Construction Site Accidents, What you need to know.

Workplace accidents happen far too often, especially on or near construction sites. The dangerous nature of the profession subjects workers to serious industry specific hazards. In Massachusetts, the construction industry is thriving, and the number of construction accidents is rising.

Statistics from the United States Department of Labor tell us that twenty percent of all workplace fatalities nationwide occur in the construction industry. In 2014, that was 899 deaths — more than two deaths per day. According to those statistics, the four most common types of construction injuries are:

  • Falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Being struck by an object
  • Being caught on, or crushed by equipment or collapsing buildings.

In addition to these “fatal four” reasons, construction workers are vulnerable to chemical exposures and to injuries sustained from faulty or poorly-maintained equipment. [Read more…]

Time Limits on Medical Malpractice Suits in Massachusetts

If you have been injured due to medical negligence and are looking to make a medical malpractice claim in Massachusetts, keep key deadlines in mind. State laws address how long a patient has to file a complaint; damage caps; and other important factors. These limitations can be difficult to keep in mind when beginning the claims process. Finding a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in Massachusetts will help keep your claim on time while also utilizing their experience to get the best outcome possible.

Standard Deadline is Three Years
In Massachusetts, victims have up to three years from the date of incidence to file a medical malpractice suit in a Massachusetts court. If a lawsuit is not filed in those three years, the victim may lose the right to sue for medical malpractice, unless the case falls into one of the exceptions. [Read more…]

Consequences of Devastating Head Injuries

These statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show the impact of head injuries in the United States in a single year: 50,000 people lose their lives, 280,000 people are hospitalized, and 2.2 million people are treated by emergency rooms. The magnitude of these numbers is worthy of discussion, particularly since a traumatic head injury can result from car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and assaults.

Head Injuries Pose Potential for Long-Term Consequences
While a head injury can have immediate repercussions for victims, including headaches, temporary memory loss and feelings of sleepiness, they should not ignore the long-term consequences. Even those victims who suffer very mild symptoms of a head injury after a car accident need to use caution; repeated head trauma has been associated with a higher incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Those who experience symptoms of severe head injuries immediately after an accident can suffer from:

  • Problems with thinking – some victims are unable to use their power of reasoning and may have long or short-term memory problems.
  • Problems with sensation – it is possible to have difficulty maintaining balance and vision problems after a head injury.
  • Problems with language – victims often have problems communicating and in some cases comprehending language.
  • More serious problems – in cases of more serious head injuries, victims may also be depressed, suffer from weakness in their legs and arms, and show signs of aggressiveness.

These are only some of the potential problems that a victim of a head injury can face, and none of them should ever be taken lightly.

When Head Injuries Impact Your Life
In severe cases of a traumatic head injuries, victims may need round-the-clock nursing care, may be unable to communicate with family members, and may be unable to return to work. These are very serious outcomes; they impact the family and the victim emotionally and financially. This is why anyone who suffers a head injury because someone else was negligent needs to consider reaching out to a personal injury attorney.

Victims should not have to deal with the financial burden associated with care after a traumatic head injury. You should contact a personal injury attorney to determine whether you have the grounds for a civil lawsuit. Should an attorney determine a suit can go forward, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, rehabilitation costs and for lost wages.

Do Not Ignore Your Slip and Fall Injury

If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident in a local grocery store or other business, you might be looking to put the event behind you as soon as possible. After all, slipping and falling in such a public venue can be embarrassing, and you might not want to make a bigger deal out of it or call more attention to it than is necessary. However, if you suffered an injury in one of these accidents, you need to take it very seriously, and you should not just ignore the situation or avoid filing a personal injury case. Here’s why.

Your Injuries Could Cost You More Than You Think
After slipping and falling, you might think that a little time and taking it easy will make your injury better. However, chances are that your injuries could be a lot more costly than you think. Medical care is not cheap, and if you don’t file an accident report detailing the incident, then you may not have a case when you realize your injuries are more serious than you originally thought. You might be on the hook to pay for your medical expenses yourself. You also have to factor in the amount of money that you might lose from being out of work. You should not be responsible for these costs, if the accident was not your fault.

