By Karen Piso Nadeau, Esquire
My June blog on our Nadeau Harkavy LLC website focused on safety while on the roads of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This blog will consider other safety concerns and tips for staying safe this summer in New England and beyond. The good weather in Boston, and the freedom from the isolation of the pandemic offers us opportunities to enjoy some fun in the sun whether it be at the beach, by the pool, outdoor dining, or shopping. People are out and about again. Dogs seem to be everywhere as the pandemic created more time at home to consider bringing a furry friend into the family. People want to enjoy many of the things that were off limits during the height of the pandemic. The 4th of July and fireworks and cookouts go hand in hand with the start of summer and celebrating.
Here is a list of some safety tips to help stay happy and healthy this summer:
- Do Not Play with Fireworks
Fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts without a professional license. See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 148 Section 39. Every year ends up with a tragic accident where someone is severely injured or burnt by fireworks according to the Amesbury Fire Chief. Consider the risks, the dangers and your neighbors. There was an increase in fireworks complaints in Boston from 1,504 in 2019 to 21,346 in 2020.
According to CBS News Boston, police are cracking down on illegal fireworks in MA. Police are confiscating them, and several people were caught with illegal fireworks in Salisbury over last weekend. Children account for a significant number of injuries from fireworks as they imitate adults according to Mass.gov. Enjoy fireworks by leaving them to the experts.
- Follow Safety Precautions Around Water
According to Mass.gov, drowning was the leading cause of unintentional injury death among Massachusetts children ages 0-14 years in 2015. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 according to the Center for Disease Control. Most drownings involved a lapse of supervision.
The Boston Herald on June 26, 2021, reported that there have been at least 47 drownings in Massachusetts so far this year, up significantly from years prior. There were 18 drowning in May 2021 alone. Drownings and near drownings have increased in Massachusetts in recent years according to the Department of Public Health. Massachusetts has taken steps to address this, increasing lifeguard pay and urging residents to use caution.
Drowning is preventable. Whether spending time around a lake, ocean, river, pond, or pool, we can all stay safe this summer. According to Mass.gov, two things we can do are to learn how to swim and wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Also, always swim with a buddy and never alone. Swim in designated areas. Wear a lifejacket if in a boat. Learn CPR. Watch children closely around water.
- Leash Your Dog and Keep Safe Around Dogs
Massachusetts has a strict liability law for dog owners. This means a dog owner is responsible for a dog bite or any injury caused by a dog. Dog owners should keep their dogs leashed in public places and not allow their dogs to roam. Children should always be supervised around dogs.
Best Friends Animal Society offers some tips when around someone else’s dog:
-Always ask permission before petting or touching someone else’s dog.
-When approached by a strange dog, stand quietly, hands by your side and avoid eye contact. –Don’t run as the dog may instinctively chase you.
- Be Responsible as a Business Owner, Employee, or Running a Business
Massachusetts law requires owners of businesses and their employees to exercise reasonable care in carrying out their job functions. In a nutshell, you are required to obey the law and avoid foreseeable risks of harm to others by causing injury to others.
If you invite people to your business, to your store and to your property, it needs to be safe. We have represented many clients who suffered terrible injuries from slip and falls resulting in broken wrists, broken legs, head trauma, and lacerations requiring medical care and surgeries with long recoveries. These clients simply visited a local shopping plaza, restaurant, retail store or other business and found themselves in a dangerous situation resulting in an accident with disabling injuries. Often, we see slip and falls on substances that should not be present or trip and falls on obstructions like objects that should not be in their paths of travel.
So many of these accidents could have easily been prevented if the proper steps were taken to inspect the business property and take the necessary actions to remedy any dangerous conditions for customers invited to spend money.
Whether operating a company vehicle as an employee going to a job site or driving a truck loaded with goods for a business, you need to follow the rules of the road and be respectful of others in carrying out your job function. Again, we see too many car crashes with truck drivers speeding or recklessly changing lanes on the highway, or employees operating vehicles that ignore stop signs and traffic lights in attempting to carry out their duties of the job.
Another increased risk is cars crashing into buildings and other objects due to distracted drivers. Restaurants turned to outdoor seating during the pandemic, and it looks like outdoor seating remains a popular option for those of us enjoying a meal out. Think twice before you sit outdoors near parking lots or roadways where distracted drivers may crash their vehicles into outdoor dining areas. Some restaurants have taken safety precautions by placing concrete barriers and bollards to protect customers from a potential driver who goes off the road. Other restaurants have taken no measures or less safe measures by simply using plants in pots or flimsy tents or wooden structures to separate those dining out from the vehicles on the nearby roadway. Whether it is downtown Boston, Cambridge, Somerville or the suburbs, outdoor dining is popular, and safety needs to be considered.
- Be Responsible as a Landlord or Property Owner
Your property needs to be maintained so it is safe. As a landlord, you have an obligation to remedy any dangerous conditions on your property to prevent foreseeable risks of harm to your tenants or others on your property. We have handled a number of slip and fall cases against property owners who fail to properly maintain their premises. We have clients who suffered devastating injuries that were preventable if the landlord performed the necessary repairs and if the landlord exercised due care. Broken vertebrae, torn quadricep requiring surgery, broken ankle requiring surgery are just as few examples of clients’ injuries from falls that were avoidable.
If you own property, take care of it so it is safe and free from defective or dangerous conditions.
These safety tips will help all of us in Massachusetts enjoy the good weather and return to many of the activities we love this summer in a safe manner. Happy Summer!
The lawyers at Nadeau Harkavy LLC help victims and their families recover compensation for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, or through any other accident. Make sure everything is done to protect your interests. If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to a car accident, wrongful death, or other accident, feel free to contact us for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.