From left: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston law firm specializing in personal injury and medical malpractice.

From left: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck. Our Boston law firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice representation for plaintiffs.

Breakstone, White & Gluck today announces that Attorney Marc L. Breakstone, Attorney David W. White and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck have earned rankings in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020. This marks the 10th year our personal injury attorneys have been recognized for our results for clients in the Boston area.

Best Lawyers© is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world, publishing its attorney listings in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and other media partners. The rankings are intended to help those who need legal services identify highly respected attorneys.

Best Lawyers© recognizes lawyers through a peer-review process. Members of the public, clients and other attorneys first provide nominations. Attorneys are then asked to evaluate other attorneys on their legal abilities in their practice areas.

Marc L. Breakstone was selected for recognition in the specialties of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, and Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.

David W. White was selected for recognition in the specialties of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Insurance Law and Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.

Ronald E. Gluck was selected for recognition in the specialty of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Founded in 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck has earned a reputation for superb results for our clients.  With more than 100 years combined experience, our attorneys have won leading verdicts and settlements in negligence, medical malpractice, product liability and construction accident cases. We represent clients in Boston, Cambridge and surrounding communities, and across Massachusetts.

Recognition
Attorney Breakstone, Attorney White and Attorney Gluck have been consistently recognized individually and as a firm. For the past 15 years, Super Lawyers has featured our attorneys in its annual rankings published in Boston Magazine. Our attorneys have also received selection to the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers.

Personal Injury Experience

Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to assisting individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic injuries or death as a result of someone else’s negligence. Our attorneys provide representation after injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents, transportation accidents, construction accidents, premises liability accidents, defective products and dog bites, along with other injuries. Our partners have practiced together for nearly 30 years – and each has more than 35 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts.

Read about our personal injury case results for clients.

Car Accidents and Transportation Accidents

Car accidents are one area of our expertise. Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle crashes and large truck collisions. Our attorneys are highly experienced in investigating cases involving drunk driving injuries and time and again, have held drivers, restaurants and bars responsible for the injuries they have caused. Our car accident case results for clients.

The firm offers special expertise in handling cases involving pedestrian injuries in MBTA bus accidents and subway accidents. Our MBTA bus accident case results for clients.

Medical Malpractice Experience

Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented hundreds of clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of medical malpractice, at the doctor’s office, hospital, nursing home or in an ambulance. When medical malpractice leads to death, we represent families who have lost loved ones in wrongful death claims, pursuing answers about what happened, then obtaining compensation to help cope with emotional, physical and financial losses. Our attorneys’ medical malpractice awards for clients.

Construction Accident Experience

Our attorneys are known for their thorough and skilled investigation of construction accidents as well as our aggressive pursuit of the best financial reward for our clients and their families. When accidents happen, construction companies sometimes maneuver to limit or avoid financial responsibility. Our attorneys have stopped companies from taking these deceptive steps to protect the best interests our clients. Read about our work, including our $7.5 million settlement for the victim of a fatal propane gas explosion on a condo construction site and our $1.375 million settlement for a family who lost a son in a crane collapse.

Boston Personal Injury Lawyers – Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form. You can also learn more about our work from our past clients.

Continue reading

mattapan-500-2

Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to support the Mattapan on Wheels event this weekend. We only wish the temperature had been more forgiving for cyclists riding for such a good cause. This ride is a terrific cause in our book!

The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition organizes Mattapan on Wheels each year to encourage physical activity, as well as safe cycling on Mattapan streets and the Lower Neponset River Trail. Many Mattapan children take their first ride at this event and receive their first bicycle helmet from Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign. Our law firm donates 100 bicycle helmets each year to encourage safety. More experienced cyclists help children and others fit the helmets and get them ready to ride.

This event gives cyclists access to other key safety resources too. Boston police officers and community volunteers come out to lead the ride and follow in back. There are all skill levels here and cyclists can choose their ride and challenge themselves with a new route each year. Other community groups are on hand to do ABC checks – air, brakes and chain. Then, the ride usually wraps up and everyone heads over to the Annual Scoops and Hoops event nearby.

