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Auto Accidents

Are Parents Liable If Their Teens Injure Others in Car Accidents?

Teens Injure Others in a Car AccidentWhat happens when a teen causes a car accident that injures yourself or a loved one? You may be wondering whether the teen or their parents can be held liable and if you can bring a claim against them for damages. Here’s what you should know.

When a Teen Crashes Their Parents’ Vehicle

As a general rule of thumb, when a person owns a car, they are liable for accidents caused by that vehicle. There are only a few rare exceptions—most notably, if someone steals a vehicle, the owner typically isn’t liable for any accidents that occur. However, a teen cannot be held responsible for stealing their parents’ vehicle, unless the parents are willing to bring criminal charges against them, and even then, they may still be held liable.

Insurance and Liability

If the teen is covered under the parents’ insurance, the liability portion of their policy kicks in and covers expenses related to the accident. Typically, policies have bodily injury and property damage coverage. Respectively, that covers the cost of the victim’s medical bills and damage to their vehicle or other property.

If the parents don’t have enough coverage in either of these areas, they can be held personally liable. In these situations, parents may be required to liquidate assets or face a wage garnishment to cover their liability.

Permissive Use

Most auto insurance policies require every driver living in the house to be listed on the policy, but even if a teen isn’t listed on their parents’ policy, they are still likely to be covered under the permissive use part of the insurance plan. Basically, under that part of the insurance, if a vehicle owner gives someone permission to use the car, insurance covers accidents caused by them.

Exempted Drivers

That said, some policies allow owners to exempt certain drivers. For instance, if a teen has a poor driving record and they can’t afford the higher insurance premiums, parents may be able to list them as an exempted driver on their policy.

After an accident caused by an exempted driver, insurance may not kick in, but the owner of the vehicle still may be liable. In that case, parents may also have to use their personal income or assets to cover liability.

Unlicensed Teen Drivers

What if an unlicensed teen takes a car? In these cases, parents can also be held liable for any injuries or damage caused by the accident. In particular, they can be held responsible based on parental negligence. This argument often helps victims win cases related to bullying and assault, among other things. The premise is that if the teen’s parents weren’t supervising their child, they effectively allowed them to steal their car and the parents are responsible for what happens afterward.

If you’ve been hit by a teen or even a college-aged driver, you may be able to hold their parents financially liable. We can help. At Mazow | McCullough, PC we have the experience you need for your personal injury case. Contact us today by calling 855-693-9084.

What Happens to the Driver After a DUI Accident?

Driver-After-a-DUI-AccidentDriving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an extremely serious offense, and if an impaired driver hurts someone else, the penalties can be significantly more severe. The laws vary from state to state, but here’s a look at the situation in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

What Are the Penalties for Hurting Someone in a Drunk Driving Accident in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a first time DUI penalty can lead to license suspension for up to one year, $500 to $5,000 in fines, and jail time of up to 2.5 years. If a driver hurts someone in a drunk driving accident, they can face misdemeanor or felony vehicular homicide charges or involuntary manslaughter charges.

These drivers can lose their licenses for life if they have a prior DUI on their record, and they can face up to 20 years in a state prison.

What Are the Penalties for Hurting Someone in a Drunk Driving Accident in New Hampshire?

For a first time drunk driving offense in New Hampshire, drivers can lose their licenses for 180 days, and by the third offense, they can lose their licenses for two years and face a minimum of 180 days in jail.

The state also has aggravated DUI laws. If the driver was speeding excessively, evading law enforcement, carrying a passenger under the age of 16, or engaging in other dangerous activities, they can face additional penalties. These laws also apply if the driver caused a motor vehicle accident that injured another person.

What Are the Differences Between Civil and Criminal Penalties for Drunk Drivers?

The penalties described above are criminal penalties. These are penalties meted out by the state for illegal behavior. In these cases, the legal proceedings are between a state or county prosecutor and the defendant (the driver).

