Increased Truck Traffic on Grafton Street in Worcester

tractor trailers Grafton Street risksLiving near an industrial freight facility is more than a mere inconvenience for residents of the Grafton Hill neighborhood in Worcester. The Worcester Telegram reports that since the expansion of the CSX Intermodal freight yard on Grafton Street near downtown, neighbors have seen a discomforting increase in the number of tractor-trailers using residential streets.

In 2010, Florida-based railroad company CSX expanded its intermodal freight storage and transportation facility on Grafton Street, and lately, there has been growing concern from residents and business owners worried about the noise pollution and the wear and tear on residential roads.

This increased truck traffic in residential neighborhoods inevitably has some unpleasant consequences for locals beyond just noise pollution from truck horns and tractor-trailer engines. The prevalence of tractor-trailers on smaller roads may be contributing to higher accident rates on Grafton Street.

Traffic Accidents in Worcester

Taking a look at our traffic map showing the most dangerous intersections in Worcester based on the number of accidents, you can see that Grafton Street is one of the spots where car accidents are most frequent.

To add to the problem, rather than turning right out of the driveway to get on I-290, CSX truck drivers are frequently attempting a left turn out of the Grafton Street driveway to follow a shorter route using residential roads. This left turn leads the tractor-trailers to residential roads including Hamilton Street, Plantation Street and Lake Avenue, which were not built to withstand heavy traffic. This shorter route also leads the tractor-trailers past five schools, where schoolchildren are frequently crossing.

Some members of the City Council have recommended building a barrier to prevent CSX trucks from turning left toward residential roads.

Tractor-Trailers on Residential Roads

When tractor-trailers use smaller residential roads, the risk of collisions increases because there is less space for them to maneuver and pedestrian crossings are more frequent. Always take extra caution when driving near an 18-wheeler, as it takes longer for such a large vehicle to break or react to the unexpected.

Check out our FAQ on Truck Accidents in Massachusetts for information on what to do if you’ve been in a collision with a commercial truck.

Claim The Compensation You Deserve

If you have been injured in a car accident involving a commercial truck or other vehicle, or incurred monetary losses from a collision with a tractor-trailer, it’s important that you speak with a local personal injury attorney.

After an accident, it’s essential that you act immediately to make sure that your rights are protected. Peter Ventura has extensive experience in this area of practice and has helped his clients realize significant compensation in personal injury and car accident cases over the years, including:

  • $3 million in a fatal Worcester County auto accident involving a minor
  • $1 million in a case involving serious injuries to an elderly couple
  • $500,000 in a wrongful death case involving a tractor-trailer

The bottom line is, if you’ve been in a car accident with a tractor-trailer or any other commercial vehicle, you need to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Peter Ventura toll-free at 888-251-7535 for a free and always-confidential consultation.

http://www.telegram.com/news/20170228/csx-freight-yard-growth-spills-onto-worcester-streets
http://www.telegram.com/news/20170305/worcester-neighbors-not-eager-to-share-road-with-csx

Posted in Accident Types

Research Shows Suicidal Behavior Increases after Traumatic Brain Injury

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, your risk of dying young may be elevated by 300%, according to a new research study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

It happened to pro athletes like Junior Seau and Ryan Freel — both of whom committed suicide and were diagnosed with serious brain injuries after their deaths.

So it’s worth asking: Who are the victims of TBIs, and how can you know if you’ve suffered such an injury?

suicide risk with tbiHeightened Risk of Depression, Suicide

Recent research has confirmed earlier findings, including:

  • TBI sufferers have higher risk of mental health problems, including depression.
  • The risk of suicidal behaviors increases in TBI patients.
  • More mental health treatment and routine screenings are needed for individuals with TBIs.

Brain Injuries in the Military

TBIs hit military members especially hard:

  • Suicide rates are higher among military personnel with even one mild TBI.
  • Older veterans with mild TBIs are at increased risk of developing dementia later in life.
  • Nearly 267,000 military personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq suffered a TBI, and many more went undiagnosed.

Where Do TBIs Happen?

In addition to sports and military service, TBIs also can happen:

  • In a workplace.
  • In a car accident, motorcycle accident, or bicycle crash.
  • In an assault or violent crime.
  • At work sites, especially in high-risk industries, including: Construction, Fishing, Emergency medical services, Agriculture, and Forestry.
  • In an office, if you trip, fall and strike your head on a desk or other hard surface.

Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury

A TBI happens during a hard hit to the skull and are a leading cause of serious injuries and deaths, especially among children and younger people. If you’ve suffered a TBI, there are 3 levels: Mild, Moderate, or Severe. Symptoms may include:

  • Brief loss of consciousness.
  • Headache.
  • Balance problems or dizziness.
  • Vomiting or nausea.
  • Blurred vision and ringing in the ears.
  • Confusion or disorientation.
  • Drowsiness or tiredness.
  • Sleep problems, including sleeping more than usual.
  • Mood changes, depression or anxiety.

Get Immediate Attention After a TBI

If you or a loved one have experienced a blow to your head that could cause a brain injury, it’s important to get a doctor’s assessment as soon as possible. The next step is working with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Posted in Injury Types

Slip and Fall Cases in Winter Conditions

slip and fall in winter on ice

Every winter in Massachusetts, we face the inevitable risks that come with snow and ice. Slips and falls on the ice are extremely common and can lead to painful injuries and costly medical bills.

If you have been injured due to a slip or fall on commercial or private property, it is essential that you immediately retain the services of a personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. You could be entitled to compensation to cover your healthcare costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other monetary losses you may have incurred as a result of your injury. Remember, the statute of limitations is three years to file a suit for personal injury.

slip and fall in winter on iceProperty Owners’ Liability

Property owners have a duty to ensure that their sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and walking areas are safe for visitors. In the winter, responsible property care means that snow and ice is removed in a timely manner with reasonable precautions, like salting walkways or posting warning signs.

In Massachusetts, snow removal regulations may differ by municipality. Use this Sidewalk Snow Removal Map by mass.gov to determine if your accident resulted from a violation of snow removal policies in your town. Keep in mind that these policies may differ for homeowners, business owners, and cities/towns.

The responsibility to keep walkways and public areas free from snow and ice extends to your employer as well. Nationally, slip-and-fall accidents comprised a quarter of work-related injuries in 2015 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), and there are federal guidelines per OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act; see §1910.22(d)) which require employers to meet specific safety standards. If you believe that your workplace injury occurred because your employer failed to follow federal guidelines intended to prevent dangerous working conditions, you need an attorney to represent your interests and make sure you receive the compensation you’re owed.

Accident Statistics

Falls are a major cause of injury, particularly among older adults (age 65 and over). A study by the Injury Surveillance Program and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health showed that just among older adults, there were 61,466 fall-related injuries treated in Massachusetts hospitals in 2010. This statistic does not even include injuries treated at a doctor’s office.

In the winter time, the risk of falling increases for all age groups, though the risk of serious injury is heightened for older adults. If you have been injured from a fall on the ice due to negligent property care, know your rights and seek the help of a professional attorney.

Claim The Compensation You Deserve If You’re Injured from a Slip and Fall

If you’ve been injured by a slip and fall on someone else’s property, it’s important that you speak with a local personal injury attorney. You may not think much of your injury at the time, but down the road it could develop serious complications. It’s essential that you act immediately to make sure that your rights are protected. Peter Ventura has extensive experience in this area of practice, and has helped his clients realize significant compensation in personal injury cases over the years, including:

  • $475,000 in a case where a woman sustained permanent injuries from a fall at a supermarket that failed to post warning signs after waxing the floor
  • $180,000 in a case where the plaintiff required ankle surgery after a fall on the ice on a poorly lit sidewalk at an apartment complex
  • $126,000 in a case where a tenant fell on the snow and ice on a sidewalk at her apartment and had to undergo ankle surgery

The bottom line is, if you slip and fall and sustain injuries on someone else’s property, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive the compensation you are owed. Contact Peter Ventura toll-free at 888-251-7535 for a free and always confidential consultation.

Posted in Personal Injury

Recreational Marijuana & Driving in Massachusetts

Well, it’s official. On December 15th, 2016, Massachusetts will join a growing chorus of states and legalize recreational marijuana use. The new law will have an impact on Massachusetts in many ways, both good and bad, not the least of which will be the number of people driving under the influence of marijuana, and the potential for accidents that goes along with it.

marijuana legal in massachusetts not while drivingDetails Of The New Law

As reported by Boston Magazine, there was some question of whether the votes from November’s election would be certified in time for the law to go into effect before the end of the year. Voters approved the ballot measure 53-46.

