Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a person is injured in a car accident every 10 seconds. Crashes affect approximately three million Americans annually. From fender benders to catastrophic collisions, car accidents can be costly.  Statistics show that motor vehicle accidents are the leading type of traumatic event for men, and the second most frequent trauma for women in the United States. The psychological effects of even the most minor accident may become debilitating over time. Anxiety, depression, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder are the most common conditions experienced by car accident victims. These issues may call for medical attention or time away from work.  Our Massachusetts car accident lawyers have seen how such a trauma can effect accident victims.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A recent study reveals that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects 10% to 45% of car accident victims. While feelings of fear, loss of control, anxiety, and stress are typical responses after any kind of trauma, they tend to dissipate over time. What differentiates PTSD from these other conditions is the long lasting or recurring nature of the symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Re-experiencing Symptoms – Often referred to as flashbacks, this is when a victim has episodes of physically and emotionally re-living the accident. This may also manifest through nightmares and other negative experiences.
  • Avoidance – This is a defense mechanism used to keep the victim from initiating memories of the crash. He or she may avoid the site of the crash, or any people involved that trigger anxiety.
  • Changing beliefs – A traumatic car accident may induce a shift in a victim’s perspective of people, activities, or self-image. This is usually considered as another avoidance mechanism. New feelings of fear, guilt, and shame are common.
  • Hyper-arousal – This is when an accident victim exhibits a nervous, hyper-alert state. He or she has trouble releasing tension and may have difficulty focusing or sleeping.

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Everyone knows the dangers of texting while driving. Currently, 39 states have laws against this growing problem, and anti-texting campaigns can regularly be seen and heard on radio, television, social media, and in print ads. These ads have become increasingly graphic in an attempt to discourage drivers from texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel.

But do they work?

According to a recent report, there are 660,000 drivers looking at their phones at any given moment. Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 account for the largest percentage of offenders. Unfortunately, this is the same age group with the highest risk of fatal crashes. Young people are less experienced drivers, and have a tendency to engage in riskier behaviors (not wearing a seatbelt, speeding) than their older counterparts. Combining these risk-factors with the added risk of texting while driving proves fatal for thousands of young people every year. Obviously, something needs to be done.

Anti-texting Campaigns Are “Missing the Mark”

Unfortunately, reports show that the surge of anti-texting campaigns is proving largely ineffective. A recent survey found that 97% of teens already know that texting and driving is extremely dangerous. With the dangers of texting and driving being the main focus of just about every ad campaign, it seems as though the campaigns are simply telling people what they already know. Continue reading

Another unfortunate loss of life serves as a reminder that accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. The saddening incident from Exeter, New Hampshire that took place yesterday has highlighted just how random these accidents may be.

At approximately 1:20 PM Wednesday, July 22nd, 64 year old Margaret Rugg of Exeter, New Hampshire fell off her bike and was subsequently hit and killed by a container truck. The accident took place on Epping Road, according to the preliminary reports provided by law enforcement officials investigating the matter. The container truck which struck Margaret Rugg was owned by Pinard Waste Management Systems and was operated by a man from Milton at the time of the accident. The name of the driver of the container truck has not been disclosed at this time, and he also has not been charged with anything as of yet. The driver of the garbage vehicle did not suffer any apparent injuries from the accident. Initial reports for the investigation indicate that law enforcement officials on scene did not believe that drugs or alcohol played a role in what took place.

Route 27, the area surrounding where the accident took place on Epping Road, was closed until approximately 7:30 PM as the investigation continued. Officers in the area redirected the flow of traffic through the town of Exeter and to nearby Exit 9 on Highway 101. The State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction unit as well as the Exeter New Hampshire police department are working together closely to investigate the accident. Continue reading

Tragedy struck in San Francisco on Sunday when two motorcycle racers from Spain were killed during a World Superbike Race. The race took place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, according to a statement given by a sheriff’s spokesman for Monterey County. A crash occurred that caused a chain-reaction during the first lap of the race. Twenty eight riders took part in the occasion, and witnesses from the event have said that five competitors collided on the pathway which led to many of them being thrown into the dirt surrounding the track. Additional injuries to other riders have not been provided, but sources state that four of the five injured riders received treatment for their injuries while they were still at the venue where the race was taking place. Their identities have not been released at the current time.

The two men who were killed have been positively identified as 35 year old Bernat Martinez of Alberic, Valencia, Spain, and 27 year old Daniel Rivas Fernandez of Moana Galicia, Spain. Each of the men was transported from Mazda Raceway to undisclosed hospitals where they both later died from their injuries. The severity of their wounds has not been made available.

