Motorcycle accidents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are a common tragedy, and are prevalent across other states, as well. What can you do to best protect yourself if you are involved in one? Taking the following steps will allow you to stay as safe as possible after a motorcycle accident and assist you where legal matters are concerned.
1. Check for Injuries and Call 911
Before doing anything else, check yourself and others for injuries. Even if no one appears to have suffered any harm, you need to call 911. You will not automatically be blamed for an accident because you made the call, but you should not admit fault, either. Taking action is important for legal reasons as well as the safety of all involved.
2. Move Away From Roads and Traffic
If able, get off of the road and away from traffic after calling the authorities. This protects you from further traffic-related incidents and protects others on the road from getting caught up in the accident-related mess. It is in everyone’s best interest to get off the road if your physical condition allows you to do so. Encourage others to do the same.
3. Gather Crash-Related Information
Next, collect contact information for everyone involved and speak to witnesses. Take pictures of everything you can before the scene of the accidents is majorly altered. Record car makes, models and license plate numbers, as well. Notate any details you can think of. When police arrive on-scene, share all of this information for their report.
4. Talk to Your Insurance Company
Talking to your insurance agency is an important step to take, even if you are nervous about doing so. Use all of the details that you recorded in step three to file your insurance report. Remember not to suggest that you caused the accident in any way, even if you think you might have caused or contributed to it.
5. Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
There are many ways that attorneys for the motorcycle accidents NH and MA motorcyclists face can help after such a crash. If you have been injured, a knowledgeable lawyer can help you find justice. Remember to share all of the details that were shared with the police and your insurance agent with your attorney.
Taking the steps above allows you to be in the best legal position possible after an accident and helps to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved. Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you with legal challenges related to your motorcycle accident injuries. Contact our experienced legal team today to learn more.
It’s important to take steps to stay safe as a motorcyclist or anyone sharing the road with motorcycles. However, it is also important to know what safety information to trust and what advice is misguided. The following are a few common motorcycle safety myths to watch out for to protect yourself on the road and avoid accidents.
Helmets are Dangerous
There is a dangerous myth that wearing a motorcycle helmet could lead to a broken neck in a crash. However, helmets absorb the energy that typically leads to broken necks in motorcycle crashes. Therefore, helmet wearers suffer fewer crash-related neck injuries than if they weren’t wearing helmets.
Slow Streets are The Safest
Some people believe that riding a motorcycle on an interstate highway is unsafe. However, interstates can be one of your safest choices where accident prevention is concerned. There are less pedestrians, side streets and obstacles to get in your way when compared to slower roads.
A Loud Bike is Important for Motorcycle Safety
A loud motorcycle is fine if you can hear other sounds, but it doesn’t make any difference where accident safety is concerned. Sirens, other vehicles running and similar sounds are important to be aware of when you are riding a motorcycle.
Wearing Leather is for Fashion
You may think wearing leather helps you look cool, but it serves an important purpose while riding your motorcycle. It protects against road rash and crash-related bodily injuries. It also protects you from wind chill.
A New Bike Doesn’t Require Practice
Even experienced motorcyclists should test out a new bike before going for a ride on the road. Unfamiliar steering and breaking can lead to serious accidents.
If I Have a Drivers License, I Can Ride a Motorcycle
Operating a motorcycle is quite different from driving a car. Practicing and obtaining your endorsement are important motorcycle safety steps to take. You will be following the law and be better prepared to stay safe on the road.
Remember that these are not the only safety myths you need to be aware of. Always question any advice you may receive that doesn’t seem logical to you and do your own research to check its soundness.
A good rule of thumb is to stay off of social media when going through a personal injury case. Attorneys Robert Hartigan and Robert Mazow of Mazow McCullough law firm talk about how detrimental social media could be to a case. Listen or read more to find out why.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here with Robert Hartigan and Robert Mazow of the law firm of Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today we’re talking about the dangers of social media in personal injury cases. Robert and Robert, welcome.
Hartigan: In 2019, social media . . . it actually, it can play a big role in the personal injury case. We’ve seen situations where a client that’s been in a car accident or has had a slip and fall injury, shortly after that will go home and then post about it, and post photographs and talk about their injuries and what happened, and that can really come back to have really disastrous effects on their case.
John: So just like, if you started talking to the opposing attorneys, or you started talking to insurance companies, or things like that, just the act of posting something on social media sites, like Facebook, could get you in trouble because here you’re getting information out into public about what happened in your accident.
