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.

It should be obvious, shouldn’t it? Using Facebook or Instagram while driving is a bad idea. But knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two entirely different things. Unfortunately, statistics show that although we may know the dangers of using social media while driving, we’re still doing it. A recent survey sponsored by the National Safety Council revealed that 74% of those surveyed use Facebook while driving, and 37% use Twitter. YouTube and Instagram came in close behind. People are even playing video games while driving. Last year, a Maryland man crashed into a parked police car while playing “Pokemon Go.”

In 2008, Jennifer Smith’s mother was killed when a 20-year-old who was using her cell phone drove through a red light. “As I’m talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, ‘It’s Snapchat,’ ” said Smith. “It’s Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow? You know, we’ve got the ‘Pokemon Go’ coming, and then it’s the next thing.” Smith works full time to lobby for legislation that will prevent accidents like the one that killed her mother. “Social networking while driving is not necessary and should not be done by anyone, in any way, who’s driving. Period. And somehow we’ve got to make the whole country understand that.” A MA auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver.

Distracted Driving Likely a Factor in One-Quarter of all Crashes in Massachusetts and Around the Country

Unfortunately, it looks like we have a long way to go before drivers – especially young drivers – change their distracted-driving habits. In a recent survey of 2,500 teens, nearly 70 percent admitted to using apps while they drive. Only six percent of those surveyed said they think that social media is the most distracting behavior while driving. But distracted driving kills an average of eight people every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And that is likely a massive underestimation. Proving that an accident was caused by distracted driving isn’t an easy thing to do. The National Safety Council estimates that distracted driving is actually responsible for about 25 percent of all crashes.

Social Media Slows Reaction Time More than Alcohol

In fact, according to a study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the reaction time for a driver who has been drinking is reduced by 12 percent; for someone on their smart phone, it’s a 38 percent reduction. And the use of social media is making things even worse. Kids are growing up in a society where it’s socially acceptable to post a picture of the congested traffic they’re sitting in on their drive home. Distracted driving is never ok. A Boston auto accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver. Continue reading

Every day thousands of people in and around the Boston metro area rely on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Association (MBTA) for transportation. MBTA provides several public transportation options, including busses, ferries, commuter rail, and the subway. According to the American Public Transportation Service, MBTA’s commuter rail service – nicknamed the “T” –  is one of the busiest in the nation. On the average weekday, more than one million people use its subway system. Unfortunately, with such high ridership – and some serious maintenance issues – MBTA accidents are relatively common. When an injury accident is a result of negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Common Carriers

According to MA state law, MBTA and other transportation companies are held to a higher standard of care due to their classification as “common carriers.” When this standard is violated, MBTA may be liable for resulting injuries and damages. Although some accidents occur due to the excessive speed of trains or busses, they are more likely to occur at MBTA train and subway stations due to unsafe conditions on platforms, stairs, or escalators. A Boston MBTA accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a MBTA-related accident.

Recent MBTA Accidents

In August, a female pedestrian was killed after being struck and run over by a MBTA swing-loader. The vehicle was being used in a three-month bridge project near the Central Street MBTA station. In 2016, a male pedestrian in Dorchester was hit by a MBTA bus, suffering life-threatening injuries. The victim later died. Also last year, the engine of an Orange Line MBTA train overheated, igniting some trash. Train cars quickly filled with smoke, and passengers had to break windows to escape. Fortunately, everyone survived, but three people were hospitalized.

Some of the Orange Line trains are decades old, and maintenance has been marginal at best. Sadly, the incidents above are just a few of the many MBTA-related accidents that have occurred over the last few years. Many have been fatal. So, what’s going on?

Drowning in Debt

Lack of funding and maintenance issues have plagued MBTA for years. The company is drowning in debt and has a repair backlog in the billions. “The problem we have is a problem of literally decades of disinvestment,” said former Massachusetts DOT director Jim Aloisi. But ridership only continues to grow. A MA personal injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a MBTA-related accident.

