The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, Review Board, recently analyzed whether an employee could receive workers’ compensation for injuries sustained while driving home from a nursing job. According to the “going and coming” rule, employees who are traveling to and from work are barred from recovering compensation for their injuries. In the case before the Board, the workers’ compensation insurance company argued that the employee had a fixed place of business, and she had been merely commuting home.The Board turned to caselaw to determine whether the facts supported a finding that the employee could recover benefits. In this case, the 71-year-old employee worked as a nurse of the employer. The employer assigned her to work at a facility in Vermont, while the employee lived in Danvers. She would travel to Vermont at the start of the work week and return home after her shift ended, five days later.
The Company that operates the “Duck Boat” tours in Boston will now require two staffers to be on all duck boats in light of the recent death of a 28 your old women that was struck and killed by a duck boat while riding a scooter. Allison Warmuth, 28, was driving a motor scooter near the Boston Common in April when she was struck and killed by the duck boat. A passenger on the scooter was injured.
The Women’s death also prompted the filing of legislation in Massachusetts that would prohibit duck boat drivers from simultaneously serving as narrator and tour guide on the vehicles. The parents of the women killed when struck by a Duck Boat also pushed for the passage of a bill which would require all duck boats to be equipped with blind spot cameras and sensors. Seattle also imposed new rules, including separate tour guides when a duck boat crashed last year, killing five passengers on the bus.
The majority of the duck boats used for tours are World War II era reproduction vehicles that were not designed navigate busy city streets. Furthermore drivers of the tour bus can be distracted because they sometimes are required to give verbal narratives of historical sites for the patrons. The addition of another employee on a duck boat is a welcome safety procedure. This way, there will be another set of eyes to ensure the duck boat is free and clear of all pedestrians before proceeding. Sensors and cameras will also aid the driver and confirming the boat is free and clear of hazards before proceeding.
A new study by the AAA Foundation for traffic safety found nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year. The study shows that some drivers even resorted to purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. The director of the research for the AAA Foundation study said “bad traffic and daily frustrations can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage and drivers find themselves lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”
A significant number of U.S. drivers reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year, according to the study’s estimates:
- Purposefully tailgating: 51 percent (104 million drivers)
A Plaintiff involved in a Motor Vehicle accident who was struck by another vehicle without Insurance filed suit in the Superior Court’s in an action she brought for bad faith denial of uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage.
An uninsured driver crashed into the Plaintiff’s car by improperly turning into her lane. The Plaintiff suffered a fractured rib, trauma to the right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery, trauma to the left knee for which she was a candidate for arthroscopic surgery, abrasions, and soft tissue injuries. Throughout the settlement negotiations and the processing of Plaintiff’s claim, the insurance company expressed concerns about whether the Plaintiff’s knee injuries were caused by pre-existing conditions. The record was unclear as to why there were large lapses in time during the settlement negotiations. While the parties were waiting for the Independent Medical Examiner report, the Plaintiff filed suit against the Insurance Company, seeking benefits up to the $100,000 policy limits, as well as punitive damages against the Insurance Company for bad faith by refusing to pay up to those limits. In support of the bad faith claim, The Plaintiff alleged that the Insurance Company refused to compensate her up to the UM policy limits without any reasonable justification. The Superior Court severed and stayed the bad faith claim pending resolution of the UM damages claim. The parties then stipulated to a partial dismissal of the bad faith claim without prejudice.
The jury returned a $260,000 verdict. The Insurance Company appealed on an evidentiary issue. The Insurance Company ended up paying the full Policy Limit of $100,000.00 as well as costs and interests.
Police in Michigan have arrested a man suspected of plowing his pickup truck into a group of bicyclists, killing five of them and seriously injuring four others. The driver left the scene, but a suspect, described as a 50-year old man, was apprehended a short while later, according to law enforcement.
The District Attorney Office said “We don’t have any motive for why this happened. As far as I know, the bicyclists were not doing anything other than simply riding their bikes in a proper way along the road”. The District Attorney also said the local police department received a call about the pickup truck driving erratically shortly before the crash.
A man who said he witnessed the incident said the truck was moving erratically and almost hit him. He said he didn’t have time to warn the cyclists. The truck later hit the bicyclists killing five.
Motor vehicle accidents remain the number one cause of Death for teens in the US. Just because a person obtains a drivers license, does not mean they are a safe driver. In fact, newly licensed drivers, regardless of their age, are at the highest risk for causing motor vehicle accidents. This is primarily due to their inexperience and lack of skills behind the wheel.
Studies have shown even though teens complete the learner permit period with success, they still have significant skill deficits which lead to a much higher rate of causing motor vehicle accidents. The most common type of crashes by teens are taking left hand turns in front of oncoming vehicles with the right of way, causing rear ended crashes and going off the road. Some of these accidents could be caused by distractions from cell phone or text use in addition to being inexperienced.