Hartigan: Absolutely. So, what the client is basically doing is creating a record, sometimes even a transcript if they’re having conversations between their friends on Facebook or Twitter, and the insurance companies are certainly looking at that person’s Facebook profile and their page or their Tweets or Instagram, and they can use that to their advantage in defending their case, and you know, the allegations brought by the plaintiff or the client.
Impact of Social Media on a Case
John: Okay. Have you seen some specific cases at your firm where social media has played a role in the case?
Mazow: Unfortunately we have, despite the fact that we warn clients to stay out of the social media. I’ll give you an example of how one has had a detrimental effect on a case.
We had a client who was in a bad car crash. She was hurt very badly and she testified at her deposition that she couldn’t do certain things because she had balance issues. And the next thing that happened is the defense attorney got access to her Facebook page and there she is posting herself balancing on, it happened to be a cannon or something on vacation, and it really had a bad effect. The case ended up resolving, and if that had gone to trial and a jury saw that, I think the client would have been in big trouble.
John: Okay. Any other cases like that that you’ve seen?
Hartigan: So, personally, not at this firm, but a few years back when I was a paralegal, I saw a case where a client had been in a car accident and they claimed they had severe back issues, and the insurance company looked at that person’s Facebook profile after the settlement demand was submitted to the insurance company, and sure enough there was a photograph of the client doing some yard work, some landscaping, outside, right after his incident.
Hartigan: And that’s had a really disastrous effect on his case.
Mazow: And there’s always an innocent explanation but it’s best to just not . . . if you’re hurt in a car accident, it’s best not to post, not to Tweet, not to text. Keep your conversations private, keep them between yourself and your attorney because the very first thing, and I know this for a fact, the very first thing that insurance companies are doing is they’re Googling you and they’re finding out and people are, you know, they’re friending certain people on Facebook or Instagram or other social media in it, it could be a disaster.
John: So, talk a little bit more about that, about how insurance companies or maybe the attorney could be using social media to help their case against your clients.
Mazow: There was a case we had a few years ago, it was a very serious wrongful death car accident, and unfortunately the child of our clients died in a bad car crash. His Facebook page was a complete diary of every bad thing you don’t want your child to be doing. Public. I’m talking about photographs of inappropriate behavior, alcohol, what appeared to be potentially drugs, and the defense counsel got access to all of that, and it was embarrassing and it was challenging, and again, had that case gone to trial and had that been used to show what kind of a person . . . you know, they would make the argument that, “This was a bad person.”
Mazow: Again, the person wasn’t a bad person, and they were just posting things that didn’t look right. So, the point is, is that don’t post anything that’s going to look inappropriate, but certainly don’t post anything that’s related to your car accident or your personal injury claim.
Advice on Social Media Usage
John: Okay. What are some of the things that you’re doing to combat social media use with your clients? Can you go beyond just asking them, “Hey, please don’t post things onto social media.”
Hartigan: We’ve actually started having clients sign a form acknowledging that they’re not going to post on social media about their case, and I think what that does is it shows them how serious this issue is with insurance companies and defense lawyers looking into their social media profiles, and that it’s not something to be ignored and it’s not a joke. So, them actually having to sign something and acknowledging that they’re not going to do it really drives that point home.
John: Any other final thoughts in terms of social media and the dangers that it poses with personal injury cases?
Hartigan: I would say it’s just . . . we’re seeing it more often now in litigation where defense attorneys and opposing counsel, they’re trying to get access to social media accounts. And there are some other legalities as far as federal law that comes into play. If you were to send a subpoena to Facebook, how they respond, but generally speaking, one of the tactics is they’ll send a discovery request to us asking for our client to download their information to give to them.
There’s some objections that we throw at them, but it’s becoming more of an issue than ever before.
John: All right. That’s really great information, Robert and Robert. Thank you very much for speaking with me today.
Mazow: Thank you, John.
Hartigan: Thank you.
John: And for more information on personal injury cases, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call 855-693-9084.
Typically, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis. With that payment arrangement, the lawyer is paid an agreed upon percentage of the money you receive in judgement or settlement. You don’t owe anything until the case is resolved, and if the lawyer doesn’t win a settlement, you pay nothing. Here’s a closer examination of how that works, as well as a brief look at alternative payment setups.