The event is the group’s primary fundraiser. More than 50 cyclists still turned out this weekend, despite the heat and raised over $3,200 for bike-related activities. But this is roughly a third of the typical participation and Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition is still collecting donations. You can learn more from the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition’s website. The website is under construction, but you can find the contact information and social media sites at the bottom of the page.

Photo credits: Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition Facebook page.

 

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. Our attorneys have won numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements have been recognized on the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers lists. We founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to encourage children to wear helmets every time they ride to prevent head injuries in bicycle accidents.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading

Pedestrians in crosswalk

Somerville has seen at least two fatal pedestrian crosswalk crashes during 2019. The news media has reported both were hit-and-run crashes.

A driver was tragically killed in a Somerville crosswalk over the weekend. The victim was struck on Saturday night around 8 p.m. as she crossed along Mystic Avenue (Route 38), near McGrath Highway and Stop & Shop.

The victim, a Somerville resident, was transported from the scene and later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Meanwhile, Massachusetts State Police began investigating and searching for the driver, who had fled the scene. The 64-year-old Roxbury man turned himself in Sunday morning and was charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury or death and a crosswalk violation, according to WBZ Boston. He pleaded not guilty at arraignment today in Somerville District Court, where prosecutors revealed a few details about the crash. The driver admitted to drinking two glasses of wine at dinner before the crash and said he initially stopped because he suspected he had hit someone. He was allowed to remain free on $1,000 bail on the condition he refrain from alcohol. He is not allowed to drive.

According to StreetsBlog Mass, the crosswalk is located along Mystic Avenue. It provides pedestrians with access to the Kensington Underpass, which runs under I-93 and connects most of Somerville’s residential neighborhoods to businesses and offices in the Assembly Square district.

This is at least the second fatal pedestrian crosswalk accident in Somerville this year. Both were hit-and-run crashes. In February, a beloved 40-year-old educator was walking in a crosswalk at the Harden Road and Powderhouse Boulevard intersection. She was hit by a truck which never stopped and died from her injuries. Somerville Police had to launch a regional search. Days later, police found the 55-year-old Norwood driver, with help from a Tufts University police officer who spotted the truck parked on University Avenue in Medford. Still damaged, the truck was parked just a mile from the site of the pedestrian hit-and-run.

Tips for Driving Safely Near Pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents are often serious and life-threatening. You have probably heard this before, but drivers really can prevent most pedestrian injuries by slowing down and focusing on the road. Most people drive faster than they realize.  According to AAA, when you adjust your speed from 25 mph to 35 mph, you double your risk for causing a fatal pedestrian accident.

Our safety tips for drivers:

  • Travel the speed limit or lower when appropriate in neighborhoods and areas near stores and restaurants.
  • Travel slowly through parking lots; never cut across parking lots or check cell phones.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Take caution when driving at night.
  • Older drivers should have regular vision exams and monitor their driving.
  • Watch fatigue.
  • Use GPS before you start driving.
  • Do not use your cell phone for any reason. Even hands-free technology can be a distraction, especially during the summer months and for night driving.
  • Never operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Put down drinks and food.
  • Talk to your family. If anyone is ever in an unimaginable situation and has hit a pedestrian or bicyclist, tell them to stop, call police and wait at the scene.
  • Leaving the scene is against the law in Massachusetts. If the driver leaves the scene, the victim may not get the medical care they need to survive. Minutes and seconds matter.

Beyond preventing injury, it’s in your best interest to slow down if you don’t want a ticket. More than 40 Massachusetts communities have now established slower, 25 mph default speed limits. Massachusetts sets a 30 mph default speed limit for communities. But under state Municipal Modernization Law passed in 2016, individual cities and towns can opt into a 25 mph speed limit instead in thickly settled areas and business districts. They can also create 20 mph work safety zones. Communities cannot alter speed limits on state roads.

