College student and moving box

Many college students heading to Boston will be living in off-campus housing. The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck share safety tips and resources.

College students are just days away from starting the Fall semester. In Boston and Cambridge, we urge students to make time for an extra lesson on safe housing. Make sure you understand your rights as a tenant and your landlord’s responsibility to maintain a safe property.

Boston and Cambridge have more than 40 colleges and universities. Because of a shortage in dorm space, many students end up in off-campus housing. Unfortunately, some find themselves dealing with unresponsive landlords who want to collect rent, without doing the work to maintain a property. If you are in this situation, it is important to remember that if a landlord is charging you rent, you have the right to a safe and sanitary apartment.

When a landlord is unresponsive and negligent, it can lead to many problems. It can result in sanitary issues, such as mold, rodents or a bug infestations. It can also lead to broken equipment (for instance, a broken smoke alarm, which needs to be addressed right away).

Porch collapses and fires are two of the most common and serious types of premises liability accidents. As a result of landlord negligence, over the past 10 years, five college students have died in off-campus fires in Massachusetts, according to the state’s website.

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Boston personal injury attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was recently interviewed by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on the voir dire process.

Requiring attorneys to get pre-approval to question potential jurors is the “wrong approach,” Attorney Marc L. Breakstone said in a recent Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article.

Breakstone was commenting on a change to the rules for voir dire in Massachusetts. Judges were long responsible for questioning prospective jurors to determine if they could sit fair and impartial in Massachusetts courts. But in 2014, the Legislature approved the introduction of attorney-conducted voir dire. For the first time, attorneys were allowed to directly question prospective jurors.

Boston personal injury lawyers Breakstone, White & Gluck

Attorneys Ronald E. Gluck, Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White, partners of the Boston law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck. For more than 25 years, the firm has represented motorcyclists and others injured by reckless and negligent drivers.

Motorcyclists, before you start your engines, remember to check your Massachusetts auto insurance policy. Too many motorcyclists do not have enough coverage, which can be a costly and painful mistake if you are ever injured in a crash. For more than 25 years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has fought to obtain compensation for motorcyclists injured by negligent drivers. In recent years, our attorneys have vigorously pursued settlements of $3.75 million, $3.5 million and $1.25 million for three motorcyclists. We write about these Massachusetts motorcycle settlements on our website.

We work with auto insurance policies on a daily basis as we represent those injured on the road. We hope you are never injured, but it pays to plan and understand your auto insurance policy. After an accident, you may have to look to your own insurance policy, even if another driver caused the crash.

In Massachusetts, all drivers and motorcyclists must buy a minimum level of auto insurance. This is known as Compulsory Coverage. Motorcyclists need more and have a few special considerations. Your challenge is to identify what your potential needs would be following a crash. To start, you would need coverage for medical treatment and lost wages. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may be out of work for an extended period or worse, be left unable to return full-time. If you have a family and provide income for their support, you have more to consider.

The good news is you can plan and work with your insurance agent now to make sure your insurance coverage is adequate and that you have the right types. To help get you started, our attorneys have written these articles about Massachusetts auto insurance coverage. As a motorcyclist, make sure to read the section about Medical Payments coverage in our first article:

Insurance Articles for Massachusetts Motorcyclists
Massachusetts Motorcyclists: Buy the Right Types of Auto Insurance to Protect Yourself
Understanding and Buying Massachusetts Car Accident Insurance

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing motorcyclists in the Boston area and across Massachusetts, from Brockton and Plymouth to Cape Cod to Framingham and Worcester. If you have been injured, take the time to learn your rights from one of our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers. Our attorneys can help you answer the key questions you may have following a motorcycle accident, such as “How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?” and “How long will it take to obtain compensation for my injury after a motorcycle accident?” For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

 

ATM skimming

Take the right steps to protect yourself from ATM skimming. Many Massachusetts consumers have been targeted.

You insert your ATM card and out comes cash for the week. Simple, right? Next time, pay closer attention. Many Massachusetts consumers are being scammed – or skimmed – for their financial information, at a tremendous price.

ATMs – automated teller machines – are a convenient way to get cash or make deposits. Unlike banks, they are always open and accessible.

But they are vulnerable to ATM skimming, when thieves install hidden electronic skimming devices on an ATM to record a consumer’s financial information. Massachusetts has seen several recent cases.

Just this week, Cambridge Police issued an alert, seeking a man who fraudulently ran up $800 on a Cambridge woman’s ATM card. Police say he may have skimmed her financial information at an ATM in Boston. ATM skimming rarely claims just one victim, though. In June, the Lowell Sun reported on two men who pled guilty after ringing up over $100,000 on 100 credit card numbers they skimmed in the Boston area.  Other stories have also been reported in Framingham, Burlington and on the South Shore

The problem is skimming devices are often small and look like part of an ATM, so consumers may not notice them, even if they are looking.