Civil cases, in contrast, are usually between the victim who was injured in the car accident and the driver. Civil penalties usually require the guilty person to pay restitution to the victim. That can include compensation for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and similar expenses as well as compensation for pain and suffering. In cases where someone has died due to the result of an accident, their family may bring a wrongful death suit against the driver. That is also a civil case.

There are also differences in how evidence is treated in both of these cases. In criminal cases, defendants do not face penalties unless the evidence proves they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, the courts use a “preponderance of evidence” standard. That means that the defendant can be held responsible if the evidence indicates there is more than a 50% chance they are guilty. Because of this difference, someone may be found innocent in a criminal case but still be held responsible in a civil case.

What Should You Do If You or a Loved One Has Been Hurt in a Drunk Driving Accident?

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you have a right to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Although your life may be forever changed due to the accident, you may find that bringing a civil suit forward helps you get the closure you need after this type of tragedy.

To get the justice you deserve, contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today at (855) 693-9084. We are an experienced personal injury law firm, representing clients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

What is a Black Box and How Does It Relate to Truck Accidents?

Black BoxIf you are in an accident with a commercial truck, the black box can be instrumental in proving the driver’s liability. Also called Electronic Control Modules (ECM), black boxes are a relatively new requirement for truck drivers. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Black Box in a Commercial Truck?

In a commercial truck, a black box plays roughly the same role it plays in a commercial airliner. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires commercial motor vehicles made after 2000 to have black boxes. These boxes or EMCs must engage with the vehicle’s motor and automatically collect data about how the truck is being used.

What Does a Black Box Do?

In commercial trucks, a black box tracks the overall average speed of the truck. It also notes the highest speed recorded during the collection period as well as the amount of time the truck was driven over 65 miles per hour. On top of that, these technological tools track average RPMs, seat belt usage, airbag performance, and idling time.

Why Are Black Boxes Important in Truck Accident Cases?

In the past, commercial trucking companies often used black boxes to back up insurance claims. Many insurance companies were denying warranty claims because they claimed that certain actions by the drivers negated the terms of the warranties. In these situations, the trucking companies used the information in the black boxes to show that there were no issues with the operators.

Now, however, black boxes have emerged as a critical tool in proving liability in truck accident lawsuits. Black boxes have information on how often and how fast the truck was used—this information can be compared with the notes in the driver’s logbook to ensure the driver was following the necessary laws and regulations. The black box can also indicate if the driver was exceeding the speed limit or being unsafe in other ways.

How Can Truck Accident Victims Secure the Information from the Black Box?

If you’ve been in a truck accident and you want information from the black box, you need to act quickly and contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The laws only require trucking companies to keep information such as driver’s logs for a certain amount of time. If that time period elapses, you may not be able to get the information you need.

Generally, black boxes only store information for 30 to 60 days, and on top of that, the laws in some states dictate that the information on the black box belongs to the trucking company. If the company’s reps are trying to cover up an accident, they may delete the information on the black box. However, if you contact an attorney, they can issue a stay or restraining order. This essentially identifies the black box as a critical piece of evidence in your case and prohibits the trucking company from erasing any details.

If you are the victim of a truck accident, let us help. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have significant experience with a wide variety personal injury cases and truck accidents in particular. Contact us today at (855) 693-9084 to talk about your case.

5 Ways to Make a Hospital Stay More Comfortable After an Accident

Hospital Stay Staying in the hospital after an accident is never fun, but there are steps you can take to make your stay more comfortable. Take a look at these tips.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Extras

In a lot of cases, if you make a special request, the hospital will be more than willing to accommodate you. For instance, if your spouse, parent, or other relative is staying with you, ask for a rollaway cot for your room. Don’t like the meal option? Ask for a substitute. Whether you want extra pillows, more toiletries, or time with a specialist such as a physical therapist, don’t be afraid to ask.

2. Walk Around

Unless your doctor has prohibited movement, try to walk around. Getting out of bed can make you feel better, even if you just take a short walk down the hall or to the hospital cafeteria. According to one study of 500 patients over the age of 70, those who walk around during their hospital stay get released 36 hours sooner than average.