Types of Accidents

Accidents involving trains and subways often result in serious injuries, including head trauma, bone fractures, and internal injuries. Minor injuries, such as sprains and bruising, may also occur. In recent years, MBTA accidents have involved:

  • Trains colliding with vehicles
  • Pedestrian accidents involving trains and busses
  • Slip and fall accidents due to negligent maintenance of MBTA locations
  • Passengers falling when trains stop suddenly and unexpectedly
  • Negligent railway design
  • Lack of adequate warning signage for hazards or oncoming trains
  • Train derailment
  • Fatigued or distracted conductors and drivers
  • Hazardous cargo spills
  • Excessive speed

Continue reading

Ride sharing apps like Lyft and Uber have taken cities by storm. Being able to herald a ride from anywhere at any time is not only incredibly convenient (not having to rely solely on the T is certainly a positive), it also makes the streets safer as fewer people are inclined to engage in inebriated driving when such a service is available. But what happens if your driver crashes and injures you? In such a case, our experienced Boston personal injury attorneys are here to help.

Drivers who sign up to be a part of Uber or Lyft must undergo checks for safe driving and background checks to ensure that they don’t have a history of criminal activity. For Uber, potential drivers must fork over a whole host of information, including their full name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance policy information and proof of a valid, completed vehicle inspection. Drivers must also have reliable cars that do not pose a safety risk to passengers.

However just because these checks are implemented prior to the drivers earning employment with the companies, this does not ensure that they will be properly checked for continued safety standards throughout the length of their employment. Perhaps their car has experienced a recent mechanical issue that makes the car unsafe, but the driver does not disclose this fact to Uber of Lyft for fear of being let go.

Traffic-related accidents involving pedestrians are shockingly common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians accounted for about 13 percent of total traffic-related fatalities in 2010, and more than 70,000 pedestrians were injured that year. These are nationwide figures, but MA is no exception. Read on for more information about pedestrian accidents, and what to do if you are injured by a negligent driver while walking.

Most traffic-related pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers or pedestrians who are simply not paying attention. As little ones rarely pay attention to their immediate surroundings, it’s not surprising that children under 15 account for more than one-third of annual pedestrian injuries.

In MA, pedestrians have the right of way when using a crosswalk, or crossing at an intersection with a green light or walk signal. If such signals are not present – or if they are malfunctioning – it is up to the driver to yield to any pedestrian using a crosswalk. If the driver fails to do so, and the pedestrian is injured, the driver may be liable for any resulting damages. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

What do Do if You’re Injured as a Pedestrian

Immediately after a traffic-related accident in which you are injured as a pedestrian, following the steps below will help to protect you now, and in the future:

  • Call police immediately if no one has already done so. If medical assistance is required, police can call for help. They will also file an accident report, which will be invaluable if you choose to file a personal injury claim in the future.
  • Photograph the scene, including injuries and property damage. If your lap top was smashed, and you have a cut on your leg, use your cell phone to take pictures. You should also photograph anything that may have contributed to the accident, such as a blocked stop sign or patch of ice on the road.
  • Ask any witnesses for their names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Do this as soon as possible. Unless injuries are severe, witnesses don’t often stick around for too long.
  • Exchange information with the driver, and anyone else involved.
  • Once you get to a safe place, record details about the accident, including the date and time, weather conditions, and possible causes. For example, if you saw the driver texting just before you were struck, write this down. Memories fade quickly. Preserving your memories in writing will help immensely if you decide to file an injury claim.
  • Contact an experienced MA pedestrian accident lawyer You should consult with an attorney before speaking to the insurance companies. It is the insurance investigator’s job to figure out how not to pay for your damages. Anything you say can be used against you at a later date. An attorney can help you navigate this process effectively so that you can get the compensation you deserve in a timely manner.

Continue reading

Poor driving habits and inexperience are the main factors involved in teen driving accidents. Parents often look forward to the moment when their teenage children can drive themselves to school and sports practices, but this momentous occasion can also result in parental anxiety and fear. Considering that auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, parents have a reason to feel anxious. Fortunately, most of these accidents are preventable. This back to school season, teach your teen driver how to avoid being seriously injured or killed in a preventable auto accident.

Teens have a tendency to feel invincible. This “Superman Complex,” coupled with a lack of experience behind the wheel, can be extremely dangerous. Poor driving habits such as speeding, and reckless and distracted driving, are common factors in teen driving accidents. As a parent, the first step in combating these behaviors is to provide a good example. Practice what you preach; don’t text or talk on your cell phone when behind the wheel. If you must take a call, find a safe spot to pull over before doing so. Keep your phone in the glove box or stashed away in your purse while driving. Our children pay attention to our behaviors more than we think. A Boston auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another driver’s negligence.

