Brooks & Crowley LLP Real Estate and Personal Injury Attorneys
car rolled over

Rollover Accidents Can Be Extremely Dangerous

Rollover accidents are among the worst for occupants of a vehicle. Although rollovers account for only 3 percent of all serious crashes, they are responsible for roughly 30 percent of fatalities.

Any vehicle can roll over, but taller, narrower vehicles like SUVs, pickups, and vans are more susceptible. This is because they have a higher center of gravity and tend to be more top-heavy. In addition, rounding a curve or a sudden turn at the wrong speed—or overcorrecting for a sudden turn—renders these vehicles more vulnerable to weight shifts that, when combined with gravity, can lead to rollovers.

Steering maneuvers, however, are not the primary cause of single-vehicle rollovers. Bumping into a curb at significant speed, striking a pothole, or two wheels encountering a soft roadside shoulder can cause a vehicle to “trip.” The government estimates that 95 percent of rollovers are due to “trips.”

Drivers have a say in minimizing rollover danger. Avoid placing heavy loads on the roof or otherwise overloading the vehicle, which intensifies weight shifts that result in rollovers.

Wear seatbelts. Nearly three-quarters of those ejected from the vehicle in a rollover don’t live to tell the tale. Excessive speed makes rollovers more severe and is a factor in approximately 40 percent of fatal rollovers.

Replacement tires should be similar to the originals and be inflated per manufacturer recommendations. When purchasing a vehicle, choose one with state-of-the-art safety features, such as electronic stability control and side airbags.

If you’ve been the victim of a rollover accident due to the negligence of another, contact us immediately to protect your rights.


Keep Kids Safe on All Hallows’ Eve

trick or treatingMay your children have a spooky and fun Halloween, but make “safe” part of the equation as well. Kids love to dress up and pretend they’re someone else, but visibility is of prime importance. Light-colored costumes are best, adorned with reflective tape and/or stickers. Flashlights and glow sticks do the trick, too.

Make sure shoes fit well and that outfits aren’t so long as to cause a tripping hazard. Kids’ eyes should have proper clearance from wigs and hats. Masks can intrude on vision, too. Face paint can create an effective disguise while affording full peripheral vision.

Young children (under 12) should always be accompanied by an adult. Cross streets at the corners, in the crosswalks, and follow traffic signal instructions for pedestrians. Walk across streets; do not run. Watch for cars backing out of driveways (or pulling in). If there’s no sidewalk, walk while facing traffic, as far away from the roadway as possible.

Trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods only. Consider a front porch light that isn’t on as a “no trespassing” sign.

For those age 12 or older who go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, there’s strength in numbers. Don’t enter houses if you don’t know the residents. Pay attention, which means forgoing the “devices” for a brief while. Be aware that decorative contact lens purchases without an eye exam and prescription are illegal and dangerous. An infection and possible blindness can occur remarkably quickly.

Finally, inspect the sugary loot when you get home. Better safe than sorry.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

A Pumpkin Spice Latte You Can Easily Make at Home

Total Time: 10 min • Prep: 5 min • Cook: 5 min

pumpkin latteIngredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving


Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and vent with a small hole. Microwave until the milk is hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.

Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the foamed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin.


Taming the TRID Tiger: Understanding the New Mortgage Lending Disclosure Rule Changes

cartoonMortgage lenders have spent millions of dollars updating software and putting new compliance systems into place in order to comply with the new 1,888-page consumer lending rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The new rule takes effect for consumer mortgage loan applications made after October 3, 2015.

TRID (which stands for TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure – catchy, huh?) requires that lenders send out a new three-page Loan Estimate form to borrowers within three business days of their making a loan application, and a new Closing Disclosure form at least three business days before their closing takes place. The Good Faith Estimate form and HUD-1 settlement statement are now no longer to be used, except for loans currently in the works. There will necessarily be a period of several months that both sets of forms will remain in use.

Notably, the new five-page Closing Disclosure form has one set of disclosures for the buyer, and a separate set of charges for the seller (for privacy reasons, the CFPB does not want sellers to see buyers’ loan terms or loan account information). Most conveyancing firms, including our offices, will continue to create a simple settlement statement with figures and adjustments for both sellers and buyers to approve and sign, which will include an authorization to disclose information to one another and to disburse funds in accordance with the terms of the transaction.

How will TRID affect parties and their representatives? For one thing, final readings for water and fuel will need to be completed at least a week in advance of closing. Title V reports, repairs of inspection items, escrows and holdbacks will need to be agreed-upon so the final figures are decided upon during the same target time period. Real estate agents will need to send their commission statements well in advance. It is recommended that buyers conduct a walk-through fourteen days before closing where finish or repair work is being done, and a second one immediately before closing.

Due to the high potential for delays caused by TRID, back-to-back or sell-buy closings may be a thing of the past, at least for the time being. A delay with a closing obviously has a domino effect on any back-to-back closing. The best practice, at least for the first few months of the new TRID era, is to schedule closings at least 3 days apart from one another.

Lenders, not closing attorneys, are responsible for the creation and delivery of the Closing Disclosure form to the buyers. Lenders are also liable for violations of the rule, which carries civil fines ranging from up to $5,000 per day for failure to follow the regulation, to $25,000 per day for gross negligence, all the way up to $1 million per day for knowing violations of federal consumer financial laws. Given that the CFPB’s budget will be funded substantially by these fines, it’s no wonder that the lenders are apprehensive about what lies ahead.

When You’ve Soured on Your New Car

car problemsFor some people, the excitement of driving a new vehicle quickly dissipates with the emergence of a significant malfunction, defect, or other problem that wasn’t part of the deal.

To meet the criteria of “lemon,” a vehicle must have a substantial defect that presents itself within the warranty limits or continues to have the defect after a reasonable number of attempts to fix it. In Massachusetts, the new car Lemon Law provides coverage for one year or 15,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Generally speaking, when a defect occurs that is not caused by the owner after purchase—unlike, say, someone driving their car into a lake—and it impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, then it’s considered “substantial.” The Massachusetts Lemon Law does not list the defects that are considered to be “substantial.” In order to prove market value impairment, a consumer must show that the vehicle is worth at least 10 percent less than it would be without the defect. Although a defect might be annoying, it is not necessarily “substantial.”

If your car meets the terms of a substantial defect, the dealer and/or manufacturer get a “reasonable” number of cracks at repairing it. Up to three repair attempts is commonly considered reasonable. A car may also be deemed a lemon if it spends 15 or more business days in the shop in a given year.

If you qualify as the not-so-proud owner of a lemon, you have the right to a refund or replacement car. If the manufacturer offers a settlement you’re not happy with, you may proceed to arbitration or to court.

Lemon law arbitration is a free, non-judicial process in which an arbitrator analyzes all the information of the case and determines what the reward should be. The court process sometimes takes longer but could result in the award of double or triple damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. In Massachusetts, failure to comply with the Lemon Law is an unfair and deceptive act under the Consumer Protection Act.

If you believe you’ve been saddled with a lemon, contact a lemon law attorney to protect your rights.