Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper

Fisher-Price recalled its Rock ‘n Play sleeper in April.

Last April, Fisher-Price made its jarring announcement: 10 babies had died in its sleepers after rolling from their backs to their stomachs. Fisher-Price urged parents to take children out of the sleepers once they reach 3 months old or begin turning themselves over.

This advisory didn’t stand. Soon thereafter, Consumer Reports published the results of its own investigation, which identified 32 infant deaths. Within the week, Fisher-Price and Mattel, its parent company, had recalled 4.7 million unsafe sleepers.

Now six months later, The Washington Post reports that 59 babies have died in Rock ‘n Play sleepers. At least two other companies, Kids II and Dorel Juvenile Group USA, have recalled their infant sleeper products. At the time of the recall, 5 infants had died on the Kids II sleepers.

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a new safety standard for infant sleep products. This would limit the seat back angle for sleep to 10 degrees or less.  

Why Was the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play So Dangerous?

Fisher-Price introduced the Rock ‘n Play in 2009, inventing the category of inclined sleepers, which allowed babies to sleep at a 30 degree angle. From the start, this design completely disregarded the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe-sleep guidelines, which recommend babies sleep on their backs in an empty crib or bassinet to avoid accidental suffocation. 

One problem was Fisher-Price didn’t do thorough safety testing or consulting with medical experts. But you can’t overlook the fact that Fisher-Price has been a giant in children’s products and how that influenced the discussion. As one pediatrician told The Washington Post, “This is not something I’d recommend using. But parents see that it’s from Fisher-Price and think, ‘They wouldn’t be able to sell anything that isn’t safe.’ ”

New Research Findings

The CPSC asked an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery who specializes in infant biomechanics to lead a study on inclined sleep products. The professor is based at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She and her team found evidence that babies age 2-6 months on average who were placed in inclined sleep products were at a higher risk of suffocation, when compared to a flat crib mattress.

  • Her team concluded that none of the inclined sleep products tested were safe for infant use.
  • The university team suggested the angle of the incline be no more than 10 degrees. The lying surface should be flat and rigid, not soft or plush-like.
  • The team reported that babies who were placed on their stomach in their sleepers or who rolled over had to exert as much as 200 percent more core strength than those on a flat crib mattress. 
  • Finally, the university team reviewed police reports and interviews from 91 cases of infant suffocation. In many cases, the caretaker reported they had never seen the infant roll over before.

This was a recurring point in the team’s findings. Many of the children were rolling over for the first time when they were found.

Here is additional information for further reading:

UAMAS Research into Baby Biomecanics Shows Issues with Infant Inclined Sleepers, University of Arkansas

After Infant Deaths, Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is Recalled, Massachusetts Injury Lawyer Blog

More Infant Sleep Products Linked to Deaths, Consumer Reports

Consumer Product Safety Commission: No More Inclined Sleepers, Chicago Sun Times

Free Consultation – Boston Product Liability Lawyers

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in plaintiff representation in product liability cases. We represent clients throughout Massachusetts, from Boston to Cambridge to Plymouth, Brockton and Cape Cod to the North Shore.

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

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When properly used, child passenger safety seats can reduce the risk of fatal accidents by 71 percent for infants and by 54 for toddlers, according to the NHTSA.

Buying a car seat takes careful research. But most parents agree: the real hardship comes after you try to buckle your child up safely. While car seats are essential, they are anything but easy to use. And if you use them incorrectly, your child is left without proper protection.

All 50 states have laws requiring car seats for children. In Massachusetts, parents must secure their children in a federally-approved seat until they reach age 8 or over 57 inches tall. This is critical because car accidents are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For every 32 seconds in 2017, a child under 13 was involved in a passenger vehicle crash.

We are writing about car seats because the NHTSA and other organizations recently observed Child Passenger Safety Week nationwide from Sept. 15 to Sept. 21. If you missed it, we are sharing a few resources and tips. If you are a parent, don’t lose hope. There are a lot of resources out there. The best place to start is with your local police department. Many police departments offer free car seat inspections year-round by appointment.

Selecting a Safe Car Seat

The NHTSA offers a free online resource to help parents select the right car seat. Parents should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on age, weight and height recommendations for selecting car seats. NHTSA Find & Compare Car Seats

Types of Car Seats

Rear-facing seats. The NHTSA encourages children to use rear-facing seats up until age 3 or they reach the top of the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements. Always check your product manual for this information.

