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.

Articles Posted in Fatal Accidents

A Milton, Ma. multi-vehicle collision killed a Mattapan man while injuring three other people on Saturday. Kelly Young was 56.

According to police, the head-on chain-reaction happened when a Boston woman in a Toyota Corolla was rear-ended by a Holbrook man in his vehicle. The impact of the crash sent the man’s auto into oncoming traffic, where it hit Young’s vehicle head on. An 8-year-old girl was among those who were inured.

On Sunday, a deadly Beverly traffic crash claimed the life of a female passenger. The accident happened when the car she was in went through a red light and hit a truck. The driver of the truck was critically injured.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting a decline in both the number of Massachusetts motor vehicle crash fatalities as well as how many occurred in total in the U.S. According to the figures for 2013, there were 326 traffic deaths in the state last year, which is a decline from the 383 fatalities in 2012. Alcohol was a factor in 118 of the Massachusetts traffic deaths in 2013.

Nationally, the country lost 32,719 people in roadway crashes in 2013. This is also a decrease from the 33,782 traffic deaths from the year previous.

Overall, between 2012 and 2013, the U.S. saw a reduction in deaths and injuries of truck occupants, passenger car occupants, pedestrians, and young drivers, as well as in accidents where alcohol was a factor.

Here is the breakdown of some of the national traffic statistics for 2013 (NHTSA):

• 21,132 passenger occupant deaths • 691 large truck fatalities • 4,667 motorcycle deaths • 4,735 pedestrian deaths
• 743 pedalcyclist fatalities
In Massachusetts, our Boston car accident lawyers represent victims (and their families) injured in traffic crashes. Often, people who were hurt in motor vehicle crashes don’t realize that they have other options besides settling with their insurance company or the insurer of the other party involved in a collision. Contact a Massachusetts traffic accident lawyer allows you to find out what else you should do.

Before settling with any of the parties involved, you should talk to a Boston injury attorney who can help you figure out how much your injuries, vehicle damage, medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages are likely to cost. An insurance company may try to get you to agree to amount that doesn’t take into account the full extent of injuries or damages-especially when someone is seriously hurt or left with permanent disabilities.

Also, if you have lost someone in a Massachusetts car accident, you may be able to sue the other party for wrongful death damages. This won’t bring back your loved one but it can allow you to hold the other party accountable and help with the expenses and loss of income that may have occurred because of your relative’s death.

Roadway deaths fall nearly 25 percent in a decade, fatality rates at a historic low, NHTSA, December 19, 2014

2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, NHTSA, December 2014 (PDF)

Quick Facts 2013, NHTSA (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
Cape Cod Drowning Death is Second Swimming Fatality at Yarmouth Hotel in Four Months, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 18, 2014

Consolidation of Xarelto Injury Lawsuits Gets Opposition from Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2014

Fall River Construction Worker Dies While Working On Natural Gas Lines in Road Project, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, December 12, 2014

Police from Easthampton, MA are reporting that two individuals were fatally injured while traveling north on their motorcycle. The motorcycle, which had been traveling north, was struck by an oncoming car heading southbound.

According to police reports, 45-year-old James Ainsworth of Springfield, MA crossed the center line on Route 5 yesterday and struck the couple on their bike. News reports indicate that Ainsworth was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 81,000 people were injured and 4,612 were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2011 in the United States; a 2% increase from the number in 2010 and a 41% increase from 2002. Motorcycle accidents make up an estimated 14% of the total number of motor-vehicle crashes in the United States each year. The United States watchdog estimates that per every vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist and motorcycle passengers are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to be killed in an accident, and 5 times more likely to be injured during an accident.
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Despite monumental improvements in vehicle safety, the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic fatalities increased in 2012 for the first time since 2005. The number of car accident fatalities rose to 33,561, which was 1,082 more than the previous year. Data shows that the large majority of these fatalities occurred in the first quarter of the year and mainly involved motorcycle and pedestrian incidents.

