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car-accident1A 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.

Attorney Smith has been named as one of the top 100 civil litigation attorneys in Massachusetts by ASLA for the year 2016.  The American Society of Legal Advocates, ASLA, is an invitation-only, nationwide organization of elite lawyers in practice today. ASLA draws its membership from lawyers who combine stellar legal credentials with a proven commitment to community engagement and the highest professional standards.

Through ASLA’s Top 100 Lawyers, they recognize exceptional legal talent and early promise among the next generation of great lawyers.

ASLA’s list of attorneys are carefully-selected, highly-qualified community of lawyers with experience in wide-ranging practice areas in virtually any jurisdiction in the United States.

Massachusetts is one of the last New England states that still allows the use of hand held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.  On July 1st, 2015, New Hampshire joined several other northeast states including Connecticut, Vermont and New York to ban hand held cell phone use when driving.  These states do allow the use of hands free technology such as Bluetooth.

In Massachusetts, there is a law that bans texting while driving and bans the use of all cell phones whatsoever by junior operators 18 and younger.  Since 2010, Massachusetts have handed out approximately 15,000 citations for texting while driving.  The fines for texting while driving in Massachusetts can range from $100 to $500.

There are several bills that would require hands free cellphone use only while driving filed in the legislative session.  Unfortunately, there has been no word yet regarding when the bills will be heard.  There are many that agree with a hands free mandate in Massachusetts arguing the use of a hand held cell phone can be distracting to drivers and they will be more prone to cause an accident.  Proponents of the bill argue distracted drivers not only put their own safety at risk, they also risk other drivers and pedestrians in the State of Massachusetts.  In 2013, the Traffic Safety Administration reported $3,154 deaths in the US from crashes involving distracted drivers.distracted cell phone use while driving

osha_logoAccording to the National News Claims Journal, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently handed out a $101,600.00 fine to Detyens Shipyards, Inc. of South Carolina due to various findings of serious safety violations. OSHA conducted a comprehensive inspection of their facility in December of 2014 and found many serious safety hazards that put their workers in jeopardy of a serious injury.   The violations include not ensuring wire rope guardrails were pulled tight to prevent workers from falling overboard ships, allowing workers to use forklifts with broken safety equipment, blocked exit doors, not providing welding screens for arc welders, exposing workers to electrical hazards, exposing workers to saws and other machinery that lacked safety guards and not clearly marking exits. The business has 15 days from receipt of the various citations and penalties to comply with OSHA’s rules and regulations.

Unsafe work conditions can play a major reason why employee’s sustain workplace injuries and need to receive workers compensation benefits. Many workplace accidents and injuries are easily preventable by employers who take workplace safely seriously. An employer or worksite that does not comply with OSHA rules and regulations will mostly likely see an increased amount of workers compensation claims. Having a save and secure work environment is a win-win situation for both employees and employers. Not only do employees avoid the risk of serious bodily harm, the employer also benefits from a decrease in workers compensation claims thereby reducing costs. Employers that invest in good workplace safety measures will see a return on their investment from reduced workers compensation insurance premiums.

If you or a loved one have been injured at a jobsite and the accident or injury was caused by unsafe work conditions, please contact our office to speak with an attorney experienced in assisting victims of negligence.  You or your loved one may have a valid third party claim for negligence in addition to a workers compensation claim for workplace injuries.

 

pharmacyA Plaintiff has brought a lawsuit against the large Drug Store Chain, CVS, for allegedly filling the wrong medication. The Plaintiff filed the lawsuit earlier this year after she received an anti-depressant medication instead of a medication to treat her acid reflex issues. The Plaintiff claimed she was given the anti-depressant medication Duloxetine instead of the correct medication for her acid reflex, called Dexlansoprazole. The Plaintiff began to experience multiple symptoms such as disorientation, lethargy and vertigo which ultimately caused her to feel faint, fall and fracture her nose as well as injuring her eyes. She is claiming her fall and resulting injuries are the result of the pharmacy chain’s mistake.

CVS Pharmacy LLC, is accused of improperly dispensing the medication, failing to take proper precautions to avoid dispensing incorrect prescriptions and failing to possess the degree of knowledge and skill that pharmacists should possess and failure to exercise the necessary degree of care.   The plaintiff is claiming damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of enjoyment of live.

Various courts throughout this country are seeing an increase in pharmacy malpractice claims for filling the incorrect medications. This could be due to the abundance of new medications in the market over the last decade as well as improper training and increased workload of pharmacists.

eagles-fans-fightingA Massachusetts Superior allowed a Plaintiff’s claim for injuries from an altercation at the TD Garden during a Boston Bruins Game to proceed to the Jury. The Plaintiff brought a negligent security claim against both the TD Garden as well as their security vendor after he was assaulted in the men’s room by another fan. The defendants argued they are entitled to a summary Judgment because the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were not reasonably foreseeable. The Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the case. The Judge said there are certain circumstances at the TD Garden where fights are foreseeable and the allegation whether the actions taken by the defendants were adequate under the circumstances are to be determined by “the collective wisdom of the Jury as fact finders”.

On 3/25/2010, the plaintiff entered the men’s restroom at the TD Bank Garden immediately after the end of a Bruins game. The plaintiff claims he observed an altercation and tried to diffuse the situation. Ultimately, the defendant lifted up the plaintiff, threw him to the ground causing him to sustain bodily injuries.

The Judge noted there was no security guards within the restroom or outside the restroom and the security guards that responded to the altercation needed to run from three stadium sections away from the incident location. The judge concluded “a genuine issue of material fact, therefore exists as to whether the presence of security personnel nearer to or directly outside the men’s room bears upon the issue whether the defendants took reasonable deterrent measures”.

15 Broad 315 Broad 215 BroadThe Law Offices of Michael O. Smith is pleased to announce a new office address of 15 Broad Street, Suite 800, Boston, MA 02109.  This new address is on the corner of State Street and Broad Street in Downtown Boston.  The new office suite is bigger and brighter than our previous address.  The office location is central to the Department of Industrial Accidents on Congress Street, the Social Security Administration Hearing Office at Bowden Square as well as within walking distance to the Suffolk Superior Court and the Boston Municipal Court.  The office is one block from historic Faneuil Hall and has panoramic views of the Boston sky line.  This new office is 25 % larger than our prior location with more offices and a larger conference room.   This suite offers us the opportunity to further expand our practice.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients who hired us to represent them with their personal injury cases and trusted us to obtain favorable results.  This new location will further allow us to properly represent our clients and obtain the maximum recovery possible.

Accordingly to the Boston Globe, a jury in Massachusetts recently awarded over $16 Million to the family of a women who died of lung cancer.  The woman died in August of 2008 at the age of 47.  The woman sought treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in October of 2006 due to complaints of a persistent cough.  X Rays were taken to rule out pneumonia.  The Hospital read the X rays as normal.  Thirteen months later, the woman visited the Hospital again due to a persistent cough.  This time, the Hospital ordered a CT scan of the Chest.  The scan showed advanced Lung Cancer.  The women died seven months later after the cancer also spread to other organs.

During the course of the trial, there was evidence presented that the original x ray did in fact show a nodule in her lung.  When she went back to the hospital 13 months later, the nodule grew in size.  The plaintiff’s argument was that the hospital and doctor was negligent in not diagnosing her lung cancer after the initial visit and x-rays.  This failure to diagnose her condition caused her to loose her chances of recovery of the cancer.  The Defendant tried to argue they did not have the full medical picture of the woman which included a history of smoking for 30 years.  In light of the large verdict, the Jury clearly found the hospital and doctor made a medical error in not diagnosing her condition and their negligence ultimately led to her death.