3. Take Notes

If possible, get a small notebook and keep notes. As you think of questions, write them down. That way, you don’t forget what you wanted to ask when the doctor comes to your room. Also, consider writing down your symptoms, medications you take, and which healthcare professionals you see.

In particular, if you’ve been in an accident caused by another person, notes can be helpful if you need to make a claim against the other person’s insurance policy.

4. Rest as Much as Possible

After an accident, remember that your doctor has required a hospital stay for a reason, and you should rest as much as possible. Sleep can be a powerful healing force.

If your condition is stable, you may even want to ask your doctor to let you sleep undisturbed throughout the night. If the doctor agrees, they can tell the nightshift nurses to not do tests during the night so you can get an uninterrupted chunk of sleep.

5. Find a Patient Advocate

Many hospitals have a patient advocate or an ombudsman who can help to ensure you get the most from your stay. If the hospital attempts to discharge you before you’re ready, consider requesting one of these professionals.

One of the best ways to make your hospital stay more comfortable is to not worry about the bill. If you’ve been injured in an accident, we may be able to help. Contact Mazow | McCullough P.C. at 855-693-9084 to learn if you may be entitled to compensation. In addition to hospital expenses, we are often able to help clients obtain compensation for lost time at work, pain and suffering, and many other accident-related expenses.

How to Navigate a Truck Accident with a Package Delivery Service

Navigate a Truck AccidentPackage delivery services are commercial staples in every city and neighborhood. While their delivery trucks are highly visible and considered a permanent part of the urban landscape, their large size and heavy weight make them formidable if you have the misfortune of being in an accident with one.

Truck accidents lead to serious injuries and extensive property damage due to the sheer mass of these vehicles. While a delivery truck is not the size of a semi-truck, you still face damage that you would not suffer from a typical auto collision. Here are the causes of delivery truck accidents and the challenges they present to plaintiffs.

Causes of Accidents With Package Delivery Trucks

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks caused 150,033 accidents in 2016. This was a slight increase from 145,310 accidents in 2015. Of those accidents, there were 4,422 deaths and 74,957 injuries. This suggests that if you face a collision with a truck, there is a 50% probability that you will sustain injuries.

When a commercial truck is at fault in an accident, the cause is often linked to inadequate driver training and unrealistic schedules. Delivery drivers are not unique. Package delivery services often increase hiring during the holidays to secure enough drivers for inflated demands, leading to training shortcomings when drivers are pushed into working before they are fully trained.  Once they start work, delivery drivers are placed on strict delivery schedules which encourage speeding, tailgating, and other unsafe driving behavior.

Long schedules also plague delivery drivers as they would a semi-truck driver. Not only are drivers expected to hurry but they may be doing so under the influence of fatigue. Since they frequently park in precarious areas like small driveways and alleys, crashes may occur due to an improper lookout that arises from a combination of feeling tired and rushed.

Other causes may include poorly loaded cargo and driving in unfamiliar territory. New drivers especially may be distracted by GPS and fail to notice cars stopped in front of them or a red light ahead of them.

Challenges of Bringing Forward a Commercial Truck Accident Claim

If a delivery driver was at fault for an accident, both the driver and the company they worked for can be considered liable. Known as vicarious liability, this legal theory holds employers responsible when employees cause injuries while completing their job duties.

Although both parties would generally be named in a lawsuit, it will likely be the employer, or principal, who would be responsible for any judgment. The employer will refer the claim to their insurance carrier or in-house legal department. Negotiations start there and if the claim escalates, the company may hire outside counsel to handle the case.

Being large corporations, you can rely on these companies to hire expensive and experienced legal counsel. For individuals, paying an accident claim results in higher insurance premiums. But companies have more to lose. An accident is more than just an insurance premium. In some cases, it is bad public relations, often making it worthwhile to them to fight your claim to the end.

If your accident involved the postal service, the case may become more complex. The post office must be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which includes additional procedures for suing any federal government agency. Unless you complete the correct forms and adhere to procedure, your claim will likely be dismissed, and you will not be able to pursue it again in other courts.