In most cases, contingency fees are a percentage of your award. This percentage may vary depending on the type of case and where you live. Generally, you should expect to pay about 33% of your recovery if your case settles before trial. If it goes to trial, the fee tends to be closer to 40%.
At first glance, the contingency fee may appear high. However, the lawyer is actually taking a gamble on the case. Whether the case settles, goes to trial, or gets appealed multiple times, the lawyer makes nothing for their time unless you win. Although experienced personal injury attorneys can make an educated guess about how cases will go or what settlement you are likely to win, there is no guarantee, and the lawyer doesn’t ever really know what’s going to happen until the case is over.
To ensure you’re getting the best deal possible, always discuss the fee arrangement at the start of the case and get the final agreement in writing. Note that some lawyers use a tiered contingency fee that depends on how far a case gets. If the case is settled out of court, the lawyer uses a lower percentage for their contingency fee, but if it goes to court, the percentage is higher.
Free Case Evaluations
Lawyers who work on a contingency basis usually offer free case evaluations. Because you aren’t charged for the initial consultation, you can afford to interview several personal injury lawyers. In fact, you may want to get several opinions about your case and talk to multiple lawyers until you find the right fit.
Of course, the consultation is a two-way street. The lawyer is also deciding whether the case, and you, are right for their practice. Because the lawyer won’t be paid unless you receive a favorable judgement or settlement, they may decline to take your case if you’re unlikely to win or if the settlement would be too small to compensate both of you.
When you work with a personal injury attorney on a contingency basis, the initial consultation is just the first free meeting. Throughout the case as you meet with the lawyer to discuss your injury, medical treatment, and your recovery, you don’t pay anything for those meetings either.
While most personal injury lawyers don’t charge by the hour for their time, some will agree to do so if the client requests to pay hourly. Hourly fees can range from $125 to $500 per hour or more, so you can see why contingency fee arrangements are so attractive.
Beyond that, you may not want to consider a lawyer who won’t take your case on a contingency basis. When a personal injury lawyer doesn’t work on a contingency basis, that indicates that any potential settlement associated with your case is not likely worth the time and resources needed to fight that case. In other words, you could be throwing good money at a bad case.
Your lawyer may also charge for expenses on top of the contingency fee. Again, you don’t pay these amounts unless you win the case, but if you win a settlement, certain expenses may be added to your total. These costs may include the following:
Ordering copies of reports and records, such as medical and police reports
Expenses for copying, faxing, etc.
Court costs, such as filing and deposition fees
Fees for expert witnesses and investigators
Before agreeing to work with a lawyer, you may want to ask if the expenses are extra or included with the contingency fee.
The Settlement Check
In most cases, the settlement check is sent to the lawyer. This is to protect the lawyer who has worked on a contingency basis. Your lawyer will call you when the check arrives. Then, they should explain the amount you owe for fees and costs in detail and distribute the rest of the settlement to you.
If you have been injured due to medical malpractice or negligence, you need a quality personal injury attorney in your corner. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we handle personal injury, medical malpractice, dog bites, and a variety of other cases. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us today.
People have a lot of questions about medical malpractice. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice and if you have watched a loved one suffer, you deserve to understand the essentials. To help you out, here’s a look at some of the most common questions about medical malpractice.
1. What Does Medical Malpractice Mean?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider does not meet their duty to the patient. This may happen when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider fails to diagnose a condition properly, doesn’t advise the patient about risks, makes a grave mistake during a medical procedure, or ignores the patients’ needs.
As a general rule of thumb, if the healthcare provider behaved in a way that is different from how most other responsible healthcare providers would have acted in the same situation and if the patient was harmed or suffered damages as a result, medical malpractice may have occurred.
2. What Causes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be caused by a variety of issues including the following:
Ignorance about the condition
Lack of communication
Dangerous procedures or systems in hospital settings
Failure to read medical records correctly
Giving the wrong dosages or types of medication
Administering anesthesia incorrectly
Failure to maintain equipment properly
Dirty environments leading to infections
3. How Are Medical Malpractice Settlements Calculated?
In medical malpractice cases, settlements are based on the damages you suffered as a result of the medical malpractice. Typically, damages include medical expenses, lost earnings, and other costs directly related to the incident. However, many people suffer long-term injuries that can affect the rest of their lives, and as a result, their settlement may include lost future income and estimated future medical expenses.