The NHTSA notes that despite the fact that the number of accident-related deaths rose in 2012, “highway deaths over the last five years remain at historic lows.” Even factoring in the small jump in 2012, the fatalities are still consistent with those of the year 1950. Early data analysis from 2013 indicates fatality numbers have fallen once again.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx released a statement explaining, “Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year and while we’ve made substantial progress over the past 50 years, it’s clear that we have much more work to do. As we look to the future, we must focus our efforts to tackle persistent and emerging issues that threaten the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians across the nation.”
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A tragedy occurred in the early hours of the morning on Marathon Monday. Debra Sarno, a 54-year-old taxi driver from Chelsea was killed when a tractor trailer slammed into her cab on the right travel lane on Route 93, and burst into flames. The accident occurred on the Zakim Bridge, a towering monument in the shadow of a city getting ready to run the most meaningful marathon to date in just a few short hours. Flames and plumes of smoke could be seen billowing high into the air as both the taxi and the truck were completely engulfed.

According to WCVB, “Firefighters rushed to help, but the fire proved too intense. By the time the vehicles were towed away, neither were recognizable. Both burned down to the metal.”

The exact cause of the accident remains unclear at this time, but investigators are particularly focused on why Sarno was stopped in the right travel line in the middle of early morning traffic. It is thought that her 2006 Ford Crown Victoria could have stalled, leaving her in an extremely dangerous spot. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office says it is still trying to figure out how the tractor trailer carrying a full load of produce hit her. The investigation will prove to be difficult as there was little left of the car and truck when the fire was finally put out, around 7 am.
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It can happen in a split second, with no warning. It can happen to anyone, and it could change your life. The new “Don’t Text and Drive” commercial put out by the United States Department of Transportation aims to shock drivers-especially teenagers-into putting their phones down and paying attention to the road. Distracted driving has become an epidemic in recent years as cell phones, tablets, and other devices have come on the market. Teenagers are especially susceptible to the effects of distracted driving because of their inexperience behind the wheel combined with an almost rabid attachment to their cell phones.

The commercial pinpoints the teenage and young adult audience with the slogan, “U drive. U text. U pay,” with the hashtag #justdrive. It features a group of young women traveling in a car on a seemingly normal day. They are seen talking and laughing as the driver becomes distracted by her phone and misses a stop sign. In an instant, they are struck by an oncoming truck in the intersection. The extremely jarring scene unfolds as the car flips over multiple times before coming to rest.

In perhaps the most poignant scene, a police officer stands beside the wreckage and explains, “Nobody likes to be stopped by police, but if I’d seen her texting while driving and given her a ticket, it just might have saved her life.” The shocking images are meant to jolt teens into understanding the reality and consequences of texting while driving at point in their lives when they may feel invincible.
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After a preliminary investigation, New Hampshire officials have concluded that neither speed nor alcohol were factors in Tuesday morning’s fatal crash.

While the incident remains under investigation, Brookline Police Chief William Quigley said that excessive speed and intoxication have been ruled out as possible causes, however “driver inattentiveness” remains the most likely factor of the three-car accident that killed one person.

The accident occurred when a female driver who was trying to take a left hand turn was rear-ended and pushed into traffic, causing an oncoming car to strike her car.
Unfortunately this accident is an example of a distracted driving accident. Accidents caused by driver inattention account for nearly one fifth (18%) of all motor vehicle collisions in the United States. In 2011, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 people were injured in as the result of driver inattention and distracted driving incidents.

Texting and driving, while against the law, remains a big issue throughout New England. A person who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than someone who is not distracted. According to the Ad Council, 5 seconds is the average time a person’s eyes are taken off the road while texting. At 55mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field, blind!
Texting is not the only type of distraction people face while driving, and there are three other types of distractions including visual: taking eyes off of the road; manual: taking hands off of the wheel; cognitive: taking mind off of driving (e.g.; day dreaming).

Some Common Examples of Distracted Driving Include:
• Cellphone or smartphone use

• Eating or drinking

• Talking to passengers

• Daydreaming

• Grooming

• Reading, including maps

• Using a navigation system

• Watching a video

• Adjusting the radio Continue reading

Authorities in Middleborough have released new details in their search for the driver who struck and killed a local bicyclist last week.

Michael Dutra, 58, of Middleborough was the victim of the fatal hit-and-run accident, which occurred around 7 p.m. Friday evening. Authorities believe Dutra was either riding or walking his bicycle along Wood Street, where he resided.

Plymouth Country District Attorney Timothy Cruz, as well as Middleborough’s Chief of Police Bruce Gates, said that investigators of the accident had started to piece the scene together, and have collected debris from what they believe to be a light-colored model year 2005-2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Authorities think that the vehicle is possibly missing the front marker lens, may have a broken right headlight lens, as well as a damaged right front bumper. Investigators need your help. Anyone with any information regarding the case is encouraged to contact the Middleborough Police Department at (508) 947-1212.

