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Tragedy has been reported in Alabama, where a charter bus crash killed one and injured several others after the bus plunged into a ravine. The Associated Press reports the bus was returning a group of high school band members back to Texas after a class trip to Disney World. The bus ran off the highway and into the deep pit. bus accident attorney

The driver died, while several of the young passengers suffered various personal injuries. The local sheriff reported 45 people were aboard the bus. Thirty-five people (mostly teens) were treated at local hospitals, with injuries ranging from minor to severe.

It’s unclear at this juncture what caused the bus to careen off the road. However, it’s no secret that charter buses have a long history of safety problems. Although bus accidents overall comprise a relatively small number of overall motor vehicle collisions, they are not (by some measures) safer than cars. One study published by the Journal of Safety Research revealed that while only about 0.6 percent of the total number of auto accidents in the U.S. involve a bus, the number of bus accidents per 1 million passenger miles is 3.04, compared to the car accident rate of 3.21.

Drivers who are novice, inexperienced or older than 65 have the highest rates of bus crashes – especially when they work for companies that have a history of safety lapses (i.e., failure to properly train and supervise drivers, pushing drivers to work beyond federal hours of service limits and not properly maintaining their buses).

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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

In many serious car accidents in the Greater Boston area, one or more victims will be pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, or at the hospital a short time later. In some accidents, however, victims will survive for some time following the accident.  This can be days, weeks, or even years. In such cases, a wrongful death claim may be added to a negligence claim that has already been filed so long as the plaintiff did not sign a general release of liability and waiver.

car crash BostonWhile it may seem strange, a person could die from a car accident years later, there are cases where a person suffers from severe organ damage that will eventually result in death, even if it does not happen for a long time.  For example, a person could damage their kidneys, liver, or both and survive for a while on medication and dialysis, but eventually succumb to the injuries. When a death occurs, as long as there is a causal connection between the accident that caused the damage, a claim may be warranted. Continue reading

The clear majority of Boston car accident lawsuits are filed under a theory of negligence.  If a plaintiff was killed, a claim for wrongful death would be added as well, but the case would likely be pleaded under the same theory of negligence, but the wrongful death claim would allow for a demand for additional damages as well as possibly some direct claims such as loss of consortium filed by a surviving spouse. In some cases, plaintiff is able to plead an intentional tort such as battery if defendant is alleged to have intentionally hit plaintiff with his or her car, but those cases are few and far between.

Boston car accidentsThe point is it will be necessary to determine who was at-fault in the serious or fatal Boston car accident and present enough evidence of fault to convince a jury if necessary, but hopefully to convince a car insurance company to agree a full and appropriate financial settlement so as to fully compensate a plaintiff for any loss suffered.  Continue reading

Each year car accidents many car accidents in Boston result in serious personal injury, but some result in death.  Unfortunately, the numbers are getting worse instead of better as the Boston Globe reported the number of traffic deaths has risen nearly 50 percent in recent years.  When a victim dies in a car accident, as opposed to only suffering injuries, decedent is still the plaintiff, but the case is filed in the name of decedent’s estate, and a representative of plaintiff stands in for the decedent when it comes to settlement negotiations or going to court should the case fail to settle.

The Need for a Probate Estate in a Boston Wrongful Death Car Crash

Boston car accident lawsuitsThese cases will be filed with the name of the decedent’s estate on the caption as well as name of the estate’s representative.  This representative is ultimately chosen by the Family and Probate court in Suffolk County, but the decedent, through a last will and testament may have a say in the matter posthumously. In the event decedent died with a valid last will and testament, this instrument will declare who he or she had selected as the personal representative of his or her probate estate. If it is clear, and this person is willing and able to accept  responsibility, courts generally honor a decedent’s request. Hopefully, a lawyer prepared decedent’s will because when people attempt to use so-called online legal help services, things can get very messy and lead to a lot of problems between family members. Continue reading

T-bone accidents occur all the time and they can result in some of the most severe damage in any type of car accident.  A T-bone accident involves the front-end of one car colliding with the plaintiff’s car on the side where the doors are located.  A Boston T-bone car accident can  involve the driver’s side or the passenger side of the vehicle.  The reason they are potentially so dangerous or even deadly is because the side of a vehicle offers much less protection than the front or rear of a vehicle. Fortunately, modern cars do have one or more airbags located on the vehicle to protect from side impacts, but while they do help, they are not perfect and plaintiffs are still severely injured.

car accident BostonThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHSHLDI) has been keeping statistics for years and has determined that improvements designed to reduce front-impact damage have been far more successful than efforts to reduce the number of serious injuries in side-impact car accidents. To make matters worse, as the size of SUVs and Pickup trucks have increased over the years, especially with the use of lift-kits, the point of impact on the front end of a typical defendant’s car is much higher than in decades past so this has also increased the number of T-bone car crashes with serious or fatal injuries that occur in the Greater Boston area. Continue reading

Crashes involving public transportation vehicles are sometimes the fault of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).  When a crash involves the MBTA (or the “T” as it often called in Boston), or one of its agents or employees, special issues may arise not present in claims against private or even corporate-owned vehicles.

Sovereign Immunity and the Public Agency Requirement in Boston T Accidents

Boston MBTA Accident Lawyer If a plaintiff is injured in a car accident caused by a corporation or private citizen, there is generally no limit on liability or the amounts that can be obtained in a jury verdict so long as the sum awarded is deemed to be reasonable in light of the facts of the case.  If the jury award is not reasonable, defendant may ask for something known as a remittitur, pleaded through a motion to alter or amend judgement, as contained in Rule 59 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP).

Conversely, when the defendant is a public agency, as defined in Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.), there is typically a cap on the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover. It’s a maximum of $100,000 to any single injured person.  This is due to what is known as the doctrine or law of sovereign immunity. Continue reading

Most car crashes in Boston involve two or more vehicles, typically owned by private citizens, though sometimes by corporations. In some cases, vehicles involved may be owned by a local, state, or federal agency. If the driver deemed to be at-fault in the accident was driving a government vehicle, this may complicate the matter of compensation due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Boston Car Accident Lawyer The doctrine of sovereign immunity comes from British common law, where essentially held the king was above the law.  This term sovereign have been retained long after kings and queens ruled the land. Today, the term is used to refer to a state or federal government or what are known as political subdivisions of the government in the Massachusetts General Laws.

Cases involving government vehicles or employees must be carefully handled by an experienced Boston car accident attorney. Continue reading

When a truck collides with a pedestrian in Boston, the injuries are often very severe if not fatal. It is possible that some pedestrian accidents involve a semi-tractor trailer, but the majority of truck accidents in Boston involve local delivery trucks, as they are much more common on the streets in our urban area.  In these cases, there is often a claim for damages filed directly against the truck driver, and also against the driver’s employer under what is known as the doctrine of vicarious liability, or the master-servant doctrine.  Yet another name for this law is the doctrine of respondeat superior, Latin for, “let the master answer.” It means that if a driver was negligent and acting in the course and scope of employment, the employer may be held liable too – even if there is no proof the employer was negligent.

Boston Truck Accident Lawsuits According to a recent news article from the Boston Globe, a female victim was killed while crossing the street in Boston’s South End neighborhood after being hit by a truck.  Authorities have said the accident occurred around 2:20 p.m. at a major downtown intersection.   Police are still conducting an investigation as of the time of this article and have not yet released any information pertaining to the cause of the fatal Boston truck – pedestrian accident in which a woman was killed.  There have been no criminal charges filed as of yet and there have also been no formal accusations of negligence. Continue reading