Why your Slip and Fall is Not as Innocent as You May Think

Slipping and falling in a grocery store, workplace, or retail store may seem innocent. The fall is innocent until the pain becomes a serious injury, such as bulging disc in the back or neck or even a broken bone, that leads to life long repercussions.

Slip and falls are a part of tort law, a special area of the law dedicated to a harm or loss resulting in a legal liability for the person who created the harm. Property owners are legally obligated to follow specific building regulations for the safety of bystanders and shoppers. If there is a dangerous condition on the premise, these property owners are liable for the resulting injuries. Although slip and falls seem innocent, these injuries may create lifelong harm.

A lawsuit may not be the first thing you may consider when having a slip and fall, but if you believe the fall was not your fault or due to a dangerous condition, you should consult a personal injury attorney. There is a time limit (or “statute of limitations”) for filing slip and fall claims and it is important to speak with an attorney and get a case evaluation as quickly as possible. Filing an action may lead to monetary benefits that could help cover the losses and medical bills that you or your family are facing.

If you or a family member are involved in a slip and fall accident in Massachusetts and have been injured, please contact our law office. We can provide a case evaluation to help you be aware of your rights and consider next steps if necessary.

After A Car Accident – What You Need To Know

If you have been injured in a car accident, there are several things you should know.

First, if you suffer personal injuries or damaged property caused by a car accident, you have three years from the date of the accident to go to resolve your claim for damages.  Under the Statute of Limitations, suit must be filed within three years from the date of the collision!  After this time, a court is likely to refuse to hear a suit.

Second, Massachusetts law stipulates that car accidents are adjudicated under modified comparative fault. This means that any damages the court orders are decreased by any percentage of fault you are found to have in the accident. For example, if a jury deems the other driver 85% at fault and you to be 15% at fault, and the award is $10,000, you will receive 85% of $10,000.

Third, modified comparative fault in Massachusetts also means that a plaintiff can only be awarded damages if he or she is found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident. This is quite different than many other states in the U.S. Many states operate under a pure comparative fault rule, which means that a plaintiff can be awarded whatever percentage of damages a jury has decided they are not at fault. In the example above, for instance, if a jury found a plaintiff 60% at fault and the other driver 40% at fault, the plaintiff could still receive 40% of any award under pure comparative fault. That is not the case in Massachusetts, where the plaintiff would not be entitled to any damages.

If you have been injured in car accident and would like a free case evaluation to learn your options, please call my law office and speak directly to an experienced Massachusetts personal  injury attorney.

How To Start Your Personal Injury Case in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Accident Data Center website reveals an array of accidents that occur in our State every day: an 8 year old boy was injured while riding his bicycle in Medway; a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in Milford; and a two-car wreck in Millis left four people seriously hurt.

You can’t help but wonder what YOU would do if it was you — or your little boy — who had been injured. It’s an upsetting time, and it gets worse when you realize that you now have another challenge: finding a personal injury lawyer who will protect your rights and fight for just compensation. After all, it’s the only way that you can be sure that you receive the care you need, whether it is immediate care for a broken bone or longer-term care such as physical therapy or other rehabilitation to help you get back to where you were before the accident.

There are so many ways that an injury can occur and you certainly will require both medical and legal guidance in determining how to proceed in recovery. My office understands not only the stress and physical burdens you will endure but also the financial challenges that lay ahead. Serious personal injury can change your life and you need an experienced attorney by your side. [Read more…]

Consequences of Devastating Head Injuries

50,000 people lose their lives, 280,000 people are hospitalized, and 2.2 million people are seen in emergency rooms: these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show the impact of head injuries in the United States in a single year. The magnitude of these statistics is worthy of discussion; particularly since a traumatic head injury can be the result of car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and assaults.

Head Injuries Pose Potential for Long-Term Consequences
While a head injury can have immediate repercussions for victims including headaches, temporary memory loss and feelings of sleepiness, the long-term consequences should not be ignored. Even those victims who suffer very mild symptoms of a head injury after a car accident need to use caution; repeat head trauma has been associated with higher incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Those with severe head injuries immediately after an accident can suffer from: [Read more…]

4 Reasons To Call An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney After An Accident

While driving home from work, another driver side swipes your vehicle causing serious injury and medical expenses. Why should you contact an experienced personal injury attorney?

1) Evidence gets lost or destroyed.
As the plaintiff, you bear the burden of proof of proving all elements of your claim. If you fail to present evidence of the defendant’s negligence, your case will be unsuccessful.  Your ability to prove your case rest heavily on your ability to provide physical evidence.  Physical evidence can include photos, videos, witness statements, police reports, medical records, and other proof of injuries. However, as time passes, the evidence gets weaker. For example, waiting too long to contact and obtain a written statement from a witness, might result in difficulty finding the witness or the witness’ memory fading.  This might make it more difficult for a jury to rule in your favor.

2) You may miss out on a chance for quick settlement.
A settlement is the most financially reasonable and time efficient way to resolve most personal injury cases.  However, insurance attorneys and adjusters are excellent negotiators and will often low-ball you if you try to settle your claim on your own.  You need an experienced personal injury attorney to assess the strength, weaknesses, and the monetary value of your case to ensure you receive the just compensation that you deserve.