The spokesman for the Monterey County sheriff’s office, Cmdr. John Thornburg, has also stated that the sheriff’s office is not planning to investigate the incident that took place at the MotoAmerica Superbike/Superstock 1000 race. Thornburg has stated that it appears to be an accident and nothing further. Continue reading

Whiplash is the most common motor vehicle accident-related injury. However, it is also widely misunderstood. Unfortunately, the term “whiplash” has become associated with exaggerated personal injury claims. In fact, most attorneys refrain from using the term whiplash in the courtroom, instead referring to the specific injury’s technical name. Whiplash-related injuries may include hyperextension/hyperflexion or myofascial injury, neck strain or sprain, and cervical strain or sprain.

The term whiplash encompasses a number of neck injuries that are most commonly suffered as a result of a rear-end collision. When the body is propelled forward but the head and neck stay in place, such as in a rear-end auto accident, damage to the soft tissue of the neck may occur. This sudden jerking and stretching of the neck muscles occurs in a whip-like motion, hence the name.

Common Causes of Whiplash

Although rear-end collisions are the main cause of whiplash injuries, damage to the soft tissue of the neck can occur under many circumstances. These may include:

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A fatal truck crash in Mansfield, Massachusetts has left state police officials asking the public for additional help with their investigation into the accident. A man from Norton who was driving the vehicle was killed in the accident that took place Monday July 13th, 2015, around 3:15 PM. The driver, who has yet to be identified pending family notification, was traveling on Route 495 South (south of Exit 12 for Mansfield) at the time of the accident. Preliminary reports suggest that the man, who was driving a box truck, veered off the right side of the highway and then rolled over into the woods nearby.

State police officers from the Foxborough barracks were called to the scene shortly after the accident took place. One of the state troopers investigating the incident, Christopher Booth, has said that initial reports indicate that the 55 year old driver of the 2003 Ford box truck appeared to have lost control of his vehicle before he swerved off the highway and into the surrounding trees. The Norton man who was driving the vehicle was the only person inside of the truck. Members of the Mansfield Fire Department had to extricate the victim from his car before he was transported by an ambulance to nearby Morton Hospital in Taunton. It was upon his arrival at the Morton Hospital that the unidentified driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead. The extent and nature of his injuries has not been made available yet. Continue reading

Volvo, one of the safest brands in car manufacturing, has recently proposed an idea that may not live up to their gleaming safety reputation. In their new XC90 Excellence Model, Volvo is introducing the idea of a car seat placed in the front seat of the car where the passenger seat once was. While the car seat is rear facing, the idea of having it placed in the front seat at all is an alarming idea for drivers who are also parents. The law has always been that children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the front seat of the vehicle, period. But Volvo believes they can challenge that idea with this new model.

A spokesperson for Volvo has said that the primary reason children under the age of 12 are prohibited from sitting in the front seat of the car is due to the fact that the passenger side of the vehicle contains an airbag. In the new XC90 model, Volvo has removed the front passenger airbag, therefore making it, to their standards, safe for the baby to be placed there. The spokesperson went on to say that the front seat of the car is just as safe as the rear seat of the car. But many people who have children are uneasy with that idea; mainly because they don’t find it, or know it, to be true. Continue reading

“Motorcycles Are Everywhere” a common slogan boasted across bumper stickers and lawn signs throughout the surrounding area. The message was created in 1982 by former Cambridge resident Bob Doiron, a founder of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association. After retirement he passed along the idea to a motorcycle activist in Amesbury, MA by the name of Paul Cote. After receiving grants from the Plymouth Rock Assurance in 2007-2008, Cote was able to create the very signs urging caution for motorcycles you now see today. These signs and stickers were created in hopes of bringing awareness to the thousands of motorcyclists who take to the streets during the warmer weathered months; motorcyclists who face a great deal of danger from other vehicles driving along the same roads. Continue reading

It may come as a surprise to learn that teens are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than their older counterparts. As we age, our ability to quickly relax and fall asleep begins to decrease. However, in teens, this function is still alive and well. Unfortunately, it also makes young drivers vulnerable to falling asleep behind the wheel, especially if they get less than adequate sleep on a regular basis. While teens typically experience less sleep problems than older adults, common behaviors such as staying up late at night and getting up early for summer jobs can increase the risk of drowsy-driving in teens. Continue reading

A general decrease in car accidents and vehicle related fatalities has been taking place in Massachusetts over the past six years or so. While some counties (Worcester and Plymouth primarily) are still experiencing fluctuating numbers between years, a steady overall decline seems to be developing. Most online records have not been updated since 2012-2013 but the graphs provided indicate that this is a trend that could realistically continue.

Car crashes, fatalities, and serious injuries stemming from car accidents have decreased substantially from 2010-2012. The statistics do show a slight increase in fatalities between 2010-2011, but then the numbers become lower again during the 2011-2012 time frame. The Massachusetts Government reports that the total number of car crashes between 2010 and 2012 has dwindled by as many as 8,317. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration similarly reported that in 2010 motor vehicle crashes resulted in the lowest number of fatalities since 1949. Continue reading

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