10 Best
US Court of Appeals
Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys

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.

Continue reading


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.

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.