Car crash in MA: Wild Events, Utility Pole Injures Pedestrians….

Sometimes a simple garden variety, common place  Automobile accident can turn into something more, much more. In 1972, a seemingly simple car crash in Lexington Massachusetts turned into a complicated Pedestrian Accident, Motor Vehicle Crash, Product Liability and Negligence Case. In Bernier v. Boston Edison Co., 403 NE 2d 391, two cars crashed, setting off a tragic, wild chain of events causing injury and mayhem. ####,

One of the cars in the accident was being driven by a 69 year old woman.  After the impact in the motor vehicle accident, a 69 year old woman suffered a bloody nose.Id.  The Sixty Nine year old woman lost control of her car. Id. “She unknowingly let her foot slip from the power brake to the gas pedal.” Id. As a result, she accelerated and traversed approximately 55 feet onto the sidewalk. Her car grazed a certain camera store, leveled an electric light pole and hit a pedestrian who was just exiting an ice cream parlor and hit an oncoming motor vehicle causing injury and property damage. The electric pole fell and hit a Volkswagon and pinned the legs of another person. Id.

The person pinned under the electric pole “thighs and left shin bone were broken, the latter break causing a permanently shortened left leg; and he had other related injuries.” Id.

Several Plaintiff’s through their Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys, including the pedestrians seriously injured in the accident, commenced litigation against numerous defendants in MA Superior Court. This litigation included Product Liability Negligence causes of actions against the owner and operators of the electric poles, Boston Edison.

Issue Presented Concerning Owner of Electric Poles: “These complaints alleged against Edison that it had negligently designed, selected, constructed, and maintained the pole at Lexington Center.” Bernier v. Boston Edison Co., 403 NE 2d 391

Mass. Supreme Judicial Court Decision: The lower Court decision is affirmed because a reasonable jury could and did find that the defendant’s electric poles were negligently designed and maintained with “unacceptable” risks to pedestrians.

“Here the jury could rationally find negligence of design and maintenance. They could find that the vehicular speed at which No. 6 would topple was grievously low, creating an unacceptable risk of grave injury to persons at the scene (who in shopping areas such as Lexington Center might be numerous). The impact resistance of the pole could have been improved by relatively minor alterations available at the time and not inconveniencing Edison or the public, or possibly by the use of another type of pole with greater resistance. “In balancing all the pertinent factors, the jury made a judgment as to the social acceptability of the design….” id.

If you were injured in a MA Auto Wreck or pedestrian accident, please contact a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney.

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