On top of that, the settlement may also include money for pain and suffering. Putting a number on pain and suffering is a delicate process. Often, the courts assign a multiplier between one and five, and they multiply your other damages by that number to determine the amount related to your pain and suffering. In other situations, they may take your daily wage and multiply that by the number of days you experienced pain. You may also receive some monetary compensation for emotional distress or loss of consortium.
4. What Are Medical Malpractice Caps?
Medical malpractice caps limit the amount of the settlement you can receive from these cases. In Massachusetts, the law caps compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, embarrassment, and other items of general damage to $500,000. But there are exceptions. If you suffered substantial impairment or permanent loss of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement, the caps do not apply. Additionally, the caps don’t apply if they prevent you from getting fair compensation.
As you can see, the Massachusetts guidelines are very subjective. To ensure you get the fairest settlement possible, you need a skilled medical malpractice attorney who can help to establish that your injuries are substantial and that a low settlement wouldn’t be fair. For example, the lawyers at Mazow | McCullough, PC helped a client win $535,000 for a medical malpractice injury, and they also got her health insurance lien waived.
5. Can Medical Malpractice Be Criminal?
Generally, medical malpractice cases are civil. That means that the healthcare providers, hospitals, medical clinics, or other defendants in the case are held financially responsible, but they do not face criminal charges. However, in extreme cases, medical malpractice may constitute criminal medical negligence, and the defendant may be subject to criminal penalties including prison or fines.
6. What Are Medical Malpractice Lawyers?
Medical malpractice lawyers are generally lawyers who focus on personal injury law. They help clients who have suffered damages due to the negligence of another party, and in addition to serving clients who have been injured in car accidents, by dog bites, or in a variety of other situations, they also help clients who have been injured due to the actions of a medical professional or institution.
7. How Does a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Work?
Medical malpractice suits usually start with a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney. They help you decide if your case is viable. If you decide to move forward with the lawsuit, the lawyer may do some investigating and researching to prepare for the case and estimate how much your settlement should be. Then, your lawyer sends a demand letter to the defendant, letting them know what damages you have suffered and explaining why they are at fault.
At that point, the defendant may accept or reject the demand or make a counteroffer. If the demand is rejected or a counter offer is made, your lawyer may urge you to handle the issue in mediation or through arbitration. If that’s not possible, the case may go to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge decides if you deserve a settlement and the amount of the settlement.
8. Are Medical Malpractice Awards Taxable?
Normally, medical malpractice settlements are not subject to income tax. However, if you claimed a tax deduction for medical expenses related to the claim and the settlement reimbursed you for those expenses, you may have to deal with some tax issues related to reversing that deduction.
9. Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim Myself?
Legally, you can always represent yourself in a court of law, but from the demand letter through the trial, medical malpractice cases are complicated. Physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies spend a lot on their lawyers, and going in on your own is usually a mistake.
Instead, you should get help from a medical malpractice attorney. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have helped many clients get the justice they deserve. To learn more and to set up a free case evaluation, contact us today.
Dealing with an injury is physically painful, but it can also be emotionally draining and time consuming. When you have so much on your plate, you may not want to add anything else. You may be wondering if it’s even worth it to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your injuries are minor and the responsible party is willing to cover your costs, you may not need to file.
But, filing a lawsuit is usually the best option when you have incurred serious injuries, can’t work, and/or are experiencing pain and suffering due to an injury caused by another party.
Take a look at a few key situations where you should contact an attorney or consider filing a claim.
An Insurer Has Given You a Lowball Offer
Sometimes, you can avoid a personal injury lawsuit by filing a personal injury insurance claim. For instance, if you are in a car accident and suffer minor injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurer may offer you a settlement. If the settlement truly covers all of your injuries and expenses, that can work. But, in a lot of cases, insurers offer lowball settlements.
Sometimes, these companies offer small settlements due to policy limits. If you’re worried that a settlement doesn’t cover all the damages you have incurred as a result of the injury, you should consult with an attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit.
You Want Help Negotiating with the Insurer
Keep in mind that personal injury attorneys don’t necessarily have to take your case to court. These lawyers can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. To get a fair settlement, you have to convince the insurance company that their client was responsible for your injuries, that you suffered damages as a result of the injuries, and that the amount of the damages you are requesting is appropriate for the situation.
