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I was injured as a passenger of an Uber driver, who is responsible for damages?

If you’re injured in a ride-sharing vehicle, such as Uber or Lyft, you have a right to get compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Financial responsibility typically falls on the insurance company of the at-fault driver, which may be the ride-sharing company’s driver or another driver involved in the accident who caused the crash.

The ride-sharing driver’s car insurance coverage will apply to passenger injuries only, if the driver has a commercial insurance policy or a personal car insurance policy with a special provision providing coverage while engaged as a ride-sharing driver. However, many ride-share drivers do not have such coverage. Additionally, personal car insurance policy usually has a “business use exception” that won’t cover damages and injuries that occur while the insured is acting as a for-profit driver.

If the driver’s insurance will not cover passenger injury, Uber and Lyft carry third party liability insurance coverage, which pays up to $1 million for personal injuries and property damage per accident, either way the victim should always hire someone like the Personal Injury Attorney Pittsburgh. The third-party liability insurance will only cover costs when the ride-sharing driver is at fault for the accident; the ride-sharing driver’s own insurance has been exhausted; or the responsible driver is unknown, doesn’t have car insurance, or doesn’t have enough car insurance to pay for your injuries.

If the above insurance policies do not fully compensate you, or the insurance companies refuse to pay out, you can try going after the ride-sharing company itself. However, this should be considered a last resort option.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and specifically while riding in an Uber or Lyft, contact us immediately to discuss your options.

Deputy sues Dracut manager

Chartrand says Duggan ruined his police career
By: Amaris Castillo | Lowell Sun

DRACUT — A long-simmering feud between Town Manager Jim Duggan and Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand has spilled over into federal court.

Chartrand on July 17 filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Duggan, seeking redress for “the unlawful and unconstitutional targeted bullying and retaliatory misconduct” of the town manager, according to the suit. Chartrand, who is represented by attorney Andrew Gambaccini, is demanding a trial by jury and seeking $1.8 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

The 50-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the District of Massachusetts details the tangled history between both men and other town officials.

“Using the authority of his office, Duggan unlawfully has taken adverse actions against Chartrand and has retaliated against Chartrand, including through workplace bullying and harassment, the initiation of meritless disciplinary proceedings and the stripping away of Chartrand’s job duties,” the complaint reads. “This calculated campaign was designed by Duggan to injure Chartrand, his career and his reputation.”

Duggan on Friday said he had not received a notice of the lawsuit. He declined to comment and said any litigation is always referred to town counsel.

“I can’t comment on pending litigation as town counsel, and I have not read the complaint because it hasn’t been served in the town,” Town Counsel James. A. Hall said when reached Friday night.

“Having said that, I’ve known Manager Duggan for decades, and I know that he’s incapable of violating anyone’s civil rights,” Hall continued. “On a personal note, I’m disappointed that Deputy Chartrand would file a lawsuit against the town of Dracut. He is a lifelong resident of Dracut, a graduate of Dracut High School, and has been employed as a police officer in the town for over 25 years. I’m saddened that he would sue his fellow citizens of the town of Dracut for $1.8 million.”

Chartrand in 2016 was suspended for two weeks without pay, following a civil service inquiry into his handling of documents in a Dracut lieutenant’s personnel file. Then-Police Lt. Michael Fleury had accused Chartrand of improperly releasing a letter in his personnel file to The Sun.

Chartrand appealed the town’s decision. Late last year, the state’s Civil Service Commission ruled 3-2 in his favor. The commission hears and decides appeals on matters such as discipline filed by certain state and municipal employees and candidates for positions covered by the civil service law.

The majority opinion by three commissioners was that Chartrand’s appeal be allowed in part and that his 10-day suspension be modified and reduced to a written reprimand.

In response, Duggan wrote that, although the original suspension imposed has been modified to a written reprimand, the Commission still ruled that Chartrand’s conduct in deliberately disregarding the rights of a fellow superior officer warranted discipline. “The written reprimand will be a permanent record of Deputy Chartrand’s personnel file,” Duggan said in an emailed statement to The Sun.

This suspension, and much more, is included in the lawsuit.

Chartrand on Friday said there have been numerous actions taken against him that were unjustified. He said he believed they were for personal reasons.

“Because of those, it’s done irreparable harm to myself, my family,” Chartrand told The Sun. “I served this community for many, many years. I’ve done the very best job I possibly can. Because of what’s happened, essentially my career is over.”

