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Articles Posted in Personal Injuries

After four years of litigation, on July 28, 2016, in Bowers v. P. Wiles Inc., the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), the highest court in Massachusetts, has finally cleared the way for a jury to hear the case between Linda Bowers and P. Wiles Inc. They have expanded the “mode of operation” exception to premises liability of storeowners, making it easier for plaintiffs to prove that storeowners are liable for the injuries caused by the negligence of other customers.

In December of 2011, the plaintiff, Linda Bowers, fractured her hip when she slipped on a wet river stone on the walkway leading to an Agway garden store in Cape Cod. Agway is owned by P. Wiles Inc. Ms. Bowers sued P. Wiles Inc. for negligence, claiming that Agway knew or should have known that other patrons could dislodge stones, creating a fall risk for customers. Ms. Bowers alleges that Agway did not take reasonable steps to prevent customers from tripping and injuring themselves on these stones. After filing her complaint, P. Wiles moved for summary judgment claiming that Ms. Bowers did not have sufficient evidence to show that Agway had actual or constructive knowledge that the stone was there. In fact, Ms. Bowers had admitted that she did not have evidence to show whether the stone was there long enough for Agway to remedy the situation.  Continue reading

Since its release on July 6th, Pokémon Go has been a party to many injuries, several car accidents and even muggings. So far, injuries sustained have not been fatal. Many players have reported via social media injuries ranging from severe sunburns to twisted ankles from tripping or falling into ditches.Pokémon Go is a new app inspired by a video game originally released in 1995 which was played on Gameboys. Soon after its creation, the Pokémon franchise expanded to the creation of a cartoon, along with playing cards and toys. The object of Pokémon Go is literally to “catch ‘em all!” Players walk around using the app, which in turn uses the camera app. As you walk around, the app tells you where you might find Pokémon, which are then viewable through the app. You then “throw” a pokéball at them to capture them.

Aside from injuries, there have also been muggings associated with the game. In Missouri, a group of teenagers were arrested for robbing several Pokémon Go players by using the app against them to lure them to areas where they could easily be overtaken and robbed. The teenagers were able to lure players by setting up pokéstops to “attract Pokémon” and in so doing were able to attract unsuspecting Pokémon Go players.

The US isn’t the only country with mounting concerns regarding injuries and crimes caused by players distractedly tripping and running into things. Police in the UK have been warning players to watch their surroundings, as having their faces buried in their phones make them easy targets for criminals, as well as prone to accidents such as walking into oncoming traffic.

On Monday July 18th, 2016 over 50 former professional wrestlers filed a class action lawsuit against the WWE alleging that they each suffered “long term neurological injuries” due to the WWE’s absolute failure to treat them in “any medically competent or meaningful manner.” The lawsuit further states that the WWE had “fraudulently misrepresented and concealed” the nature and extent of injuries sustained while wrestling. The injury alleged in the lawsuit is known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.

CTE was originally discovered in boxers in the 1920’s.  However, recent studies have found CTE in other professional athletes or anyone who has repeatedly experienced head trauma.

This repeated trauma causes brain degeneration which can be seen in terms of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.  With CTE, symptoms can begin within a few months following the trauma or can begin to develop decades later.

Last week, 2-year old Lane Graves of Nebraska lost his life in a deadly alligator attack at Disney. Reports state that an alligator snatched the boy from the shores of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa where he and his family were vacationing.

While at the Disney Resort, the young boy had been wading close to the shore the lagoon.  The boy’s father desperately attempted to free his child from the alligator while his mother tried to get help from the lifeguard. Tragically, the alligator was too strong and fast for any rescue efforts. The next morning officials reported that they had recovered the body of the boy.  The official cause of death is drowning.

Following the tragic death, Disney released a public statement stating that the company “will thoroughly review the situation for the future.”

Earlier this month, fifty-year-old Charles Pickett of Battle Creek, Michigan crashed his car into nine bicyclists and then fled the scene.  He is now facing five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving causing serious bodily harm.