Safety Starts with the Vehicle

In addition to setting a good example, it’s important to set your teen driver up for success. This means providing your young one with a safe vehicle to drive. It doesn’t mean you have to spend $30,000 on a trendy, brand new car. Older cars can be just as safe if they are well-maintained. Check tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. Bad tires are more prone to hydroplaning on wet roads and blowing out at high speeds. A young, inexperienced driver is less likely to respond appropriately in either of those situations.

8 Danger Zones

According to the CDC, at least one of the eight scenarios below is a factor in most teen car accidents.

  • Inexperience
  • Driving with teen passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
    Reckless driving
  • Impaired driving

Safety Tips From the Insurance Information Institute

If you have teen drivers in your household, educating them about good driving behaviors can help reduce their chances of becoming a statistic:

  • Before purchasing a car for your teen, do your research. Check to make sure the vehicle has performed well in crash tests and ranks highly for safety.
  • If your area or school offers a driver education or “safe driver” class, enroll your child in the program immediately.
  • Talk to your children frequently about the dangers of impaired driving, distracted and reckless driving, speeding, and other bad driving behaviors. Even if they roll their eyes, they are
  • Teen drivers should avoid having teen passengers for at least six months to a year after they get their license.
  • Always model good driving behaviors for your teen.

Continue reading

Accidents involving 18-wheelers are more likely to result in serious injury and death due to the sheer size and weight of these massive vehicles. Fortunately, most large truck accidents are preventable. Unfortunately, when accidents are caused by the negligence, substance abuse, or inadequate training of the truck driver, unsuspecting occupants of passenger vehicles may have little control of what happens next. That is why defensive driving is the number one way to avoid being involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer. And in order to drive defensively, one must never be distracted.

Top 10 Causes of Trucking Accidents

In some cases, a passenger vehicle driver is responsible for a collision with a truck. But the fault often lies with the truck driver, trucking company, or a third party. The top 10 causes of trucking accidents are:

  • Speeding
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Cargo shifting or improper loading
  • Truck driver’s failure to obey the rules of the road
  • Under-inflated tires on large trucks
  • Truck driver substance abuse
  • Faulty or defective truck parts
  • Improper braking
  • Blind spots
  • Truck driver’s reckless or careless driving

With proper training, many of the factors above can be dramatically reduced. However, problems such as speeding, fatigue and substance abuse may indicate a more deeply-seated problem. The industry culture around trucking often promotes excessively-long hours and rewards speedy deliveries. For these reasons, speeding and driver fatigue are a very real problem. Trucking can also be a lonely job, and one that requires the driver to stay awake for extended periods of time. For this reason, substance abuse is a common issue, and many truck drivers battle addiction. A Boston trucking accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large truck.

Trucking Accident Statistics

  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the number of truck accidents has increased by 20 percent over the last two decades.
  • Fatal large truck accidents cost more than $20 billion annually in the United States alone.
  • Driver fatigue is a factor in about 30 percent of all large truck accidents.
  • Approximately 130,000 people are injured in trucking accidents annually.

Who is Responsible?

Determining who is responsible for a trucking accident can be an extremely complex process. There may be multiple parties involved, including the:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck owner
  • Trucking company
  • Truck or parts manufacturer
  • Shipper of the truck’s cargo
  • Loader of the truck’s cargo

In some cases, only one party is responsible for a trucking accident. Other times, multiple parties are on the hook. For example, if an improperly-loaded cargo caused a truck to veer into oncoming traffic, the loading or shipping company may be responsible. But if the fatigued driver didn’t turn the wheel in time to stop the accident, he may be liable for continuing to drive while fatigued, and the trucking company may be liable for encouraging him to drive the excessive hours that led to his fatigue. A MA trucking accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a trucking accident. Continue reading

In MA, as in most states, it’s against the law to drive without insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds this law. In fact, nearly 13 percent of all drivers on American roadways are uninsured; that’s about one in eight drivers. If you are involved in an auto accident and the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, what should you do? If you’re not at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance should pay for your damages. But if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, who will pay for any resulting medical expenses or vehicle repairs?

The good news is, you can add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to your existing policy. The bad news is, you can’t add this coverage after an accident with a UIM driver. You have to be proactive. So, what if you’re learning about UIM coverage after it’s too late? A MA auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

What to Do Following an Accident with an Uninsured Driver

The steps you should take following an accident with a UIM driver are virtually the same as with any motor vehicle accident.