Use caution at the ATM machine. We suggest the following tips to help you protect your financial information:

  • Examine the card slot before inserting your card. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged or scratched. If you observe anything suspicious, do not swipe your card. We suggest you read this article, “How to Spot and Avoid Credit Card Skimmers,” by PC Magazine.
  • Thieves also need your PIN code. They often record your information through hidden cameras. When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to prevent your PIN from being recorded.
  • Walk away from an ATM if you notice someone watching you or you sense something is wrong with the machine.
  • Avoid ATM machines with minimal supervision. For instance, try not to use stand-alone ATM machines in convenience stores, bars or parking lots.
  • Also beware of skimming devices when paying at gas stations.
  • If an ATM does not return your card when a transaction is over, report the incident immediately to your financial institution.
  • Never give out your bank account number or the PIN for your ATM card. If someone calls you and asks for your information, hang up and report the call to your local police department.
  • Monitor your account for unauthorized transactions and report them to your financial institution immediately. Most banks offer online access, which allows you to check your statements easily.
  • Set a daily cash withdrawal limit. Ask your bank and credit card company to notify you of transactions—these can be sent right to your cell phone.
  • Check in on senior citizens in your family or neighbors. Tell them you are concerned about ATM skimming. Remind them to check their bank accounts, and also, to never give their financial information out to callers over the telephone.
  • The most important step? Contact police and your bank if you suspect anything suspicious. The sooner police and your financial institution can start investigating, the better for everyone using the ATM machine.

If you do find yourself a victim, remember you have rights. Under Massachusetts law, consumers are only liable for up to $50 if they are the victim of credit card or debit card fraud. But you must report the fraud immediately to avoid any financial losses. Read this article to learn more.

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20170726_dedhambikerodeo-2-960-lr (1 of 1)We want to share a few photos from our Project KidSafe campaign.

Dedham Bike Rodeo. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 120 Project KidSafe bike helmets to the Dedham Bike Rodeo on July 26. Attorney David W. White participated in the event, fitting helmets for children who needed one. We always enjoy this event because we get a chance to talk to children and parents about bike helmets and bike safety. It was one of the first events we donated helmets to in 2013, the year we began our Project KidSafe campaign. The rodeo is organized by the Dedham Police Department and the Dedham Parks and Recreation Department.

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Mattapan on Wheels. Breakstone, White & Gluck also donated helmets to cyclists at the 7th Annual Mattapan on Wheels event on July 22. We are told 130 cyclists took to the Neponset Trail to raise funds for a youth bike summit and many had no helmet or needed a new one. Participants could choose their destination and ride along the trail to Pope John Paul II Park, Carson Beach or Castle Island. This was the first time we donated helmets to this event and we are told every helmet was put to use.

Quincy police officers and kids wearing bike helmets

Photo Courtesy: Quincy Police Department Facebook Page. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign recently teamed up with Quincy Police to donate 100 bike helmets to fifth graders.

On a bike, wearing a helmet is the most important step, Quincy police officers said yesterday.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and the Quincy Police Department teamed up to give away 100 new bike helmets on Monday, during the department’s annual D.A.R.E camp at Pageant Field. But first, Lieutenant Bina and other bike safety officers shared tips for riding safely.

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Attorney David W. White (center) with William G. Gross, Superintendent-in-Chief of the Boston Police Department (left) and Sgt. Gino Provenzano (right) of the Boston Police Department. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 200 bike helmets to the Boston Police Department this summer to help kids ride safely.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign are proud to partner with the Boston Police Department to keep children safe on bikes.

Our attorneys recently donated 200 brand-new bicycle helmets to the Boston Police Department. Over the summer, officers will give helmets away to children who need one as part of the department’s community policing efforts. So far, officers have put new helmets on children at the Villa Victoria Bicycle Safety Day, the Dorchester/C-11 Bike Rodeo and at the Condon Community Center in South Boston. These events are meaningful because kids get more than a new helmet. They get the opportunity to learn about bike safety and meet a police officer in their own neighborhood in a fun, relaxed setting, building trust and community relationships while learning how to ride safely and protect themselves from head injuries.

Attorney David W. White is interviewed by NBC Boston on the Dorchester building fire

Attorney David W. White is interviewed by NBC Boston on the next steps ahead for buyers after the Dorchester building fire tragedy.

