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It’s no secret that trucks pose a serious danger to motorists, including motorcycle riders who may be less visible to a driver. Although there are many different rules and regulations that apply to trucking operations with the intention of keeping everyone safe, countless drivers fail to comply with these laws. In some instances, they turn to narcotics and other illegal substances to help them stay awake during long hauls in violation of countless laws. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, we are prepared to assist you with determining whether you are entitled to compensation after a Boston truck accident.

Recently, a Massachusetts truck driver was charged with causing the deaths of seven motorcyclists when the rig that he was operating careened into the group of motorcyclists in New Hampshire. Three other individuals were seriously wounded in the accident. Reports suggested that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles failed to take appropriate action to suspend the truck driver’s license as the result of several out-of-state driving violations that had been reported to the RMV. The truck driver claimed that he reached down to pick up his beverage and unintentionally drifted from his lane of travel at the time of the crash.

When police raided his home, however, they found illegal narcotics believed to be heroin and when he was arrested at the scene of the crash police officials observed erratic behavior consistent with amphetamine consumption. The truck driver was employed as a truck driver for a Massachusetts trucking company and possessed a commercial driver’s license.  He had previous citations for drunk and drugged driving, which had been reported to Massachusetts DOT and RMV officials.

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Rideshare services have become incredibly popular as a way to travel, especially in crowded cities like Boston. There are certain dangers that come with using ridesharing services, however, that can put you at risk of suffering a serious and devastating personal injury. It’s not always clear, for example, whether you will be covered by the driver’s or the company’s insurance in light of an accident and these drivers are often in a rush to find their next fare, making them less safe than they should be on the road. As dedicated Boston car accident lawyers, we are prepared to help you assert your right compensation following a rideshare accident in Boston.

There are several important factors to consider if you are involved in a rideshare accident as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or passenger. As a recent situation highlights, the rideshare companies’ insurance policies and standards may not be as helpful as some people believe. Recently, a Framingham resident was sued for a rideshare accident that happened in 2015 while he was riding in a vehicle driven by an Uber driver. The lawsuit alleged that the man opened his door in a bike lane without checking to see if the lane was clear, causing serious injuries to a passing bicyclist. Uber refused to provide the man with legal defense and declined to pay the injured cyclist any compensation. The man did not own a vehicle, which is why he was using Uber, which meant that he also did not have auto insurance to cover the collision.

When it comes to rideshare insurance coverage, there are a few things that you should know before signing up to use these services. First, rideshare services frequently classify their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees and require their drivers to carry their own insurance policies. This allows the companies to keep a greater distance and to remove some of the liability that they would face for the drivers’ actions if they were employees. Massachusetts, like other states, recognizes a doctrine called vicarious liability, which holds an employer liable for the tortious acts that its employees commit in the course and scope of employment.

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Everyone is susceptible to causing a motor vehicle accident if they fail to pay attention behind the wheel, including government employees. There are a number of different rules that apply to situations involving accidents with government employees, however, that are important for a victim to understand as early as possible. These rules may impact your case and will be a factor in determining the best route for securing the compensation or settlement that you deserve. Our seasoned Boston car accident lawyer Michael O. Smith is standing by to help you assess your potential lawsuit.

In a recent case, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered whether the Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund (the Fund) was required to pay the victim of a motor vehicle accident where the car that caused the crash was owned by the government and driven by a government employee. The victim had a standard motor vehicle insurance policy that included uninsured motorist benefits.

In each of the consolidated cases in the action, the relevant insurance company denied the victim’s claim on the basis that a government vehicle is not considered an uninsured motorist under the policy, which is often referred to as a government vehicle exclusion. The victims each pursued compensation from The Fund, but the claims were also denied on the basis that G. L. c. 175D, section 9 required them to first exhaust their uninsured motorist policies.