Many believe that before teens are allowed to drive on the roads themselves, the public needs to ensure they have the skills that can prevent them from crashing. Furthermore, when teens do crash, the public needs to know the cause of the crash ant remediate it. Some believe passing a road test by a driving instructor and a written test are not enough to allow all teens free reign on the public highways. There are studies that show teens would benefit from also taking a simulated driving test to really determine if they are ready for their drivers license.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has been studying the traffic conditions in almost 300 locations on and around the Bourne Bridge and the Sagamore Bridge, the two bridges that allow traffic to go to and from Cape Cod over the Canal. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has identified 82 areas which have the most frequent car crash statistics. The Department of Transportation hopes the study will help determine how to improve the traffic conditions in the Cape Cod Area and to help with reducing the amount of traffic accidents and injuries.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is also using the study to determine options to alleviate traffic congestion and protect the drivers and passengers of the roadways. Possible Long Term solutions include replacing the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges or possibly building a Third Bridge. Short and medium term solutions include changing the timing of traffic, re-routing traffic and restriping of the lines of the roads. ALL of the possible solutions are meant to increase the safety of the drivers and passengers of Massachusetts who use the state’s roadways in the Cape Cod area.
Hundreds of Motor Vehicle Accidents occur each year in the Cape Cod Area of Massachusetts. Some of these motor vehicle accidents could have been prevented. If you or somebody you know were involved in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts and sustained an injury, it is important to determine whether you are entitled to a recovery for your damages. Please contact an expert in the field of motor vehicle negligence at The Law Offices of Michael O. Smith if you have any questions regarding damage recovery from a motor vehicle accident.
Each year, hundreds of truck drivers and other occupants of motor vehicles die across the country on congested roadways and antiquated exits ramps. Crumbling interstate highways designed in the 1950’s is causing serious hazards to truck drivers and other motor vehicle occupants. One study concluded truck rollovers are responsible for more than half of the deaths to drivers and their occupants in 2012. Over 300 deaths and 3,000 injuries occur each year as a result of truck rollover accidents. Another study conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention concluded motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of on the job deaths for workers in the US.
Many interstate accidents are the result of outdated highway engineering and the growing gridlock as an increasing trucking industry puts more strain on the country’s highways. Many exits on highways were made over 40 years ago and do not have the banking needed for the trucks of today. The weight of products hauled by trucks has vastly increased over the last few decades causing additional strain on outdated highways.
Rollover crashes vastly increases the risk of death to the vehicle’s occupants. One study completed by the University of Michigan concluded if you are involved in a roll over vehicle crash, you are 30 times more likely to die then if you were in a vehicle crash without a rollover. Many of the roll over crash deaths can also be attributed to lack of seat belt use and older vehicles without stability control technology.
Texting while operating a motor vehicle can have serious consequences. Obviously, drivers operating a motor vehicle will be distracted when they are responding to or sending emails or texts on a smart phone. There has been an increase in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers responding to texts or emails due to the increase in the number of smart phones used by the general population.
One state is now pushing to have distracted drivers in Fatal Car Crashes to serve long term jail time similar to the penalties of an OUI charge causing a death. The state of Illinois Lawmakers are pushing for 20 months of jail time if the driver causes an accident while distracted by an electronic device and a death occurs. Lawmakers predict there will be a drop in the illegal use of cell phones if there are more strict penalties, including the possibility of significant jail time. One lawmaker from Illinois said “to respond to a text message while traveling 75 MPH on our roads, you are making a conscious decision that places the life of others in great peril”.
A newspaper story in Illinois reported over 1,000 people were found breaking the state law requiring cellphone usage be hands free while driving when they observed 10 major intersections on a weekday. The study concluded nearly 2 drivers a minute of 5 drivers every three minutes were illegally texting or talking on their cellphones.
Law makers from the State of Maine are considering legislation that would allow adults to opt out of wearing seatbelts while operating a vehicle. Neighboring New Hampshire is presently the only state that does not mandate seat belts for drivers. A republican senator who proposed the bill believes Maine’s mandate for all adults to wear seatbelts while operating a motor vehicle infringes on People’s freedom to make personal decisions. The Senator further went on to say that Government exists to protect us from each other, not to protect us from ourselves.
Many groups have opposed the repeal of the law mandating drivers to wear their seatbelts, including Maine’s police department and the Medical Association of trauma surgeons. One surgeon is quoted as saying “if the mandate to wear seatbelts helps keep a few dozen people out of my ER trauma room, then I will take the governance”. Many opponents argue repealing the law to wear seatbelts would be a dangerous move that would lead to more highway deaths.
Seatbelts are designed to mitigate physical injuries of occupants of motor vehicles involved in accidents. Individuals who are involved in major car accidents who wore seatbelts can avoid serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a seatbelt does not always mean you will avoid all injuries if you are in an accident. If you or somebody you know have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained an injury, I suggest you contact one of our experienced team members to discuss your potential claim.