Massachusetts Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Rear-End Car Crash Claim

Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents that Boston residents face. They can happen virtually anywhere, whether it is a quiet suburban area or a crowded freeway during rush hour. Fortunately, the seasoned and dedicated Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Michael O. Smith are prepared to help you ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve after this type of accident.

In a recent appellate court decision, the plaintiff was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. She later filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle. In the complaint, she alleged that the accident resulted in her suffering from a severe aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions. She claimed reimbursement for medical bills that she incurred as a result of the collision. The date of the trial was postponed on several occasions at the plaintiff’s request. When the trial date finally arrived, the plaintiff failed to show up at the courtroom. The judge then dismissed the case for the plaintiff’s failure to prosecute it.

The plaintiff sought three continuances for the trial. After the third continuance, the court stated that it would not provide any additional continuances. Despite this, the plaintiff sought an emergency continuance after the fourth trial date, stating that her daughter was due to give birth when the trial was scheduled. The court denied this motion, and the plaintiff’s lawyer asked the court whether the matter could proceed without the plaintiff in attendance at trial. The plaintiff’s lawyer also asked the judge for an opportunity to explain to the jury that the plaintiff was not in attendance because of the birth of her grandchild. The court agreed to this.

On the day of trial, the plaintiff’s daughter went into labor and experienced complications. The doctor provided a note advising that the daughter was in the hospital, dealing with a high-risk pregnancy. The court denied the plaintiff’s request for a continuance based on this note and then dismissed the action with prejudice on the basis that she could not establish the requisite elements in her case without offering testimony that she was driving one of the cars in the accident. The court was unconvinced that the plaintiff would make an effort to appear for any portion of the trial and believed that a directed verdict would result.

The plaintiff appealed, and the appellate court reversed, finding that the lower court improperly dismissed the action. It also relied on the fact that the lower court had not issued an order mandating her attendance and that Massachusetts does not have a law that requires the plaintiff or the injured person seeking damages to appear during trial. Accordingly, the judge remanded the case for further proceedings.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Our dedicated team of car accident lawyers knows just how confusing and daunting the legal system can be. We will stand by you through each step while ensuring that you receive the responsive and compassionate legal counsel that you deserve. Call us now at 617-263-0060 or contact us online.

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