Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating. You feel the elements while zipping down the road amidst a feeling of freedom and release, totally unlike that felt in a regular passenger car. For dirt bike riders, the feeling is no less exciting. Dirt bikes are built for riding on unpaved trails or roadways, with narrower tires and nobs for greater traction. The frame on a dirt bike is lighter than a conventional motorcycle and has a suspension system designed to absorb shock on jumps and rough roads. They often have narrow seats and plastic or thin metal bodyworks to make it as light as possible. However, dirt bikes are generally not street legal, meaning they are for off-road use only.
Riding a motorcycle is by its very nature a risky activity. You have little to protect yourself in an accident and can be thrown onto the pavement, into a tree, or exposed to other vehicles even in minor collisions. At any one-time, intoxicated drivers and those under the influence of illegal drugs or legal medications are on the roadway, presenting a danger to all, and most especially pedestrians and motorcycle riders.
It is not uncommon to see disabled cars along the side of the roadway or in a breakdown lane. Roadways often have wide shoulder areas or specific breakdown areas for motorists experiencing problems to pull over. Unfortunately, in many situations, these disabled vehicles are at risk at being struck by other vehicles. Drivers or passengers who exit their disabled under these circumstances are often exposed to injuries or death from motorists who either failed to notice the car or were driving recklessly. We have represented families in Wrongful Death cases involving these circumstances.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are required in all residences in Massachusetts. Owners of rental units must ensure that smoke alarms are in good working condition and comply with state law. Homes that were built before 1975 and are sold must have smoke alarms with a 10-year life span. No residential property can exchange owners without its smoke alarms being certified by the local Fire Marshall. If people are injured or killed because a smoke alarm in their residence was missing or failed to operate, you may have a injury or wrongful death lawsuit. We represented a family in which a malfunctioning smoke detector was the cause of a mother of a two-year old’s death.
If you do not live in Worcester, then you may be surprised to learn that this modest sized city of over 180,000 (the second most populous city in the state and in all of New England) has the worst safety record for pedestrians. If you do live here, then this fact may not be a revelation.
A study by 1Point21 Interactive of San Diego analyzed crash and pedestrian collision records across the state and reported that Worcester is the most hazardous city for pedestrians in all of Massachusetts, having 50 of the 496 most dangerous intersections in the state. The 496 figure reflects those intersections with at least 5 pedestrian collisions within a 15-year period between 2001 and 2014, the time span used in the study.
But Who Was Driving?
An interesting scenario may present itself in a wrongful death claim where police are unable to ascertain who was driving. This might occur when the occupants in the vehicle responsible for the accident do not survive and are found outside the vehicle so that their positions in the vehicle cannot be determined, or a survivor claims that the deceased was driving. Another scenario is where all parties are deceased and, again, it cannot be determined who was driving.