Next time you enter one of these communities, watch for the speed limit signs as you enter. Boston,  Cambridge and Somerville are among the communities which have adopted the lower 25 mph speed limit. The City of Somerville implemented a 25 mph speed limit citywide as soon as the state law took effect back in 2016. It also pursued 20 mph limits in work safety zones.

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation

Breakstone, White & Gluck is known for our extensive experience handling personal injury cases and our superb results for those injured and their families throughout Massachusetts. We invite you to learn about our results after pedestrian crashes.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys specialize in representing those injured in pedestrian accidents involving crosswalks and other pedestrian car accidents. If you have been injured, it is critical to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation and learn about the process ahead. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading

Used car dealer holding keys to unsafe car in Massachusetts.

A dangerous bill has been filed in Massachusetts seeking to give used car dealers the right to sell used cars with pending recalls. Dealers would just have to provide written disclosure. Safety groups are opposed here and in other states.

The automotive industry has been pushing states to pass legislation allowing car dealers to sell used cars with open safety recalls. The industry wants to just disclose the pending recalls, rather than provide repair. Proposed legislation was the subject of a hearing at the Massachusetts State House this week. Massachusetts is the 11th state where this unsafe and anti-consumer legislation has been introduced over the past five years. Most other states have not passed the measures pushed by car dealers.

MassPIRG represented a coalition of safety organizations before the State House Joint Committee on Monday, speaking out against the bill, SB 179/HB 262, An Act further regulating business practices between motor vehicle dealers, manufacturers, and distributors. The bill was filed by Rep. Daniel J. Hunt and Sen. Marc R. Pacheco.

If approved, this proposal would allow Massachusetts car dealers to sell used cars under recall and simply provide written disclosure about outstanding repairs and defects, according to MassPIRG.

MassPIRG and its coalition strongly oppose this legislation, calling it a “serious threat to the safety of everyone who shares the roads,” and a “dangerous, profoundly anti-consumer, anti-safety, special interest bill.” It further noted there is no other recalled product that can be legally sold. You can read the coalition’s full statement here.

The proposal would weaken some of the most fundamental Massachusetts laws designed to protect consumers. Under the current laws, car dealers must affirmatively warrant that used cars are safe to operate on the roads. Dealers can be held liable for failing to comply with common law duty of care and for engaging in acts which are unfair, deceptive or negligent and result in wrongful death. Consumers have the right to recover financial losses in court or file a civil lawsuit in cases involving personal injury or wrongful death.

The Role of the Automotive Lobbying Groups

The Center for Public Integrity has teamed up with USA Today and The Arizona Republic to cover the lobbying effort by the automotive industry in the wake of the massive auto recalls. There are a number of industry groups, but the media partners report the Automotive Trade Association Executives has drafted “suggested” legislation being provided to many states. The Washington D.C.-based organization represents more than 100 executives from the regional auto dealer associations.

The media partners reported the goal was for the legislation to have two parts: one requiring manufacturers to fairly compensate auto dealers for holding onto used cars which needed repairs. The second part would allow those same auto dealers to sell recalled used cars if they disclosed repairs were needed.

Reporting on the Many Injuries

Over the last decade, drivers have suffered through recall after recall – over 280 million vehicles overall, according to the Consumer Federation of America. While many repairs have been made, the group estimates over 70 million recalled vehicles remain on the road.

As part of their coverage, the media partners have covered the stories of cars being sold multiple times after recalls and the injuries that follow.

The stories include that of Carlos Solis, a 35-year-old Texas father of two killed by a defective airbag in his Honda Accord. Solis was hit by an oncoming car as he waited to make a turn into an apartment complex outside of Houston. While his passenger was left uninjured and the vehicle suffered little exterior damage, Solis was struck in the neck by metal from the airbag. It severed his carotid artery and he died within minutes.