Under the new law, marijuana use and possession will be legal, with a few restrictions:

  • Buying and selling marijuana will still be illegal, but you can give it away free of charge.
  • You must be 21 years of age to use it.
  • Public use will be illegal.
  • 10 ounces will be allowed in your private residence, but only one ounce can be in your possession in public.
  • Growing marijuana will be legal, up to 12 plants for each household, as long as they’re out of sight.
  • In an automobile, marijuana must be kept in the trunk or inside a locked glove compartment.

Why Should You Be Concerned About Marijuana-Impaired Driving?

Though the new law will be a boon to marijuana entrepreneurs and to state and municipal coffers as soon as new regulations governing retail operations are drafted , there is some concern about the downside to legal weed, especially the potential increase in impaired driving.

A recent fatal accident in Suffolk County highlighted the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana. A driver with both a high blood alcohol content and high levels of THC in his system crashed into a Logan Airport shuttle bus, killing two passengers. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that causes intoxication.

A Call To Action

Massachusetts has no clear law for addressing marijuana-impaired driving. County district attorney Daniel Conley said, “Cases like this one speak to the urgency with which lawmakers should address marijuana-impaired driving. It’s a proven fact that driving under the influence of marijuana is every bit as dangerous as it is for alcohol, but unlike alcohol, we don’t yet have a way to quantify a driver’s impairment from marijuana. Massachusetts has neither an established impairment level nor an efficient means to test for one. Policymakers should be aware of this knowledge gap and take steps to bridge it if we expect to identify and prevent THC impairment among drivers.”

So what are the true risks from drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of weed? A look at the experiences of one state can give some insight.

What Has Been Colorado’s Experience With Marijuana-Impaired Driving?marijuana plant in Mass

Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012, legalizing recreational and medical marijuana use as well as production and retail operations. However, due to regulatory delays, the law wasn’t implemented until 2014.

The measure has proven to be an economic windfall for the state, resulting in a total impact of over $2.39 billion in 2015 alone, along with a significant increase in new jobs.

It’s been estimated that at least one in eight Colorado residents over the age of 12 have smoked pot recently, and millions more who travel there as ‘pot-tourists’ each year also consume while visiting. This has led, perhaps predictably, to a significant increase in the number of people driving while high.

According to statistics compiled by the Colorado Department of Transportation, although there has been a decrease in auto accident fatalities of 25% since 2005, the number of fatal accidents involving a drugged or marijuana-impaired driver has climbed 79% over the same time period.

Ignorance Of The Law

Although the penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Colorado can be severe, possibly resulting in a DUI conviction and fines of more than $10,000, as well as time in jail, many drivers are unaware of the laws governing pot use and driving.

Even after a widely publicized awareness campaign called “Drive High, Get A DUI”, 21% of drivers surveyed didn’t know they could get in trouble for driving while high on pot.

Clearly, one of the pitfalls of legalizing marijuana is that many residents will have the impression that there are no limits on its use, and they can consume anywhere and at anytime, even while driving.

What If Someone Is High And Hits You?

Although the laws in Massachusetts concerning drivers that are impaired from marijuana use need further consideration and definition from the legislature, if you are in an accident caused by such a driver you may be entitled to significant compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of mobility and quality of life, and other damages. It’s important that you retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

Peter Ventura has almost three decades of personal injury experience. Contact him today for a free and confidential consultation.

Posted in Massachusetts Laws

Bicycle Accidents Continue to Mount in Massachusetts

With bicycle riding in Massachusetts at an all-time high, it’s more dangerous than ever. In 2012, the state saw a staggering 13% jump in accident rates in just 3 years.  Worse, nearly 70 percent of the crashes resulted in injuries.  While most of these accidents were in heavily trafficked cities like Boston and Worcester, there is a growing concern for the nearby suburbs as well.

bicycle-crashes-map-massachusettsBicycle accidents are particularly dangerous because the cyclist is often traveling at a high rate of speed, but has little or no protection from harm in an accident. Even a car door opening at the wrong time or a vehicle making a turn could cause traumatic injury and broken bones. According to research from the City of Boston, the majority of bike accidents with injuries involved a collision with a motor vehicle of some type.

