Articles Posted in Product Liability Law

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What Is Negligence?

Negligence in Massachusetts, and in all states, means failing to act reasonably in a situation and causing injury to a person(s) as a direct result.  As a Boston accident lawyer, negligence is the lynchpin of each case my office handles. Whether it be a Massachusetts car accident, slip and fall, or any other type of personal injury case, the injury victim must prove the following elements in order to win a negligence case against a defendant:

1) The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.  This means that the one who caused the injuries had a legal duty to act in a reasonable manner toward the victim.  An example of a duty of care is that we all have a duty while driving not to drive into the rear of the car in front of us.

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Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases and Settlement Funding

This is a topic I deal with quite frequently when representing personal injury victims. Often, my clients will call me and tell me the accident they were involved in has financially harmed them so much, they are willing to take a loan out.  For example, suppose the client was riding a bicycle and was hit by a car.  The person may be really injured, racking up medical bills, and maybe lost wages, too.  Sometimes the client will see an ad on television from companies that provide funding to people injured in an accident and that have an open case pending with an insurance company.

The loan is typically financed by a pre-settlement funding company. When my clients ask me about this option, I try very hard to persuade them not to take out such a loan, because the interest rates can be very daunting.  Basically, the way it works is this: the pre-settlement funding company will closely analyze the client’s case, and loan application, and then decide whether or not the case is strong enough to guarantee the company will recoup their money, once the case settles.

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Massachusetts Personal Injury Deposition Tips for Plaintiffs

If you were injured due to negligence, you may find yourself involved in a lawsuit.  If it is you (or your attorney) that filed the lawsuit then you are referred to as the plaintiff and the party you sued is the defendant.

A deposition is a part of the lawsuit process which you may be required to undergo.  Whether it be a car accident case or other type of injury claim, most depositions work the same way.  Note if your case is a workers’ compensation case you will not be expected to go to a deposition.

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Millions of Americans have Medicare health insurance coverage.  Oftentimes however, when a Medicare beneficiary is involved in a personal injury event, dealing with Medicare can be a tedious and interminable process.

By law, Medicare has an automatic lien for any medical bills they paid out on your behalf in connection with medical treatment you received stemming from a personal injury case.  There is no way to avoid such a lien, and myself, and thousands of personal injury attorneys throughout America deal with the Medicare behemoth daily.

Therefore, if you have been injured in an accident in Massachusetts, or any other state, and you are a Medicare beneficiary, your attorney (or yourself if you are pro se) will have to work with Medicare to see to it that their lien is satisfied out of any settlement or verdict proceeds.  Because even if a case is concluded, Medicare can still pursue the beneficiary, and even the attorney, if Medicare discovers their lien was not satisfied.

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Absolutely.  The attorney/client relationship is based on a mutual and voluntary contractual relationship.  The client can exit the relationship at any time.  In fact, you are allowed to fire your Massachusetts personal lawyer at any time and you don't even need a reason for doing so.

I find that many people who call me and are interested in changing lawyers are doing so because they feel their lawyer is not communicating with them.  If your lawyer is not calling you back and/or not keeping you updated on your case, you have the right to change lawyers.  You may, however, be responsible for paying the lawyer back the expenses the lawyer put into the case. 

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Most if not all Massachusetts personal injury, medical malpractice and products liability cases are taken on a contingency fee basis.  What does this mean?  I found the following informative and articulate post over at injuryboard.com authored by attorney Scott E. Smith.  Here is the post:

Abraham Lincoln once said, "A lawyer's time and advice is his stock in trade." In essence, asking an attorney for his advice is no different than asking an accountant to set up a business plan or do your taxes, a doctor to examine you, render a diagnosis and prescribe treatment or hiring an electrician to fix the wiring of your home. Nonetheless, many people are under the impression that calling a lawyer and asking a question is free. Although most lawyers will gladly answer preliminary questions regarding a legal matter, when it is determined a lawyer is needed, a fee contract is required.

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Most lawyers charge by the hour, as do most professions. Depending upon the lawyer's qualifications, experience and expertise, the hourly rate will vary. However, there are situations attorneys will work for a client on a contingent basis or on a reduced hourly rate and negotiated lower percentage. A contingency fee allows a lawyer to charge a client a percentage of money recovered in behalf of the client in a given case. A contingent fee contract has been referred to as the "poor man's key to the courthouse" because many individuals who are in need or require the assistance of an attorney cannot afford an hourly rate.

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1) It compensates for the medical treatment the injury victim had to endure;

2) It covers the medical bills and liens that must be paid out of the settlement;

3) It adequately compensates the injury victim for lost wages, and if applicable, future lost wages or impairment of earning capacity;

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Someone Injured Me But I Can’t Afford To Hire An Attorney!

Not to worry.  One of the hallmarks of personal injury law is that the injury victim does not get billed an hourly rate.  Rather, the legal fee is a percentage of the gross amount recovered for the client.

Nearly all Massachusetts personal injury lawyers – as well as personal injury lawyers in other states –  take motor vehicle accident cases on a contingency fee basis.  What that means is that your attorney will take 33 1/3% (or possibly more if your case goes into suit) of any settlement or judgment amount as his/her legal fee at the conclusion of the case.  If your attorney advances any costs in prosecuting your claim, it is you that is ultimately responsible for any such costs.  Massachusetts workers’ compensation cases are also handled by contingency basis, and the amounts are set by law.

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I found a great answer to this question over at the Texas Injury Law Blog.  Here it is:

If you have been injured in an accident, you may benefit greatly from the services of a personal injury lawyer. First and foremost, a personal injury lawyer can determine whether or not you have a case. Your attorney will be able to determine who was at fault for your accident and inform you of whether you have a strong basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

A personal injury attorney can help ensure that you do not lose your right to bring your claim by making sure you file your personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations has run. Your lawyer will be an expert on Texas’s personal injury law and can make certain that you do not lose your legal right to compensation because of a procedural error.

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I came across yet another fantastically informative article over at the website of CBS Channel 3 of Springfield, MA.  This article gives you some great inf0rmation if you have been injured by a product in Massachusetts:

Q. What is Products Liability?
A. "Products Liability" is a term which describes the law of negligence and breach of warranty as it applies to manufacturers, repairers, sellers and suppliers of numerous types of products. Essentially, Product Liability law allows someone who has been injured or suffered property damage as a result of a dangerous and defective product to recover monetary damages so long as the injury or damage is causally related to the product's defect.

Q. What obligations or duties do manufacturers of products have?
A. A manufacturer of a product is under a duty to use reasonable care in designing and manufacturing its product. A manufacturer is also under a duty of care to inspect a product and discover and eliminate any defects before it leaves the manufacturer's possession, custody and/or control. However, this duty is one of reasonable care and not of absolute perfection.

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