  • Make sure everyone is safe.
  • Once you’ve determined that nobody needs immediate medical attention, get the other driver’s information. This includes name, contact information, and driver’s license number. Ask for the other driver’s insurance information.
  • Call the police. In addition to providing assistance, police will file a detailed report of the accident. This can be of immense benefit if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Contact your insurance company. Tell them you were just involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
  • Immediately following the accident, seek medical attention. Injuries can take days or even weeks to appear.

This is where things get a bit more complicated…

Following most auto accidents, medical expenses and vehicle repairs are at least partially paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, however, you will need to rely on your UIM coverage…if you have it.

  • If you have UIM coverage: After you’ve confirmed that the other driver is uninsured, start a UIM claim with your insurance company. If the other driver is under-insured, you should only make a claim for the amount of damages that are over and above the other driver’s policy limits. In such a case, you will need to settle with the other driver’s carrier first. Then you can file with your carrier for any excess amount. Further, your UIM coverage cannot exceed that of your primary coverage. The process of filing a UIM claim is typically longer than for more straightforward claims. A Boston auto accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.
  • If you don’t have UIM coverage: If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist and you don’t have UIM coverage, you have the option of suing the other driver. Unfortunately, uninsured and underinsured motorists often – but not always – lack adequate coverage because they lack adequate funds. In layman’s terms, they are broke. And suing someone with little to no assets or money is unlikely to result in significant compensation to cover any damages and injuries. But if this is your only mode of recovery, the court may be able to set up a payment plan. Although this won’t provide immediate relief, it may allow you to gradually pay off outstanding medical expenses and vehicle repair costs.

Continue reading

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were as many as 11,000 injury crashes and 223 fatal crashes involving buses in 2014, the most recent year on record. The agency’s Analysis Division prepares an annual report called Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF), which contains information about large truck and bus crashes nationwide. Read on for more information about different types of bus accidents, and your risk of being injured in one.

School Bus Accidents

An average of 14 school-age children are killed in pedestrian accidents involving school buses every year, and approximately six children die annually as passengers on school buses. As such, experts are consistently calling for the improvement of safety protocols. If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, a skilled Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed.

Safety Tips for School Bus Drivers

According to the National Safety Council, most school bus-related fatalities involve children between the ages of four and seven, and occur when they are walking. School bus drivers can help prevent these accidents by:

  • Never blocking a crosswalk when stopped at a red light.
  • Always yielding to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk in a school zone.
  • Always stopping for a crossing guard with a stop sign.
  • Using extra caution in or around school zones, playgrounds, and residential areas.
  • Never honking at a pedestrian.
  • Never passing another vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.

 

Public Transit Bus Accidents

Public transit buses account for more than 30 percent of annual injury accidents involving buses. Unfortunately, there are generally limits on injury claims against state and municipal agencies, including public transport companies. An experienced MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a public transport bus.

Tour bus accidents

Accidents involving tour buses are more likely to be catastrophic due to the number of miles driven and the number of passengers typically on board. Earlier this year, a tragic bus accident in Texas killed all but one passenger. Members of a Baptist church were en route when a passenger truck collided with their bus, killing 11 passengers on the bus, the bus driver, and the driver of the truck.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

As with any type of motor vehicle accident, bus accidents can be caused by multiple factors, including speed, equipment malfunctions / defective parts, and OUI. The most common causes include:

  • Fatigue
  • Distracted driving (texting or using another hand-held device while behind the wheel)
  • Driver impairment (OUI due to alcohol or drug use)
  • Use of excessive speed
  • Aggressive driving
  • Mechanical failures
  • Tire blow-outs

What to Do After a Bus Accident?

If you’re injured in a bus accident, the first moments are crucial. As with any type of motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention if you have suffered any type of injury. It’s wise to do so even if you’re not sure, injuries can take days or weeks to appear. Take pictures of the scene, including any obvious injuries that you or any other passengers suffered. Request contact information from as many passengers as possible, so that you can contact them in the future if necessary. Continue reading

We are in the midst of what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls “the 100 deadliest days of summer,” during which teen driving fatalities rise every year. In fact, according to AAA, “new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash.” Fatal teen accidents are a growing problem, but there are steps we can take to protect our children from becoming a statistic. Read on for more information about how to avoid serious injury or death in a motor vehicle accident this summer.

Why Summer?

First, it’s important to understand why teen driving fatalities increase in summer months. There are numerous factors, including:

  • Teens are not in school.
  • Teens are on the road more in summer than during the school year.
  • Teens have significantly less driving experience than their adult counterparts.

So what should parents do?