Below are a few of the complaints charged against Duggan, according to the lawsuit:

• Several years ago, the town hired Municipal Resources Inc., a New Hampshire consultancy, to conduct an investigation into the Dracut Police Department. According to the lawsuit filed last week, Chartrand after reading the audit report was taken aback by what he believed to be the “personal and false subjective attack” it represented upon both him and then-Police Chief Kevin Richardson. The lawsuit states that Chartrand told Duggan he could not believe the report’s content and believed work should begin on an immediate rebuttal.

“Duggan responded to Chartrand by stating that the report was a ‘done deal’ and that, while he did not know Chartrand’s plans, if Chartrand wanted to look for work elsewhere, Duggan said that he would provide Chartrand with a recommendation that ignored the MRI material,” the suit reads.

According to the complaint, this was a “thinly veiled threatening, intimidating and coercive message for Chartrand as to Duggan’s intentions.” The suit claims Duggan did not want Chartrand to be in the department any longer.

• Duggan’s reorganization of the Police Department entailed the creation of an additional Deputy Chief position and, according to the lawsuit, the move was designed to impact Chartrand adversely.

• According to the lawsuit, Duggan has interviewed candidates for promotion within the agency and has explained to them that he expects loyalty if they are promoted. Furthermore, the suit claims, Duggan had indicated to those persons that he expects they will not be drinking Chartrand’s “Kool-Aid.”

The lawsuit also touches on the difficult history between Chartrand and Selectman Tony Archinski, who retired from the Police Department in 2008. Though Archinski is not a defendant in the lawsuit, he is mentioned early on, throughout several pages.

According to the court document, Archinski was angry because Chartrand was chosen as deputy chief. After Duggan was hired as town manager, the suit claims Duggan and Archinski developed and maintained a symbiotic relationship in which the selectman has become a blind supporter of Duggan. It also charges Duggan with carrying “Archinski’s water” and taking steps to achieve “Archinski’s desire to go after Chartrand.”

Archinski on Friday said he had not read the lawsuit.

“I have not spoken to David Chartrand since I retired 11 years ago and I have not spoken about him in a very long time. I don’t recall the last time I even had a conversation with the town manager about David Chartrand,” Archinski said.

Archinski said he and Chartrand did not have a good relationship during his time in the Police Department and added that he put it all behind him when he retired.

“I think that Chartand has always felt that I had it out for him, but I have definitely put that behind me years ago,” Archinski said. “There are much more important things to do in my life than worry about what David Chartrand does or thinks.”

In response to Archinski’s comments, Chartrand had this to say on Friday: “I’d like to thank him for yet again publicly speaking about the animosity he’s had towards me.”

Chartrand’s attorney Andrew Gambaccini on Friday said they are looking forward to the opportunity to question Duggan under oath.

I was bitten by a neighbor’s dog a year ago, can I file a personal injury lawsuit now?

Each state has a law that sets a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state’s civil court system after an accident. This law is called the “statute of limitations,” and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts gives you three years to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The three-year time limit typically starts on the day of the accident, which would be the case in the event of a dog bite. If you don’t get your lawsuit filed within three years, you may lose your right to have a court hear your injury case.

Many states have a “one bite rule” where dog owners are protected (to some degree) from liability the first time their dog injures someone, if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. In Massachusetts, however, a specific statute makes the owner “strictly liable.”

In strict-liability states, regardless of the animal’s past behavior, the dog owner is responsible for a personal injury caused by his/her dog. The dog bite statute holds the defendant liable, if the plaintiff was legally allowed to be where he was when the bite occurred, and the plaintiff did not provoke the dog at the time of the dog bite. Turn to public liability insurance policies, provided by constructaquote.com

If you have questions regarding a personal injury case, contact our office today,

Discrimination Claims Against Waltham Police Lieutenant Rejected By The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

In this case, the complainant, a female dispatcher with the City of Waltham, filed a lengthy charge of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“the MCAD”) alleging that she was the victim of sexual harassment and a sexually hostile work environment, and also that she was subjected to gender discrimination, disability discrimination (arising out of severe chemical sensitivities) and illegal retaliation by a police lieutenant and others.

After the filing of the charge of discrimination, RJA Attorney Andrew Gambaccini filed with the MCAD on behalf of the named police lieutenant a seventy-eight page response that detailed the complainant’s employment history with the City and that also carefully explained why the complainant’s claims were bogus and fabricated. In particular, as to the disability discrimination claim, the response explained and supported with evidence the consistent and appropriate steps that were taken to accommodate the complainant’s needs and requests concerning her disability.

