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Woodbriar Health Center, a nursing home and rehabilitation facility in Wilmington, MA has incurred fines of $278,900 for substandard care. According to a letter made public earlier this month, this fine may increase to the tune for $10,000 a day until the facility rectifies the most significant problem areas. Sanctions are determined by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services primarily based on recommendations by state inspection agencies. The total amount of sanctions are determined based on the severity of the infraction.

Since December of last year, Woodbriar Health Center has come under fire primarily due to the deaths of two residents. On Christmas Day, a resident, Mary Meuse was dropped from a mechanical lift and sustained two broken legs. Nursing staff failed to inform either the resident or her family about the breakage for at least the first 24 hours. She died two days later on December 27th.

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With the longer days, warmer weather, and budding flowers, many winter-weary Bostonians will be choosing to travel by foot or by bicycle during the warmer months this year. In fact, Boston is the leading U.S. city of pedestrian and biking commuters according to The Alliance for Biking and Walking. Unfortunately, bike accidents present a serious safety risk in Boston.

Biking is an excellent form of both transportation and exercise. It is also a great way to get around without the additional cost of gas and harmful carbon emissions of cars. While there are many benefits to using bikes, it can also be an extremely dangerous way to travel without taking the proper precautions.

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A recent Boston Globe article detailing injuries sustained by a Quincy, Massachusetts worker who had fallen after he was electrocuted and slipped should serve as a reminder to workers, job site inspectors, supervisors, and all, that workplace safety cannot be overlooked. 

Unfortunately, accidents of this sort are not uncommon, in Massachusetts and nationwide.   In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), electrocution injuries were involved in 10% of construction site fatalities, and in a higher percentage of general accidents that occur at the workplace.

Many victims and their families have unfortunately experienced the devastating effects of an electrical accident injury or fatality.  In nearly every neighborhood in Massachusetts and throughout the United States, there exists high voltage electricity.  If a victim comes in contact with this electricity, death or severe electrical burns causing disfigurement and permanent disability can occur.

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In a recent article on boston.com, “Meet the Mayoral Candidates: Making Cycling Safer,” Boston mayoral candidates offered their suggestions on cycling safety plans to be implemented in and around the city.  It is encouraging to see the candidates thinking about bicycle safety, which is often an underappreciated hazard.  Each of the candidates offered impactful suggestions.  Some of the highlights include: 

  • Candidate Bill Walczak stressed helmet use, along with motorist and bicyclist education.  He also advocates more prominent and protected bike lanes.
  • Candidate John Barrows offers a slightly different focus, suggesting that we gear safety training toward groups with higher crash rates.  These groups include area college students, cyclists, and MBTA and taxi operators.  Workplace and on-campus training would be a focus of Mr. Barrows, along with making helmets and reflective/illumination products more readily available.  

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New Englanders were forced to exhibit much patience this winter and early spring, but the weather has finally begun to warm in the Boston metro area.  As such, it is imperative to remember to practice routine water safety around all swimming pools, lakes, beaches, ocean activities, and ponds. The inherent risks swimming venues present should been appreciated by all, but especially parents and children.  As a reminder, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) has designated May as “National Drowning Prevention Month.”

Tragically, 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.

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Dating back to last spring, officials in Quincy have been trying to improve pedestrian safety in the city. Their efforts were prompted by a surge of pedestrian accidents in January and February of early this year. In April, the city launched a pedestrian safety initiative, which attempted to educate Quincy residents about safe pedestrian habits, repaint crosswalks, and improve traffic conditions in areas of high risk. Unfortunately, thus far, their efforts have not yet produced the desired results, as the Quincy police reported 65 pedestrian accidents, including three fatalities, from January to September 2012. This number has already eclipsed 2010, which had 49 pedestrian accidents with no fatalities. Last year, Quincy reported a total of 71 pedestrian accidents with two fatalities. Clearly, these numbers are much higher than they should be, with countless numbers of preventable injuries and deaths occurring each year in the city.

The Boston pedestrian accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group understand the immense importance of pedestrian safety. With an office located in the heart of Quincy and near a very busy intersection on Hancock Street, we know how dangerous our roads can be. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, call us today at 617-225-2100 for a free discussion of your case.