Responsible Parties Should Be Held Responsible
Business owners should ensure that their establishments are as safe as possible for their patrons. If they aren’t held responsible for accidents that happen, they might not be more careful in the future. This could put others at risk of being hurt. By pursuing a case, you can help hold responsible parties responsible for the injuries that they cause, even indirectly, to their patrons.

A slip and fall accident isn’t something that you should ignore or “just let go.” Understand your situation and your options by contacting our law office for a free case evaluation.

Commercial Truck Accidents – Taking On Big Corporate

We travel the roads throughout our community to work, home and school. We pay little attention to the different types of vehicles we are sharing the roads with as we go about our business. There are mostly privately owned cars, SUV’s, pickups, and motorcycles on the roads we travel, but we also share the road with hundreds of commercial vehicles throughout the day, and with all the unseen hazards associated with these vehicles. There are dozens of construction vehicles sharing the road with us as well as tractor trailers, garbage trucks, cement trucks, and scores of smaller delivery box trucks from UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and the United Postal Service.

The roads of Massachusetts are congested with all types of vehicles, especially in and around Greater Boston. Commercial drivers are under enormous pressure to get to their destination as quickly and cheaply as possible. Their employers are under the same pressure to meet deadlines and to make a profit on their drivers’ efforts. [Read more…]

Is Your Home Safe Enough For Your Active Toddler?

Just how safe is your home for your little toddler? You’ve purchased cabinet locks, door handle protectors, socket covers, and you’ve put soft pads on the corners of the coffee table. So you’re all set, right? Maybe, maybe not. Unfortunately, there are hidden dangers with certain pieces of furniture that you may have missed.

Furniture and Television Tip-Overs
We hear on the news all too many times about a young toddler being seriously injured by a falling television, bookcase, or dresser. Thousands of children are injured and killed every year in the United States by furniture tip-overs. Children often use the drawers or the shelves of a dresser or bookcase for climbing, not realizing that their weight can topple the furniture. Following are some tips on how to protect your child, and visiting children, from the dangers of tip-over furniture.
Anchoring Furniture is Best
Take the following steps to anchor properly your furniture to avoid tip-over accidents:

  • Purchase anti-tip brackets for top-heavy furniture. Anchor all large and tall furniture with drawers and shelves to the studs in the wall.
  • Be sure to set furniture firmly on a hard surface floor so it is not wobbly or that it shifts due to cushioning in a carpet or rug.
  • Only purchase and use sturdy furniture that is made specifically to hold televisions.
  • Mount flat-screen televisions to furniture or the wall.
  • Secure TVs that cannot be mounted to the wall by anchoring them to the wall.
  • Remove toys and other objects that may tempt a child to climb the furniture.

Even if you don’t have children, aren’t expecting children or don’t anticipate any children visiting, these tips still ensure the safety of everyone in the home, including your pets.

If you’ve suffered a personal injury due to a furniture tip-over, please call our office for a free consultation and to learn your options.

RJA Gets Dismissal of Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit for Fall River Sergeant Who Came On Scene At Incident Conclusion

It could happen to you.  You respond to the scene of an incident, arriving as matters are all wrapped-up.  The bad guy is in handcuffs and secure.  You stay on scene for 5 minutes, waiting for everyone else to leave. You show-up, do nothing but be present and then you get sued in federal court two years later.  This scenario frequently plays out because you, as a responding police officer, get your name written in an arrest report as being present.  Looking at the lawsuit complaint, you read about your illegal arrest, search and excessive force.  There are no details as to your conduct, but you are lumped in with the all of the other police officers whose names were in the report.  You are dumbfounded — how could this happen?

