Former NBA start and Boston Celtics great Isaiah Thomas lost his sister in a fatal car accident, according to a recent news article from The News Tribune. Authorities say she was killed in a single-vehicle accident in Tacoma, Washington, where she was living prior to her tragic death. She was 22-years-old at the time she was killed.
Authorities have said the fatal wreck occurred around 5 a.m. Witnesses say the driver appeared to be operating the vehicle in a normal and safe manner until it started drifting towards the shoulder in what they viewed as a “casual” manner. The car, a 1998 Toyota Camry, continued to travel along the side of the road for around 50 feet when it crashed into a Jersey barrier. For those who are not familiar with this term, it is a large modular barrier, typically made of concrete that is essentially in the shape of a triangle. They are installed on a roadway in a linked series to divide traffic. They are called Jersey barriers because they were originally developed for the New Jersey department of transportation and are still used on just about every road in the state.Once the vehicle hit the Jersey barrier it was thrown forward and crashed into a highway signpost. The car then rocked back and forth and eventually came to rest on top of the barrier, still partially wrapped around the signpost. Authorities have reported that she was allegedly not wearing her seat belt at the time of the accident.
One question that is sometimes asked of our Boston car accident lawyers is, “Do I still have a case if I was not wearing my seat belt when the crash occurred?” First, there is no question that all drivers should wear a seat belt always. It is not only the law, but it is much safer than not doing so. It is especially important that children are in the rear of the vehicle in a properly installed child safety seat.
However, there are many cases when the victim of a car accident is not cited for the accident, as it is not his or her fault, but the police report or vehicle crash report will note that victim was not wearing his or her seat belt at the time of the crash. This doesn’t mean that you do not have a case. However, it does mean a defendant can argue that your own negligence was at least partially (or totally) responsible for your injuries in the crash. This is an example of what is known as a contributory negligence defense.
Fortunately, in Massachusetts, we have what is known as a mixed comparative negligence system, as opposed to a pure contributory negligence system that might preclude your recovery. The bottom line is that you may very well still have a valid case, but you want to make sure your car accident lawyer has experience dealing with this issue.
If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
NBA star Isaiah Thomas’ sister killed in Federal Way accident on I-5, April 15, 2017, By Craig Sailor, The News Tribune
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Salem Man Killed In Manchester Car Crash, March 20, 2017, By Taylor Rapalyea, Salem Patch