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If you were injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, it’s important to find out where that person was coming from before they caused the crash. When a bar or other establishment that offers liquor overserves a guest and that guest later causes a motor vehicle accident, the bar or establishment can in some situations be held liable. This is known as a dram shop law. Our diligent team of Boston car accident lawyers can help you determine whether you have a cause of action against another business or person in your claim so that you can receive the maximum amount of compensation possible in your case.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered a case involving Massachusetts’ dram shop laws. The plaintiff asserted a wrongful death claim against a tavern, alleging that the defendants were negligent in operating the tavern because they overserved a minor. The tavern employed a head doorman who was responsible for ensuring that everyone was of legal drinking age. The doorman allowed two patrons who were eighteen-years-old to enter the tavern upwards of 200 times prior to the night of the accident.

On the night of the fatal accident, the underage drinkers reportedly got into an argument with two of-age patrons at the bar, resulting in an altercation. The doorman had noticed that the underage patrons exchanged sour looks with two other patrons who were already in the tavern. The four patrons involved in the fight left the bar to engage in a fight outside that became extremely violent. One of the individuals involved in the fight ran into a busy street where he was eventually struck by a moving vehicle. He died as a result of his injuries.

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A car accident is always stressful and disruptive for the victim, but when the person who causes the crash flees the scene the outcome can be even more devastating. Hit and run drivers leave the victim without recourse because the victim cannot file a civil claim against them to recover compensation. If you were involved in a Boston hit and run accident, it is critical for you to understand your rights and the best way to protect yourself.

Earlier this year, Boston police identified a woman who was killed in a car accident by a hit-and-run driver. She was 57-years-old at the time of the crash. There were no witnesses to the accident and the only evidence that the police had was a blurry surveillance video suggesting that a driver in a dark-colored sedan with tinted windows caused the crash.

Massachusetts law makes it a crime to leave the scene of an accident. If the person who fled is later found, the plaintiff may be able to use evidence of the defendant’s failure to remain at the scene of the accident as evidence that he or she was negligent at the time of the accident. Specifically, M.G.L. Ch. 90 Sec. 26 requires drivers to report collisions to the police where the damage that resulted from the collision exceeds $1,000. This requirement is in force even where no one suffered an injury as a result of the crash. For someone who is caught leaving the scene of an accident. M.G.L. Ch. 90 Sec. 24 imposes a criminal penalty of 6 months to 2 years in jail. If the accident resulted in a fatality, the maximum amount of jail time increases to 10 years.

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Like many states, Massachusetts has a dram shop act that attaches liability to a business that overserves a customer with alcohol who then proceeds to cause a personal injury accident. The statute can create many interesting legal issues, but it is important for plaintiffs who were injured in crashes with drunk drivers to understand whether they have a claim against a bar, restaurant, or other business that served alcohol to the defendant before the personal injury accident took place. As seasoned Boston car accident lawyers, we are prepared to help you assess your claim and to determine whether you are entitled to compensation.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered a case in which issues surrounding the liability involved with serving liquor to a guest were involved. The victim was killed in a one-car accident after leaving a restaurant owned by one of the defendants where he had been served alcoholic beverages. The plaintiff, the decedent’s estate, alleged that the restaurant was negligent and reckless in serving the decedent more drinks while he was showing signs of obvious intoxication and that this conduct was the direct and foreseeable cause of his death.

According to Massachusetts’ dram shop act, a plaintiff asserting a claim under the statute must provide within 90 days of filing the complaint an affidavit that lists enough facts to raise a legitimate question regarding the liability of the defendant.

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Insurance policies can be very confusing, and it can seem impossible to know whether your expenses after a car accident are covered. There are many different types of insurance policies, and each insurer can include a different array of terms, such as exclusions about what it will and will not cover in the event that an injury or damage happens. Although these policy terms may seem clear upfront, they can often be worded in tricky ways or include exceptions that are challenging to interpret. Our dedicated team of Boston car accident lawyers has handled many car accident cases. This includes negotiating with insurance companies to make sure that our clients are treated fairly. We can answer any questions about a car accident and whether your insurance company or another insurance company should provide you with coverage.