Just minutes prior to the collision, police in the area had received several concerned calls prompting them to search for an erratically driving truck.  According to one eyewitness, he had just narrowly missed being hit by the truck as he was leaving a local park. He further stated that he didn’t have time to warn the bicyclists before the truck collided into the group – ranging in age from 40 to 74.

The bicyclists were part of a group who referred to themselves as the “Chain Gang” and regularly took long rides together. They were just 5-miles into their typical 30 mile ride when Pickett struck the bike-enthusiasts. According to the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Department, after the truck made impact, Pickett bailed from his truck and fled the scene on foot. Police were able to swiftly find and arrest him.

As the weather warms in and around the Boston metro area, it is important to remember to practice routine water safety around all swimming pools, lakes, beaches, ocean activities, and ponds. To remind everyone of the inherent risks swimming venues present, especially parents and children, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) has designated May as “National Drowning Prevention Month.” Sadly, drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 1-4. Often, drowning deaths are silent and happen quickly, even when guardians are otherwise vigilant in their supervision. The Alliance hopes the increased awareness will result in fewer tragedies and prevent accidental drowning deaths and serious personal injuries when families are enjoying relaxation and recreation around bodies of water this summer. Local Massachusetts organizations, such as the Christian E. Frechette Foundation, also implore all children and their guardians to practice safe habits and close supervision around bodies of water.

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Bellotti Law Group fully support the NDPA’s mission of reducing drowning accidents and pass along the following water safety tips from the Alliance. If you or a loved one was injured or wrongfully killed due to another person’s negligent practice, call our Boston, Cambridge, or Quincy office today at 617-225-2100.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Drowning Accidents:

A recent string of child injuries has occurred north of the Massachusetts border, as two New Hampshire children are recovering after falling from windows in separate incidents. The children sustained personal injuries from the fall, but they are non-life-threatening. The first fall occurred when a four-year-old girl fell from a second-story window of her home. She was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries, but is listed in stable condition. Following that child injury, New Hampshire police responded to an unrelated fall, where a four-year-old boy fell out of a third-story window. Similar to the first fall, the child sustained some injuries, but fortunately is expected to make a full recovery. Authorities are warning parents to keep a watchful eye over young children, especially around open windows. They also stress that parents should ensure window screens are in good working order and lock securely in place.

If your child has sustained an injury, contact an experienced Massachusetts child injury attorney at Bellotti Law Group of Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy. For over 20 years, our Boston child injury lawyers have obtained fair compensation for children and families. Contact us today to preserve your full rights. Call us today at 617-225-2100 or use our online form.

While all parents and guardians should be watchful of their children to prevent child injuries related to falls from windows, there are many more common household dangers that can lead to child falls and harm. For example, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, a child under the age of five is treated in a hospital emergency room for a stair-related injury, every six minutes. Parents carrying their children on stairs accounts for one-in-four injuries sustained by children under age one. Stair-related child injuries have declined in recent years, mainly due to parents increasing their measures to prevent young children and walkers from tumbling down unattended stairways without safety gates.

Earlier this week, an 18-year-old Billerica, Massachusetts man died after being struck by a vehicle on Route 128 South in Lynnfield, near the Route 1 tunnel, north of Boston. A 17-year-old Massachusetts woman, also from Billerica, sustained severe personal injuries following the pedestrian accident. Massachusetts State Police and Lynnfield Police and Fire responded to the scene. The teens were rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital following the accident.

According to the state police, the young man died at the scene and the young woman was left suffering from life-threatening personal injuries. Traffic was halted on Rte. 128 South and nearby on-ramps were closed as a result of the motor vehicle accident. The Massachusetts State Police report noted that the two teens were occupants of a car that had stopped in the median of Rte. 128 South, when they “exited the vehicle and were standing in the travel lane when they were both struck by a second vehicle.” The pedestrian accident remains under investigation. Troopers with the State Police Detective Unit and the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, plus the Crime Services Section, are among those investigating.

Pedestrian accidents are a growing concern in Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Security, nearly 1/4 of all motor-vehicle related fatalities in Massachusetts involve pedestrians. Non-fatal pedestrian injuries are even more common. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration notes that a pedestrian injury occurs once every 8 minutes.

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