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 be little to reconcile before committees.

Neither bill moved forward, but the second lawmaker ended up helping the auto dealers add the language to an unrelated law regulating, of all things, rickshaws. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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People looking at wood tick embedded in human skin
Usually we post blog entries about preventing accidents and safety issues. But here is something that is a serious matter of public health, and we want you to protect yourself!

The incidence of tick-borne illnesses is rising sharply in Massachusetts, in New England, and throughout the country. If not diagnosed and treated promptly, infections can lead to disabling injuries, brain damage, organ failure, and even death. Prompt diagnosis is key, but even more important: Avoiding tick bites.

Understanding tick behavior is the first line of defense. Ticks are active throughout the warm weather months, but even a warm day in February can bring them out. They are most likely to transmit disease in the spring and early summer when they are in their nymph stage (when they are young and smaller). Ticks lurk in leaf litter, tall grass, and on shrubbery, just waiting to hitch a ride on your skin and clothing. Then they wander around until they find a place to bite. They will attach themselves and suck your blood until they are fully engorged. And if they are carrying one of the many bacteria that can make you ill, it will be transmitted during this time.

Derailed MBTA green line trolley in Newton, Massachusetts 2008

The MBTA saw 43 train derailments over five years, many Green Line trolley derailments. (File photo: bwglaw.com)

Two MBTA subway derailments have injured over a dozen and shaken hundreds of Boston commuters over the past week. At least 12 of the injured passengers were transported to local hospitals. You are not alone if you are watching and wondering if Boston’s subways are safe for use.

According to news reports, the first derailment happened over the weekend (June 9, 2019), when a Green Line trolley derailed in a tunnel near Kenmore Square. This accident happened about 11 a.m. Police and firefighters aided 150 passengers off the derailed trolley and out of the dark tunnel. Another 500 startled passengers were evacuated from other trolleys along the Green Line. Eleven people were injured, with 10 people sent to local hospitals. The Green Line trolley operator was among those injured.

Soon after, The Boston Globe reported the train derailment was not due to aging infrastructure or equipment, but was “operator-related.” The MBTA suspended the 62-year-old operator pending the outcome of the investigation.

WHDH reported the operator had three years of experience operating trains. Meanwhile, The Boston Globe reported the train derailed after the outbound D Line train left Kenmore Square. The trolley operator approached a signal marking where the D and C lines split (near Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue). He kept traveling over a switch that was in the process of switching between the lines.

Then Tuesday morning (June 11, 2019), a Red Line train derailed near the UMass Boston campus and the John F. Kennedy presidential library. About 60 passengers were evacuated. Despite the terrifying scene, just two people were treated for injuries. One was treated for a hand injury at the scene. Another person initially left the crash scene, then returned, asking to be transported to a hospital for neck pain.

Crews were still working to repair the Red Line damage Wednesday, leaving hundreds of commuters without their usual way into Boston. The Red Line provides services through Quincy, downtown Boston and Cambridge. The line ends at Alewife station.

The 39-year-old operator has been taken off duty pending the outcome of the investigation, according to WHDH.

According to MBTA ridership figures, the red line carried 272,000 people daily in 2013. This makes it the busiest subway line. The Green Line was second, with 227,000 passengers. The Green Line and the Mattapan Line are the only light-rail trolley systems.

Unfortunately, MBTA train derailments are more common than the public may realize. The Boston Globe reports MBTA trains have derailed 43 times over the past five years. This is the second-worst safety record in the U.S.

Train derailments must be thoroughly investigated by an experienced lawyer. Causes can include operator error, cell phone use, texting or speeding. Aging infrastructure and equipment failure are other potential causes.

If You Were Injured in a MBTA Train Derailment

If you were injured, it is in your best interest to receive a medical evaluation from a hospital or your physician. Then consult an experienced MBTA accident lawyer and learn your legal rights.

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck is experienced in representing individuals who have been injured by the MBTA. Our attorneys have investigated and represented clients injured by Green Line trolley collisions, MBTA bus crashes and other accidents. We have also represented families who have lost loved ones in MBTA accidents.

For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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quincypolice-merrymount-2019-400-3Quincy Police officers visited Merrymount School last week, speaking to children about bicycle safety in the city, and making the critical commitment to wear a bicycle helmet every time they ride. Quincy police officers talked to students at all grade levels, then gave away 100 bicycle helmets donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign.

We are pleased to make this donation just in time for summer. This is the third year Breakstone, White & Gluck has partnered with the Quincy Police Department to encourage children and families to wear bicycle helmets to protect against head injuries. Breakstone, White & Gluck founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of helping children ride safely. Our attorneys have since given away more than 25,000 bicycle helmets to help children in the Boston area and across Massachusetts.

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Photos are courtesy of the Quincy Police Department.