While bike riding is a popular mode of transportation, it is also extremely dangerous, especially for individuals who choose ride at night. Unlike passengers in motor vehicles, bicyclists have no physical protective barriers against outside elements like cars, trees, guardrails, fences, and other large vehicles, and are at the mercy of others traveling on the road.

bike.jpgThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 500,000 people are treated for serious bicycle-related injuries each year, and more than 700 individuals die each year. A majority of these injuries are head injuries attributed to not wearing a helmet. Though many people dismiss the idea of wearing a helmet because of atheistic reasons, or because they feel their short commute does not warrant wearing one, wearing a helmet could make all the difference, and could even save a life. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that bicycle helmets are 85-88% effective in preventing severe head and brain injuries. Other types of injuries commonly sustained in bicycle accidents include concussions, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, lacerations, paralysis, and death.
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Prosecutors will not be pressing charges against the Amherst truck driver who struck and killed a bicyclist last May.

Livingston Pangburn, a Hampshire College student, was fatally injured when he collided with an Amherst College box truck. According to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, Pangburn was traveling in heavy traffic along College Street, and did not stop with the traffic to allow the westbound truck to make a left turn onto the college’s campus.

fast-379343-m.jpgPolice reports stated that the driver of the truck did not see the cyclist in time to stop, and Pangburn was not able to maneuver around the truck in time to avoid the crash. Prosecutors do not believe that any impairment, cell phone use, or mechanical defects with the vehicle played a role in the accident.

While this is undoubtedly a tragic story, it also puts into perspective the dangers cyclists face when riding their bikes. Because bicyclists are extremely vulnerable compared to passengers to a motor vehicles due to their lack of physical barriers to protect themselves, it is crucial for them to do their part to prevent a serious accident from occurring.

5 Tips to Stay Safe on Your Bike

1. Always, always, always wear a helmet. While it seems to be a phrase engrained in everyone’s head, so many individuals do not understand how important helmets are in preventing serious head injuries. Some people dismiss the idea of wearing a helmet because of atheistic reasons, or because they feel their short commute doesn’t warrant wearing one. But wearing a helmet could make all the difference, and could even save a life.

2. Travel with the traffic, not against it. Always ride on the right side of the road, and go with the flow of traffic. Remember that bicycles are considered vehicles too, and cyclists are responsible for adhering to the same rules of the road as drivers. If you come to a stop sign or red light, you are legally bound to stop. In addition, you are responsible for yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks, just as motorists are.
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Lawmakers in New Hampshire are considering changes to traffic laws after an unlicensed driver killed two cyclists just hours after she had been pulled over for speeding.

Darriean Hess, 19, was charged with two counts of negligent homicide after she plowed into a group of cyclists, fatally injuring two Massachusetts women, and seriously injuring two others. The cyclists were taking part in an annual charity ride along the New England coastline.

criminal-defense.jpgAccording to police reports, Hess had been stopped on the same road eight hours prior to the fatal accident and had been ticketed for speeding and driving without a license. The officer who had previously pulled Hess over had required her to wait for a licensed driver to pick up her and the vehicle she was driving. Hess is being held on $50,000 bail.

Under the current New Hampshire law, a driver may be charged with a misdemeanor only if he or she has already been cited for operating a vehicle without a license. Representative Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, has filed a bill that would make any violation committed by an unlicensed driver an automatic misdemeanor. If the new bill passed, police would have the option of arresting the driver or issuing a summons. The bill was submitted to New Hampshire police for their recommendations, but no other information on its progress is available.

According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 23, a person who is found driving while revoked, suspended, or otherwise unlicensed, may be subject to a fine from $500 to $1,000, and imprisoned for not more than 10 days, for the first offense. Subsequent offenses may result in 60 days to one year imprisonment as well as possible extension of suspension of license for an additional 60 days to one year.

While bike riding is a popular mode of transportation, especially in urban areas of Massachusetts, is can be extremely dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 700 people are killed in bicycle accidents and another 500,000 people are treated annually for bicycle-related injuries. While wearing a helmet can prevent some injuries to the brain, bicyclists are still extremely vulnerable and susceptible to suffering other types of serious injuries, such as neck and spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death.
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