The Dangers of Falling Snow and Ice

As the weather gets colder in New England, many people are already carrying out winterization measures to protect their homes and businesses. Road salt purchased, shovels dug out of garages, and tires swapped out. All this attention paid—and rightfully so—to the hazards of traveling on foot or by car through a winter wonderland. However, paying attention to snow on the ground should not come at the expense of preparing for snow on roofs and eaves, which poses an entirely different set of risks to guests, neighbors, customers, and all pedestrians. While slip-and-fall, or slip-and-crash, accidents immediately come to mind as common winter hazards, falling ice and snow from roofs can also cause serious injury to the unsuspecting traveler. Serious head,

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Joyce, Vigliotti And Gambaccini Named Super Lawyers For 2019

The Worcester, Massachusetts law firm of Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C. announces that three of its attorneys, Austin Joyce, John Vigliotti and Andrew Gambaccini, have been selected as Super Lawyers for 2019 by Super Lawyers Magazine. Austin Joyce, the firm’s senior attorney, has been practicing law since 1979. John Vigliotti receives the award for the fifth time, one for each year he has been eligible. Prior to being named a Super Lawyer, Vigliotti twice was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine. Andrew Gambaccini receives the honor for the third time in his third year of eligibility. Previously, Gambaccini was named a Rising Star in eight years by Super Lawyers Magazine. Each year, no more than five percent of

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Rear-end collisions and the rush to settle

Rear-end collisions are not uncommon, but they are not simple or routine. Repeat after me: there is no such thing as a “simple” rear-end collision. Again, there is no such thing as a “routine” rear-end collision. Rear-end collisions come on a sliding scale, ranging from the annoying to the frightening to the downright devastating. A long-haul trucker whose brakes fail at an off-ramp can total cars, wreck bodies, and take lives. On the other hand, a distracted driver letting his foot off the brake in snail’s-pace traffic will probably result in a dinged bumper and frayed nerves. What rear-end collisions often have in common is insurance companies’ haste in settling. Why could this be? Liability in rear-end collisions is clear: whoever was in the

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My husband was in a fatal accident, can I file a wrongful death claim?

Under Massachusetts law, a person or company may be liable for wrongful death, if the death of another is caused by (1) negligence, or failing to exercise reasonable care, (2) a “wanton or reckless act,” or (3) a breach of warranty. In order to bring forward a wrongful death claim, the surviving individual must have suffered damages due to the untimely death of another. Precisely who those survivors can be varies from state to state. Massachusetts requires “the executor or administrator of the deceased” to file a wrongful death claim in court. This refers to the person responsible for following any instructions left in the deceased person’s will or for paying the deceased person’s final debts.  This person is now called

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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

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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. 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. 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

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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. 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. 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 provide tenants 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

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