Quincy officials are now pointing to pedestrian behavior as the biggest hurdle to overcome in lowering the number of pedestrian accidents. According to Police Lieutenant Kevin Tobin, “We can enforce motor-vehicle infractions and charge people that are found at fault, but we need the public to use crosswalks, use lights, dress appropriately at certain times of day.” This sentiment was backed by Quincy Police Captain John Dougan, who noted “A number of [accidents] are pedestrians’ fault, trying to run through traffic more or less. They don’t pay attention to lights and crosswalks.” In short, both drivers and pedestrians need to remain vigilant in commuting safely.

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Two recent fatalities after bicyclists were struck by cars–one in Dorchester and the other in South Boston–highlight the need for safe and aware riding on Boston’s streets, which are heavily congested with vehicular traffic, foot traffic, and other commuters. Further, bicycling in the city has become an increasingly popular mode of travel, especially with the success of the Hubway bike sharing program and designated bicycle lanes on certain roads. As such, motorists need to remain cognizant and safely share the road with their two-wheel counterparts and bicyclists need to ride defensively, in appropriate lanes and areas, and with high visibility.

According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, 37% of all Boston bike accidents in 2009 were the result of a collision with a car. As such, the Boston bicycle accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group offer the following safety tips to help reduce and avoid car-bike accidents.

1. Be Visible: Quite simply, wear bright colored clothing and reflectors, especially at night.

2. Use a White Front and Red Rear Light:
Like automobiles, if you must travel at night, your bike should be equipped with a white front headlight and a rear red light to increase your visibility.

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Commercial buses and trucks, especially during the holiday season, are heavily relied upon by millions of travelers, as passengers and others on our nation’s roadways, to operate in the safest manner possible. Unfortunately, they are often the cause of accidents on our roads, injuring and killing passengers, drivers, or others. Policies implemented and data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), particularly the Compliance Safety Accountability program, help to recognize and quell any safety concerns and keep bus and trucking companies operating as safely as possible. Recently, the FMCSA has shifted their attention to commercial buses and truck safety. In doing so, by December, changes in their policy will be completed and implemented.

The changes will bring an increased attention to commercial bus and truck safety. Hopefully, this will result in less accidents and less injuries and fatalities for passengers, drivers, and everybody on the roads in Massachusetts and nationwide. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, data collected by the FMCSA and he policies they subsequently implement are essential in keeping our roads safe.

The Boston car accident lawyers at Bellotti Law Group know that commercial busses and trucks are often the cause of car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Commercial buses and trucks should be safely maintained and operated. When a driver, inspector, manufacturer, or designer fails to meet reasonable safety standards, they should be held liable for their negligence and the damages they cause. Call the Boston car accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group today if another driver’s negligence has caused you or a loved one injuries or a wrongful death at 617-225-2100. We won’t settle until you receive full and fair compensation from all liable parties.

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Earlier this week, the highly publicized texting-while-driving criminal trial in Haverhill District Court got underway. This is the first criminal case in Massachusetts to feature a charge of texting while operating a motor vehicle negligently and causing injury. The case stems from a February 2011 car accident in Haverhill in which one of the operators, Donald Bowley, was killed and his passenger girlfriend, Luz Roman, was seriously injured. The accident occurred after the defendant, teen driver Aaron Deveau, allegedly crossed the center line of traffic, after being distracted by text messaging.

If you or a loved one has been injured or wrongfully killed due to the negligence of another driver, the Boston personal injury lawyers at Bellotti Law Group can help you recover your losses. Call our Boston, Cambridge, or Quincy office today for a FREE evaluation of your claim at 617-225-2100. You can also use our safe and secure contact form and we will respond promptly.

The trial in Haverhill has featured emotional testimony from the deceased victim’s sister and the surviving victim, Luz Roman, girlfriend of the deceased Donald Bowley. Bowley’s family, including his three children, were also in attendance. Prosecutors are alleging that the teen exchanged a staggering193 texts on the day of the fatal car crash, including during the moments just before the accident. The defendant, who is now 18 years old (17 at the time of the accident), of Haverhill, is the first person in the state to be charged with texting while operating a motor vehicle negligently causing injury. If he is ultimately convicted, Deveau faces up to two years in jail. He is also charged with motor vehicle homicide, which carries a maximum sentence of 2 1/2 years.

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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: