From Boston to the Berkshires (and now on the South Shore!), I offer a convenient, mobile practice and a wide range of legal services. If you need help, give me a call!
Representation in cases arising out of:
Slip and fall
Trip and fall
Motor vehicle accidents
Ride sharing accidents (Lyft, Uber)
Dram shop liability (negligence in the service of alcohol by those licensed to sell alcohol)
Social host liability (negligence in the service of alcohol by those without a license to sell alcohol)
Accidents at work
Consumer protection issues
Dog bite cases
Appeals of trial court rulings and judgments
Criminal matters including drunk driving, operating under the influence, assault and battery, motor vehicle crimes, drug offenses, larceny, restraining orders, motor vehicle citations, and more.
Injuries arising from crimes and other violent acts such as sexual assault, assault and battery, false imprisonment, drunk driving, or fights at a bar, nightclub, or other establishment.
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Wrongful Death
These cases, as the name suggests, arise out of the death of a person and in Massachusetts are governed by statute. See G.L. c. 229, § 2 et seq. In fact, Massachusetts was the first state to enact a wrongful death statute in 1840. Among the first things that must be done in these cases is to have a personal representative or administrator appointed to the estate of the deceased person. This is done in the Probate and Family Court. Care must be taken to make sure the personal representative or administrator is appointed properly. A formal or informal appointment of an administrator can be used if the estate is planning a wrongful death action, but a voluntary administrator cannot bring a wrongful death action. See Marco v. Green, 415 Mass. 732, 736 (1993).
The wrongful death statute enumerates the people who can bring these claims as well as the damages that can be sought from the wrongdoer (for example, pain and suffering of the deceased person, loss of reasonably expected income, or the loss of affection and companionship of family members including children and spouses of the deceased). In its current form, the wrongful death statute permits compensation to a deceased person’s estate “under such circumstances that the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries if his death had not resulted.” In other words, the estate’s wrongful death claim is derivative of and “tethered” to the conduct that caused the deceased person’s injuries (and death). See GGNSC Administrative Services, LLC v. Schrader, 484 Mass. 181, 188 (2020). In many cases there is a clear connection between the wrongful death claim and the conduct that caused the death. But in certain circumstances, like for example where the deceased person has signed a release of liability against the person or business that caused his death, the estate may not be able to sue under the wrongful death statute. See Doherty v. Diving Unlimited International, Inc., 484 Mass. 193, 195 (2020).
Wrongful death cases are always extremely tragic and very sad. It is important to have an attorney who can steer you through the process in a calm and thoughtful manner, while also providing effective advocacy for you.
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Slip and Fall, Trip and Fall cases
Slip and Fall, Trip or Fall
Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall cases are a type of premises liability case. Slip or Trip and Fall cases arise when a property (i.e. “the premises”) owner (or the person or entity in control of the property) has allowed a dangerous condition to exist on the property and that condition causes you personal injuries. Generally (and there are exceptions – please ask me about them!), in order to make a successful slip and fall or trip and fall claim, you must show that the property owner either (1) knew about the dangerous condition that caused your injury; or, (2) should have known about the dangerous condition that caused your injury.
In a slip and fall case (especially in Massachusetts), often the dangerous condition is un-shoveled snow or slippery ice (or a combination of the two). The location of this dangerous condition (for example a parking lot, side walk, or driveway) and the identity of owner of that property can have very significant consequences on the claim. For example, did you know that property owners do not have an obligation to keep an abutting public sidewalk free of snow and ice? See Papadopoulos v. Target Corp., 457 Mass. 368, 375 n.11 (2010). This is even despite certain town or city ordinances requiring property owners to remove snow and ice from sidewalks. However, it is not always obvious whether a sidewalk is publicly or privately owned. Other slip and fall cases can arise out food spillage, leaky refrigerators or freezers, excessive water (especially on marble or other high gloss floors), or excessive soap or other cleaning products negligently left on a floor.
In a trip and fall, the cause of your personal injuries might be an unreasonably high door threshold, a bunched-up carpet, or an old and decaying set of stairs. As with slip and falls, the location and owner of the premises will have significant consequences to your claim. Did the fall happen in an apartment, or in a common area of the apartment building? Was the property owned by a governmental entity or was it privately owned? Answers to these questions will be very important as we analyze your case together.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall, feel free to contact me to discuss it. The consultation is free!
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor Vehicle Accidents
From my position as an injured client’s attorney, although the crash itself may have been an unintended consequence, it is usually the result of someone not adhering to a safety rule that is designed to prevent such a crash. For example, texting while driving, speeding, or running a stop sign. After a car crash, you can be faced with not only personal injuries, but also property damage to both your car and any belongings that were inside. Massachusetts has a fairly complex set of statutes and case law that dictate how your car insurance contract is interpreted. Did you know there are 12 separate parts to your auto insurance contract? Even if you were not the driver or the owner of any of the vehicles involved in the accident, if you have a car of your own, you may have insurance that could help you in the event you are injured. Indeed, many people are unaware of the coverage they purchased and often have excessive coverage in some areas of the policy, and insufficient coverage in other areas. If you have questions about your auto insurance, please give me a call. The consultation is free!
If you are in an accident, let me work with the different insurers involved (for example, both auto insurers and your health insurer) while you focus on getting better! After an accident, the insurance companies for the vehicles involved will be calling you and sending you lots of paperwork – let me take this burden off your shoulders!
Once you are feeling better and recovered from your injuries, I will draft and send a demand letter to the at-fault insurance carrier. I know what are fair offers, what aren’t, and what offers are not even worth negotiating against. Here are some of the factors that go into determining a case’s value:
Lost Wages – Did you miss work because of your injuries? If so, you can be compensated for the wages you lost due to your injuries.
Loss of Earning Capacity – In cases of more serious injuries, you may not be able to go back to the job you had before the accident, and, as a result, your ability to earn up to your potential could be impacted.
Medical Bills – Medical bills are often paid by auto insurance, health insurance, or sometimes can fall to the client. You can be reimbursed directly for some of these bills, while others might be reimbursed behind the scenes between the auto insurers.
Pain and Suffering – This is a very broad category of damages, but can often make up a significant portion of a case’s value. It encompasses personal things like not being able to do the leisure activities you love, difficulties with simple day to day tasks, or just the level and duration of pain that you were forced to endure as a result of the injury.
Property Damage – The damage to your car and any personal contents inside.
This list is by no means exhaustive and each case is unique in terms of the losses involved and the compensation available for those losses. Please feel free to contact me for a consultation if you have been in a car accident!
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Hit & Run Accidents
Hit & Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents encompass both those accidents in which (1) the operator of a motor vehicle (or boat) hits either you as a pedestrian or your car (or boat) and fails to make himself known to you, and (2) the vehicle that hit your car (or boat) is uninsured. In the first case, with sufficient evidence of the identity of the operator, a criminal complaint could issue against the operator for either leaving the scene of property damage, leaving the scene of personal injury, or both.
In Massachusetts, if you have car insurance (which you must if you want to legally operate your car on Massachusetts roads), you automatically have coverage on your policy for any injuries you sustain as a result of a hit and run. This coverage (along with certain other coverages) is compulsory in Massachusetts and is Part 3 of the 12 Parts of your auto policy. Even if you yourself do not own a car, but are hit as a pedestrian, you may be covered by the car insurance of a “household member.” A Household member is a person you live with who is related by blood, marriage, or adoption. (A household member is not, for example, a roommate who is unrelated to you.) If you are a passenger in a car that is hit in a hit and run or by an uninsured car, the insurance coverage applicable to the situation can come from either your own auto policy, a household member’s policy (if you don’t own a car), or the insurance policy of the car you were in. See generally, Kanamaru v. Holyoke Mut. Ins. Co., 72 Mass. App. Ct. 396 (2008) (discussing eligibility of coverage for someone injured by an uninsured vehicle). If this sounds confusing, it’s because it can be! Give me a call if you were involved in a hit and run accident and I can talk you through the different insurance coverage that might be available in your case.
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Boating Accidents
Massachusetts has quite a bit of shoreline bordering the Atlantic Ocean, as well as lakes and rivers. Boating is a very popular summer activity, but unfortunately accidents do happen. Some boating accidents are attributable environmental conditions (like hitting a submerged log), but others are caused by operator negligence. The fun of boating can distract boat operators from the care and attention needed to safely operate a boat. While there are education requirements for certain age groups, Massachusetts does not require a specific boat license. However, Massachusetts does have navigation rules of the road which are found in Title 33 of the United States Code, see 33 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and safety and registration requirements for boating in General Laws Chapter 90B. The Environmental Police is the primary enforcement agency of these laws, while our state and federal courts interpret these laws.
Boat insurance (as opposed to car insurance) is not mandatory in Massachusetts. However, for those boat owners who do have insurance, the coverage available is very similar to car insurance. There is coverage available for personal property damage, physical damage to the boat, towing, boat liability (in case you are at fault for an accident), medical bills, and even coverage for injuries caused by an uninsured boat.
Boating accidents are often very serious. The dynamics of boat handling are vastly different from driving a car. As a life-long boater, I am familiar with boat insurance, as well as navigation rules of the road and their subtleties (for example, the difference between a boat being “moored” and one “at anchor” – The former is in an area “where her presence is expected, and it becomes the duty of other mariners to maneuver around such a vessel,” and the latter’s presence is “temporary and unexpected.” O’Shaughnessy v. Besse, 7 Mass. App. Ct. 727, 732 (1979)) I would be happy to speak with you if you have been involved in a boating accident.
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Premises Liability
Premises liability cases are those cases which arise out of an unsafe condition on a piece of property. This can be a slip and fall or trip and fall (which I discuss elsewhere on the website), but could also be a claim of negligent security.
Negligent security cases are cases where, for example, someone is injured in a bar fight at a bar with inadequate bouncers or security personnel, or someone is assaulted in a parking garage with inadequate security. The law requires that the owner of an establishment take “reasonable steps to protect its patrons from injury caused by the foreseeable acts of third persons, even if those acts were intentional.” Parslow v. Pilgrim Parking, Inc., 5 Mass. App. Ct. 822, 822 (1977) (emphasis added).
Often these cases are defended on the grounds that the attack or assault was not foreseeable, not preventable, and therefore was not due to any negligence of the establishment. At first glance, it may even appear that way. To build our case, we will dig into the establishment’s practices and policies about hiring and retention of security guards, as well as the qualifications and training of the security guards. We will also want to explore the knowledge of the establishment about past incidents of violence or assaults. With that information, we can begin to paint a picture of an establishment that has poorly trained security staff despite its knowledge of prior violent incidents occurring on its premises, and draw the conclusion that the incident that caused your injuries was completely foreseeable. See Westerback v. Harold F. Leclair Co., Inc., 50 Mass. App. Ct. 144, 147-148 (2000) (“Factors that have been cited as supporting a finding of foreseeability include a history of prior criminal episodes . . . the unruly behavior or drunkenness of one or more persons on or just off the premises . . . a display of weapons . . . failure to provide adequate lighting in secluded areas of the premises . . . or a failure to provide security, such as guards, locks, alarms, or surveillance, in places where such precautions are the norm.”).
These cases can be complex because of insurance issues that are usually involved. Often insurance policies will exclude from coverage any claim arising out of, or based on, an assault and battery. Because negligent security cases are often based on a violent attack (i.e. assault and battery), we will need to explore the specific language of the policy to see how comprehensive the exclusion language is.
Alcohol is often a factor when there is an altercation at a bar or restaurant. The law protecting patrons from foreseeable harm at these places does not end when a patron leaves the premises. In fact the law “extends to all reasonably foreseeable harm including, in some circumstances, harm that occurs at a distance from the premises.” Christopher v. Father's Huddle Café, Inc., 57 Mass. App. Ct. 217, 224 (2003). Don’t think that just because you were injured off the property, that an establishment cannot be held liable for those injuries. As an example, there is a significant amount of jurisprudence devoted to social host liability and dram shop cases, where, in a typical case, someone is injured by a drunk driver miles away from the establishment or home where the alcohol was served. In certain circumstances, liability can attach to that establishment or homeowner.
If you were injured at an establishment or after leaving an establishment, or if the person who injured you had been at an establishment (especially if alcohol was involved), you may have a viable claim not only against the person who injured you but also against the establishment. Call me to discuss these legal issues in your free consultation!