(June 29, 2017) Attorney David W. White was interviewed by NBC Boston on the potential legal options ahead for buyers of condos destroyed by a massive blaze in Dorchester. The fire went up on Wednesday, just a day before a fire inspection was reportedly scheduled.

The six-story Treadmark building had 83 units, including 32 for home ownership and 51 for affordable rentals. It was located in the Ashmont section of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

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Attorney David W. White and the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission donated bike helmets to kids at Westborough Spring Festival on June 10th. Helmets were donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign.

Summer is here and Breakstone, White & Gluck wants to remind children and families to wear your bicycle helmets.

Helmets are the most effective way to protect yourself from bicycle-related head injuries.  Helmet use reduces the chance for head and brain injuries by up to 88 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please wear your helmet every time you ride – and make sure family members do the same.

Through our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck recently donated children’s bicycle helmets at several community events. Children had the opportunity to receive a new helmet and have it fitted by an experienced cyclist or volunteer.

Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. Attorney David W. White joined the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission at Spring Festival on June 10. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated nearly 200 bicycle helmets in Westborough this year, at the Westborough Spring Festival and the Healthy Kids Day at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts (which was held in April). This is the fourth year we have partnered with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission on these donations.

The Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission was appointed by the Board of Selectmen five years ago. Since then, the commission has actively worked to make Westborough safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Over the past few years, they have advocated for crosswalk and rotary improvements. This year, construction began on the new Westborough multi-use path. The first phase is 1/3 mile and will connect the Westborough Shopping Center to the east side of town. Great work to the commission! This path is sure to make cycling safer in Westborough.

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Medford-2017

Photo courtesy of Medford Bikes, which distributed 70 bike helmets to children at Medford Day on June 4, 2017. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bike helmets through our Project KidSafe campaign.

Medford Day. On June 4, the Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission gave away 70 helmets to children and teens at Medford Day at Andrews Middle School. This was our first time partnering with the commission. It was a home run. Members did a great job and are enthusiastic about teaching children and parents about bike helmet use.

“A helmet is one of the most important pieces of bike safety equipment you can wear, but if it doesn’t fit right, it’s not going to do what it’s designed to do when you most need it—which is protect your head from serious injury after a crash,” said Patrick Bibbins, chair of the Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission.

Bibbins, an instructor with the League of American Cyclists, has written about bicycle safety for families. He recently published this article: “Bike Safety 101: A Guide for Parents.”

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Photo courtesy of The Kiwanis Club of Somerville Facebook page. Bike Safety Day was held on June 10, 2017. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate helmets for the kids.

Kiwanis Club of Somerville. For the past five years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been pleased to donate bicycle helmets to the Kiwanis Club of Somerville and its annual Bike Safety Day. This is always a fun event which teaches kids fundamental bicycle safety skills in their own community.

This year’s event was held on June 10th at East Somerville Community School. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 120 helmets for the kids. In addition to the Kiwanis Club of Somerville and Breakstone, White & Gluck, the event received donations and support from Belmont Wheelworks, Shift Community Bicycle Collective, the Greater Boston Young Professional Kiwanis, the Somerville High School Athletics and the staff at the East Somerville Community School.

View the Facebook photo album.

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Cyclists may now ride safer near parked cars, after a recent update to the Massachusetts driver’s manual. On page 109, there is a new title, “The Danger of Open Doors to Bicyclists,” and instructions for the Dutch Reach method of exiting a car.

A common practice in the Netherlands, the Dutch Reach method calls on drivers to park and take three simple steps:

  • Check your rear-view mirror.
  • Check your side-view mirror.
  • Open the door with your far hand, the hand farthest away from the door.

This last step forces drivers to turn their bodies, so they can see cyclists and pedestrians coming from both directions.

A Cambridge man campaigned for the change, which was announced by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on May 30th. According to The Boston Globe, Michael Charney launched the website dutchreach.org following the death of Amanda Phillips, a 27-year-old barista at Somerville’s Diesel Café. Phillips was riding her bicycle in Inman Square in Cambridge when she struck the open door of a parked Jeep. As a result, Philips was pushed into the street and collided with a dump truck.

This is known as a dooring accident or a car-dooring crash. We have represented numerous cyclists in these accidents, which can cause very serious injuries and are more common than you may realize. According to the City of Boston, dooring accidents accounted for up to 13 percent of all bicycle crashes between 2009 and 2012.

Massachusetts is one of 40 states which have passed dooring laws, according to the League of American Cyclists. Under M.G.L. c. 90 § 14, “No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Drivers can be fined $100 for each violation. But the greater penalty is drivers may have to pay compensation to injured cyclists. Read about a recent settlement we obtained for a cyclist injured in a dooring accident in Brookline.

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