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In an appeal involving an employer’s duty to safeguard confidential information, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal held that a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of an automobile insurance company should be vacahighwayted.  The lower court had found that the plaintiff had not met his duty of showing the company’s negligence in safeguarding his confidential information following a vehicle collision.  An employee of the insurance company had access to the plaintiff’s information and provided it to her boyfriend, who intimidated the plaintiff, as a witness to the crash.

The plaintiff brought a case against the automobile insurance company, and a lower court dismissed four of his five claims.  The plaintiff appealed the grant of summary judgment on his negligent failure to safeguard personal information claim. In this case, the facts indicated that an employee of the insurer had access to confidential data through work that included records maintained by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

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Recently, a Massachusetts appeals court affirmed a judgment in favor of an insurance company in a civil action for damages following a motor vehicle accident.  Following an accident, automobile insurance companies may pay damages to an injured individual after a determination that their insured was legally at fault for a collision. In this lawsuit, the pcrashed carlaintiff received a payment from the at-fault party’s insurer. He argued that sales tax was recoverable as damages in tort, and it should therefore be recoverable under the insurance policy, even though he had not submitted proof he replaced his damaged vehicle.

The court stated that when looking at an insurance contract, the language is a question of law to be determined by the judge and, on appeal, by a reviewing court.  According to the common law of torts, injured individuals accrue a right, following an accident, to be compensated for injuries that have been wrongfully inflicted by another individual or entity.

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In a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident, the issue of liability, or legal fault, was conceded. This means that the defendants admitted they were at fault, and the issue before the jury was the amount of damages to award the injured victim.  The prcar crashocedural issues in this case reflect the importance of medical records and documentation in a motor vehicle injury lawsuit. Here, the judge ultimately found that the medical evidence did not support the plaintiff’s allegations of harm, and the jury’s excessive verdict was not grounded in the evidence. The result was a serious (nearly 90%) reduction of the plaintiff’s original award.

Following a car accident in July 2004, the plaintiff victim brought a lawsuit alleging negligence against the driver of a pickup truck and his employer. The facts indicated that the defendant driver had rear-ended the victim’s car and then struck her passenger door. The victim underwent medical care and then, two years after the initial car accident, was again-rear ended. In the ensuing lawsuit, the defendants conceded liability, and the matter was tried on the issue of damages.

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An appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court addressed the measure of punitive damages to be awarded to a motor vehicle accident victim and his fpedestrianamily.  Insurance companies that delay payment, after liability has been demonstrated in a car accident claim, may be assessed additional damages for their conduct. The issue in this case centered on how to calculate punitive damages, specifically, whether post-judgment interest should be included in the amount to be multiplied.

The plaintiffs in this personal injury claim included the victim, his wife, and his daughter.  They filed a personal injury lawsuit for injuries after the victim was struck by a van driven by an employee of the defendant employer.  The victim had been crossing the street in Boston when he was struck and suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull. The plaintiffs claimed negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and loss of consortium.

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The Massachusetts Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s judgment in a personal injury lawsuit brought by a pedestrian injured by a truck driver who struck her in the evening, while she was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk.  The issue before the trial court had been the relative fault of the two parties, since eyewitness testimony indicated that the plaintiff may not have obeyed the pedestrian signal. pedestrian sign

The jury had been instructed on Massachusetts law addressing a driver’s legal responsibilities at crosswalks, which included the prohibition against an “operator” entering a marked crosswalk while a pedestrian was crossing.   After the jury found the plaintiff 35% at fault, her damages award was reduced by that percentage (her total damages were $70,000, and the awarded judgment was $45,000). The city appealed, challenging the judge’s instructions to the jury on the ground that the statute did not apply to the circumstances of the case.

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A recent study found that commercial truck drivers with three or more medical conditions double or quadruple their chance for being in a crash than healthier drivers.  The study let by the University of Utah School of Medicine found that truck drivers poor health could be dangerous not only to themselves, but to other drivers around them.  The study found the rate of crashes resulting in injury among all truck drivers was 20 per 100 million miles traveled.  For truck drivers with three or more medical conditions, the rate of crashes shot up to 93 per every 100 million miles traveled.

This study tells us that truck drivers with poor health could lead to increased crash risk.  Some truck drivers have difficulty keeping healthy due to their line of occupation.  Truck drivers typically sit for long periods of time, deal with poor sleep and have difficulty finding healthy meals, verses fast food, when working.  These problems lead to truck drivers declining health.  One study finds that over 1/3 of all commercial truck drivers have at least one medical condition such as heart disease, low back pain or diabetes.  The study finds that one health condition experienced by truck drivers, such as diabetes, is manageable, but diabetes in combination with other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and anxiety, can greatly increase the risk of a truck crash that not only injures the truck driver, but can also injure other innocent victims traveling on the road.

The study concludes its in the public’s best interest to continue to investigate the issue of health of our nations commercial truck drivers.  Occupants of other vehicle’s get injured in approximately 75% of all crashes involving trucks.  Perhaps one solution would be to make sure our commercial truck drivers know the health risk’s of working for long periods driving in a sedentary capacity.  This way, Commercial Truck drivers will be able to limit the decline of their health causing less of a chance of a truck crash causing bodily injury to themselves or other travelers that share the road with them.  If you or a loved one have experienced a motor vehicle crash with a truck, please contact an experienced attorney, such as the ones at The Law Offices of Michael O. Smith at 15 Broad Street, in Boston, to understand your rights and remedies.

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Many victims of car accident cases want to know the value of their claim for settlement purposes.  The truth is there is no set rule to the actual value of a victims claim for pain and suffering.  There are many factors that play a role in determining the approximate value of a car accident bodily injury claim.  Many victims compare their case with another person’s past experience.  This is a mistake.  No two accident claims for a motor vehicle bodily injury claim are alike.

The insurance company takes into consideration many factors when reviewing a car accident bodily injury claim for settlement.  The first factor is Liability.  If the insurance company finds you at fault, then they will most likely deny your claim.  Sometimes,  the insurance company makes a determination that a plaintiff/victim presenting a bodily injury claim is partly at fault for the accident.  Under this circumstance, the insurance company may offer less than the full value of your claim.  If they determine that you are more than 50% at fault, the insurance company could outright deny your claim for a recovery.  This is why it is imperative that you have an attorney to explore all theories of liability and to fight for your rights.

Once Liability has been established, the bodily Injury Insurance Carrier takes several factors into consideration when determining the value of a claim.  Before an insurance company makes an offer of settlement in a Bodily Injury claim in Massachusetts, The plaintiff/claimant needs to establish they incurred over $2,000.00 of motor vehicle accident related medical expenses, or have suffered a broken bone or sustain a permanent scar.   This is commonly referred to as the “tort threshold”.

wiggs_Bus_704923-300x229Students were injured after an 1-95 school bus crash in Weston Massachusetts.  The accident caused the bus to crash through an Interstate 95 Guardrail and then the bus rolled onto its side.  Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

The bus was taking several students home to Boston after an early release day at Sudbury’s Ephraim Curtis Middle School.  The crash occurred when the school bus collided with a Chevy Silverado pick up truck.  The Bus driver, the bus monitor and all 22 students were able to get out of the bus under their own power.  Weston Massachusetts fire and police department responded to the scene of the accident.  The fire chief confirmed 10 students were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.  Other students and the driver were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.  All the crash victims were released without being admitted as an in-patient.  This eased many parents concerns of the welfare of their children.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.  No charges have been filed by either driver at this time.  One of the students commented that the cause if the crash was due to the pick up truck swerving into the lane of the bus causing the impact to occur.