High school students on bikes

Students from Career Academy in Lowell riding new bikes and wearing new helmets.

Though snow fell this week, students from Career Academy in Lowell still managed to make the most of school vacation, fitting in a bike ride to Heart Pond in Chelmsford. This was a special ride because students were pedaling new bikes – and wearing new helmets. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate the helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign.

The idea for the bike ride began with Bernice Chandler-Petrovick, who teaches biology. Some of her students needed bikes to get to school and travel more independently. She began teaching students about bicycle safety while also setting out on another goal: finding bikes for her students.

Boston is in the middle of a mighty building boom, with no sign of a slowdown ahead. As new condos, college dorms and office buildings go up, the companies making a financial profit must protect construction workers.

Workers are not always protected. As ribbons are cut on new buildings, the number of workers killed on the job stands at a 10-year high in Massachusetts, according to MassCOSH. During the past month, construction accidents have injured two workers and killed one in the Boston area.

A 56-year-old Seekonk man was found dead last week at the Wynn Boston Harbor resort in Everett. According to WBZ, the worker was in the cab of an excavator, taking apart a trench box when he was struck. The cause of the impact was not reported and the accident remains under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The man worked for J. Derenzo Companies of Brockton. The company is a subcontractor of Suffolk Construction of Boston, which is building the casino.

The Boston Globe reported that OSHA has conducted previous inspections at the Wynn construction site. One involved an employee who was hit by an excavator bucket. Another worker was injured when he fell down a shaft. A third employee was injured by a scissor lift.

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone helped deliver new bicycle helmets to Arlington fifth graders this week. He asked them to make a promise: to ride safely and always wear their helmets when riding to prevent head injuries.

“Now I’m not here to scare you. I’m here to inspire you, okay? … I want you all to be safe bicyclists,” Breakstone said.

Kidde Smoke Alarm Recall 2018

Kidde recalled nearly a half million smoke alarms which may have a dangerous yellow cap left inside. (Recall date: March 21, 2018; Photo: CPSC website)

Please check your smoke alarms when you get home. Kidde has recalled nearly half a million smoke alarms, urging consumers to check devices for yellow caps potentially left on during the manufacturing process. According to the company’s recall notice, the cap would be on one of two sensors inside the smoke detector, compromising the device. Consumers have to do this inspection carefully. You will be looking for the yellow cap through the opening on the side of the device, as shown in the photo. Be careful not to open the smoke alarm or take it apart.

Because Kidde is one of the largest manufacturers, every consumer should check their smoke alarm.  If you have a Kidde device, you will need to take it off the wall or ceiling to check the date code on the back. The recalled smoke alarms were dated September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017. They were sold through January 2018 at Home Depot, Walmart and other retailers. They were manufactured in China, by Fyrnetics Limited, of Hong Kong.

Attorney Reza Breakstone of Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston.

Attorney Reza Breakstone of Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston.

A self-driving Uber vehicle has been involved in a fatal pedestrian crash in Arizona. Attorney Reza Breakstone’s article explores liability when self-driving cars crash: https://tinyurl.com/y8qrfs69.

Attorney David W. White of Boston

Attorney David W. White specializes in personal injury and product liability cases at Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston.

Ford drivers are gripping the steering wheel anxiously after the automaker’s stunning safety recall this week. 1.4 million Ford vehicles have been recalled because the bolts on the steering wheels can become loose. Ford will repair the vehicles, but not until the end of April at least.

“This recall is very upsetting,” said Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck. “Nothing is more basic to a car than a steering wheel. Automakers have a responsibility to fully test vehicles and all equipment before bringing them to market. They continue to fail drivers.”

This recall affects 2014-2018 models of the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. According to Consumer Reports, Ford’s customer-service phone number is 866-436-7332 and Lincoln’s customer service phone number is 800-521-4140.

Ford has said it will replace the steering wheel bolt and install a larger nylon patch to maintain pressure. A company spokeswoman said consumers will be notified by mail the week of April 30th.

In announcing the recall, Ford said it was aware of two car accidents related to the defective steering wheels, one involving injury. This is not the full story though. After reviewing federal records, USA Today reported the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received more than 45 reports of the steering wheels becoming loose or falling off, some resulting in car crashes.

One driver said the steering wheel on his 2014 Ford Fusion became unstable and he drifted into a manhole, destroying his vehicle. Others said they had the frightening experience of having steering wheels come loose as they drove down the highway. One driver said all he did was bump the steering wheel with his knee and it came off.

Once a manufacturer determines there is a safety defect, it has 5 days to notify the NHTSA. Automakers are then responsible for recalling defective motor vehicles or equipment.

Americans may associate Toyota, General Motors and Takata with most auto recalls. Yet Ford has made its own headlines for safety defects. Last year, it recalled 1.3 million F-150 Super Duty pick-up trucks with faulty door latches last year. Consumers reported the doors were swinging open while the vehicles were in operation. It also issued smaller recalls fixing more door latches and to stop cars from overheating. The company had received 29 reports of engines overheating and catching fire in some vehicles with 1.6-liter GTDI engines.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers have investigated serious car and truck crashes caused in part by defective parts. We have over 100 years combined experience representing individuals injured by car crashes, truck accidents and other traffic collisions in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. Many of our car accident and other personal injury cases involve product liability claims and investigation into dangerous and defective products.

Highlighted Cases
$3 Million Settlement in Tractor-Trailer Crash
Breakstone, White & Gluck negotiated a $3 million settlement for our client, who was hit by a tractor-trailer truck owned and operated by a beverage distributor. Read more about the case and the investigation of the truck.
$1.15 Million Settlement in Defective Fitness Equipment Injury
Breakstone, White & Gluck negotiated a $1.15 million settlement for our client who was seriously injured while using defective fitness equipment at a local gym. The trainer who was supervising our client was also negligent in a number of ways. Read more.

Contact Breakstone, White & Gluck
If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our Boston personal injury lawyers at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Woman talking on cell phone in car

Americans are checking their cell phones every 12 minutes, according to new research. This means more distraction, including in the car.

As we wait out this snowstorm, you may be checking your smart phone more than usual. This is understandable. But how often do you check on an average weekday? One report shows Americans are checking their smart phones every 12 minutes or 80 times a day. And between Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, we all know someone who may check even more often.

Use your smart phones as often as you want – except in the car. Please consider these thoughts as you wait out the snow:

20180305-seatbelt-1200There is nothing more important than protecting your family and other passengers in the car. Many of us drive less often in the winter in Massachusetts. But in a few weeks, families will be back in the car more for afterschool sports, activities and weekend trips.

Take a few minutes now to inspect your vehicle’s seat belts and child passenger safety seats. Make sure this equipment is working and properly adjusted to fit each child. Replace car seats if your children have outgrown them. Then talk to your family about the importance of always wearing a seat belt.

Dangers on the Road for Children

mother fits daughter's bike helmetBoston saw 70 degrees in February last week. Naturally, many of us are now ready for Spring. If you are a cyclist or have a child who rides, now is the time to get ready for a safe cycling season.

The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have long represented cyclists who have been injured by negligent drivers in Massachusetts. We are committed to preventing these bicycle accidents and reducing injuries. In a few weeks, we will begin the 6th year of our Project KidSafe campaign, donating bicycle helmets to children in Boston and other communities. Bike helmets are critical to preventing concussions and traumatic brain injuries. And they are most effective when cyclists start wearing them at an early age with positive reinforcement from parents and other family members.

We will share more on our campaign soon. For now, we have a few bike safety tips from our attorneys and the League of American Bicyclists to help you get ready for a safe cycling season.