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Trucks and Bikes in Boston

Boston, like most urban areas, is crammed with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, trucks, scooters and any other type of motor vehicle. But when cyclists are on urban roads, they have to deal with other vehicles, especially trucks, whose size and inflexibility is the direct opposite of bicycles. Because of the height at which a driver sits in his or her cab, a bicyclist will seem nearly invisible to the truck driver. And when a collision does occur, the consequences can be catastrophic.

A tragic meeting of bike and truck occurred recently in Houston, Texas when a firefighter on his bicycle collided with a landscaping truck that decided to suddenly stop without warning in the lane of a busy roadway. The bicyclist later succumbed to his injuries. Although there were no eyewitnesses to the collision, the evidence suggested that the truck driver had decided to perform his work while stopped on the busy traffic lane instead of turning right and parking on a less-traveled road. If the truck had been stopped in the lane for a time, the driver at least neglected to put out cones or flags to warn approaching traffic.

Company spokespersons agreed that the practice of stopping to load or unload on a busy roadway was hazardous. A jury returned a verdict against the driver and trucking company of $39 million, which is under appeal.

How to Determine Liability

Most bike accidents with trucks or autos occur at intersections. Common scenarios include:

  • A vehicle passes a bike on its right and then turns directly in front of the cyclist at the intersection
  • A cyclist passes a car on the right and the vehicle turns right into the path of the bike
  • While waiting for the light to change, the motor vehicle turns right and into the bicyclist
  • A vehicle fails to see an approaching cyclist from the opposite direction and turns left into the path of the cyclist

Motorists and truck drivers need to be wary of cyclists and are deemed liable if they turn in front of a bicyclist, especially where there is a bike lane. Even if there was no bike lane, bicycles are considered motor vehicles and have a right to travel on the urban streets and other roadways unless it is a freeway or other road where they are specifically excluded.

Liability can be established by eyewitnesses or cameras that are increasingly more prevalent at intersections. Many businesses have exterior cameras that are adjacent to roadways and have often recorded accidents.

If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle vs. truck accident, retain experienced bike accident lawyer Neil Burns.

Ride a Bicycle with Safety in Mind

Bicyclists can work to avoid collisions with trucks and other vehicles by following certain safety measures:

  1. Assume that other motor vehicles do not see you.
  2. When approaching an intersection, get the attention of the motorist to your left.
  3. If no bike lane, consider taking up the entire lane before you cross the intersection and then move over.
  4. Slow down if riding next to a motor vehicle and assume the vehicle will turn right. A truck driver cannot see you so be cautious.
  5. If at a stop sign, be sure the truck driver or motorist sees you before you cross.

If you are injured in an accident, wait for police and medical assistance. If there were witnesses, ask for their contact information if you are able to do so. Even if your injuries appear slight, you need to be checked out since you may not have noticed an underlying injury. If the driver tries to leave, insist on their driver’s license and insurance information as well as the license plate number.

Damages in a Bicycle-Truck Collision

Bicyclists who were injured in a collision with a truck can collect compensation from the trucking company, which have commercial policies that are typically at least $1 million.

Damages in a bike accident case may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Exacerbation of a pre-existing condition
  • Emotional trauma
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Diminution in quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Spousal claim for loss of consortium

If a death claim, it is brought by the administrator of the decedent’s estate for the benefit of the decedent’s immediate family. Damages can include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Loss of income during the working life of the decedent
  • Pain and suffering but only if the decedent was observed to have consciously suffered before succumbing
  • Final medical bills if applicable
  • Loss of the love, companionship, comfort, guidance and counsel the decedent would have provided family members
  • Punitive damages if the defendant exhibited gross negligence or malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct

Consult with bicycle accident lawyer Neil Burns, a Boston personal injury attorney who has obtained millions of dollars for his injured clients over his 30-years of practice. His experience, knowledge and skills obtained in handling thousands of cases can get you the compensation your case deserves.

Prescription Meds and Massachusetts Car Crashes:  What You Need to Know

Prescription drugs are a major industry in our country, especially pain medication or opioids such as Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin. Doctors prescribe these and other medications regularly, and frequently. However, there may be insufficient verbal warnings by the doctor or pharmacist, or written warnings on the label that advises the user that it causes drowsiness or dizziness or should not be taken if operating a motor vehicle.