Unfortunately, this happens all too often.  The arrestee hires an uninformed lawyer who sues everyone named in the report without looking into the facts of the case or investigating, or even asking who did what to whom.  This recently happened to a Fall River Police Sergeant who made a wise decision some years earlier to join the MPA Legal Defense Fund. The Sergeant contacted MPA LDF counsel who filed a motion to dismiss the suit with the court shortly after service of the complaint.  The well-crafted motion filed on behalf of the Sergeant compelled the federal judge to dismiss him as a defendant from the complaint.  Meanwhile, several other similarly situated police officers represented by other counsel remain in the lawsuit.  Civil rights law suits can linger for a couple of years in federal court, sometimes often longer in Superior Court. [Read more…]

Retaliation In The Workplace – Do You Have A Case?

Massachusetts Employment Law, along with federal statutes, provides relief and protection for employees who are facing an act of retaliation from coworkers and/or employers. A claim must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) or the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). However, it is important to make sure you have your facts straight before you make such a claim and take on your employer.

First of all, it is necessary to have a good understanding of what retaliation is and how it is viewed under Massachusetts law. Retaliation occurs when employers or other employees take measures to subject you to negative experiences related to your job because you complained about discrimination at about work or you supported another employee who complained.

Examples of retaliation include:

  • Taking available working hours away from you and giving them to someone else
  • Cutting your pay
  • Removing bonuses
  • Uncalled-for reprimands
  • Wrongful termination

Retaliation is different from harassment and requires different proof. While Massachusetts law does provide for employer accountability and protection against retaliation, it is important that you have sufficient proof to substantiate your claim. You must be able to prove:

  • That you engaged in protected activity, such as filing a complaint or participating in someone else’s complaint (supported them or acted as a witness).
  • That your employer took a negative action against you.
  • That the reason your employer acted in a negative way towards you was due to your protected activity. Often, the key here is to show that the supervisor was aware of your engaging in the protected activity before he took the adverse employment action against you.

[Read more…]

Employment Law: Know Your Disability Rights in Massachusetts

According to a recent U.S. Census, about 20 percent of Americans have a disability. Many Americans with disabilities are talented workers who are valuable additions to the workplace. However, sometimes employers and coworkers fail to recognize the value people with disabilities can bring to the workplace.

The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) is federal legislation designed to counteract this bias and protect the rights of the disabled in the workplace. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. A disability is defined broadly as any mental or physical impairment that limits at least one major life function. Further, people who have a history of having a disability or who are erroneously perceived as having a disability, such as people who have HIV, are also deemed to be disabled under the ADA.

Workers are deemed to be qualified to perform a job under the ADA, if they meet the educational and other requirements for the job and they can perform the job duties with or without reasonable accommodations. For instance, the ADA would prohibit an employer from failing to hire a visually-impaired clerical worker solely based on her disability, if she can perform her tasks adequately with a magnifying glass or other visual aid. Once hired, the ADA would prohibit the employer from other types of discrimination based on the disability, such as failing to promote the employee or paying her less than employees who are not disabled. [Read more…]

Military Service and Your Rights Regarding Your Employment

Today’s military relies more and more on reservists and those considered to be part-time soldiers. While these individuals are ready, willing and able to serve their country when called, they know that time away serving their Country means time away from their regular employment. This is why there are laws that protect those called to active duty.

Re-Employment Rights
No doubt, one of the biggest concerns to those called away is getting their job back when they return. Under the law, the employee is on an unpaid leave of absence when he or she is called to active military duty. This means that they have the right to return to their employment once they finish their active duty, as mandated by federal law. Their benefits and salary cannot be reduced below their previous levels.

Depending upon how long the reservist has been away, he or she may have to re-apply with their employer. The service member has five years to retain his re-employment rights.

If the employee has been absent for 30 days or less, he can continue his health care coverage at the same cost during the time of his service. If he serves more than 30 days, he obtains a plan through the health plan offered by the military.

The absence from work because of military service is not considered a break in employment, so a service member does not have a “waiting period” in order to be reinstated to his health care plan.

If you are called away on military service and leaving your place of employment for an extended period of time, it is best to understand your rights as member of our military. If you have any questions, contact our law office and speak with an experienced employment attorney.