Ballin Law


Just before Covid reared its ugly head, an attorney friend of mine referred a case to me with a very unusual set of facts. An elderly man named Gerry Colette was operating his motorized scooter down an interior hallway at the Clearview Senior Living Community when he struck from behind 91-year-old Julie Venit. Ms. Venit was walking to an exercise class at the time. Ms. Venit and Mr. Colette were both full time residents at Clearview.

Ms. Venit sustained deep lacerations in both legs from the crash, each of which required sutures, and she was later admitted to the hospital after one of the wounds became infected.

Although Mr. Colette was a resident at the Massachusetts retirement home, he was still the owner of the single-family home in which he used to live. We were confident we could prove the liability coverage under Mr. Colette’s homeowner’s insurance policy with ACME Insurance would apply, regardless of whether he was living there at the time of this incident. Therefore, we presented Ms. Venit’s injury claim to ACME.

When no offer came in from ACME, we filed a lawsuit against Mr. Colette, who, in turn, brought Clearview into the lawsuit as a third-party defendant. A few months later, ACME offered $30,000. We then learned that ACME was relying on Mr. Colette’s statement that Ms. Venit stepped in front of his scooter and so he was unable to avoid hitting her from behind. Thus, ACME considered Ms. Venit to be 25% at fault for her own injuries. ACME’s contention as to comparative fault and its offer were unacceptable.

At this point, Covid was in full swing and conducting business as usual was not an option. Nevertheless, I was able to obtain a written statement and coordinate the remote deposition of Mary, an eyewitness to the electric scooter crash and fellow Clearview resident. Mary’s account of the incident dispelled any notion that Ms. Venit bore any responsibility. She confirmed that she and Ms. Venit were walking down the hallway together on their way to an exercise class. Most importantly, she testified that Ms. Venit was between her and the wall. In addition, reviewing Clearview’s Electronic Mobility Vehicle (EMV) use regulations, it was difficult to find a policy that Mr. Colette did not violate or an EMV rule of the road that he followed. To name a few, Clearview EMV operators were required to drive in the center of hallways, drive no faster than an average resident’s walking pace, and to use a bell when passing pedestrians.

It was not long before ACME’s offer began to steadily increase. Ultimately, our client agreed to settle the injury claim against Gerry Colette for $92,000.

In order to protect the privacy of the injured person and witness, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to names of real persons, past or present, is merely coincidental and not intended.

Jared N. Ballin, personal injury attorney
Jared N. Ballin, Esq.

For over thirty years, Ballin & Associates’ attorneys have practiced solely in the field of personal injury law and successfully represented injured clients throughout Massachusetts. Cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, which means no legal fee is due unless and until money is successfully collected. Consultations are free and confidential. For more information, please call 508-543-3700 or visit us at

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