INSIGHTS On Massachusetts Personal Injury Law

Welcome to the SUGARMAN blog. We'll be sharing our perspectives on the state of the law and current legal issues in Massachusetts personal injury law. Issues relating to medical malpractice, construction site injuries, premises liability, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, insurance, and more will all be reviewed here by our team of lawyers who have prosecuted some of the most complex cases in Massachusetts personal injury law.

Articles Posted in Railroad Accidents

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Since SUGARMAN’s beginnings over 50 years ago in Boston, our personal injury lawyers have regularly represented people injured or killed in railroad accidents throughout Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, these accidents occur with some regularity, often due to negligence or recklessness on the part of railroad companies and their contractors.  The results can be devastating.

The litigation and trial of railroad accident cases is a specialized area of law.  Few accident lawyers in Massachusetts have more experience or success in such cases than the lawyers at SUGARMAN.  When necessary, our lawyers have taken railroad accident cases to the highest courts in Massachusetts.

Cases involving the MBTA railroad and other railroad companies are governed by a detailed, inter-related set of state and federal statutes and regulations.  These laws govern such things as speed, use of signals and horns, staffing of railroad equipment, employee hours, right of way on tracks, ownership and control of tracks and crossings, and behavior at crossings.  The laws also dictate when and how claims for personal injuries against railroad companies can be brought.

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Early last Thursday morning, a man, referred to as a “trespasser on the Commuter Rail tracks” was struck and killed by an outbound train in Norwood.  On August 21, a “railroad trespasser” was struck and killed by an MBTA commuter train in Lynn; and this past May, an Amtrack train struck “a trespasser on the tracks.”  These are just a few examples of how train accidents are routinely described.  Why do railroads, such as the MBTA, immediately refer to a pedestrian struck by a train as a trespasser, and what is the legal significance of that label?  Plenty.

We all generally owe a duty of reasonable care to others in our homes, our cars, and at our places of work.  If we do not use reasonable care, we are considered negligent, and if our negligence causes someone else harm, then we are liable for their damages.  This does not apply, however, to a person who is determined to be a trespasser.  In Massachusetts, a trespasser is only owed a duty to refrain from wanton or reckless behavior.  So,  if our negligence hurts or kills someone who is a trespasser, we are not liable.

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