Solis had no warning about the defective airbag. An independent used car dealer sold the car without fixing the airbags or warning him Honda had recalled the vehicle years earlier. His family filed a civil lawsuit. Across the country, other families who lost loved ones did the same. Car dealers took notice.

Tennessee’s “Used Recall” Law

According to the media partners, legislation has been introduced in Massachusetts and 10 other states, including California, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

Tennessee is one state which passed the law with the car dealers’ language intact. What happened there shows the automotive industry is reaching too far, disregarding potential injuries and deaths and harming families already in pain.

In 2014, Lara Gass, 27, died in a car crash caused by a faulty ignition switch in a Saturn Ion. GM had just recalled the safety defect a few weeks earlier. Her parents approached the local state legislator, asking him to introduce “Lara’s Law,” which would have banned the sale of recalled used cars.

The state lawmaker consulted with a local lobbyist from the Tennessee Automotive Association. They edited the language, removing the sales ban. Instead, they added a requirement to disclose the auto recalls to consumers.

The Gass family stopped supporting the bill. The local lawmaker – who had received $56,000 in campaign donations from local dealers – withdrew the bill. But that wasn’t the end of it. The next year, the same lawmaker reintroduced the legislation in the state Senate with the sales ban sought by the Gass family. Another legislator introduced an identical bill in the state House. Since these were identical bills, there would potentially be little to reconcile before committees.

Neither bill moved forward, but the second lawmaker ended up helping the auto dealers add the “disclosure” language to an unrelated law regulating, of all things, rickshaws. There was no sales ban as the Gass family had sought. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signed “The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Law” on May 5, 2017.

“Lawmakers were more influenced by lobbyists than they were by citizens trying to do the right thing,” Jay Gass told the media outlets.

The one exception in the Tennessee law is car dealers cannot sell used recalled cars with special notices, including “do-not-drive recalls” or “stop-sale orders.” But these are very rarely issued.

Federal Legislation May Be Ahead

Hopefully, no other state will have to consider this type of anti-consumer legislation. Last month, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) introduced federal legislation that would ban all sales, leases and loans of used cars with open recall notices. This would be a uniform law protecting car buyers, drivers and road users under one standard in all 50 states.

Boston Product  Liability Lawyers – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Boston personal injury lawyers are experts in handling product liability cases involving defective parts in cars and trucks. We represent clients in all types of product liability cases, including those involving defective construction equipment, fitness equipment, toys and consumer products. Our attorneys provide plaintiff’s representation in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading

Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts lawmakers plan to hold an oversight hearing on how the RMV processes out-of-state license violations.

Many are grieving in the wake of the fatal motorcycle crash in New Hampshire. At the same time, many are asking, “Where was the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles?” State lawmakers say they will now convene an oversight hearing to review the RMV safety lapses.

The Massachusetts RMV failed to suspend Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s CDL license, a move which could have prevented the June 21 crash killing seven motorcyclists in Randolph, New Hampshire. Three other riders were injured. The motorcyclists belonged to the Jarheads MC, a New England club for Marine veterans and their spouses.

But how was Zhukovskyy even driving?

Weeks earlier, Zhukovskyy had been charged with an OUI in the state of Connecticut. The Massachusetts RMV received this information yet took no action, leaving the 23-year-old West Springfield man free to drive using his CDL license, which allows him to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Even though he had a reckless driving history, Zhukovsky received his Class A license – or CDL – in August 2018, WCVB reported.

He had received his Massachusetts personal driving license in April 2013. Soon after, he was picked up for operating under the influence for hitting two vehicles in Westfield, Massachusetts, according to NBC Boston. He lost his Massachusetts driver’s license for 210 days.

Zhukovsky had a history of reckless driving and license suspensions in five states before the New Hampshire crash. In addition to the recent OUI arrest in Connecticut, he had been charged or involved in crashes in Massachusetts, Iowa, Ohio and Texas. He allegedly flipped a tractor-trailer haulting cars in Baytown, Texas just after the Connecticut OUI and just 18 days before the New Hampshire crash. He was not cited in that incident.

