Early Tuesday Morning, June 29, 2016, Thomas O’Day of East Bridgewater, aged 52, was tragically killed while picking up lane marking cones on Route 93 in Medford, MA near the Roosevelt Circle exit. According to the Massachusetts State Police, the incident occurred when the worker was struck by a drunk driver. Another worker was injured in the incident as well. At the time of the incident, Mr. O’Day was working for HiWay Safety Systems, Inc. which is subcontracted by the Massachusetts State Transportation Department to perform highway marking.
The driver, James Scoville of Chelmsford, has been charged with vehicular homicide and operating under the influence. Scoville’s parents stated that both they and their son were devastated by the incident. Bostonglobe.com has reported that Scoville had worked a double shift on Monday as a waiter at State Street Provisions, a restaurant on Long Wharf in Boston. This incident marks the second time in as many days that a person accused of drunk driving struck and injured a highway worker. On Monday, another similar incident occurred in the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston, MA.
On June 25, 2016, a Massachusetts State Police Trooper and four other people were injured on Route 93 when a speeding driver slammed into the back of the Trooper’s cruiser. According to Masslive.com, the Trooper was parked on the side of the highway at approximately 2:45 a.m., with his blue lights flashing, when the collision occurred. According to reports, the force of the impact was so severe that the cruiser ended up facing in the opposite direction on the far left side of the roadway.
These and other incidents, which we are seeing more and more often in the news, highlight the dangers associated with working on our State roads and highways.
Of course, if a person is working in the course and scope of their employment at the time of the incident, the injured worker will have the right to pursue a claim for lost wage reimbursement and medical expense coverage through their employer’s workers compensation insurance. Other types of benefits may be available to injured workers if they suffer a loss of function or scarring due to a work injury and the spouse and children of a worker killed in the course of his employment may have rights to significant benefits as well. Of course, a worker injured by an individual operating a motor vehicle will also have the right to pursue a claim against the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident. However, drunk driving may result in the driver’s insurance refusing to provide coverage or limiting coverage for a particular accident.
In some cases, an injured person’s own automobile insurance will step in and provide additional coverage for an accident involving a motor vehicle, even if the injured person’s vehicle is not involved in the accident. This is often referred to as an underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage or simply ‘UM’ coverage. Underinsured refers to situations when the responsible person does not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate someone for their injuries and other damages. Uninsured refers to situations where the person either has no insurance or their insurance is refusing to provide coverage, based on a particular provision of their automobile insurance policy.
In some circumstances, there may be the possibility of pursuing a claim against a company if they were responsible for providing oversight for safety at a highway or roadway work site but failed to do so in a reasonable manner. In other cases, where alcohol is determined to be a contributing factor in causing an accident, the injured party may be able to pursue a claim against a bar, restaurant, or another establishment where the drunk driver was served an excessive amount of alcohol. These types of claims are commonly referred to as ‘Dram Shop’ cases.
As a result, if you or a friend or loved one is injured in an accident occurring on a roadway or highway, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the incident in order to protect your rights.
At Keches Law Group, our team of experienced attorneys will assist you to obtain workers compensation coverage and will be able to help you identify and pursue all available personal injury claims to which you have a right, due to an accident occurring on our State highways and roadway.