Articles Posted in Auto accident

A number of auto recalls in 2019 have given motorists cause for concern and created serious safety risks for drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. If you receive a recall notice, it is important to take your vehicle in as soon as possible to undergo the necessary repairs. In some situations, an automaker may fail to issue a recall in the time leading to devastating accidents and injuries. In some situations, defective auto parts can even cause fatalities. If you were injured in a car accident and believe a defective auto part is responsible, call our seasoned team of Boston car accident lawyers today to learn more about your rights.

General Motors has issued several recalls throughout this year, including a recall that caused 113 car crashes in a variety of their vehicle models, including the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Chevy Tahoe. The defect involves a faulty powered brake-assist system, which means that the vehicle may not be able to stop appropriately. Drivers who experience things like a ticking noise while trying to depress the brake or a vibrating brake pedal may be affected.

Nissan has experienced serious issues with its backup cameras and recently issued a recall for 1.23 million motor vehicles. Although no injuries have been reported related to this defect at present, drivers who rely on the backup camera for reversing should proceed with extreme caution.

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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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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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Most people are aware that speeding can lead to serious accidents but drivers continue to break them anyway. Recently, the City of Boston reduced speed limits to 25 miles-per-hour with the goal of reducing the number of traffic-related pedestrian deaths and injuries. According to recent reports, Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston City Council are considering reducing the speed limit to 20 miles-per-hour to provide even greater protections.

The move to reduce speed limits originated with the City’s VisionZero program, which was backed by Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature. In 2016, Governor Baker signed a piece of legislation called the Municipal Modernization bill that allows municipalities to reduce speed limits from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 miles-per-hour as the default for areas where no speed limits are posted. This is especially important for high-traffic areas that adjoin residential communities like Boston, Quincy, Dedham, Cambridge, and Arlington. It is important for drivers to be aware of this change and to reduce their speed to 25 miles-per-hour in affected areas.

Although the speed limit reduction may not seem like it will make a big difference, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study concluding that the 5 mile-per-hour reduction from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 miles-per-hour led to a 29% reduction in vehicles traveling 35 miles-per-hour or more. Also, data shows that 90% of pedestrians who are hit in a vehicle accident are hit by a vehicle that was traveling faster than 20 miles-per-hour.