Still, Zhukovsky was driving a pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer for his employer, Westfield Transport, in New Hampshire.

Mistakes at the Massachusett RMV

In the days after the truck crash, families mourned the motorcyclists and the Massachusetts registrar of motor vehicles resigned. We learned Zhukovsky wasn’t the only driver who slipped under the radar.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack held a series of news conferences. On July 5, they acknowledged they had launched a review of the out-of-state notifications, finding nearly 900 drivers had been allowed to keep driving in Massachusetts even as they faced serious charges in other states. As a result, state officials suspended approximately 876 drivers.

These were serious offenses, including operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and even vehicular homicide.

According to The Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles had ignored thousands of notifications from other states and it was unclear when this practice began. The Globe reported no one at the RMV had been responsible for tracking paper notifications since at least March 2018. These notifications were found in 53 bins in the RMV’s Quincy headquarters, organized by the month of arrival, but with no action taken.

A state official told the Globe it was unclear why the RMV personnel stopped processing the paper notifications. However, the state had signed up for a voluntary electronic notification system created by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators that same month.

We can expect learn more about the safety lapses and the RMV in coming weeks. According to MassLive.com, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation has announced it will hold an oversight hearing later in July.

Meanwhile, Gov. Baker and Transportation Secretary Pollack say the Department of Transportation has or will:

  • Extend its review of out-of-state license infractions back to 2011. More drivers could face suspensions.
  • Hire an accounting firm, Grant Thornton, to conduct a forensic audit and determine why Zhukovskyy’s license was not revoked. The firm is expected to release a 30-day report, then a final report within 60 days.
  • Create a new deputy registrar position to focus on public safety at the RMV.
  • Gov. Baker said he is drafting legislation to tighten requirements for CDL licenses.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents, truck crashes and motorcycle accidents in Boston, Worcester and across Massachusetts. Learn more about our work and results from our past clients and their families.

If you have been injured, learn your rights for seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244, 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed this past weekend about the civil and criminal cases against actor Kevin Spacey. Breakstone said the accuser’s decision to withdraw the civil lawsuit “with prejudice” is extremely significant.

“This will never be refiled,” Breakstone told The Boston Globe. “This claim is now extinguished for all time.”

The accuser, who is the son of former Boston television anchor Heather Unruh, just filed the civil lawsuit in Nantucket Superior Court on June 26. Breakstone said the withdrawal of the civil lawsuit could mean Spacey has reached a settlement with the accuser. If there is such an agreement, Breakstone said, there will likely be confidentially requirement to keep the details private and out of public view.

Spacey and his legal team are scheduled to return to Nantucket District Court this morning for a hearing in the criminal case. Breakstone said withdrawal of the civil lawsuit could jeopardize the criminal proceedings, but prosecutors interviewed by The Boston Globe insisted the civil case will not affect the criminal proceedings.

Kevin Spacey is a two-time Oscar winner best known for his role on “House of Cards,” a Netflix production. He played the character of Frank Underwood from 2013 through 2017, when he was charged with indecent assault and battery in Nantucket. Netflix kept producing the show, but cut ties with Spacey.

Spacey is accused of indecent assault and battery on Unruh’s son in July 2016 at Nantucket’s Club Car Restaurant.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing those injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

Continue reading

lifebuoy

Tips for swimming safely in Massachusetts pools, lakes and ponds and ocean beaches.

We wish our friends, families and colleagues a wonderful Fourth of July holiday week. Whether you enjoy the fireworks in Boston or travel to Cape Cod, we hope you enjoy a more leisurely pace, some good BBQ and a little time in the water. But before you swim, we urge you to remember the rules of water safety at all times.

Ten people die in unintentional drownings each day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While young children suffer a high number of drowning deaths, swimmers of all ages are at risk during the holiday week and summer months, when we spend more time near the water. This is partly because of our water skills – many of us can’t swim or we overestimate our abilities. According to the American Red Cross, 80 percent of Americans claim they can swim, but just 56 percent can actually perform the five basic water competency skills.

