Boston, MA asked in Personal Injury for Massachusetts

Q: My daughter was clipped by a plow on Saturday night and is traumatized by the incident. Do I have a case?

Unfortunately she was wearing dark clothing but was walking with the traffic. She had her cell phone light on down by her side and other cars were avoiding her. When I spoke with the police and I asked if the driver was intoxicated, mind you this gentleman tried pulling my daughter into his truck twice to "drive her home" before she ran off down the road away from him as she was scared for her life, especially after being hit by a plow. The police said that this guy was an old timer in town and that he was harmless. They seemed like the entire incident was no big deal, and they seemed more concerned by the fact that my daughter had on dark clothing, more than the driver in a plow should have been paying more attention and not hit her to begin with. I took her to the hospital and she has no broken bones but the doctor stated she will have some serious bruising to her shoulder. My daughter told me she has been having nightmares of getting hit and how the man tried getting her into his t

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3 Lawyer Answers
Steven A. Schwartz
Steven A. Schwartz
Answered
  • Boston, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: So sorry to hear about your daughter. My gut tells me that this may not be worth pursuing, especially if your daughter's injuries are minor. It sounds like the police report is not helping the situation, noting your daughter's dark clothing. The other issue not mentioned is that you stated your daughter was walking WITH traffic which is not what she should be doing. In MA, as a pedestrian, the law says you are to walk against traffic. My guess is the insurance company will deny the claim, and then you are faced with the decision of filing a lawsuit which will be a 2 year process and expensive. I would see how the insurance company responds, and speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. An attorney will need to ask many more questions to properly assess the claim. In the meantime, make sure your daughter gets whatever treatment she needs, that is, for the physical injuries and for the mental health injuries. Best of luck.

Karen Piso Nadeau
Karen Piso Nadeau
Answered
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Your daughter may have a viable claim against the driver and owner of the vehicle/ driver's employer for negligent driving resulting in personal injuries. You do not say how old your daughter is. If she is 18 or older, she can legally bring her own claim. If she is under 18, her parent may bring the claim. I have handled a number of these snow plow types of cases, and the driver and owner of the plow will have an insurance company handling this for them. They will do everything to blame your daughter and avoid paying the claim. You should take a lot of photographs of any visible injuries she has as soon as possible. There are a number of legal issues to be reviewed and decided, the sooner the better. I recommend you immediately consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience with these types of accidents. They will undertake a thorough investigation for you. An experienced attorney will help sort through the issues and make the best decisions for your daughter. The lighting in the area, the operator's driving history, any witness accounts and other factors will be considered in addition to her clothing and visibility. Also, her injuries, treatment and damages including the nightmares she is experiencing will be reviewed with advice on how best to deal with these issues. Good luck!

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
Answered

A: I'm sorry for your daughter's injuries. Ms. Nadeau and Mr. Schwartz have both generously and thoroughly identified and addressed a good number of meaningful issues here. I'd add that if the operations involved public entities (Department of Transportation, etc.), there could be notice of claim issues to be aware of (as a general rule in most jurisdictions). If notice of claim is relevant here, it could mean there would be a need to place appropriate entities on notice without delay if you contemplate action. I wish your daughter a healthy recovery from her injuries. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

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