Frequent Questions on Workers’ Compensation, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Construction Accidents, and More
We have answered a lot of questions over the years, and want all injury victims to have the benefit of our experience. Browse our FAQ page to find answers on construction accidents, car crashes, work accidents, and wrongful death.
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Do I have to reimburse my health insurance company if I settle my Massachusetts car accident case?
If you were injured in a car accident in Massachusetts that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation from the other driver’s auto insurance company. Your health insurance company probably paid some of your medical bills for treatment related to your injuries after the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits have been exhausted.
A lot of people don’t know that in a situation like this, your health insurance company may want to be repaid for the portion of the medical bills they covered for your treatment once your personal injury case is settled. If you have MassHealth or Medicare, then they are entitled by law to be reimbursed. A private health insurer will either place a lien on your personal injury case or send you notice of their claim for reimbursement.
I know what your thinking. If I pay for my health insurance, why do I need to repay them for medical treatment after a settlement. The rational for the health insurance company’s claim for reimbursement or lien is if another driver caused your injuries due to their negligent driving, then he or she (or their auto insurance company) is financially responsible to you for your medical bills, among other damages. So, if the other driver’s auto insurance company pays you a settlement, a portion of which is to compensate you for the medical bills you incurred as a result of the accident, then the health insurer wants to be repaid for the portion of the medical bills they paid on your behalf.
So, the general answer to this question is Yes, you usually must reimburse your health insurance company for the portion of the medical bills they paid if you are compensated for those medical bills. Now, I say “portion” of the medical bills, because the health insurance company doesn’t usually pay the full medical bills. They typically pay a percentage of the bill after they apply an insurance adjustment. Thus, if a doctor’s appointment costs $250, the health insurer may only pay $100 of the $250 medical bill. In this case, you should be reimbursed for the full medical bill of $250 from the negligent party, but will only need to repay your health insurer the $100. The balance of $150 left over is for you.
Also, don’t forget, most health insurance liens can be negotiated down. This is where an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney comes in. An experienced accident lawyer will know how to get your health insurance lien or repayment amount reduced. This will, in turn, result in more money for you from your settlement.
Speak With An Experienced Massachusetts Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, and your health insurance company paid some of your medical bills, you should discuss your case with an experienced attorney in order to understand and protect your rights. Having an experienced attorney evaluate your accident case, may result in you collecting more money from any possible settlement.
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has well over 40 years of combined experience helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about an accident case, feel free to contact us online or call us at (508) 879-3500. We are happy to evaluate your case, answer your questions and explain how you can secure the financial compensation you deserve.
What is Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage in Massachusetts?
Most people don’t fully understand what car insurance coverage they truly have until they are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Sure, a lot of people have a basic understanding that their auto insurance coverage will be available if they injure someone in an accident. But, what about if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by someone else?
With so many different coverage options available, motor vehicle insurance can be complicated. One, often overlooked and not fully understood type of coverage is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (or UIM for short). UIM is insurance coverage that everyone should seriously consider when purchasing auto insurance in order to protect themselves and their family.
Overview of Underinsured Motor Vehicle (UIM) Coverage
Everyone who registers a motor vehicle in Massachusetts must have specific kinds of insurance coverage at an absolute minimum amount. These mandatory types of insurance coverages are known as compulsory coverage. Additionally, there are specific kinds of insurance coverage that are optional for motor vehicles in Massachusetts. One of which is Underinsured Motor Vehicle (UIM) coverage. While UIM coverage is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that everyone review their auto insurance policy to review if they have UIM coverage and, if so, how much coverage they have.
Underinsured motor vehicle (UIM) coverage provides additional insurance coverage for compensation of personal injuries and death from a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else's negligence and the available bodily injury insurance is insufficient to satisfy the value of the claim. UIM coverage is available for you, a member of your household or anyone riding in your vehicle at the time of the crash.
Let’s look at an example: A woman was injured in a car accident in Natick, MA. The crash was caused by someone else’s negligence, but they only had the minimum amount of bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person /$40,000 per accident. The approximate value of her personal injury claim, however, is $45,000. This means that the person who caused the car crash was “underinsured” and didn’t have enough coverage to compensate the injured woman. Fortunately, she has UIM coverage of $50,000 per person /$100,000 per accident. This means that if her case is worth $45,000, she should be able to obtain the $20,000 from the other driver’s insurance company and have an additional $30,000 ($50,000 of UIM minus the $20,000 BI coverage*) of UIM coverage available from her own auto insurance company to fully compensate her for her injuries and losses. Therefore, if her case is worth $45,000, she should receive $20,000 from the other driver’s insurance company and an additional $25,000 from her own insurance company.