Alcohol consumption also tends to rise during celebrations and gatherings. Alcohol consumption can interfere with one’s ability to interpret their surroundings and respond in any setting, but especially in extreme heat. Near the water, alcohol is particularly potent, factoring into up to 70 percent of deaths associated with water recreation, according to the CDC.

Swimming Pool Safety

Pools should be protected by four-sided fencing which stands at least four feet tall. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching. If you are a parent, avoid visiting homes with inadequate fencing because this is the first and most important line of defense in protecting your child against drowning.

Pools should also have anti-entrapment drain covers and safety release systems to protect children from drain entrapment. Ask pool owners where the drains are before you swim.

Watch children closely. Commit to avoiding distractions such as cell phones, conversation or grilling.

In general, beware of any activity which encourages you to move your gaze up, down or away from the pool. If a child is struggling in the water, they need an immediate response and they cannot call out to you if they are starting to drown.

Never consume alcohol at the pool.

Swim with young children and keep them within arm’s reach.

When using an unfamiliar pool, take a test swim on your own without your child.

Walk into a pool using steps or a ladder, rather than diving.

When you are done swimming, if you have young children, leave the pool area and make sure it’s properly secured.

Water Safety in Lakes and Ponds

If you are swimming, look for a public or private beach staffed by lifeguards.

Adults and children should wear life jackets when in lakes and ponds, on a boat or a dock.

Do not consume alcohol at the lake or pond.

Always swim with a friend or family member.

Closely supervise young children to prevent drownings. At lakes and ponds, there are more elements to consider, including shifting sand and dark water.

Enter the water feet first from a beach or other areas marked as safe entrances.

Only dive in areas which are clearly marked as safe for diving. Jumping in feet first is safer.

Never dive from bridges or boats.

Be responsive to water and weather conditions. Leave the water immediately when there is thunder and lightning.

Pay attention to boats, personal watercraft and other swimmers on the pond which could interfere with your ability to swim safely.

Water Safety at the Ocean

Do not expect your family to be ready for the beach just because they have experience in a swimming pool or even a lake or pond. The ocean is much more challenging and unpredictable.

Choose beaches staffed by lifeguards. In addition to responding to emergencies, lifeguards can share information about water conditions, such as the tide schedule, vegetation, marine animals and fish.

Just like every lake and pond, remember every beach has different conditions.

Swim with young children.

Never swim alone; swim with a buddy.

Learn how to identify a rip tide and how to respond. According to the American Red Cross, swimmers are advised to swim parallel to the shore line until they are free from the rip tide. When swimmers can’t do this, they can attempt to  just float and tread water until they have moved out of the rip tide.

Leave the water immediately if you hear thunder or see lighting. You should also head back to shore if you are traveling in a boat. If you can’t return to shore, lie in the bottom of the boat or shelter in the cabin if you can.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck are committed to providing clients with aggressive and thorough representation. We represent clients in all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites, swimming pool injuries and premises liability cases. For a free legal consultation, contact us today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading

It was painful to learn of the New Hampshire truck crash which killed seven motorcyclists and injured three others last weekend. That one crash could injure so many is heart-breaking and we send our deepest condolences to the families. 

The horrific accident happened Friday night in the community of Randolph, New Hampshire. The motorcyclists belonged to the Jarheads MC, a motorcycle club for Marine Corps veterans and close friends, according to The Boston Globe. The group was reportedly traveling to their annual meeting eastbound on Route 2 when they were struck by the truck traveling west. Reports said the truck crossed the double yellow line.

By Monday, the driver – a 23-year-old Springfield, Mass. man – had been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide in the case. Massachusetts State Police took Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy into custody at his home. He was then taken to Springfield District Court, where he waived extradition to New Hampshire.