On April 27, 2019, the MCAD issued its determination on the complaint. The MCAD dismissed the complainant’s charge of discrimination on each and every claim, finding no probable cause existed to support any of the complainant’s various theories of liability.

I sustained a serious injury while working out at my gym. Is the gym liable?

Gym injuries are common, especially minor sprains and pulled muscles. If your own carelessness contributed to the incident, the gym may not be liable. However, when malfunctioning equipment or employee negligence causes an injury, you may have a personal injury case.

Gyms are responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe workout environment. The gym should clean equipment regularly and maintain it properly. If you sustain an injury by slipping on a wet floor, by improperly kept equipment, or by catching a serious illness, such as a staph infection, from unsanitary equipment, then the gym may be liable to you for that injury.

Equipment manufacturers and other gym-goers can also be liable for your injuries. If someone else intentionally or carelessly injures you at the gym (for example, a free weight user drops a weight, and it hits you), they may be responsible for any injuries you sustain. Similarly, if you sustain an injury due to a faulty or improperly documented workout machine, you may have a case against the equipment manufacturer.

When joining a gym, it’s important to read the liability waiver and ask questions. While many gym members think that a liability waiver means they cannot pursue legal action against a gym, that is not always true. While a liability waiver may prevent you from taking specific actions, it does not fully protect gyms from personal injury liability.

Depending on the incident, you may have an opportunity to challenge the validity of a waiver. Keep in mind that no waiver protects a gym establishment from liability for intentional or grossly negligent acts. If you sustain an injury due to no fault of your own while on gym property, consider talking to a personal injury attorney.

I was leaving the construction site after a day’s work and was struck by falling debris causing injury. Do I have a workman’s comp claim?

Workers’ compensation is a benefit used by states to compensate employees when they are injured at work. Massachusetts, the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) oversees the workers’ compensation system. Quality transcription services are a great way to accurately log important meetings and interviews, workers’compensation insurance covers almost all employees in Massachusetts.

You are entitled to file for workers compensation benefits, if you suffer a work-related injury or illness, or are a dependent of a worker killed on the job. Employers must display the name and address of its Workers’ Compensation insurer and mandated policy information. We work with advanced technology to keep our private cases, SodaPDF is our new support work tool.

To qualify for workers’ comp benefits, you must have a work-related injury or illness causing disability for five full or partial calendar days. However, the days do not need to be consecutive. Injuries need to be reported to your employer, who is then required to file the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality (Form 101) with the insurer.

In the event your employer does not send the Form to the insurer within 30 days of your injury, you need to report your injury in writing to the insurance company yourself. Keep documentation of when and how the injury occurred and all records related to the injury such as medical visits.

Employers or insurers do not dispute most injured worker claims, but, in the event your claim is disputed, having legal counsel to protect your rights and interests is highly recommended due to the complex nature of the workers’ compensation law.

My neighbor allows her dog to run loose. While walking my own dog, the neighbor’s bit me. What recourse do I have under the law?

An aggressive dog is a menace to the neighborhood and, potentially, a source of great legal trouble for the owner. In Massachusetts, a dog and its owner are not granted any leniency in terms of civil liability, even if this is the first occasion on which the dog has bitten someone. Additionally, since Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state, even if a dog is restrained or an owner otherwise takes “reasonable precautions,” the owner may still be liable.

If you plan on filing a claim or a lawsuit, be sure to take pictures of your injuries and bring documentation from your doctor. If you’ve previously taken pictures of the dog running loose, that is also helpful. There may be additional, local ordinances against unleashed dogs that come into play. An experienced personal injury attorney, such as one of our partners, will be able to assess the individual circumstances of a dog attack. All this assumes, however, that neither you nor your own dog did anything to provoke the neighbor’s animal. The law waives liability for the owner of a dog, if the victim of the bite was trespassing or in any way harassing or tormenting the dog.

Call our office today to discuss your options for compensation following a dog bite or another injury.

I recently discovered toxic mold in my apartment. Am I allowed to withhold rent until the mold is removed?