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney for Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Believe it or not, for the purposes of Massachusetts car insurance, if you are hit by a car while on your bicycle, you are considered a pedestrian. In most instances, insurance coverage for these accidents will come from a single source – the vehicle that hit you.
Because cycling has become a popular form of transportation in Massachusetts (and especially in Boston and the surrounding cities like Cambridge and Somerville), bike lanes, bicycle boxes, and other safety markings are being installed on our streets. Nevertheless, not all drivers are alert enough to look out for bikers and accidents between cars and bikers do happen. If you are a cyclist and find yourself frequently using your bike as a main form of transportation, familiarize yourself with the laws for bicyclists. This is especially important if you ride on the congested streets of Boston, or surrounding cities like Cambridge or Somerville. Check out G.L. c. 85, § 11B for the laws about bicycle operation and equipment in Massachusetts.
Pedestrians have some of their own laws, especially ones pertaining to crossing the street. One of the more pedestrian-friendly laws is the Massachusetts statute dealing with pedestrians in crosswalks. See G.L. c. 89, § 11. If there are no traffic signals, “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way . . . to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk” if the pedestrian is on the same side of the street as the car. If the pedestrian is on the other half of the street, the car must yield if the pedestrian is within 10 feet of the side of the street the car is on. See Ibid. (By the way, even if the pedestrian is not in an intersection, but still in the road, a passing vehicle must at least slow down for him or her. See G.L. c. 90, § 14).
This law can be a powerful tool to use in your case if you are struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk. This is because “evidence of violation of a statute . . . can validly be considered, in combination with other evidence, in determining negligence.” Commonwealth v. Campbell, 394 Mass. 77, 83 n.5 (1985). In other words, if you are struck by a car while in a crosswalk and injured as a result, the violation of a statute like the crosswalk statute is evidence that a driver was driving in a negligent manner. (While some states treat the violation of a statute as conclusively establishing negligence – “negligence per se” – in Massachusetts the violation of a statute is only evidence of negligence.)
Keep in mind that your status as a pedestrian does not automatically put the car driver at fault in the event of a car vs. pedestrian accident. If you dart out into the road on a dark night and are struck by a car – whether you are in a crosswalk or not – you could be considered partially at fault for your injuries.
Boston and South Shore Attorney for Criminal Matters
Being a defendant in a criminal case is very stressful experience. If you find yourself in this situation, please call me for a free consultation! I’ll listen to your story, explain the process to you, and go over some of the legal issues that could arise in your case.
One of the most important things to do at the start of a criminal case is to learn the elements of crime you are charged with. These elements are what the District Attorneys Office will be focusing on in your prosecution. They have the burden of proof on each element of the crime and will be looking for evidence that you committed each one. I can go over the elements with you and explain what kind of evidence would be admissible against you as proof of each element.
The rules of evidence in Massachusetts are generally the same for criminal and civil cases with a few exceptions. One of the most important exceptions in criminal cases is the protection afforded to criminal defendants by the Confrontation Clause. This Clause is found in the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution (“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him”). Effectively, the Confrontation Clause adds an additional hurdle to the rule against hearsay whenever the Commonwealth seeks to introduce testimonial evidence against you in court.
Another protection criminal defendants are afforded comes from the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures and often is implicated in cases that arise out of motor vehicle stops.
The reason I am mentioning these protections is because depending on the facts of your case, I may be able to move to exclude certain evidence which violates these Constitutional protections. Often times, if the evidence is successfully excluded (i.e. “suppressed”), the Commonwealth cannot move forward with the case against you because it will not be able to provide evidence of one or more of the elements of the crime. The various court opinions on these issues are very fact-specific and require a close reading and attention to detail in order to effectively argue for the suppression of evidence.
If you have been charged with a crime like drunk driving, operating under the influence, assault and battery, motor vehicle crimes, drug offenses, larceny, or a restraining order violation, and have questions about your case, please give me a call for a free consultation!
Boston and South Shore Personal Injury Attorney Cases
and much more
My law practice is not limited to the practice areas discussed on my website. I also handle cases involving sexual assault, police misconduct, consumer protection issues including Chapter 93A, motor vehicle citations, insurance coverage issues, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and appeals of trial court rulings or judgments.