New Hampshire authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, but there are questions about whether Zhukovskyy should have been driving at all following his arrests on OUI charges last month and back in 2013, according to news reports. Meanwhile, his employer, Springfield-based Westport Transport is said to be cooperating with police.

While this type of collision causing so many injuries is rare, motorcycle crashes are not, especially during the summer in New England. Per mile, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, Massachusetts authorities report they have responded to four fatal motorcycle crashes between Saturday night and Monday morning.

Some of the crashes involved a single motorcyclist. This was the case in New Bedford, Belchertown and Andover. But in Westport, a preliminary investigation shows the motorcyclist was traveling westbound on Route 177 when there was a collision with a Ford Ranger turning onto Tickle Road. The driver of the Ford Ranger stayed on the scene and was said to be cooperating with police.

In addition to local authorities, motorcycle accidents should be investigated by an experienced motorcycle crash attorney. In some cases, another driver may not appear to be involved. But drivers who speed, stop short, pass a motorcycle illegally or fail to check their blindspot cause motorcyclists to crash all the time. These are known as no-contact crashes.

When trucks hit motorcyclists, injuries can be more severe as we saw in New Hampshire. Truck companies have a responsibility to train drivers how to operate near motorcyclists. Truck drivers must also take care to properly load vehicles, especially if they are carrying equipment and materials on open open trailers.

 At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we urge drivers to observe the following:

  • Motorcyclists have the right to operate on the same roads as drivers and must follow the same traffic laws and signals.
  • Provide motorcyclists room. Travel several car lengths behind motorcyclists. 
  • Motorcyclists are permitted to ride two abreast in a lane in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. (Source: The Massachusetts Motorcycle Manual and AmericanMotorcyclist.com). 
  • Motorcyclist are not permitted to travel between traffic lanes (or split lanes).
  • Accidents can happen when drivers fail to look before they turn. In fact, this was the cause of 44 percent of all motorcycle crashes in 2013, according to esurance.com.
  • Attempt to make eye contact with motorcyclists at intersections. Many motorcyclists do not have self-canceling turn signals like car and you cannot trust a motorcyclist will turn until you see it.
  • Check your mirrors and blindspots often.
  • Some drivers have trouble driving in the rain. Expect the same from motorcyclists. Be patient and give them more room.
  • Do not speed through traffic lights or make quick unexpected movements at traffic lights and intersections.
  • Do not speed on any roads.
  • Do not overload trucks and trailers. Secure equipment and materials behind a closed door or under secure ratchet straps, bungee tarp straps or other appropriate equipment.
  • Do not attempt to pass motorcyclists unless you must. While you are allowed to do so in Massachusetts, the motorcyclist may not be expecting the move and surprises can lead to accidents and falls.
  • Never drive when you are tired; do not drive when you are normally sleeping or getting ready for bed.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Remove all distractions from your car, including cell phones. Hold heavy conversation and limit snacks and drinks.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Safety Tips

If you are a motorcyclist, please read our past blog, “Massachusetts Motorcycle Safety Tips.” The article can be a resource if you are just starting to ride, looking to become licensed or have questions about your Massachusetts auto insurance policy.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing those injured in motorcycle accidents caused by the negligence of other drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading

BBQ grill fire in Massachusetts backyard.

The first rule of grill safety: never leave your BBQ unattended.

As we approach the Fourth of July, many of us have grilling on our minds, and all the delights of summer BBQs. If you plan to grill, we hope you enjoy, but please remember to follow the rules of safety at all times.

This is the time to plan, because as we enjoy friends and family, July is the peak month for grill fires, the weeks when nearly 20 percent of all grill fires across the U.S. happen, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). August is another high risk month, accounting for 12 percent of grill fires.

Though these fires are devastating and life-changing events, they don’t always make the news. But according to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s office, there were 474 fires involving grills, hibachis and barbecues between 2014 and 2018. Nineteen civilians were injured and seven firefighters were hurt in the wreckage. Property damage totaled $3.8 million in losses.