* The amount of UIM coverage available is the total UIM coverage minus the total amount of bodily injury coverage from the at-fault party’s car insurance. In the example above it would be the $50,000 UIM coverage less the $20,000 BI insurance coverage, which calculates to $30,000 of available UIM coverage.
As you can see, auto insurance law can be complex. This is why anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident should speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to determine the value of your accident case, how much insurance coverage is available to compensate you for your injuries and what insurance companies are responsible to pay you the compensation you deserve.
Do you Have Questions About an Accident Case? Speak with an Experienced Injury Attorney in Massachusetts Today
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, speak with an experienced accident attorney in Massachusetts today. The world of auto insurance can be complex. An experienced lawyer can help make sure you get what you deserve for your injuries.
After my Massachusetts Accident Case is Settled, When Will I Get my Money?
This is probably one question that we are asked on every personal injury case. It is a great question and clients should know when to expect the money from their settlement.
Generally, you should receive your settlement proceeds within approximately thirty (30) days. In some cases, it may be sooner and others, it may be longer. It really depends on several factors specific to each personal injury case.
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
Example 1: A woman was rear-ended and injured in Framingham, MA by a truck. She hired an attorney and filed a personal injury claim in Massachusetts. This woman had MassHealth for health insurance and her total medical bills were $7,500. When someone injured in a car accident in Massachusetts has MassHealth for health insurance, the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits from the auto insurance company that insures the vehicle she occupied at the time of the accident will pay the first $8,000 in related medical bills. So, in this example, PIP should have paid the $7,500 in medical bills, which means there are no outstanding medical bills and no liens from MassHealth or any other medical providers. Therefore, once her case is settled, the at-fault party’s auto insurance company will most likely issue the settlement check within a week or two after the settlement. The client will then receive her settlement proceeds (i.e., the gross settlement less the attorney’s fees and expenses) within a few days of her lawyer receiving the settlement check from the insurance company.
Example 2: A man was seriously injured in a car accident in Marlborough, MA. He suffered a broken leg and a lower back injury. He hired a personal injury lawyer and filed an injury claim against the other driver, who caused the accident. After he completed his treatment and reached a maximum medical improvement, all of his medical bills were obtained. His medical bills totaled $30,000. He has Medicare for health insurance. Just like with MassHealth, PIP will pay the first $8,000 of medical bills for treatment related to the accident for Medicare recipients injured in a car accident in Massachusetts. The remaining medical bills were submitted and paid by Medicare. His case was eventually settled. Once the case is settled, the settlement amount and other information must be provided to Medicare, so they can calculate the total amount of the Medicare lien. This typically takes a while. After the case is settled, the at-fault party’s auto insurance company will usually not issue the settlement check until the Medicare lien is determined. Therefore, he will not receive his check as quickly as the woman in Example 1 above. Generally, in this type of situation, the settlement should be finalized in a month or two.
As you can see, there are many different factors that will determine how soon someone will receive their settlement proceeds. Some other factors would include outstanding medical bills, health insurer liens, or if the accident case is part of a workers’ compensation claim, which would result in a workers’ compensation lien.
No matter what the situation or circumstances are, you should speak with your personal injury attorney about when the settlement check should be ready. An experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer will be able to explain to you when you should receive your money.
Do you Have Questions About an Accident Case? Speak with an Experienced Injury Attorney in Massachusetts Today
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, speak with an experienced accident attorney in Massachusetts today.
I Collected Workers’ Comp Benefits, Returned to Work, But Had to Go Back Out Due to the Same Injury. Will I Continue to Receive Benefits?
In many Massachusetts workers’ compensation cases an injured worker may be out of work due to his or her injury, collected workers’ compensation benefits, but returned to work at some point only to go back out due to the same injury. What happens then? Well, the answer depends.
Liability Accepted or Established
In one scenario, where liability is either accepted by the workers’ compensation insurer or found and ordered by a judge, if the injured worker returned to work for less than 28 calendar days, and then must leave work again due to the same injury, the workers' compensation insurance company must resume payment of workers’ compensation benefits to the injured worker. The injured worker (or his or her workers’ compensation attorney) must report that he or she had to leave work because of the work injury in writing within 21 calendar days of going back out of work. The workers’ compensation insurance company must then resume making payments of benefits within two weeks of receiving the written notice of renewed disability.