In a recent case, an appellate court was asked to decide whether a motor vehicle exclusion in a homeowner’s insurance policy relieves another insurance company of its duty to provide coverage for the insureds when the insureds provided alcohol to a minor in their home, and the minor caused a car accident. The victim of the car accident filed a lawsuit against the insureds, who owned the home where they provided the minor with alcohol. The homeowner’s insurance company defended the insureds in the action, subject to a reservation of its rights in the homeowner’s insurance agreement.

The parties entered into a settlement agreement, in which the victim released the insureds, and the insurance company agreed to pay the victim coverage limits depending on its duty to indemnify the insureds under the homeowner’s insurance policy. The lower court concluded that the motor vehicle exclusion applied and relieved the insurance company of its duty to indemnify the insureds.

Many employers allow employees to use vehicles for work-related purposes. Although some of them understand that this exposes them to liability if the employee is involved in a crash, others fail to understand the risks. Our seasoned team of Boston car accident lawyers are prepared to help you protect yourself in an accident involving a third-party who was using your vehicle.

In a recent appellate case (the “Case”), the Massachusetts Court of Appeal discusses this issue. In the Case, the owner of a restaurant allowed employees to use his vehicle to get to and from their homes and the restaurant. The owner required some employees to sign an agreement that limited the use of the vehicle to get to and from work. Under Massachusetts law, employers are liable for the tortious acts that their employees commit under the course and scope of employment. This concept is known as vicarious liability. One morning, one of the employees assisted another individual with jump-starting his car.

The employee removed the cables and lowered the hood of the restaurant owner’s car at which time it accelerated and struck the owner of the other car that was being jumped. The victim filed a claim for negligence and alleged that the restaurant owner was legally responsible as the owner of the vehicle that caused his injuries.

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Motorcycle accidents can lead to some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries for victims including traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and debilitating back injuries. At the Law Office of Michael O. Smith, our seasoned team of Massachusetts car accident lawyers has helped motorcyclists with securing the compensation that they deserve after a careless driver causes them to suffer injuries in an accident. Although much of the attention surrounding motorcycle safety awareness month is focused on reminding riders about safe practices, it’s also about reminding drivers to be mindful and share the road.

In Massachusetts alone, nearly 800,000 residents are planning to travel for Memorial Day Weekend according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. With the warmer weather, many may opt to take their motorcycles instead of their passenger vehicles.

Across the country, 20% of fatal accidents involve a motorcyclist even though there are far fewer motorcycle riders on the highways compared to passenger vehicles. This equates to motorcyclists being 28 times more at risk of suffering an injury in an accident compared to passengers in a regular vehicle according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

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There are several critical points in a lawsuit, including a number of procedural steps. Before the jury deliberates on whether or not a defendant acted negligently, the judge will provide the jury with a set of jury instructions that the jury must follow when deliberating. Many parties appeal the outcome of a jury’s decision on the basis that the judge did not give the proper jury instruction. Knowing whether or not the judge is providing the proper instruction and advocating for the instructions that are the fairest and most equitable to your case is a critical step in your lawsuit. As seasoned Boston car accident attorneys, we have courtroom experience that we are ready to put to use on your behalf.

In a recent case, the appellate court considered a plaintiff’s challenge to the jury instructions that the judge provided. The woman was injured in a motor vehicle crash and filed a suit against the driver of the other vehicle alleging that the defendant acted negligently and caused her injuries. The defendant was working at the time of the crash when he allegedly rear-ended the plaintiff as she was attempting to turn right onto a busy street.

The judge declined to instruct the jury on violating a safety statute on the basis that the regulations the plaintiff cited in support of the proposed instruction referred to public highways and there was no evidence in the judge’s opinion that the accident involved a public highway. He also declined to instruct the jury on comparative negligence. The plaintiff appealed on the basis that omitting these instructions and failing to provide a more complete instruction regarding the issue of the defendant’s duty to the plaintiff was a reversible error.

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