Across the 50 states, firefighters responded to 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis and barbecues each year from 2013 to 2017. Ten civilians were killed and 160 were injured. Property damage resulted in $123 million in losses.

Grilling Safety Tips

Compiled From the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office and Other Sources

Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors.

Never leave your grill unattended.

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Grills should be set up at least 10 feet away from the house or deck railings.

Gas grills can be used on first-floor decks and patios, but they must be located on the ground level or have an outdoor stairway leading to the ground.

Grills should never be set up under a roof overhang or low-hanging tree branches.

Grills should not be used on fire escapes.

Take additional precautions around children. Keep matches and lighters out of their reach. Create a circle of safety, keeping children and pets at least three feet away (more space is better).

Do your grilling at least three feet away from tables and furniture. Fold grill covers and remove them from the cooking area.

Safe Handling of Propane Tanks

Never smoke while handling or cooking with a propane cylinder.

Keep propane tanks outdoors at all times, at least 10 feet distance from doors and other building openings. This includes windows and dryer vents.

Keep propane tanks at least 20 feet from air intake vents and ignition sources.

Propane cylinders should be stored outdoors in shady areas. Cylinders should not be used or kept in high temperatures.

Replace propane cylinders that are aging, rusting or showing other wear and tear.

Charcoal Grills

As with other grills, only use charcoal grills outdoors.

When using charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never use gasoline or kerosene.

Never add lighter fluid to hot coals. This can cause a flash fire, causing serious skin burns.

Use charcoal grills in open outdoor decks and patios, just as you would gas grills. Be aware that charcoal briquettes emit carbon monoxide, a clear, odor-free gas which can accumulate in spaces and be deadly. Charcoal grills should never be placed in close quarters near an open window.

Allow the grill to cool. After 48 hours pass, you can safely dispose of coals.

If you cannot wait 48 hours, soak the coals in water, then place them in a metal container.

Maintaining Grills

Review the product manual and instructions that come with your grill.

Start by opening your grill to see if there is any animal activity or unexpected conditions.

Next, check that your propane tank is safe for use. Dab soapy water on your propane tank and turn it on for a moment. If there is bubbling, you may have a potential leak. This should be done carefully. Before you try, watch a National Fire Protection Association video.

Check that connections are tight before you turn the gas on.

Clean the grease trap every time you grill.

Rooftop Grilling

Rooftop grilling is against the law in Massachusetts. When someone tries to grill on a rooftop, the damage can be deadly and exponential. Some may still remember the 2010 gas grill fire explosion that exploded and lit up the sky over Charlestown. Starting the fire was an illegal propane tank which exploded on a residential building’s rooftop. Soon after, three other illegal gas tanks burst nearby, igniting a 4-alarm blaze which move through several buildings.

Firefighters – 125 in all – battled the fire on a 100-degree Boston day. Nine firefighters and two civilians were treated for heat exhaustion injuries.

Maintain Safe Decks and Porches

Grill fires can happen when someone makes a mistake while cooking, when a child gets too close to the grill or if the grill has a product defect. Landlords may be held responsible in certain grill fires if they keep a defective grill or fail to meet building codes and illegally close off access ways. In Massachusetts, most residential properties are also required to have working smoke alarms on each floor of floor, including inside bedrooms and other areas. They must also have working carbon monoxide detectors. 

You cannot always prevent negligence in these situations. But you may be able to minimize many injuries by providing yourself a little more room to work and taking it slow. Keep the grill area and walkways leading there open and clear. When you take grill covers off, set them in safe areas away from the grill. Finally, tell everyone in your home you are grilling and ask another adult to watch children.

Sources for this blog include:
Grilling Safety, Mass.gov
Getting Fired Up for Grilling Safety, Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office
National Fire Protection Association

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm with expertise in premises liability and product liability cases. With more than 100 years combined experience, our attorneys have been recognized as top-rated personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, we also work to bring safety information to individuals and families to help them make safe choices.

If you have been seriously injured by the negligence of someone else, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Continue reading