For the first 8 or 9 months, children should ride in rear-facing infant seats. The NHTSA then advises a move to a convertible or all-in-one seat, and that parents keep children rear-facing as long as they can.

As we said, it’s important to read your product manual and the manufacturer’s instructions. In past years, the recommendation was to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until age 2. But new research has led to a new recommendation. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced children can remain in rear-facing seats until they reach 40 pounds or more. While every child is different, this often comes after a child’s second birthday.

Forward-facing seats. Next, children will move into a harness and tether seat. This type of seat limits their forward movement if the car crashes. There are three types of forward-facing seats: convertible, combination and all-in-one.

Booster seats. These give children a boost so they can sit taller and safely use seat belts.

Without booster seats, seat belts can seriously injure children, causing abdominal bruising and injuries. Compared to seat belt use alone, booster seats are shown to reduce the risk for injury by 45 percent in children ages 4 to 8, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As with the other car seats, there are several types of booster seats: booster seats with high backs, backless booster seats, combination seats and all-in-on-seats.

In 2008, Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law, adding the booster seat requirement until children reach age 8 or 57 inches tall. At that point, children can move to regular seat belts in the back seat.

Making this transition earlier can leave your child without proper protection and vulnerable to injury. Unfortunately, parents are making this mistake. About 26 percent of children were moved to seat belts too early, according to the NHTSA.

Car Seat Registration and Expiration

Make sure to register your car seat with the manufacturer so the company can contact you if there is a recall. Car seats are frequently recalled and these can be widespread recalls, including mislabeling or defective parts. In 2014, Graco recalled 3.7 million car seats due to defective buckles, disrupting families across the country.

Remember, car seats have expiration dates. Look for the sticker at the bottom. The expiration date should be about six years from the manufacture date.

Never use a car seat beyond the expiration date. While the seat may appear to be in good condition, the plastic and other parts wear from daily use and exposure to sun, making the product less effective in protecting your child.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Attorneys

Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 100 years combined experience representing those who have been injured and killed by the negligence and wrongdoing of others, including by car accidents. In 2013, we launched our Project KidSafe campaign to offer education and safety resources for children and families in Massachusetts. Learn more about Our Attorneys and our Project KidSafe campaign.

If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, learn your legal rights from one of our attorneys. For a free legal consultation, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Pedestrian crashespedestrian-1200 have made devastating headlines in Boston and Somerville this past week. In Boston, a van struck two pedestrians at a feared intersection last Wednesday (Sept. 11th). One victim, a young woman, later died from her injuries. The next day in Somerville, a garbage truck critically injured a woman on the McGrath Highway.

As the investigations begin, many are questioning the traffic signals. In Boston, city officials responded quickly, with Mayor Marty Walsh already announcing changes at Melcher and Summer streets. This intersection is located in the Fort Point neighborhood near the Seaport District and South Boston.

Going forward, pedestrians will have a full right of way at the intersection.

According to WHDH, the traffic signal had been giving pedestrians the light to start crossing Summer Street. Then, drivers on Melcher Street were given the green light to turn while pedestrians were still crossing. Signage warned drivers to yield to pedestrians, but residents and businesses said this wasn’t enough. They worried about their safety and complained to city officials.

Boston Police are investigating. No criminal charges have been filed against the driver of the van.

The next day in Somerville (Sept. 14th), a woman was hit by a garbage truck and transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. The 34-year-old was hit on the McGrath Highway, at the intersection of Somerville Avenue. According to NBC Boston, the woman had been attempting to cross the street around 1:45 p.m., using the marked crosswalk. The garbage truck struck her as it turned.

As in Boston, State Police are investigating. No criminal charges have been filed against the driver.

As we wait to hear more, the Somerville News Weekly is reporting the traffic signal may have been re-synchronized the day after the truck crash. The report questions whether the driver and pedestrian had overlapping traffic signals, as was the case in Boston.

Somerville saw a new traffic pattern introduced earlier this year around the intersection, according to the news weekly. Traffic accidents have followed.

Both Somerville and Boston have seen pedestrian accidents resulting in serious injury and death this year. In Somerville, drivers have hit residents, then kept traveling.

