Articles Tagged with Boston

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Don’t Have a Lawyer and the Insurance Company is Contacting You?

Each and every day Massachusetts auto insurance companies, upon learning of an auto accident in which they may have to pay out money damages, will contact you.  They will send an insurance adjuster to the home of the injured party and attempt to have him/her sign a release. The insurance adjuster shows up, big smile, and explains there is no need to get a lawyer. Then, as is very common, the adjuster will offer some small money, maybe $500, maybe $1000, to the injury victim in order to settle the case as quickly as possible.

This scenario gets me upset – and I see it all the time – because most people, after an accident, don’t know their rights, unless he/she first speaks with an auto accident attorney. The insurance adjuster know this, and capitalizes on it, in order to save the insurance company money (better for the insurance company to get rid of case fast before it has to pay out much more money when an attorney becomes involved in the case). By signing a release without first speaking with an attorney basically guarantees that you are severely limiting your rights and potential compensation.

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ere is an article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about how the vast majority of personal injury plaintiffs are losing at trial in Massachusetts.  Keep in mind the old adage, "the good cases settle, and the bad cases go to trial" while you read the article.  Here is the article:

Odds against tort plaintiffs in Massachusetts

Success at trial poor, especially in suburbs

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I found the following over at the Taradash Law Firm web site which lists 72 common defenses used by insurance companies to avoid paying money to those injured in motor vehicle accidents. A big thank you is in order to the Taradash Law Firm – an Illinois law firm dedicated to representing injury victims – for compiling such an exhaustive and impressive list. Here are the common insurance defenses in connection with motor vehicle accident claims:

1. Plaintiff vehicle not equipped with headrest. seat belts, rearview mirror. or other safety device and it is plaintiff’s responsibility to provide his vehicle with such devices.

2. Seat belts or other safety devices available in vehicle but not used by plaintiff.

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If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at a retail store, the store does not have a legal duty to provide you with a copy of the video.  The only real way to obtain the video of your fall is by suing the store for your injuries.  At that time, during discovery, the store is required to provide you, or your attorney, with a copy of the video.  Regardless of whether or not the case is in suit, my office always sends a 'spoilation letter' advising the store to preserve the video, as it is evidence that can be introduced at trial.  The failure of a store to preserve the video can result in serious sanctions and penalties by the court. 

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If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at a retail store, the store does not have a legal duty to provide you with a copy of the video.  The only real way to obtain the video of your fall is by suing the store for your injuries.  At that time, during discovery, the store is required to provide you, or your attorney, with a copy of the video.  Regardless of whether or not the case is in suit, my office always sends a 'spoilation letter' advising the store to preserve the video, as it is evidence that can be introduced at trial.  The failure of a store to preserve the video can result in serious sanctions and penalties by the court. 

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Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant in a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit, there is a good chance you will be deposed.  The American Bar Association provides 10 tips for deponents which I feel can help you if you are facing an impending deposition.  Here they are:

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Listen to the question. Pause. Think as long as necessary before answering.
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Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant in a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit, there is a good chance you will be deposed.  The American Bar Association provides 10 tips for deponents which I feel can help you if you are facing an impending deposition.  Here they are:

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Listen to the question. Pause. Think as long as necessary before answering.
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Negligence is one of three prongs of tort law (the two others being strict liability and intentional wrongs, but more on these in future posts).  Negligence is defined by Black's Law Dictionary (Second Ed.) as "The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation; any conduct that falls below the legal standard established to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm."  But what does that really mean?

The word refers to conduct that is considered objectively unreasonable.  For example, if you slipped and fell on ice in front of a store, and the store-owner had notice that the gutter above his store was leaking water onto the sidewalk and that this water would freeze in the winter, then that store-owner may have acted unreasonably, or negligently, in failing to correct the problem.  It was foreseeable – on the part of the store-owner – that someone would slip and fall on the ice (or maybe he or she even knew of slips and falls in the past and did nothing to correct it). 

Or, let's take the example of an automobile accident.  If a driver is driving erratically and ends up injuring someone, that driver may have been operating his automobile negligently, because he or she could have reasonably foreseen that someone would be injured as a result of his or her unreasonable conduct.

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Negligence is one of three prongs of tort law (the two others being strict liability and intentional wrongs, but more on these in future posts).  Negligence is defined by Black's Law Dictionary (Second Ed.) as "The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation; any conduct that falls below the legal standard established to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm."  But what does that really mean?

The word refers to conduct that is considered objectively unreasonable.  For example, if you slipped and fell on ice in front of a store, and the store-owner had notice that the gutter above his store was leaking water onto the sidewalk and that this water would freeze in the winter, then that store-owner may have acted unreasonably, or negligently, in failing to correct the problem.  It was foreseeable – on the part of the store-owner – that someone would slip and fall on the ice (or maybe he or she even knew of slips and falls in the past and did nothing to correct it). 

Or, let's take the example of an automobile accident.  If a driver is driving erratically and ends up injuring someone, that driver may have been operating his automobile negligently, because he or she could have reasonably foreseen that someone would be injured as a result of his or her unreasonable conduct.

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