No matter what entity you’re facing, you can expect these claims to take time. With a statute of limitations of only three years, you need to act as soon as possible after a truck accident. It can take a while to establish parties, start a dialog, and follow the right procedures.

It is likely your claim will require filing a lawsuit. Not only will the private carriers fight these claims, but since your matter can take a long time, filing a lawsuit is necessary to preserve the statute of limitations. Otherwise, you can lose all rights to pursuing just compensation.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Securing damages against a delivery company is not an easy matter. These cases are not handled like normal auto accident claims and you need experienced legal counsel on your side. Mazow | McCullough, PC offers the experience and dedication you need to file a successful accident claim. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment at (855) 693-9084.

Consider These 3 Safe Driving Tips for Winter Before Hitting the Road

Winters in Massachusetts provide numerous driving challenges, such as snow, ice and longer periods of darkness. It’s a dangerous combination even for the most experienced Northeastern drivers, and certainly for anyone who’s operating a vehicle in Winter conditions for the first time. Ask any insurance adjuster, or personal injury lawyer for that matter, and they’ll no doubt tell you that the incidence and severity of auto accidents increase from December through March.

There are a number of safe driving tips that can be employed during the Winter months to improve the odds of keeping yourself, and other drivers on the road, safe. Every driver has a responsibility to be more cautious during Winter driving conditions.  Not doing so when involved in a traffic accident, and especially when personal injuries result, may leave you or the other driver exposed to legal action.  To help ensure that doesn’t happen, here are 3 safety tips to implement during wintertime driving.

Winter Safe Driving Tip #1: Visibility Works Both Ways

An absence of normal daytime sunlight, referred to as a low light condition, encompasses not only driving at night, but also wintertime weather manifestations like snow, sleet, rain and fog that can happen during the day. In any low light situation, your vehicle’s headlights should be on. Additionally, before setting out in your car or truck, make sure that your headlights and taillights are cleaned off so that other drivers can see them. For example, if it snowed while you were at work and your vehicle parks outside, take a few minutes and scrape the snow or ice off your light covers before heading down the road.

Secondly, always make sure that your windshield wipers are operational, and the blades actually clean off the glass without streaking. It’s always prudent to replace your wiper blades twice a year.  Scrape off your windshield carefully, and also all of the side and rear windows too. In addition, Massachusetts law requires your lights to be on anytime your wipers are being used. Failure to do all of these things sets you up to not see another vehicle, or help other drivers to see you, when Winter conditions are impacting driving.

Winter Safe Driving Tip #2: Adjust Your Driving Technique

We’re all in a rush nowadays, and that’s just a factor of our busy lifestyles. When the pavement is dry and the sun is shining brightly, hurrying about is not as big of an issue as in the Winter months. To ensure safe travels for all, there are some vehicle operating changes that you can implement when driving conditions are poor. Those include:

  • On wet pavement double your normal dry pavement vehicle following interval from 4 seconds to 8 seconds.
  • Avoid sudden stops or jamming on your brakes.
  • Don’t accelerate quickly or attempt to stop abruptly while climbing a hill.
  • Reduce your speed. Speed limits are for dry roads!
  • Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses.
  • Prepare yourself for what to do in the event of skidding or sliding.
  • Make sure your tires are for all-weather applications and that the tread is good.
  • Use your headlights during all low light driving conditions.
  • Just stay home if road conditions are bad.

The above list outlines actions that you can take as a more responsible driver. Auto accidents while driving in Winter weather are going to occur, but implementing these steps may help reduce the odds of those taking place. However, if another driver causes an accident during the Winter that damages your vehicle while also causing injuries to you or your passengers, you may be entitled to compensation under the law.

Winter Safe Driving Tip #3: Know Your Rights When an Accident Happens

When you suspect that you or your loved one have been involved in a Winter driving-related car crash due to negligence by the other driver, you have legal rights. Your personal injuries stemming from that accident, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages may be eligible for compensation under the law. And then you have the repairs or total replacement of your vehicle that must be addressed through a property damage claim. The responsible party’s insurance company will fight against your rights which may result in your case dragging on for months or years in the courts.