In February, a 40-year-old educator was killed in the crosswalk at Hardan Road and Powderhouse Boulevard. The alleged driver, a Norwood man, never stopped and even went out for dinner later that evening. Days later, the police search came to an end when the man’s truck was found the vehicle parked in Somerville.

Another pedestrian was killed in July. The 52-year-old woman was struck along Mystic Avenue, near McGrath Highway and Stop & Shop. This time, the 64-year-old driver from Roxbury turned himself into Somerville Police the next day. The Boston Globe also raised questions about this traffic signal in its reporting, observing pedestrians had just 12 seconds to cross the busy area.

In late August, a 69-year-old man was seriously injured in the early morning hours on Mystic Avenue and Shore Drive. Another driver found him and stopped to help, according to WCVB. As in the other Somerville crashes, neighbors were stunned that the driver fled the scene.

In Boston, several pedestrians were injured by cars this summer. One area of concern has been Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. On June 23rd, a car collided with a pedestrian during the morning commute there. She died shortly later. In July, a Boston Public Health Commission hit a pedestrian in the same area, this time causing minor injuries.

Boston Pedestrian Car Crash Lawyers – Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing those injured by car accidents and pedestrian accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free consultation with our attorneys, contact 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston was recently mentioned in a Dedham Times article about the Dedham Bike Rodeo in August. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign participated for the seventh year and donated more than 100 helmets to the kids. Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to helping children ride safely on bikes and protect against head injuries. Founded in 1992, our firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice cases across Massachusetts.

Article courtesy of The Dedham Times. Click link for full 2-page article.

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Red light crashes

Drivers who run red lights are causing a record number of deaths in Massachusetts and across the U.S., according to a new study.

While red means stop, we have all seen cars speed on, especially if you live in Boston. Our attorneys have represented countless clients who have been seriously injured or killed by another driver’s recklessness at intersections. Now, a new study reports running a red light is causing a record number of traffic fatalities across the United States. From AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • Red light running crashes have reached a 10-year high in the U.S.
  • 939 people were killed when drivers sped through red lights in 2017, a 28 percent increase over 2012.
  • More than a quarter of all intersection accidents happen because drivers run red lights.
  • Nearly half of those injured in red light crashes were passengers or occupants of other vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for more than 5 percent of fatalities.
  • Over 35 percent of traffic deaths were red light running drivers themselves.
  • 85 percent of drivers consider it very dangerous to run a red light, yet one in three reported speeding through one in the past 30 days, according to AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index.
  • On the same note, nearly half (more than 2 out of 5 drivers) found it unlikely that they would ever be stopped by law enforcement.
  • Despite these responses, running a red light can have serious consequences, resulting in a possible insurance surcharge or criminal charges.

AAA officials count Americans driving more and distracted driving as two causes. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration reports more than 50 percent of fatal and injury crashes in the U.S. happen at or near an intersection.

Massachusetts Red Light Accidents

Red light crashes are a danger at Massachusetts intersections. From 2008 to 2017, Massachusetts lost 43 people when drivers ran red lights, according to Wicked Local. These deaths are just the drivers who were caught and are in addition to other injuries.

Safety Recommendations: Roundabouts and Traffic Cameras

AAA officials say roundabouts and traffic cameras could reduce the number of crashes. Massachusetts is actively working to convert rotaries into roundabouts, which are considered safer because they force drivers into the correct lanes. However, with more than 100 rotaries across Massachusetts, change will take time.

There is long-standing opposition to traffic cameras at Massachusetts intersections, even as AAA says traffic cameras have reduced fatal red light running crashes by 21 percent in large cities. Overall, traffic cameras have contributed to a 14 percent reduction in all fatal crashes at signalized intersections.

Unlike some states, Massachusetts does not have a state law permitting use on local intersections. While MassDOT operates traffic cameras along the MassPike, there is a battle over local intersections.

More than a decade ago, several Massachusetts communities attempted to pass ordinances allowing for red light cameras, among them Saugus, Lawrence and Springfield. South of Boston, Brockton also approved a local traffic camera ordinance. Traffic cameras were never installed. Citing privacy concerns, state lawmakers declined to pass the legislation necessary for these local ordinances to stand. Now years later, there are state lawmakers interested in similar legislation, so we may be revisiting the debate at some point. Here is one lawmaker’s blog.