Landlords are urged to take mold seriously under Massachusetts law. Mold is considered a top environmental concern because it grows quickly if the indoor isn’t properly build or prepared. Long term exposure to black mold is potentially harmful to health and may cause a wide range of symptoms and consequences, specially for people with lung diseases or weakened immune systems; Even when most people only relation mold with moisture, it can easily grow on a house or apartment if these don’t have enough ventilation, fresh air flow or polluted buildings. An easy way to prevent that is using air filters or indoor air cleaner systems, here you can see an example https://a-1certifiedenvironmentalservices.com/indoor-air-quality-testing-los-angeles-county/

Regardless of the provisions of a written lease agreement, landlords in Massachusetts are bound by “implied warranty of habitability.” This legal doctrine requires the landlord to providetenants with apartments in livable condition. Tenants in Massachusetts have the right to pursue two common legal self-help strategies.

The first, known as “rent withholding,” is when tenants stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable. The second strategy, known as “repair and deduct,” involves tenants taking care of mold cleanup or a pest control issue that can be easily gone with Drake Lawn & Pest Control, will be taken care on their own and then subtracting the cost from their rent.

Several conditions need to be met under Massachusetts law for these options to be legal. For example, most rent withholding laws do not permit you to withhold rent, if you are behind in the rent or in violation of a relevant lease clause. You  also must report the problem and give your landlord a reasonable opportunity to fix the issue. Additionally, the problem must be severe, not just annoying, and must imperil your health or safety.

Tenants who believe they have been harmed by the presence of high concentrations of mold in their apartment can try to recover damages from their landlord in court to compensate them for their loss. For help regarding harmful mold, give our legal team a call.

Arbitrator Issues Award Concluding That A Danvers Police Sergeant’s Ten Day Suspension Was Unjustified

RJA recently obtained a major victory for one of its clients, a sergeant with the Danvers Police Department. In 2017, the Danvers Police Department received a call that a firearm had been discharged into a residence while no one was home, with the bullet striking the exterior of the building and penetrating into the home. The Town later accused a sergeant involved in the police response that day of having violated a number of different rules of the Department for the way that he handled the response. The Town suspended the sergeant for ten days.

RJA appealed the discipline to an arbitrator, who presided over a two day hearing. After lengthy closing briefs were submitted by counsel on both sides, the arbitrator issued a seventy-one page award concluding that the Town violated the union contract by suspending the sergeant.

In her award, the arbitrator agreed with RJA’s arguments almost entirely and rejected every rule violation brought forward but one. The one rule violation left standing at that point was a regulation that required members of the Department to notify the command staff of any serious or unusual incident occurring in Town, with a list of examples that included “shootings.” During the hearing, RJA was able to present evidence that, in the past, while the command staff would be notified of a “shooting” when it was a person that had been shot, the command staff was not notified when a gun was used to shoot at a building. A captain in the Department at the time of the prior event told the sergeant that the command staff did not have to receive notification in that type of shooting because the rule applied to the shooting of a person, not the shooting of a building. That was why, in this instance, the sergeant did not make a notification to the command staff. To the extent that the present administration of the Department interpreted the rule differently, the arbitrator concluded that the sergeant should have received no more than a verbal directive as to how this administration was going to apply the rule. The arbitrator found that no other action was warranted, the ten day suspension was improper and the sergeant should receive his lost pay and benefits suffered from the wrongful suspension.

RESULT: An award from the arbitrator concluding that the suspension was unjustified.
RJA Counsel: Andrew J. Gambaccini

Chartrand Attorney: Civil Service Commission Decision ‘Last Piece Of Puzzle’ For Civil Rights Lawsuit

Chartrand Attorney: Civil Service Commission Decision ‘Last Piece Of Puzzle’ For Civil Rights Lawsuit

By Lisa Redmond | Your Dracut Today

DRACUT — The attorney for Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand has vowed to file a civil rights lawsuit against the town after Chartrand won a major victory last month when the state Civil Service Commission sided with the veteran cop and reduced his 10-day suspension to a letter of reprimand.

The commission’s Nov. 8 decision is part of an ongoing legal battle that has raged since 2016, when Town Administrator James Duggan suspended Chartrand for 10 days claiming Chartrand improperly released to the media – as part of a public records request – documents from Dracut Police Lt. Michael Fleury’s personnel file.

“We agree that the town has not established just cause for discipline for violation of the most serious charges, including no violation of the public records laws or other misconduct’’ a majority of the commission wrote.

Describing it as a “misstep,’’ and given Chartrand’s “solid record of past performance,’’ the commission is “warranted in exercising its discretion to modify the discipline and to reduce it to no more than a written reprimand,’’ the decision reads.

Commission Chairman Christopher C. Bowman took a tougher stance writing that in his opinion, any discipline against Chartrand, as the public records officer, “could have a chilling effect on the need for transparency in government affairs.’’

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