According to the City of Cambridge, better awareness on the part of both cyclists and drivers could be the key to trimming the area’s climbing accident rates. The city calls for drivers to look for cyclists while in motion, while making turns and even while opening car doors to reduce the amount of accidents on the busy shared streets. Cyclists who are aware of the danger and who follow the rules of the road are less likely to be involved in an accident.

Bike Accident Cases

According to the Boston Globe, 13 cyclists have been killed in city traffic in the past 5 years; the victims ranged from just 8 to 74 years of age.

In a Bicycle Accident? Here’s What to Do Next

Seek out medical help: Even though you wear a helmet, a bicycle exposes you to a higher risk of injury. You don’t have the same amount of protection offered by a car, but can achieve car-like speeds and enter areas with heavy traffic. See a doctor after any crash, even if there are no visible injuries; Injuries to your neck, head or back may not be immediately apparent but your doctor can help determine the extent of the damage and document your injuries as well.

Document the incident: If possible, take photos of everything, including your bike and any damage done to it, the location and conditions where the accident occurred and the car or vehicle that struck you. This documentation can help you if you need to file a lawsuit or deal with the insurance company later and can clearly show what the day was like and the conditions of your accident.

File a police report: Make a police report to comply with the law and document your claim; the officer will collect the contact information from all parties and witnesses. You will need this information later.

Gather witnesses: Who saw your accident or even the aftermath? Take down the names of those involved in the crash, those who witnessed it and those who arrived to help; you may need this information if you file a lawsuit later.

Don’t apologize or accept blame: Even if someone accuses you of being in the way or contributing to the accident, never apologize or accept responsibility without having a full and complete picture of all relevant facts which you will typically not have without an attorney’s thorough investigation; a bicycle accident is a complex case and accepting blame could undermine your eventual lawsuit.

Check out your bike and gear: Don’t ride the bike again without getting it checked out; the impact could have caused significant damage and even contribute to another accident. If you fell from the bike, replace your helmet as well (but keep it to show the damages if needed).

A bicycle accident can have catastrophic injuries with far reaching consequences. If you have been injured and need help, contact us. Our bicycle accident attorneys can help you gain insight into your case and ensure you are being treated fairly by the other party and the insurance company.

Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Recent lawsuits over sports injuries highlight the danger

Clark University student suing over crew team practices

A Clark University student, Brennan Ross, recently sued the school after suffering injuries sustained while training for the rowing team; Ross describes the injuries as debilitating and life changing. He is suing both the school and the coach, along with several former teammates.

The case comes after the New Hampshire resident was injured and in pain during crew practice, but was forced to continue to work, even after informing the coach of his pain levels. According to the Telegraph, the training included over 100 jump squats in a 5-minute period and a 5km rowing session; Ross continued to experience extreme discomfort and eventually sought medical attention.

Doctors at Exeter Hospital diagnosed Ross with “severe rhabdomyolysis and acute kidney injury,” which he feels is directly related to the overexertion and overtraining incident. Surgery was required, and resulted in a painful recovery period with additional complications. Both Brennan Ross and his parents have incurred significant costs related to his surgery and injury.

The lawsuit against Clark University and the other defendants accuses them of negligence, unsafe training practices and hazing of new team members. While the suit does not specify a specific dollar amount, the family has already spent almost $30,000 on treatment and care and are estimating his loss earnings potential at $500,000.

rowing injury in massachusetts

Sports injuries can have devastating consequences

The Clark University case shines a light on the potential harm that can occur in a sports program or training environment; you don’t have to be on the Crew team to sustain a significant injury or be impacted by a neglectful staff.

Other sports, including baseball, basketball and football can cause traumatic injury with devastating consequences, particularly if the coach or staff does not respond appropriately to player complaints or injury reports. Athletes don’t have to be in college to sustain lifelong injuries during training; elementary, middle and high school students can be significantly injured due to negligence as well.

Even the NFL is under fire for concussion injuries; in 2013, about 5,000 retired players joined a class action suit related to concussions and head injury while training or playing in the league. The cost for the settlement could be as high as $1 billion. The league stands accused of underplaying the risk that players face while training and playing the game; traumatic brain injury related to repeated impact caused long-term, irreversible injury to the professional athletes included in the settlement.