Across state lines, you may find traffic cameras at red lights in Rhode Island, along with 19 other states. Rhode Island, however, does not have a state authorizing the use of speed cameras (Source: Governors Highway Safety Association).

AAA only recommends traffic cameras at intersections with demonstrated patterns of red light violations or high crash rates. Cameras should be part of broader traffic safety programs and drivers should be notified through signage and other methods.

Reducing Red Light Accidents in Massachusetts
Drivers have a responsibility to operate with care and pass other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at a safe distance in Boston and every other community in Massachusetts.

The Boston area commute is stressful. Leaving your home a few minutes earlier was once an effective way to beat the traffic. Unfortunately, as traffic congestion has grown, you now have to leave even earlier in many Massachusetts communities and that isn’t always enough to beat the 2-3 hour commutes. But even in these conditions, practicing patience and putting down your cell phone are paramount to preventing red light crashes and distracted driving accidents causing injury or death. Always watch for pedestrians and cyclists, maintaining a safe distance at all times and taking extra care when approaching crosswalks and bike lanes. Remember you may not be able to see a pedestrian until that moment they step onto the road.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has been recognized for our superior results for clients. Founded in 1992, our law firm specializes in representing those who have been injured due to the negligence and wrongdoing of others. We specialize in handling cases involving car accidents and truck crashes in Boston, Cambridge, the South Shore, the North Shore and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured, learn your rights. Contact our firm for a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Delivery man with online purchase

Check your package to make sure it’s safe and contains what you ordered. That’s one of several warnings about product safety as students head back to school in Massachusetts.

Parents, as school begins, there are good reasons to double check your child’s backpack, daycare program and dorm room, as well as online purchases. There have been several recent recalls and news reports about unsafe products, providing warnings for children of all ages.

Dangerous Products on Amazon. It’s convenient to place a quick order on Amazon and see the package arrive in no time. But a Wall Street Journal investigation has found the retailer is actually selling thousands of unsafe products. These products have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators. The Journal’s investigation documented 4,152 dangerous products, including toys and medications, according to news reports.

Amazon draws the majority of its business from third-party merchant sales and the report questions Amazon’s oversight of these sellers. Meanwhile, the company has reportedly removed some of the products and said it is committed to consumer safety, investing over $400 million toward these efforts in 2018.

Always do your research when making online purchases and open packages as soon as they arrive. Check that the packaging matches what appears online. Parents should carefully inspect the age recommendations and take inventory of unexpected pieces and parts that could cause choking and other injuries.

Contigo Water Bottles. Contigo has recalled 5.7 million of its Contigo Kids Cleanable Water Bottles, saying they can detach and pose a choking hazard. The Chicago-based company has received 149 complaints, including 18 reports of children found with the detached spout in their mouths. Contigo will provide a free replacement lid for the products. Read more.

Infant Sleepers. Fisher-Price issued a product recall for the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers back in April. But the unsettling news is some of the recalled cribs are still in use. In a survey of 376 daycare centers, one in four were still using at least one of Fisher-Price’s recalled sleepers, according to USA Today. This report just came out in the last few days.

Parents please read this article and talk to your child’s daycare provider. Fisher-Price recalled the sleepers following 10 deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is now aware of more than 30 infant deaths.

Battery-Operated Skateboards. We want to mention a news headline out of Ohio because while it’s several states away, it provides an important warning for Massachusetts parents of college students. On Tuesday, a battery-operated skateboard sparked a 5th floor dormitory fire at the University of Cincinnati, causing a reported $20,000 in damage to Calhoun Hall, a 12-story structure housing hundreds of students. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. Officials have not identified the product which caused the fire, but the incident is a reminder that dangerous products can have a far more devastating effect in college housing. Read and follow the college’s guidelines on products which are not permitted.

Stay Informed About Product Recalls
Because there is nothing more critical than your child’s safety and well-being, we urge you to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to learn about other recent recalls. To stay informed, you can sign up for regular email alerts about product recalls or visit the CPSC website periodically.

Contact a Boston Product Liability Attorney
Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented those injured by defective products in Massachusetts for more than 25 years. We periodically share information on product recalls and unsafe products to help prevent injuries before they happen.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, seek immediate medical attention. Preserve the product and contact an attorney to learn your legal rights.

For a free legal consultation, contact our Boston product liability attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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