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.
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.
Will I Need to Go To Court For My Car Accident Case?
Before this question is answered we must clarify one thing. When clients ask us this type of question, we usually need to get more specific about what “going to court” really means. When some people say “go to court” they mean whether or not they will actually need to go to the court and testify. Others use it to describe whether a lawsuit will need to be filed. Either way, the short answer to this frequently asked question is “No”. But, each accident case is different.
Most personal injury claims from motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts are settled with the auto insurance company before you ever need to file a lawsuit or go to court. In other accidents, there may be issues that may result in the injured party needing to file a lawsuit and possibly go to court.
There are a number of different factors in each accident case that will determine whether you need to go to court or not. It is probably better explained by way of examples:
Example 1: We recently represented a young woman, who suffered a neck and back injury in a car crash in Medway, MA. This client was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended by another car. Our client suffered a bulged disc in her cervical spine (neck) and a herniated disc in her lumbar spine (lower back). Because liability was reasonably clear (i.e., the other driver was clearly at fault and his auto insurance company accepted that he was negligent) we were able to settle this personal injury claim without the need to file a lawsuit or ever go to court.
Example 2: In another case, however, our client was driving in Newton, MA and as he proceeded through an intersection, another car took a left hand turn directly in front of him. Our client ended up colliding with the other car and suffered a fractured arm in the accident. The other driver’s auto insurance company denied liability and argued that our client was at fault for causing the accident. In this situation, we needed to file a lawsuit against the other driver. Following the discovery process of a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit, evidence was obtained that supported our client’s version of how the accident happened and we were able to settle the case before our client ever needed to go to court. So, in this example, we needed to file a lawsuit, but our client did not need to actually go to court to testify at a trial.
As you can see, there are different scenarios that will dictate whether you will need to go to court or not in order to resolve your personal injury claim. In order to be certain whether you will need to file a lawsuit or go to court, you should consult with an experienced Massachusetts accident attorney.
Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been hurt in an accident in Massachusetts and you are not sure whether you will need to go to court or not, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. This will get you answers to your questions, general information about accident cases and advice on the appropriate and necessary legal steps to take.
At Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we offer complementary initial meetings where we will review your case, answer your questions, and explain your rights and legal options. To speak with someone on our legal team or to schedule your meeting, please call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online.
Should I Release my Medical Records to the Other Ins Co?
After a motor vehicle accident you can count on the other driver's insurance company calling you and mailing you documents to sign and return. One of the documents will be an Authorization to Release your Medical Records. A question we hear often is: "Should I sign the Medical Records Release that the insurance company mailed me?" The simple answer is NO.
The other driver's insurance company will, without question, try to contact you soon after the accident. They will call you in order to try and get a statement from you. They will also mail you letters with documents, including a Medical Records Release or Authorization to Release Medical Records, for you to sign and return to them. They do this quickly after an accident in hopes of getting the injured party to give them a statement and sign the Release before he or she speaks with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Why? Because they know that if you speak with a qualified and experienced accident attorney first, you will be advised not sign and return the Release and not to give the other driver's insurance company a statement.
The reason they want you to sign the Release is so they can obtain all your past medical records. A Release with no time limitations will allow the other driver's insurance company to obtain any and all of your medical records. They do this so they can dig into your private life for evidence of similar injuries or complaints to downplay the extent of the injuries sustained from the car accident or claim that the injuries you suffered in the accident were pre-existing. With prior medical records, they hope to create an issue with regard to your injuries in order to offer you less money in the end and save money for their insurance company.
Have you Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident in Massachusetts?
When is the best time to hire a car accident lawyer?
The best time to hire an attorney in any case is immediately. In accident cases, the sooner your attorney can start gathering evidence and obtain witness statements the better chance of success in your case. Cases are won or lost on evidence. In addition, there are time limits to file cases after an accident or being injured. You must act quickly to preserve your rights.
After a car accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer can also work with your insurance company to coordinate the payment of your medical bills and help get you lost wages if you are unable to work because of your injuries.
Also, an experienced injury attorney will help protect you from making mistakes early on that can ruin a personal injury claim. Protect yourself and hire (or at least speak with) an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
Have you Been Hurt in an Accident?