Crosswalks are designed to protect pedestrians as they cross intersections or anywhere else on a roadway where they are painted by alerting motorists to their presence. By Massachusetts law, a motorist must stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk or if the pedestrian is within 10 feet of the halfway point in the road. However, one impatient and allegedly intoxicated motorist in early May of this year felt that 3 pedestrians in a crosswalk at Columbus and Clarendon in the South End of Boston around midnight were mere annoyances. After honking at the 3 people who were crossing, he decided to just plow through and struck them.
A new distracted driving bill called An Act Preventing Distracted Driving that was passed in May 2019 will, if passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, take effect soon. The bill now bans all cell phone use except for one finger touch or swipe while driving. The use of cell phones has become a major factor in causing traffic accidents and fatalities over the past 10-15 years to such a degree that it rivals drunk and drugged driving.
Truck accidents are often synonymous with wrongful death claims because of the severity of the injuries and damage these vehicles can cause in a collision. Tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles can weigh 80,000 pounds or more with loads compared to the 5,000 pounds of the average passenger vehicles. In a collision with one of these massive vehicles, drivers and passengers in ordinary cars are at a serious disadvantage. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 73% of those killed in truck accidents are the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicle.
In early May of this year, a roll-over accident on I-495 in Milford, Massachusetts, resulted in the driver and a female passenger sustaining serious injuries. Both were rushed to Milford Regional Medical. A second passenger was treated for minor injuries and released. The rollover caused the seriously injured passenger to be ejected from the car but it was unclear if she or any of the passengers were wearing seat belts. There were no other vehicles involved, and police reports did not indicate how or why the driver lost control or if alcohol or drugs were involved.
In a case that came down from the Massachusetts Appeals Court this week (July 31, 2019), it was held that “garden variety oversight” by defense counsel was not grounds to allow additional time to file an appeal.
In the case, Edward R. Pierce v. Hansen Engineering and Machinery, 18—1355, Massachusetts Appeals Court (2019), the plaintiff, Mr. Pierce was injured on the job. He alleged that the he was maneuvering a pallet jack from a truck onto a loading dock, with 800 pounds of freight on it, over a dock plate (which lies between a truck and the loading dock) and that the dock plate was defective causing him to fall, necessitating hip surgery and that he is unable to return to work.