Liability Not Accepted or Established
In the other situation, where a worker was hurt on the job, received voluntary payments of workers’ compensation benefits, goes back to work only to leave work again due to the same injury the result is a bit different. If the insurer hasn’t accepted liability or liability has not been found and ordered by a judge, there is no legal requirement for the workers’ compensation insurer to resume any voluntary payments of benefits. The insurance company can voluntarily pay benefits to the injured worker or may refuse to resume payments. If the insurance company refuses to resume voluntary payments of benefits, the injured worker can file an Employee Claim for Benefits with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents. This is how an injured worker would take legal action to compel the insurance company to make payments of benefits.
Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specialize in helping injured workers in Massachusetts get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. If you are not getting the benefits you deserve, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free case review. At the complimentary meeting, we will evaluate your work accident, answer your questions and explain the workers’ compensation process.
I was hurt on the job and had to attend an IME. Can I get a copy of my report?
In a lot of cases where an employee is injured on the job in Massachusetts and is treating for his or her injuries or receiving workers' compensation disability benefits they may need to submit to an independent medical exam (IME). An IME is a medical examination set up by the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152 § 45 governs IMEs, which states in part: “After an employee has received an injury, and from time to time thereafter during the continuance of his disability he shall, if requested by the insurer or insured, submit to an examination by a registered physician, furnished and paid for by the insurer or the insured.” Because this statute provides the legal right to the insurance company to have an injured worker examined by one of the insurance company’s doctors, the injured worker must attend the examination or any disability benefits may be suspended and possibly forfeited.
Now to answer the question of whether an injured worker can get a copy of his or her IME report. Yes, in Massachusetts an injured employee who submits to an IME has the right to obtain a copy of the IME report. There are workers’ compensation laws in Massachusetts that require the workers’ compensation insurance company to provide a copy of the IME report to the injured worker or his or her attorney.
Injured on the Job? Call Today to Speak with our Legal Team
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specialize in helping injured workers in Massachusetts get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. If you feel that you are not getting the benefits to which you are entitled, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free case review. At the complimentary meeting, we will evaluate your work accident, answer your questions and explain the workers’ compensation process.
I am collecting workers' compensation and now the insurance company claims they overpaid me. Now what?
We have received many calls from injured workers about overpayments by the workers’ compensation insurance company. In Massachusetts, when a worker is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Disability benefits are very important to an injured worker whose injury prevents them from working. These weekly disability benefit payments replace a portion of the wages the injured worker is losing because of their work injury. In some situations when the injured worker is collecting weekly disability benefits, the insurance company discovers that they have overpaid the worker. What happens when there was an overpayment by the insurance company?
The laws in Massachusetts allow the workers’ compensation insurance company to recoup the amount of the overpayment made to the injured employee. If the injured worker is still receiving weekly disability checks, then the insurance company can recoup the overpayment by reducing future weekly checks by no more than 30% until the overpayment has been repaid. In the event that no future benefits will be paid or are owed to the injured worker, then the insurance company may commence legal action to get their money back.
If you have been notified of an overpayment by the workers’ compensation insurer, it is best for you to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Massachusetts. First off, an experienced lawyer will protect your legal rights. Also, an injury attorney should be able to confirm whether in fact there has been an overpayment, and if there was, whether the amount claimed by the insurer is accurate.
Have You Been Hurt on the Job? Call Today to Speak with our Legal Team.
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specialize their law practice in helping injured workers in Massachusetts get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. If you feel that you are not getting the benefits to which you are entitled, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free case review. At the complimentary meeting, we will evaluate your work accident, answer your questions and explain the workers’ compensation process.
Who Pays a Dog Bite Victim a Settlement in a Dog Bite Case?
Generally, the homeowner’s insurance policy for the dog owner is available to offer coverage for any damages an individual sustained from a dog bite or attack. Many insurance companies, however, have excluded certain breed of dogs from insurance coverage, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. In that situation, or in a situation where the dog owner doesn’t have a homeowner’s insurance policy (such as a renter), the owner of the dog may be subject to personal liability if their dog causes personal injuries to a person.
This is why it is very important to identify the dog owner. If you do not know who owns the dog that bit you, you may never be able to obtain financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
Speak to an Experienced Injury Attorney About a Dog Bite Case
If you or someone you know has been attacked or bitten by a dog you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP have handled numerous dog bite cases and recovered full compensation for our clients injuries and losses.