You may also have to prove that the injuries prevented you from working or caused intense pain and suffering. That can be hard to do on your own, but an attorney knows how to handle that process effectively.
You Have Suffered Serious Injuries
Often, the extent of your injuries dictates whether or not you should file a personal injury lawsuit. If you are dealing with any of the following issues, you should contact a personal injury attorney:
A loved one’s death
Loss of a bodily organ or a bodily function
Issue, such as a herniated disc, which requires extensive surgery
Injuries which prevent you from working or performing daily activities
Significant or constant pain
The Other Party Can’t Come to an Agreement in Mediation
Often, before going to trial, many people start with mediation. This is an informal proceeding that usually involves you, your attorney, the defendant, their attorney, and a professional mediator. The mediator tries to help everyone agree on a fair settlement.
If you can’t come to a satisfactory agreement in mediation, you may need to move forward with a lawsuit. However, mediation tends to be less expensive and easier than a lawsuit. To get the best results, you should work with a lawyer who has experience with mediation. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we helped a client win $500,000 for premise liability negligence in mediation and we secured a $150,000 medical malpractice settlement in mediation.
A Lawyer Suggests Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Deciding if you should file a personal injury lawsuit on your own can be difficult. To help you decide, most attorneys offer free case evaluations. During the evaluation, the attorney listens to your story, helps you assess your damages, and gives you an overview of how your case is likely to go. Generally, if a personal injury attorney believes that you have a solid case, they agree to handle your concerns on a contingency basis. Mazow | McCullough, PC only gets paid if we win you a recovery.
However, some personal injury lawyers will agree to work on a fee-for-service basis. Usually, attorneys only structure their fees in this way if they aren’t sure that you can win the case. Ideally, you should not work with a personal injury lawyer who charges upfront fees. You should only work with a lawyer on a contingency basis. If you meet with a quality personal injury attorney and they advise you to bring forward a personal injury lawsuit, that’s a strong indication that you should probably move forward with the case.
You Want Fair Compensation for Your Injuries
The number one reason to file a personal injury lawsuit is so that you get fairly compensated for your injuries. At Mazow ❘ McCullough, PC, we help our clients get financial justice for their injuries. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us today.
Of the 4.7 million dog bites that occur every year in the U.S., 18% — nearly 1 in 5 – become infected after not getting treated. Some dog bite infections are minor and can be treated at home, but others are more serious and may require immediate medical attention.
Minor Infections from Dog Bites
Dog bites are likely to become infected due to the amount of bacteria that live in a dog’s mouth. While most of this bacteria is harmless to humans, it only takes one of the few dangerous strains that pose a threat to you to make you sick.
Relatively minor dog bite infections can be caused by several types of bacteria. For example, Capnocytophaga spp. is a weak bacteria that rarely harms people; you could be infected with it and never feel sick. However, it can present more risk to people with compromised immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.
Another potential infector is the Pasteurella bacterium, which is found in 50% of all infected dog bites. Usually, Pasteurella simply causes a painful but local infection around the bite wound. In some circumstances, however, it can cause more dangerous symptoms such as swollen glands, painful joints, and difficulty moving. Any of these symptoms should be examined and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Major Infections from Dog Bites
Dog bites can also cause life-threatening diseases, the most well-known and terrifying of which is the rabies virus. Affecting the brain and causing a wide array of dangerous symptoms, rabies is fatal if left untreated. Thankfully, efforts over the past century have reduced the number of domestic animals with rabies to around 7%, and only 1 to 3 cases of human rabies are reported annually. However, statistics are not a safeguard. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should bring the animal in for testing if possible. If the animal tests negative, you will not need rabies treatment. However, if the animal tests positive or you are unable to bring in the animal and determine its rabies status, it’s critical to begin treatment for rabies immediately.
Less prominent but no less dangerous potential infections include MRSA, a powerful strain of Staph bacteria that is unaffected by ordinary antibiotics. MRSA requires extensive medical attention and a battery of unique antibiotics, as it can be as life-threatening as rabies. Dog bites can also transmit tetanus, which can cause paralysis.
Signs of Infection
When a dog bite punctures the skin, you are at an increased risk for the wound to become infected. The signs of infection include pain or soreness around the injury site, redness, swelling, drainage of pus or fluid, or the development of a fever.