At the law firm of Mazow McCullough, P.C., we understand the situation when a driver ignores safe driving tips for Winter and involves you, through their negligence, in an accident. Liability must be proven, and that’s where our experienced attorneys come in. And, we will always go to bat for our clients whenever personal injury and/or property damage is involved, while adamantly seeking any compensation you’re entitled to under the fullest extent of the law. Contact us today at (978) 744-8000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our proven lawyers.

3 Obstacles Faced After a Truck Accident

Truck AccidentTruck accidents can be devastating on many different levels, especially physically and financially. Because truck accidents tend to result in critical injuries and fatalities at a higher rate than other types of auto accidents, the effects of a truck collision can be much more challenging.

While it’s clear that victims of truck accidents are going to deal with medical bills, physical injuries, and emotional suffering, here are some lesser known obstacles that families often face after a truck crash.

Insurance Companies and Aggressive Legal Teams

One of the most challenging issues that people must deal with after a truck accident is insurance companies and aggressive legal teams. This can be quite different than dealing with an insurance company or the private lawyer of a motor vehicle driver after an accident.

Trucking companies often have lawyers on standby. In fact, many people who were involved in an accident report that they saw lawyers on the scene even before all the debris was cleared away. Because trucking companies often deal with accidents caused by their drivers, they have attorneys ready to dispatch at a moment’s notice to help ensure that any questionable evidence is retrieved.

Insurance companies are also difficult for truck accident victims to deal with because insurance adjusters will often attempt to intimidate or bully victims. Adjusters may make victims feel like it’s impossible to go up against such a large company for a fair settlement. They often pressure victims to accept the lowest settlement possible in order to put the case to bed and save money – even if the settlement offered is nowhere near what the victim deserves.

Falsification of Records and Poorly Kept Records

Trucking companies make money by transporting goods from one place to another as quickly as possible. Drivers are usually paid by the mile, meaning that the more miles they log in the shortest period of time, the more they earn. This leads drivers to push themselves past what is legal (e.g., driving over the limit of legal consecutive hours).

Trucking companies know this and may even encourage drivers to falsify the records on their logs. This is an attempt to hide the fact that many drivers break the law to earn more money for themselves and, ultimately, the company.

If a truck malfunction caused the accident, it may be difficult to determine who is at fault if records were poorly kept. Trucking companies should keep records of any and all service and maintenance performed on a truck, what was done, and who performed the service. However, victims may find that these records are missing or poorly kept, therefore making it impossible to determine when the truck was last serviced. Ultimately, this means that the truck could be too dangerous to safely operate.

Missing Evidence

After a truck accident, it’s not uncommon for evidence to “disappear.” This includes written logs kept by the driver of the truck or even the recorded information on the truck’s black box. Currently, there are no laws against trucking companies deleting their own records or destroying them, unless there’s a legal action filed that prevents them from doing so. For this reason, it is absolutely critical to retain an attorney soon after a truck accident. An attorney can file a motion making it against the law for the trucking company to destroy potentially pertinent evidence.

When to Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

Even though it may be difficult to reach out to an attorney after a truck accident, especially if you or a loved one were critically injured or a loved one was killed, it is in your best interests to contact one as soon as you are able. Although insurance companies may attempt to make it look like they are on your side, rest assured that they are not. Their job is to help the trucking company pay out as little in damages as possible.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can help you go up against large trucking companies with zeal after an accident. Our aggressive approach can help you preserve evidence and let trucking companies know that you won’t be pushed around. Call us today for a consultation to discuss your claim in detail at (855) 693-9084.

 

Why Driving in Low Light Conditions Can Be Risky

As Autumn settles in and transitions into Winter, the amount of available sunlight diminishes during the average person’s normal daily activities, including driving. Seasonal daylight changes, creating more dusk-to-dawn hours of darkness, account for one type of low light driving condition. However, there are other examples of low light driving conditions, including smog, fog, snow, sleet, smoke and rain.  Combining nighttime driving with any of these additional factors simply makes traveling more unpredictable and dangerous.