What do After a Sports or Training Injury

From professional athletes to school children, training for a sport under an undertrained or negligent coach can have a catastrophic impact on your health and wellbeing. It’s important to be aware of the role that the organization or school must play in informing players about the risks of training and the potential negligence that could result from overtraining, hazing or overworking players.

  • Record the details: If you or your child has been forced to continue training after reporting an injury, make specific notes about the incident, including what happened, the witnesses and the outcome.
  • Report the incident: Report what happened to the school or organization to document the incident.
  • Seek out medical treatment: Brennan Ross’s case involved the overworking of the thigh muscles, but resulted in kidney damage due to rhabdomyolysis. Seeking out medical treatment can ensure you are getting the proper care and document your claim as well.
  • See an attorney: If the school is not taking responsibility for your child’s injuries, it is time to seek out professional help and explore your options.

If you or your child has been injured while training or participating in a sport, a personal injury attorney can help you get the information you need about your potential case. Never accept a settlement or sign an agreement without seeking professional advice first; some injuries have far reaching implications on your health, wellbeing and livelihood and you deserve to be compensated accordingly.

How we can Help

Our personal injury team understands sports injuries and the role that a school, coach or even teammates can have in an injury case. Contact us if you or a loved one has been injured while practicing or competing;we’re here to make sure you are treated fairly by the organization and their insurance company.

Posted in Sport Recreation Accidents

Massachusetts Boating Accident Statistics

With boating accidents in the news after Jose Fernandez’s death, and summer coming to a close here in Massachusetts, we’re reviewing boating accident statistics, accidents, and fatalities in 2015. We urge boaters to remain safe & vigilant while on the water and anyone who was injured in a boating accident to contact an experienced attorney to discuss their options for compensation.

Recent Boating Accidents in Massachusettsboating accident

Recently, at the Bill Giles Memorial Regatta on Watson Pond State Park in Taunton, Massachusetts, three boats crashed while racing at speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour, which claimed the lives of two long-time and experienced boat racers.

Earlier this summer at Scituate Harbor, a woman was sitting on the back of a boat when it jerked forward. She was thrown into the water where one of her legs became caught in the boat propeller. She suffered a life-threatening injury, but fortunately, her companions were able to pull her back into the boat and stem the bleeding and save her life. Unfortunately, she faces multiple surgeries as doctors work to save her leg.

Every year in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the great pleasures of boating are sometimes offset with the great sorrow of fatal or disabling accidents. The Coast Guard reports that almost all of these boating accidents are due to someone’s negligence.

Boating Accident Statistics in Massachusetts

The Coast Guard reports that in 2015 in Massachusetts, there were 89 reported boating accidents. Federal law requires a boating accident to be reported to a state or Commonwealth reporting agency when one of the following occurs:

  • A person dies.
  • A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury.
  • A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid.
  • Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more.
  • There is a complete loss of any vessel.

Massachusetts law requires boaters to comply with all federal reporting laws. Boating accidents are to be reported to the Boat and Recreation Safety Bureau. In 2015, five people were killed in Massachusetts boating accidents. Another 37 were reported to have been injured.

The Causes of Boat Accidents

The Coast Guard compiles statistics as to the main causes of all boating accidents in an attempt to provide education to boaters, both drivers and their boating guests, on how to prevent accidents from happening. The statistics are divided according to accidents in which people died and those that caused injuries.

Main causes of accidents resulting in a death

The top five contributing factors to boating deaths in 2015 were, in the following order:

  • Use of alcohol.
  • Operator inattention.
  • Inexperienced boat operator.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Improper lookout.

Alcohol use was a contributing factor in 3 of the 5 boating accident deaths:

Main causes of accidents resulting in injuries

The top five contributing factors to boating injuries in 2015 were, in the following order:

  • Operator inattention.
  • Inexperienced boat operator.
  • Improper lookout.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Alcohol use.

The Coast Guard lists 25 more causes of accidents involving injuries or death. Almost all are based on negligence.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Boat operators have a duty to safely operate their boats. When they fail to comply with this duty and act negligently, they are liable for paying damages to those who were injured or to the surviving family members of those who were injured or killed.

If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident, contact Peter Ventura, Attorney at Law for a free consultation. He has a 25-year track record of success in helping clients receive compensation. There is a legal time limit for when you must file your claim after the incident occurs, so do not delay.