Call us today at 508-879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. We offer contingent fees on dog bite cases, which means, we don’t earn a legal fee until and unless you recover compensation.
When Should You Try to Settle Your Massachusetts Accident Case?
In general, after being hurt in an accident you should not attempt to settle your personal injury case until you have fully recovered from your injuries, were released from your treating physician’s care or you have reached a maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is where the injured person reaches a stage where their medical injury or condition cannot be improved any further, has reached a treatment plateau, and/or their treatment options have been exhausted.
When you have reached an end point in your treatment then the full extent of your injuries or damages will be ascertainable. In that case, you can determine what your damages are, understand what the value of your personal injury case is and how much to seek for compensation. Otherwise, if you try to settle your case too early (before you finished treatment), you may not receive the full amount of compensation for your injuries. This is because the full extent of your injuries, the required treatment and costs and expenses are not known at that time.
For Example: We represented a Framingham, MA resident that was injured in a car accident in Worcester, MA. He suffered a neck and shoulder injury in the crash. He was thought by his doctor to have a whip lash injury and treated for quite a while with physical therapy. After a few months he wanted to settle his case because he was frustrated with the lack of progress he was making with his treatment. His doctor, at that time, recommended an MRI of his cervical spine. The MRI showed a herniated disc that was compressing on the nerve root in his neck. This resulted in thousands of dollars more in medical treatment, which significantly increased the value of his personal injury case.
As you can see from the example above, trying to settle your injury case too soon may result in much less compensation than waiting until you have determined the full extent of your injuries. But, be mindful of the statute of limitations. This is a deadline where you must file your lawsuit by or settle your case. If not, you will be forever barred from seeking damages for your injuries.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Injury Attorney in Massachusetts
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, speak with an experienced injury attorney in Massachusetts today.
How do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Case from my Car Accident?
Some people who are in a car accident are not sure whether they have a personal injury case or not. There are a number of things that must be examined, but the list below is a good start to determining whether you have a personal injury case or not.
A personal injury case from a car accident is a bodily injury claim for the injuries and losses you suffered in the crash. In the case or claim you will be seeking financial compensation for the injuries and damages you suffered as a result fo the crash.
In Massachusetts, generally, you would have a personal injury case if:
- Obviously, you were in a motor vehicle accident either as a driver or passenger;
- You were injured or hurt in the accident;
- The driver of the other car or someone else was at fault for causing the accident;
- The other driver’s negligence in causing the accident was the cause of your injuries;
- You have incurred reasonable and necessary medical expenses in excess of $2,000 or the accident causes death, loss of a body member, results in permanent or serious disfigurement, or results in loss of sight or hearing.
There are other matters that must be considered, such as whether the other driver’s auto insurance policy applies to the accident. Each case is different and must be evaluated based upon the specific facts and circumstances of each accident. The best way to be certain that you have a personal injury case from a car accident is to speak with an experienced car accident attorney.
Speak With An Experienced Attorney Today
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and you are not sure whether you have a personal injury claim or not, speak with an experienced injury attorney. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specializes in personal injury law, including bodily injury claims from car accidents. We have represented numerous people hurt in accidents all over Massachusetts and have the experience and qualifications to help you.
Call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation meeting and case evaluation. At our meeting we will explain your legal rights and options, evaluate your case and answer all of your questions.
Do I Need to Attend the Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation Meeting?
Yes. The Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (OEVR) is a division of the Department of Industrial Accidents for Massachusetts workers’ compensation cases. The OEVR provides assistance to eligible injured workers to help them return to appropriate gainful employment.
When an injured employee in Massachusetts receives a letter from OEVR with a date and time to meet with someone at the OEVR, the employee must attend. The laws in Massachusetts provide for certain penalties for employees who fail or refuse to attend the meeting or cooperate in the process. For example, an injured worker who fails to attend the mandatory meeting is not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits during the time they refuse to cooperate. Also, an employee that has been found suitable for educational or vocational rehabilitation services and thereafter refuses to cooperate will suffer a reduction in their weekly disability compensation checks.
So, if you receive a letter from OEVR informing you that you need to attend a meeting, you should do so or consult with an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.
Do You Have Questions About A Work Injury?
If you, or someone you know, has been injured on the job in Massachusetts and you are not sure the employer had workers’ compensation insurance, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. Our legal team will answer your questions and evaluate your case for free.