Additionally, loss of sensation around the wound, red streaks emanating from the wound, night sweats, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and the limited use of limbs near the wound are signs of a potentially life-threatening infection.
Preventing Infection from a Dog Bite
To care for a minor bite at home, wash the wound carefully with warm, soapy water, then apply antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage or wrap. Try and keep the injury elevated. If the wound becomes inflamed at any time or you develop a fever, seek immediate medical attention. For deeper wounds, apply firm pressure with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding, and it is recommended you call 911 or visit your local emergency room right away. Dog bites are often deeper than they appear, and it is better to exercise caution when faced with such injuries.
If you were bitten by a dog that you do not know or may appear to have rabies, or if it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.
If you were attacked by an unfamiliar dog and the owner is present, obtain the owner’s information, even if the attack seems minor. You should also notify animal control or the police to ensure that the owner has taken steps to prevent the dog from attacking someone again.
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you may be eligible for compensation. The experienced dog bite attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. can inform you of your legal options and assist you in pursuing your claim for maximum financial restitution. Call today for a free consultation.
In the aftermath of a sudden death of a loved one, it can be a confusing and depressing time. Learning that your loved one’s death was caused by negligence can be even more devastating. You may wonder why you should add to the understandable stress of the situation by pursuing a wrongful death claim or why you should reopen those wounds by reliving the loss again. However, bringing forward a claim for compensation isn’t just about money – it can help you achieve justice for your loved one’s passing and prevent the same from happening to another family. This can make the healing process easier over time.
Compensation Can Soften the Financial Blow of a Loved One’s Passing
The sudden loss of a loved one often involves exorbitant charges, including medical bills, funeral fees, and lost wages. These costs can be overwhelming—medical expenses alone can easily be hundreds of thousands of dollars, even over a relatively short period of time. Incurring these costs yourself can put you and your family in a dire financial situation that may last for years.
Seeking compensation for these costs can help ease the financial burden of a death, and can relieve some of the stress that comes from a loss. You can spend more time healing and less time worrying about finances.
Compensation Can Help with the Coping Process
A portion of the financial restitution obtained from a wrongful death claim is meant to compensate survivors for emotional distress. This can include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of companionship. Even though money cannot bring back your loved one, this kind of compensation can provide some comfort as you deal with the grief of losing a loved one.
Further, non-economic damages act as a penalty on the people liable for your loved one’s death. It charges them for more than just the physical costs, but also for your family’s loss and devastation.
Punitive Damages Can Prevent Future Deaths
In cases of gross negligence—where the reckless action or inaction was far beyond the line of reasonable behavior—the court may also award punitive damages to the plaintiff(s) in a wrongful death claim. Punitive damages are determined by the judge and jury based on available evidence and the degree of negligence the defendant(s) exhibited. This can result in damages worth hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.
Punitive damages serve two purposes. First, they provide a compelling incentive to the defendant to correct the behavior or actions that caused the death—whether that be ignoring a safety concern, driving recklessly, or misdiagnosing a patient. Second, they create an incentive for others not to attempt similar action for fear they will incur punishment for their negligence.
Seeking compensation from those liable for your loved one’s wrongful death can feel like a staggering and terrifying prospect, but it can help you and your family find some solace in a chaotic and frustrating time. The lawyers at Mazow | McCullough, PC, are experienced in wrongful death suits and can help you sort through the difficult legal process as you file and follow through with your claim. They can represent you in court and help you negotiate the highest compensation award possible. If you’ve lost a loved one due to wrongful death, contact us today for a free consultation at (978)-744-8000.
Our legal system can seem daunting, especially to inexperienced plaintiffs, due to the legal technicalities and rules involved in filing a claim for compensation. Coupled with the emotional burden of dealing with the sudden and devastating loss of a loved one, that confusion often feels insurmountable. One concept in particular that tends to complicate is the statute of limitations. Here are answers to some common questions about statutes of limitations.
What are Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are rules that essentially set a time limit after something happens—an injury, an accident, a threat, a death, etc.—for filing civil or criminal claims. If a claim is filed after the statute of limitations is up, the courts may not allow it to be heard. Even if a late claim is brought to court, the defense could successfully argue that the claim should be thrown out because the statute of limitations has expired. In both examples, filing a claim exceeding the statute of limitations often means that the case is never heard and no damages are awarded.
Are the Statutes of Limitations the Same Everywhere?