Image via flickr

Posted in Boating Accidents

Should Motorcycle Lane Splitting Be Allowed In Massachusetts?

Lane splitting is the act of riding a motorcycle between rows of stopped or slow moving vehicles that are traveling the same direction. Simply put, it’s riding the yellow line between the lanes to bypass traffic in a traffic jam.

In Europe and Asia, lane splitting has always been legal, but it’s a different story in the U.S.

motorcycle lane splitting in Massachusetts

California’s Precedent

Lane splitting is currently illegal in all 50 states, although there have been recent attempts to legalize it. One of those is a bill that passed the California State Assembly in June, and then passed the Senate with a unanimous vote in August. It now sits on the governor’s desk awaiting his approval, which he is expected to give. Some argue that it was never technically illegal in California in the first place, but the passage of this bill will make its legality official.

As a practical matter, California law enforcement agencies have long accepted the practice, with the California Highway Patrol even publishing safety guidelines on lane splitting for motorcycle riders. However, last year a concerned citizen raised a complaint, saying that by doing so the CHP was essentially creating public policy. That’s when Democratic Rep. Bill stepped up with Assembly Bill 51.

The Pros And Cons Of Lane Splitting

The American Motorcycle Association succinctly makes the case for those against lane splitting, stating, “Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any on-highway motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators, and environmental conditions pose an increased risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard…even minor contact under such conditions can be disastrous for motorcyclists.” And they back up their position with some pretty impressive studies and statistics.

However, advocates for the practice point out that lane splitting allows for motorcyclists to maneuver to escape from dangerous situations.

They have an ally in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose position is that“a motorcycle’s narrow width can allow it to pass between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars on roadways where the lanes are wide enough to offer an adequate gap. This option can provide an escape route for motorcyclists who would otherwise be trapped or struck from behind. There is evidence that traveling between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars on multiple-lane roads (such as interstate highways) slightly reduces crash frequency compared with staying within the lane and moving with other traffic….it appears to be worthy of further study because it offers a means of reducing congestion in addition to possible safety benefits. It is widely used in many other countries.”

Wired Magazine agrees, pointing out that California has a lot fewer deaths from cars rear-ending motorcycles than other states.

Other studies have found that lane splitters are more likely to be safe riders, and less likely to be under theinfluence of alcohol or drugs.

Veteran motorcyclists also note that, because motorcycle engines are air-cooled, lane splitting provides a means of keeping the bike from overheating while sitting in a traffic jam, especially in states with hot summer temperatures.

Should Massachusetts Make Lane Splitting Legal?

This question, of course, is completely up to the citizens of Massachusetts. Certainly many motorcyclists would like to see it made legal, so Bay Staters will simply have to look at the facts and decide if the benefits of lane splitting outweigh the potential risks.

Video via flickr (Steve Lyon)

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

5 ways to keep your children safe as they return to school

It’s time to head back to school and children all across Massachusetts are gearing up for a new year. Unfortunately, all of the excitement of the return to school also comes with heightened safety risks. Below are 5 tips to help you keep your children safe as they head back to school this year.

1. Make sure they follow bus safety rules.school bus safety in massachusetts

If your children ride the bus to school, make sure that they understand how to stay safe at the bus stop, while boarding the bus and while exiting the bus. Bus riders should always:

  • Stand at their appropriate bus stop until the bus arrives. Children should not wander around, even if they arrive at the bus stop early.
  • Remain a safe distance away from the road while waiting for the bus.
  • Wait until the bus driver has come to a complete stop, opened the doors and signaled that it is safe to get on the bus before attempting to board.
  • Only ride the bus the school has assigned, unless you have received notification from the school that a different bus is appropriate. Children should never board an alternate bus if they have not been instructed to do so.

2. Teach them to be safe as pedestrians.

Whether your children walk all the way to school or just to the bus stop, they need to understand how to stay safe as pedestrians. To keep your children safe while they are walking near the road, instruct them to:

  • Walk a specific route to their destination.
  • Walk with a friend or classmate if possible.
  • Avoid talking to strangers while on the way to school or the bus stop.
  • Look out for tripping hazards on the sidewalk and/or road.
  • Cross the street only where instructed, ideally in a crosswalk. If possible, choose crosswalks where crossing guards are present.

