In a horrific accident last October, a Massachusetts state police officer was killed when a motorist lost control of his vehicle on I-90 in Charlton, sped across several lanes of traffic, and struck the officer’s parked police cruiser, causing him fatal injuries. The driver was suspected of being high on marijuana since officers reported that the defendant had been seen leaving a medical marijuana dispensary earlier that day and presumably exhibited signs of being under the influence.
In late July of this year, a rollover accident at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Center Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, left one motorist with serious injuries. The accident occurred around 10:00 am when a Lincoln MKZ proceeding east down Columbus Avenue collided with a Hyundai Elantra that was traveling north on Center Street. The Lincoln struck a secondary curb after the collision and rolled over on its side, pinning the driver and his passenger inside. First responders had to use mechanical means to extricate the driver who was transported to Berkshire Medical Center with serious but stable injuries. His passenger and the driver of the Hyundai suffered only minor injuries.
Police were still investigating and had not determined the cause of the accident.
In another effort to alert Massachusetts motorists of the need to buckle up, the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division recently launched a new safety campaign called “Love Clicks. Buckle Up.” For some reason, Massachusetts has lagged far behind the rest of the nation in wearing seatbelts. The national average for wearing seat belts has been around 90% for several years. Massachusetts is one of the worst states when it comes to motorists buckling up and currently has a 81.6% rate for wearing a seat belt. Our sister state, New Hampshire, is dead last at 73% as it is the only state in the nation that does not require adults 18 and over to wear seat belts.
Every large urban area has certain intersections that are notorious for car crashes or are hazardous to pedestrians and bicyclists. These are due to faulty road design, inadequate road maintenance, poor planning for increased traffic and pedestrians, lack of traffic calming measures, crazy configurations that have befuddled highway road designers, or an omission of signage or road markings that only causes confusion. Boston is not alone in having a number of dangerous roadways and intersections where large numbers of accidents occur for these and other reasons. If you were injured as a motorist, passenger, or pedestrian by the negligent driving or conduct of another person, call a car accident lawyer at Burns and Jain.
In April of this year, a grad student at UMass-Amherst was killed by a motorist while apparently in a crosswalk at North Pleasant Street near the Crestview Apartments. It occurred around 10:40 p.m. The motorist did stop at the scene and was cooperative with police. No citations were issued at the time and police did not indicate how the accident occurred or if any one party, or both, were at fault in some way. No witnesses to the accident were identified. Police did say that accident reconstruction experts were being used to determine how the accident occurred.
A police officer in Braintree suffered non-life-threatening injuries recently when he tried to thwart an attempted getaway by shoplifters at the South Shore Plaza. Two teenagers had tried to flee in a car being driven by another teen but were blocked by the officer in the parking lot who was on foot. The driver struck the officer with his car but collided head-on with another vehicle when he attempted to evade a pursuing police cruiser. The driver was taken into custody and charged with various offenses including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
In early March 2019, a 62-year old Worcester man was struck and killed while crossing the street at St. Nicholas Avenue around 6:00 am. The driver was a 26-year old male from Webster who was proceeding south on St. Nicholas and hit the man who was crossing from the driver’s left.
Car accident injury claims are one of the most common types of personal injury claims and lawsuits that are filed, but one involving a police vehicle are less common. This is primarily because police officers perform a vital public safety function and liability on their part can be difficult to prove. For instance, when an officer is responding to an emergency or urgent call, the vehicle’s siren and flashing lights are a warning to motorists to pull over and to allow the vehicle to pass, much like an ambulance or fire truck. In many instances, motorists ignore the obvious signals and fail to stop or take any action to avoid interfering with the officer responding to the emergency.
Train crossings are not an uncommon sight in many areas of the country, including Massachusetts. You can generally recognize when a train is crossing your path by flashing lights and a barrier that prevents cars from crossing the tracks. However, serious injuries and fatalities do occur at train crossings. Just this past April, 2018, a Springfield woman ran her SUV into a moving train around 2:00 a.m. on Memorial Drive in Springfield and suffered fatal injuries. It has not yet been established how the accident occurred.
Massachusetts has approximately 3000 railroad crossings throughout the state or areas where roads cross railroad tracks instead of over or under them. Between 1975 and 2016, there have been 36 fatalities at such crossings. According to the Federal Railway Administration, in 2017 there were 2,105 collisions between motor vehicles and trains in the U.S., resulting in 807 injuries and 274 fatalities. These incidents have been reduced considerably since 1981 when there were 9,461 collisions with 3,293 injuries and 728 fatalities.
Traffic accidents happen everyday and chances are that if you drive long enough, you will be in one as well. And if you are injured, what happens if the motorist who caused your accident was uninsured?