No. The statute of limitations depends on what law is in question and in what state the claim is being filed. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for most civil cases, including wrongful death, is 3 years. The same 3 year limit to wrongful death cases applies in New Hampshire according to state law.
Do the Statutes of Limitations Allow for Flexibility?
It depends on the state and the claim in question. In certain circumstances, the courts may count the statute of limitations differently or allow for exceptions.
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case typically starts from the date of the death. However, if the death is not obviously wrongful and the estate administrator discovers evidence in the course of their duties indicating wrongful death, then the statute of limitations applies from that moment of discovery. The time limit of 3 years does not change but how it is counted does.
The same law also establishes that in cases in which the wrongfulness of a death is not immediately clear, the statute of limitations applies from the moment the estate administrator should have reasonably discovered the evidence.
If The Statute is 3 Years for Wrongful Death Claims, Why Should I File a Claim Quickly?
For filing a wrongful death claim, 3 years might seem like plenty of time. However, it is important to file as soon as possible after the loss of a loved one or after the discovery of crucial evidence. Evidence can degrade or be misplaced. Witnesses may become difficult to locate or their memories of the events might fade. Those who might be liable may not be reached for trial.
Filing a wrongful death claim promptly and correctly is often difficult. At Mazow | McCullough, P.C., we can help you file a claim within the statute of limitations and help you find justice for your loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation at 978-744-8000.
It is a mistake to assume that your dog will not fight with other dogs. Dog on Dog attacks can occur no matter how well behaved the animals are. The fact is that dogs will act out against people or other animals if they feel any of the following:
Stressed due to lack of space.
Dogs are pack animals, meaning they may feel the need to dominate.
They may be protective of you.
Or they may simply be over excited.
Below are a couple tips on how to help your dog cope and act in the presence of other canines in order to prevent a confrontation.
Be Calm and Decisive
One of the most common mistakes made by people when encountering another dog is to tense up and become fearful of what your dog may do. If you become afraid when encountering another dog, you will subsequently tense up, leading your dog to pick up on your energy which will likely trigger an aggressive reaction from your dog. Remain calm throughout the encounter, while still reading your dog’s expressions. If you feel the encounter is becoming too stressful, intervene and cut the meet and greet short. You may also want to redirect your dog’s attention back to you from time to time during the interaction with another dog to remind him that you are there and he is safe.
From my experience with dogs, I have found this technique to be most effective when started at an early age. Not to say that it is impossible if not started at an early age, just a lot more challenging to imply. When going out for a walk with your furry friend and passing by another dog, you should make it a point to ignore the other dog and its owner. This will teach your dog that when you see other dogs it is best to ignore them instead of confronting them. Be careful not to crowd the dog when walking past another dog. Since we now know dogs love space and aren’t too keen on it being invaded, this might send the wrong message to your dog causing him to lash out. If rather than ignoring the dog, your dog decides to confront the dog and starts barking and showing aggressive behavior. As a substitute to standing while tugging at the dog, try walking away and tugging at the dog. This will help create space while at the same time hopefully creating comfort.
Remember that German shepherd I spoke about, the one that enjoys chasing after flying bugs? Well she also enjoys staring at dogs intensely as they stroll by for their walks. This is not good behavior. Just because they are in a down position and not barking or growling, doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about acting. It may actually mean that they are just waiting for the right moment. When she does this it usually leads to a “go inside” command. Teaching your dog how to ignore the presence of other dogs will be one of your best defenses against your dog’s aggressiveness to other dogs.
Generally most dogs are sociable creatures meant to live in groups and packs. However, since they are man’s best friend, and are not living wildly in the streets this is not always the case. Dogs are not always properly socialized with other dogs enough for them to feel comfort around them. This often times causes aggression when meeting a new dog. According to the ASPCA, it is best to introduce your dog to new experiences between the age of 3 and 12 weeks. After that time period your dog will become less prone to accepting new experiences without becoming wary and uncomfortable. When it comes to introducing adult dogs to new experiences you will find that you need a lot of patience, vigilance, and a couple treats never hurt anyone.
To wrap it all up, when your dog meets a new dog for the first time, it is best to remain vigilant and observant of your dog’s mannerisms and behavior. Remember nobody knows your own dog’s tell-tale signs like you do. If you see him/her becoming anxious or uncomfortable step in and interrupt the situation before it escalates.