Statistically, your odds of being involved in an auto accident, and even sustaining injuries, increase significantly during any of these low light driving conditions. Just taking night driving as an example, the National Safety Council points out that car crash fatalities are threefold more likely while operating a vehicle at night. In the essence of keeping you safe while driving, there are additional precautions you can implement during low light driving conditions. Being a safe and responsible driver, while not exposing yourself to potential litigation, are dependent upon adhering to the following recommendations.

Tips for Driving During Low Light Conditions

One of the easiest ways to drive responsibly during times when the sun is not out, or its light is otherwise diminished, is to turn on your headlights. In fact, Massachusetts law dictates that anytime your windshield wipers are in operation, your lights should be too. Further, the law mandates that your headlights need to be on when driving conditions prevent you from seeing approaching vehicles that are 500 feet or more away. This includes from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise, or when any of the low light driving conditions mentioned above are present.

These laws have been put in place as important safety measures for all drivers on our roads, and for various reasons. For one, a person’s eyes have to accommodate to light changes and that takes a while to happen. For example, you may have just left a well-lit parking lot at night and then driven onto a poorly-lit road. Before your eyes have fully adjusted you need to take precautions, including the aforementioned step of turning your lights on. Other safety actions recommended by driving experts during low light conditions are:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Assume that other drivers can’t see you
  • Carefully watch the road without distractions
  • Remove your sunglasses

Implementing these safe driving tips while operating a vehicle in poor visibility conditions, especially at night, will greatly improve your odds of making it to your destination without incident. A failure to heed these measures, however, opens a driver up to potential legal action if they are involved in a vehicle accident which results in property damage and/or personal injury to another.

Personal Injuries Received While Driving in Low Light Conditions

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident during a low light driving situation, and the other driver did not have their lights on, they could be at-fault for negligence within the law.  Perhaps personal injuries may have been sustained by you or by a passenger in your vehicle. Without a doubt your vehicle sustained damage that will require repairs or even possibly being replaced. In addition, there are other legal factors to be considered when another driver was at-fault during poor visibility circumstances.

In cases involving low light driving condition accidents, it’s prudent to know your rights and under Massachusetts law you may be entitled to compensation. Property damage and personal injury awards you may receive include lost wages, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. The key to moving the process forward is first knowing and understanding your legal rights, and whether or not you have a viable case against the other driver.

Liability Must Be Proven in Low Light Driving Accidents

When you or a loved one have been involved in an accident during low light driving conditions, and the other driver may have been negligent, the first step in the legal process is to hire an experienced accident attorney. This is especially the case when personal injuries are involved. The other party’s insurance company will step in, and they could drag the legal proceedings out for months and even years. Don’t roll the dice when potential compensation, along with your personal well-being, weigh in the scales of justice.

In all vehicle accident personal injury cases involving possible negligence by one or both drivers, determining who was at-fault must be proven in a court of law. This is referred to as liability in the legal profession. Don’t go it alone. The proven lawyers at Mazow McCullough, P.C. have experience in personal injury negligence cases and we know, and will defend, your legal rights. We will also fight for any due compensation under the law that you may be entitled to. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident during low light driving conditions, contact us today at (978) 744-8000 for a free case evaluation.

Parental Responsibility for Intoxicated Teen Drivers

Intoxicated Teen DriversAlthough teen drinking and driving is a real concern, there is good news when it comes to teen DUIs. According to a report by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, fatalities caused by underage DUI offenders have dropped 83% since 1982.

While it’s good to know that education efforts are making an impact, it’s little comfort if you or someone you love is injured by an intoxicated teen driver. Here are the underage DUI laws in Massachusetts and how they affect collecting damages against a teen driver.

Underage DUI

Like the rest of the country, the legal drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 and consumption of alcohol by anyone under this age is against the law. The only exception to this rule is consumption on private premises with the permission of a guardian. Even then, parents and guardians may be held liable if their underage charges commit criminal or negligent acts while intoxicated.