Be a Role Model for Your Teen Driver

Parents are the number one role model for teen drivers. Spend as much time as possible driving with your children to ensure that they have ample time to get acclimated to different driving conditions and situations. It’s also crucial to model good driving behaviors for your children. That means no speeding or texting while driving, and always wearing your safety belt. And talk to your kids about dangers, especially distracted and aggressive driving. A MA auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed due to a distracted or aggressive driver.

Teen Driving Dangers – Statistics

The following statistics are provided by the AAA Foundation:

  • When teens are driving with one other teen passenger, their risk of a fatal accident increases by 44 percent.
  • When three or more teen passengers are in the car, the risk of a fatal accident quadruples.
  • When an adult passenger age 35 or older is present, the risk of a fatal accident decreases by 62 percent.
  • About 70 percent of teens admit that they they’ve used a cell phone while driving in the past month.
  • More than 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving in the past month.
  • Approximately 80 percent of teens underestimate the dangers of their own distracted driving habits.
  • About 94 percent of teens admit to keeping their cell phones turned on while driving.

A Boston motor vehicle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

How to Prevent Teen Driving Fatalities in Summer, and All the Time

The death of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Considering that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people, it’s essential to educate teens on safe driving behaviors. The following tips can help you protect your teen this summer, and all the time.

  • Tell teens to never text or talk on their cell phone while driving. Teach them to put their phone in the glove box while driving, and pull over to a safe location if they need to send a text or make a call.
  • Speeding is always dangerous, but it’s especially risky for inexperienced teen drivers. Teach your kids to always follow the posted speed limit.
  • If possible, new teen drivers should avoid driving at night or in inclement weather until they have more experience. Evening hours and weekends are the worst time for teen accidents, year round.
  • Remind teens that summer is the deadliest month for teen auto accidents. They may roll their eyes at your constant reminders, but they will

Continue reading

Motor vehicle accidents can be traumatizing, even minor ones. When you’re in such an emotional state, it can be difficult to think clearly. But the moments following an auto accident are crucial to the outcome of your case if you choose to file a personal injury claim. Read on for more information about what to do immediately following a car accident.

 

  • Remain at the scene: This is important for many reasons. For starters, if someone else was injured or property was damaged, you could face criminal charges as a hit-and-run driver. Secondly, never assume that you weren’t injured or that no damage occurred to your vehicle. Injuries and damages can appear hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. If you didn’t stick around to get the other driver’s information, you’ll be out of luck when it comes to recovering damages.

 

  • Make sure that passengers and other drivers are safe: Don’t proceed to the next steps until you are certain that everyone involved in the accident is safe. If anyone needs medical attention, call for help immediately. If someone is unconscious, or complaining of severe pain in the back or neck, avoid moving them until professionals arrive. If you are injured and conscious, ask someone to call for help.

 

  • Contact the police: Once you’ve determined that everyone is okay, it’s time to call the police. If there is property damage or injuries, this is of the utmost importance. If no injuries or property damage are apparent, go to the next step.

 

  • Exchange information with the other driver and any witnesses: It may be unnecessary to call the police if no damages or injuries exist, but it’s never a good idea to avoid exchanging information. Ask the other driver for his or her name, phone number, address, license plate number, and driver’s license number. Also get the names and numbers of any passengers and witnesses. Be polite, friendly, and cooperative. And willingly provide your information in exchange.

 

  • Don’t apologize or talk too much: Anything you say can be used against you. Don’t apologize, even if you think the accident was your fault. Simply ask if everyone is okay and offer to get help if needed. Certainly don’t admit liability. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an auto accident.

 

  • Contact your insurance company: Immediately following the accident and exchange of information, inform your insurance carrier that you’ve been involved in an accident. Give straightforward, clear facts, and avoid lying as this could amount to big trouble down the road.

 

  • Photograph the accident: With today’s smart phones, we always have a camera on hand. Take as many pictures as possible. Photograph the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, any other property damage, and anything that may have contributed to the accident, such as a blocked stop sign. Also photograph your injuries. A dark blue bruise today may be completely faded by tomorrow. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.

 

  • Keep records of any medical treatment and automotive work following the accident: Make a note of any appointments with physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists, as well as a detailed account of any medications you are prescribed. In addition to your own notes, obtain copies of medical bills. These are invaluable if you decide to bring a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, make a note of how your injuries have negatively affected your life, from lost work time to activities you can no longer participate in.

Continue reading

Contact Information