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Legal Marijuana But Still Illegal to Drive High

Massachusetts is entering a new era in terms of legalized marijuana. A number of states have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes and now Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and California will join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Alaska and Maine in legalizing it for recreational use.

One of the controversies over its legalization is how it affects driving behavior. While marijuana use may be legal in Massachusetts, it is not legal to drive while impaired or under the influence of a drug (OUI). All states have laws making it unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol or to engage in drugged driving. A blood or urine sample can detect the presence of certain drugs if specifically tested for that drug. Also, police officers trained in drug recognition can detect symptoms of drug use in drivers that can provide probable cause to test the motorists for the presence of drugs in their blood system.

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What You Need to Know About Ski Injuries

Skiing is a winter activity with millions of participants. Resorts in California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Vermont are well-known, though other states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota have ski areas as well. Ski slopes usually have trails tailored towards a skier’s level of expertise, from the bunny or novice trail to the intermediate and expert.

But ski areas can be hazards as well. With so many skiers of different levels competing for space and some trails containing objects like trees, rocks, holes and other hazards, accidents happen every day of the skiing season. Also, ski lifts can malfunction or operators can be lax regarding safety that can result in skiers falling, sometimes from hundreds of feet to an icy and unforgiving surface.

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Underinsured Coverage Why You Need It

Auto Insurance Policy Requirements

All Massachusetts motorists are required to carry auto liability insurance so that if they cause an accident, the other party can be compensated to some degree. However, the minimum limits for coverage is very low. By state law, a car owner need only purchase coverage of $20,000/$40,000. This means that if you were injured in an accident, you may only recover up to $20,000. If there are multiple injured claimants, the 40,000 would have to divided among you and the other injured parties with no single party collecting more than $20,000.

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Super Market Liability – What Happens When You’re Injured at a Store

All of us shop at supermarkets or have at one time or another. These stores have a high duty or care to shoppers and must ensure that aisles are clean and free of debris or slippery substances, that objects are properly stocked, and its entrances and exits free of hazards. Regardless, accidents do happen in supermarket, some of which are other than the usual slip and fall. These injury claims are handled as premises liability matters since they occur on someone’s property. These can be difficult to resolve satisfactorily but many do result in substantial compensation if handled correctly by a premises liability lawyer. But there are also things you can do.

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Stair Case Injuries: What You Need to Know

Falling or slipping on a stair case can lead to devastating injuries and even death depending on how you fall, your age and condition. Tumbling down a flight of stairs can easily lead to head and neck injuries, a broken pelvis or fractured limbs.

An injury sustained on someone else’s property comes under the principles of premises liability law.  Homeowners, business owners and public entities have certain degrees of responsibility toward guests and members of the public though different laws regarding notice and liability apply depending on the status of the owner and, in some cases, on the status of the injured party.

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Bike Accidents on the Rise in Boston

Bicycling is on the rise in many of our cities, including Boston, but unfortunately so are serious bike crashes.  As a bike accident lawyer I see the emotional toll these accidents take on the victims every day.  Designated bike lanes are now ubiquitous throughout our urban and suburban areas. There is the added incentive of no longer having to search for parking or to deal with heavy traffic.  A younger work force has embraced bicycle commuting as well with many companies encouraging it.  Since 2009, ridership in Boston has grown by over 120%.

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Massachusetts Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise in 2016

Motorcycle accidents and fatalities have been decreasing for several years but in 2016, state officials are finding that the trend is reversing. There are likely several reasons for this unfortunate circumstance.

Officials are mostly blaming the mild winter for the rise in motorcycle accidents. Traffic observers commented that they rarely if ever saw motorcycle accidents in the winter months in prior years but the warm weather brought out riders as early as February in 2016. There have been 2 fatal motorcycle accidents each month from February to April giving the state a head start toward exceeding its average of 38 to 46 fatalities it experienced in the past 3 years. Warm weather always brings out more vehicles and as a result, and the incidence of accidents are bound to increase.

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