3. Keep them safe in the car.

If you have chosen to drive your children to school, you still need to take certain safety precautions in order to keep your children safe on the way to class. Be sure to:

  • Put your children in the appropriate car seat or booster seat for their age and weight. Being in the right car seat reduces the risk of injury in the event of a car accident.
  • Require your children to wear their seatbelts at all times during the trip.
  • Avoid texting or talking on your cellphone while driving the kids to school.
  • Leave your home with plenty of time to get the kids to school so that you won’t be tempted to speed or drive recklessly.

4. Accompany them when necessary.

If your children are walking a new route to school, accompany them on the route for at least the first week so you can be sure that they know how to get there. If your children are riding their bikes on a new route, consider riding along with them for a few days to make sure that they are being safe. Young children should be accompanied to the bus stop or to school every day until you are confident in their ability to stay safe on their own.

5. Have a plan for emergencies.

If your children have a problem on the way to school, such as getting lost or missing the bus, make sure that they know what to do. If your child carries a cellphone, for example, he or she should know to call you immediately. Other options including going to a neighbor’s house or returning home to call from a landline.

Posted in Personal Injury

A Construction Site Collapse

Search and Rescue Through Building Rubble after a Disaster

When we think of truly dangerous domestic jobs, many different images come to mind. We may visualize a firefighter running into a burning building or a police officer trying to tame a rioting crowd. Most of these dangerous jobs are associated with rescue or emergency personnel. It is not very often that our mind jumps to the images of the everyday employees whose jobs pose extreme hazards that are present throughout their workday. These employees, of course, work on construction sites. There are few other career paths that constantly place men and women in a danger zone surrounded by heavy machinery. Massachusetts’ law upholds the principle that our workplaces should be free of hazards, but sometimes that is simply an impractical theory. We have not yet reached a stage of technology where construction work is perfectly safe.

Massachusetts Worker Falls, Suffers Consequences

On the morning of March 20, construction crews in Boston were going about their day as usual. One particular crew was working on a building that had reached the 12th floor of a planned 33 stories. While two of the construction company’s employees were working on the 12th floor, it collapsed all the way to the 5th floor. The accident occurred at the site on 45 Stuart Street. Emergency personnel were dispatched and both of the employees were hospitalized. One suffered a serious head injury and was taken to Tufts Medical Center while the other was taken to Tufts for minor injuries. At the time of this accident there were 120 employees on the scene.

The Story Behind the Statistics – Construction Injuries

Every year in the United States, about 800 fatalities occur within the construction industry. In 2011, this number was a bit lower, with 781 deaths but in 2012 it was significantly higher with 849 deaths. This statistic, of course, does not cover the number of employees who lost a limb or suffered a debilitating injury while on the job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization, construction worker deaths account for 20 percent of all work-related deaths in the United States. Of every five employees who die while on the job, one of them will have been at work doing construction. Construction-related deaths are so prevalent that OSHA has nicknamed the four leading causes of construction-related fatalities “the fatal four.” These include falls, getting struck by an object, electrocution, or getting caught in between an object on site.

6923081940_e9009d0664_z

The Real Solution

At our office, we know that statistics do not tell the story. We understand that a construction site injury could forever change your life or the lives of your family members. The statistics are given for only one reason: to show that you are not alone. They serve as a reminder that if you or a family member has been injured on the job, you are entitled to compensation and to have your voice heard through the legal system. After all, these laws were designed to protect construction workers. If you have been injured at a construction site, contact Peter Ventura and let us fight for your right to compensation. Call our toll free number at (888) 251-7535.

Images via Flickr.

Posted in Work Related Accidents

DO I HAVE A CASE?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

CASE RESULTS

3 Million Dollars - Motor Vehicle Death
2 Million Dollars – Medical Malpractice
$1,024,892 – Motor Vehicle Accident
$675,000 – Accident at Work
$650,000 – Medical Malpractice
$525,000 – Tractor Trailer Accident
$500,000 – Accident at Work
$475,000 – Fall at Supermarket

Click Here for Additional Case Results

Client TESTIMONIALS

Attorney Ventura was excellent. I was injured in a car accident and he really looked out for my best interests. He is thorough and professional as well as easy to reach and always there when I needed him. His support team was outstanding. They kept me well-informed throughout the process. I would highly recommend Attorney Ventura for any of your personal injury needs. He’s the best.
Ann J.

FOLLOW US ON