Articles Posted in Car Accidents

A tragedy has put parking lot safety in focus as we enter the holiday shopping season after a toddler was run over in a parking lot accident.

Boston News 7 reported a 2-year-old walked away from her mom in a YMCA parking lot. The little girl sat down in a parking space, where she was run over by a motorist who didn’t see her. She was rushed to the hospital, but died from her injuries. Posters on Facebook suggested the parking lot was not big enough to accommodate traffic, which they contended was partly to blame for the tragedy.parking-lot-1442053-300x200

We recently wrote about the risk of storefront collisions in Boston. Parking lot accidents are another significant risk. Auto insurers report claims spike on Black Friday at the start of the holiday shopping season.

December is the busiest shopping month of the year and nowhere are shoppers more at risk than in parking lots. Parking lots are dangerous places and by some estimates are the scene of 1 in 5 traffic collisions. The National Safety Council reports more than 50,000 parking lot collisions occur annually, resulting in more than 5oo deaths and 60,000 injuries.

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Most serious or even fatal car accidents in the Greater Boston area involve one of more vehicles crashing into each other.  However, there are also some accidents that are the result of objects left in the roadway.  These objects, which can be quite hazardous, are typically objects which have fallen off the back of other vehicles, but can involve car parts left from an accident, or when a tire blows out on a large commercial truck.

car accident lawyer BostonWith respect to truck tires, they are typically from a large commercial truck, but it is quite possible for a rear trailer tire to blow out on a poorly maintained semi tractor trailer and the driver to be unaware he or she has lost a tire. There have been cases where a tire comes of the back of a truck and goes through the windshield of another vehicle immediately causing fatal injury or death. And there have also been cases where the truck tire has been on the roadway for some time before another driver hits it and is involved in a serious accident. Continue reading

The clear majority of personal injuries in the Greater Boston area do not result in death. But when they do, a wrongful death action is often appropriate.  This is true whether we are talking about a slip-and-fall, or a car accident in which the crash was caused by the fault of another driver.

Boston car accidentsIt would be hard to put into words the tragedy the family and friends of a victim will experience following a fatal car crash, so we will focus on the legal implications involved. In a typical Boston car crash caused by an at-fault driver, the plaintiff will have various claims for damages. Continue reading

The police are there to serve and protect the citizens of Boston.  While there has been a lot of negative press about problems with some police officers across the nation, there are many good police officers who are trying to do the best they can to help the public.  This is especially important in cities such as Boston, which have felt the devastating effects of both terrorism and crime over the past several decades.

Boston car crashHowever, with so many police vehicles on the roads and streets of Boston, it is not a question of if, but rather when a police officer in an official vehicle will be involved in a motor vehicle crash.   Continue reading

From time to time we hear about single-vehicle car crashes. As the name implies, when first-responders get the scene of a car accident, they only find one vehicle. In the event the single-vehicle Boston car crash proves deadly, it is easy to assume the driver of the only vehicle found at the scene was at fault in the accident. We often hear news stories including a police statement indicating the single driver involved in the crash lost control of his or her vehicle and went off the road, followed by a standard line saying the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

car accident BostonThis happens because news organizations and even police do not want to blame a deceased driver, but they do not believe there will be much more follow-up or investigation into the matter as most times, this will be the only story ever published on the topic, unless there is a brief follow-up identifying the victim.  In the case of a Boston single-vehicle car accident where the driver survives, it is easier to find out exactly what happened, assuming driver is able and willing to speak about the accident and gives a truthful account. Continue reading

Driverless cars have returned to Boston, following a brief stoppage following a fatal crash in Arizona.

After that incident, the City of Boston asked companies testing self-driving passenger car services to suspend all tests and pilot programs until a safety evaluation could be performed and various concerns addressed.  The action stemmed from an accident involving a woman who was killed by a purportedly self-driving ride-sharing app vehicle while she was walking her bike across the street.

Boston car accidentsIn that case, police have said she was allegedly not at a crosswalk, and was walking alongside her bike in while crossing the middle of a roadway when she was struck by a self-driving vehicle. This particular vehicle was supposedly programmed to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, but it was unable to avoid hitting a person who was crossing in the middle of the street.

Now, officials have cleared the vehicles to continue operation on city streets. Continue reading

Self-driving cars may well be the future of automotive travel in the U.S. – and it may happen sooner rather than later. Some cars like Tesla already have an advanced form of cruise control, but the truth is it’s a rudimentary form of a self-driving car.  Google is working on another far more advanced self-driving car system it could sell to other car makers, one that would be fully autonomous, and other self-driving technologies are being tested.

But no matter how soon these vehicles get on the road, the legal system may need some time to catch up. For instance, what happens when (not if) one of these fully autonomous vehicles crashes and is deemed at-fault? If there is no human behind the wheel, who is liable in a Boston car accident lawsuit? Even if a human is behind the wheel, could he or she still be responsible?

Boston Distracted Driving AccidentsIn the case of a self-driving vehicle for hire such as a taxi, there is no human driver and the only humans in the vehicle are sitting in the rear with no access to the controls. In such a case, who would be to blame? The manufacturer of the technology? The owner of the vehicle? The person sitting in the driver’s seat?

There are all valid questions that will need to be ironed out as these technologies are unveiled.  Continue reading

Modern road de-icing techniques, which employ chemicals over the traditional salt, results in $3 billion in damage annually in vehicle rust damage, according to AAA. U.S. drivers paid approximately $15.5 billion over the last five years on repairing vehicles damaged by rust. The exact extent of the problem is likely even worse because those only account for the drivers who took the time to address their rust-related car problems. car accident attorney

Rust on cars is nothing new. Several businesses capitalize on it, selling special car covers and anti-rust treatments. One episode of the once-beloved NPR show Car Talk focused on the type of havoc rust can wreak on a vehicle. One listener wrote into the show to ask if the owner of a car with excessive rust in the suspension, braking and fuel lines should be concerned with the overall general safety of the vehicle. The hosts responded with an emphatic, “Yes!” noting that while most people think of rust as a cosmetic problem, the reality is that when rust works its way into the structure or frame of the car, it poses a serious safety issue.

Vehicle owners who fail to address obvious rust may find themselves facing a liability lawsuit for negligent maintenance of a vehicle. While we tend to see this claim more often in truck accident cases where large corporate carriers don’t adequately maintain their fleet, we can also bring such a claim against private vehicle owners when there is evidence they neglected to address basic maintenance issues that could foreseeably impact safety and played a role in the crash.  Continue reading

Auto insurance in Massachusetts is not getting cheaper, so it may not be a great time to tell you to increase your UM/UIM coverage – but it’s important.car accident attorney

Here’s why: Auto insurance premiums have recently hit a national average of $1,427, according to The Washington Post. This is for a few different reasons, including catastrophic weather (which increases the number of crashes). However, as the Post reported, one’s college degree or credit score may actually have more bearing on how much your car insurance costs than your actual driving record, given the complex and often opaque formulas used by auto insurers. What this boils down to is that people who might really need insurance are going to either skimp on coverage, buying only the bare minimum required by law, or they aren’t going to buy any at all and take their chances getting caught.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that from 1992 to 2015, the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists nationally ranged somewhere between 16 percent and 13 percent. Florida had the highest rate of uninsured motorists (27 percent), while Massachusetts had one of the lowest (6.2 percent). Here, state law requires motorists carry a minimum:

  • $20,000 per individual in bodily injury liability and property damage
  • $40,000 per crash for bodily injury liability and property damage
  • $5,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits

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Not all Massachusetts car accident injury claims will be resolved in a courtroom. Some of course will be settled without ever having to file a lawsuit. Injured motorists, passengers or bicyclists simply file a claim with the insurer, the insurer makes a reasonable settlement offer, claimant signs off on it and it’s done. (This is usually for cases wherein injury was not serious and damages weren’t extensive.) Other times, claims will be resolved via arbitration. car accident attorney

Arbitration is not necessarily a preferred forum for resolution of Boston car accident claims (or any civil litigation) where the plaintiff is concerned. It’s not a transparent process, and results tend to be more favorably skewed toward the defendant/ insurer (at least compared to personal injury litigation outcomes). However, many courts in Massachusetts will uphold arbitration agreements, depending on the language in the insurance policy.

For instance last year, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held the lower court (Bristol County Superior Court) in Chamberland v. Arabella Mutual Insurance Company did not abuse its discretion in deciding the insurer could compel plaintiff in the car accident lawsuit to resolve the underinsured motorist claim via arbitration, rather than in a courtroom.  Continue reading