Teen drivers are inexperienced and already a risk on the road. This is why parents pay higher insurance premiums if they have teens added to their policy and invest in driver’s education for their children to lower those costs. Once alcohol is added to the scenario, teen drivers can become downright dangerous. A combination of impairment and inexperience is indeed a deadly mix. For this reason, penalties for an underage DUI are much stiffer.

If tests show a teenager has a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or above, they will likely be charged with underage DUI. For adults, that threshold increases to 0.08%. Other charges that may arise from this offense include minor in possession or child endangerment against any enabling adults.

Parental Liability

Often, DUI accidents by teen drivers injure or even cause the wrongful death of others one the road. Who can be held responsible for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering?

In civil cases, parents are vicariously liable when teenagers commit negligent acts. Since teenagers are not adults and cannot be sued directly, any action against them is through their parents. Parents can also be held directly responsible if they supplied the alcohol and failed to supervise their underage drinker. There are cases where parents are held liable for their teenager’s negligence, but also their own.

As with other auto accident claims, collisions involving DUI are often settled through the insurance company. Teenagers are covered on their parent’s auto insurance policy and that is where the negotiation and settlement process typically starts. If damages exceed policy limits, then parents’ personal assets can be garnished to ensure victims receive full compensation.

If you face DUI-related injuries due to a careless teen driver, contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. to schedule a free case evaluation. We can help you determine what avenues of compensation may be available to you and how to pursue the full and fair financial restitution you deserve.

Common Ways Bus Companies Can Put Passengers at Risk

Buses are an efficient and cost effective mode of transportation for trips both short and long. From charter services for trips and tours to local transportation, buses serve an important role in transporting thousands of passengers daily. While many bus companies do follow federal safety guidelines, others do not, leaving unwitting passengers in potentially hazardous situations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration there were 67,000 crashes involving buses in the US in 2015. Let’s explore some of the common ways that bus companies can put passengers at risk:

Poorly maintained vehicles

Buses have to be properly maintained and regularly serviced in order to be safe for the roadways. A bus that’s been poorly maintained and neglected is a danger to all, not just passengers and the driver. It puts others on the roads at risk, since bus accidents can occur as a result of a malfunction. Drivers also need to maintain a level of responsibility in reporting known or potential mechanical issues with the vehicles that they operate.

Hiring unqualified drivers

In order to operate a bus, drivers need to have obtained their CDL, or commercial driver’s license. In 2012, a nationwide investigation by federal authorities discovered that multiple major bus companies had hired unqualified drivers who did not have the proper license. Drivers should also undergo drug and alcohol screenings to ensure that they’re safe to get behind the wheel. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to the hiring of unskilled drivers who have not received the proper training.

Overworked drivers

Another issue with some bus companies is overworking their drivers. There are limits to how many hours drivers may be behind the wheel. Companies dealing with a lack of qualified drivers may make their employees work more hours in a single shift than are legally permitted. Drivers who are behind the wheel while tired pose a significant risk to passengers and other motorists. Regulations have been put in place to ensure that drivers are not impaired by fatigue while on the road.

Lack of proper registration and insurance

Just like car owners are required to have their vehicles registered and insured, bus companies must also obtain the proper registration and have insurance on all of their vehicles. They need to maintain continuous coverage while operating, including personal injury, blanket contractual liability, and comprehensive liability insurance. Failure to obtain and keep current the proper registration and insurance puts their riders at risk, especially in the event of an accident. Bus companies that do not register their vehicles and hold the proper insurance policies can be considered negligent.

Many people across the country rely daily on the services that bus operators provide. From city and local transportation services to charter companies operating tours and interstate trips, bus companies should be in compliance with all applicable laws. Bus companies have a duty to follow safety guidelines and regulations. When they fail to do so, they put passengers and others on the roadway at risk, and should be held accountable.

If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. The experienced attorneys at Mazow| McCullough PC can get you the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today at (978) 741-8000 or (855) 693-9084.

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