct, and that conduct results in the victim’s injury.

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Drunk driving is one of the highest causes of injuries and fatalities in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), roughly 30 people die each day in a motor vehicle collision that involves an intoxicated driver. Also, the estimated yearly costs associated with alcohol-induced car accidents totals nearly $60 million. In 2013, drunk driving accidents accounted for 31 percent of traffic accident fatalities that occurred in the United States. The National Highway Transportation Administration has also issued a number of studies and reports highlighting the dangers that result when alcohol and driving are mixed.

Recently, the National Transportation and Safety Board (“NTSB”) has recommended lowering the legal blood alcohol content to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent. The NTSB’s recommendation is intended to help combat these devastating injury and death tolls associated with drunk driving across the United States.

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