3. Statutes of limitations.
The statute of the limitations is the legal deadline for you to file your personal injury lawsuit in court.  The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Massachusetts is three years; this deadline is absolute. If you miss this deadline, even if it is by only one day, the court dismisses your case and you are no longer entitled to receive any compensation for your injuries.

4) The peace of mind you’ll get from knowing your case is in good hands.
Handling a personal injury lawsuit while simultaneously recovering from your injuries can be an overwhelming, intimidating, and stressful experience. The aftermath of surviving an accident is burdensome on your personal relationships and finances. Contact a personal injury attorney and they will provide you with the guidance you need and aggressively defend your claim.

If you’ve been injured by the fault or negligence of another party, call my office to speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney. We offer no obligation, free case evaluations to help you better understand your options.

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

If you are a resident of Massachusetts and have been seriously injured or have suffered the loss of a family member killed by wrongdoing or negligence, you should be aware of the importance of hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Far too much is at stake to engage in self-representation in these types of cases.

Regardless of the type of accident, injuries due to someone else’s negligence can result in pain and expense that lasts for years. Medical expenses can quickly add up, and the injured party can become overwhelmed by the associated stress. Oftentimes, the injured party must take time off from work, be faced with copious forms to fill out, and is bombarded with confusing calls from insurance adjusters who do not have the best interests of the injured party at heart, and who are known, in some cases, to harass and use intimidation techniques with those who are suffering losses and injuries.

Recovering the compensation that is due to victims of serious injuries or the loss of a loved one can be an arduous task. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can fully understand the complicated nuances associated with negligence, product liability or medical malpractice and attain the desired results of getting his or her clients the compensation they deserve.

It is the job of your attorney to act as a shield between you and the insurance companies. Your attorney is trained in gathering all required evidence that can prove the extent of your damages. Your attorney knows how to negotiate these types of cases and to work on your behalf to maximize compensation and to take cases to trial when necessary.

If you’ve been injured and seek the assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney in the Medway, MA area, we invite you to call our office and schedule a free consultation to learn the facts and your options.

Massachusetts Personal Injury Law – Do You Have A Case?

If you’ve ever been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ve likely considered a personal injury lawsuit. Judging by all the attorney commercials out there, you would think it’s relatively easy to sue someone. However, there are several important factors, which can make or break a personal injury claim. Personal injury laws vary widely from state to state, and knowing the basics of Massachusetts laws will help you understand your case.

How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
All personal injury cases rely on proving negligence to file (and win) your claim. This means that another party was, in essence, responsible for your accident. For example, if you were struck by a vehicle, or slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk outside of a store, your accident was likely due to another person’s negligence. However, Massachusetts law allows you to collect compensation even if you were partially at fault for your accident. This is called the comparative fault rule. As long as you are deemed less than 50% at fault, you will be eligible for compensation. [Read more…]

Construction Site Injuries in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the  Department of Industrial Accidents oversees workers’ compensation claims from Construction Accidents. OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational, Health and Safety Administration, has Safety and Health Regulations for Construction that specifically cover construction site safety.

Likewise, Massachusetts Code Law contains construction site safety codes in certain sections of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, in the State Building Code and State Sanitary Code.  In Massachusetts, safety statutes, regulations and contractual terms usually dictate acceptable conduct on the construction site.

Under federal and Massachusetts safety regulations, the general contractor cannot delegate safety obligations on the job site to another entity, for example under contract with a safety consultant or other subcontractor.
[Read more…]

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Massachusetts

Losing a family member is painful and when your family loses a family member because of the action or inaction of another person, the loss is compounded with anger.  In addition to losing your loved one, you are facing a life without their companionship and in addition, very real monetary losses. There is no doubt that no amount of money will ever mitigate the loss but the fact remains, you have the legal right in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 229, Section 2 to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Filing Wrongful Death Claims
To file wrongful death claim, the personal representative of the decedents estate must work with a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts who understands the statutes that apply to wrongful death.  Should the decedent not have a will at the time of their death, the probate court will appoint a person to bring the claim.  A successful suit that results in damages awarded will be distributed according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. [Read more…]

Massachusetts Law Regarding Dog Bites

Dog bites and other injuries caused by a dog, are terrifying when they happen. They are painful and may become a major medical problem for the person bitten, or knocked over by a dog. If the bite or injury is serious enough, it may require stitches or a cast. Infection is also a problem in this case. Massachusetts law, Part I, Title XX, Chapter 140, Section 155 is specifically written to deal with this personal injury matter.

Is The Dog Owner Always Liable?
Dog bites happen for different reasons and the law takes this into account. If a person is teasing the dog, then the law recognizes this as provocation of the animal. In these limited circumstances, the dog owner will not necessarily be held liable if provocation is a factor. If there is no proven provocation, the responsibility is with the dog owner for the actions of their dog.

Types Of Injury
Injury under Massachusetts law is not always an actual bite on a person by a dog. Being knocked down by a dog and sustaining injury is also covered under this section.  Property injury has the same liability proofs as a dog bite. Types of property injuries might be clothing ripped by the animal or damage to a vehicle or bicycle.

Burden Of Proof
In general, the burden to prove the dog was acting within the law is on the defendant in the case. The plaintiff’s task is proving the dog was not provoked in any legal definition and acted without cause. There must also be proof of injury to either a person’s body or property.

If a dog has injured you, consult the Law Offices of Steven M. Houde, PC to find out if you have a personal injury claim.