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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  • 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. 

    Call Mahaney & Pappas, LLP at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation meeting and case evaluation.

  • Can I Receive Compensation if my Spouse Was Hurt in an Accident?

    Yes. In Massachusetts, if you are married and your spouse was injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you can seek and receive compensation for your own damages. This type of claim for compensation is called “loss of consortium”.

    Consortium is the right that a spouse has to certain benefits with his or her spouse. The highest court in Massachusetts (the Supreme Judicial Court) has defined the damages a spouse suffers for loss of consortium as the loss of a spouse's "services, society, affection, companionship, and relations." This right a spouse has to recover compensation for loss of consortium is completely independent of his or her spouse’s negligence claim.

    To better explain loss of consortium, let’s look at an example. We represented a man that was hit by a car as he walked on the sidewalk in Boston, MA. This man was married at the time of the accident. He suffered a broken collar bone, torn rotator cuff and a fractured bone in his foot. He had surgeries to repair his torn rotator cuff and the broken bone in his foot. Due to his injuries, surgeries and recovery, he was quite miserable. This had a significant impact on his relationship with his wife. She explained that ever since the accident her spouse had become distant and less affectionate, which put a strain on their marriage. A personal injury lawsuit was filed against the negligent driver that struck the husband. In the lawsuit, a separate cause of action was also filed against the negligent driver by the wife for her loss of consortium. This case was ultimately settled and the wife received compensation for the damages she suffered for loss of consortium.

    Have You Been Injured in an Accident?

    Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has over 35 years of experience representing accident victims and their families get the compensation they deserve.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and you are confused or concerned about what to do, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

    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

  • I was hurt in an accident, but I’m not sure if I have a case? What do I do?

    Many times when people are injured in an accident in Massachusetts they are not sure whether they have a case or not. If you are not sure, you should get in contact with an experienced personal injury attorney. Most lawyers offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose to pick up the phone and speak with an accident attorney. So, even if you do not have a case, it will cost you nothing to consult with an attorney.

    Regardless of whether your injury was suffered in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall or a work-related accident, getting an expert legal opinion or advice is highly recommended. Getting an expert evaluation of your accident case will protect your rights, especially where there are many deadlines for personal injury cases and workers’ compensation cases. Also, if you do have a valid legal claim or case, an experienced injury lawyer in Massachusetts will be able to advise you on what steps to take and the many pitfalls to avoid for your claim or case.

    Here at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we are happy to speak with you for free to give you a professional evaluation of your specific situation and injury. For additional information about the process of what happens when you contact our office about an accident case, please check out: An Overview of the Process of Hiring Mahaney & Pappas, LLP for Your Personal Injury Case

    Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today

    If you have been hurt in an accident in Massachusetts, find out if you have a case. Speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer will get you answers to your questions, 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


    Don’t forget, for answers to many questions and great information on how to get the best possible settlement in your accident case, get a copy of our book: You Were in a Car Accident: How to Maximize Your Settlement. This book will provide you with information to help maximize your accident settlement. Best of all, it’s free

  • What Should I Bring to my Meeting with A Personal Injury Lawyer?

    If you were injured in an accident in Massachusetts, you may have the right to financial compensation. That right to compensation depends on a number of different factors. That’s where a personal injury lawyer comes into play. So, you’ve done your research for the right personal injury attorney. You called and scheduled an appointment to meet with the lawyer. You are probably wondering at that point “What do I need to bring with me?”

    When you meet with a lawyer for the first time about your accident you should bring whatever documents or evidence you have related to the accident and your injuries. Remember, at the initial meeting with an accident attorney, he or she will be assessing your case. Here is a brief list of certain items that will be very helpful to a thorough evaluation of your case:

    • Copies of any police reports, motor vehicle crash reports, accident reports or any other incident reports that may explain how the accident occurred and who the involved parties and witnesses are.
    • Photographs and videos are extremely helpful in accident cases. These items will help you and your lawyer examine where and how the accident happened. Pictures of your injuries are also helpful.
    • In motor vehicle accidents, you should bring your car insurance information, such as your Personal Auto Coverage Selection Page. The Coverage Selection Page shows the coverages you have and is issued by your auto insurance company. This will be helpful in determining additional insurance coverage, such as Uninsured or Underinsured coverage, in the event the person who hit you doesn’t have insurance or enough insurance to cover your injuries and damages.
    • Your health insurance information is helpful in certain accident cases. For instance, your health insurance will determine how much PIP coverage you are entitled to.
    • Hospital, doctor or other health care documents and/or reports will enable the lawyer to determine the extent of your injury and needed treatment.

    While this is just a summary of certain documents that will be helpful to an evaluation of your accident case, you should bring any other items you feel may assist the attorney in getting a complete understanding of your case.

    Get Expert Legal Advice On Accident Cases

    If you have been injured in an accident in Massachusetts, you should speak with an experienced injury attorney. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has extensive experience helping people get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We offer free meetings to evaluate your case. For additional information about a specific accident or case or to schedule a time to meet with us, please call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online.   

  • Is the information I provide my personal injury attorney confidential?

    Yes. If you retain or hire our office to represent you in any type of accident or injury case, the information you share with us is protected by the attorney-client privilege. This special and sacred privilege between an attorney and his/her client protects communications between the two from disclosure. The Massachusetts Rules provide that: “A lawyer shall not reveal confidential information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent…” It has been further explained by the Massachusetts Courts that “A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that…the lawyer must not reveal confidential information relating to the representation.”  

    Knowing that the communications between yourself and your attorney is confidential and privileged, it is important to be honest and forthcoming with your attorney about certain facts that may be relevant to your personal injury case. One such fact pertains to prior injuries. It is important for an injury victim to share information about prior injuries so that we can fully evaluate your case. It is also important so we are not taken by surprise by the insurance company or defense and can prepare and strategize how to handle prior injuries.

    Have you Been Injured in a an Accident in Massachusetts?

    If you have been injured in an accident in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You may have many questions like the one above. If so, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary meeting and case evaluation. We will explain your legal rights, what you are entitled to and how we can best help you. 

  • What is Arbitration?

    Arbitration is a form of “alternative dispute resolution”, which offers parties to a personal injury case or accident case an alternative way of resolving their case. It’s an alternative to a trial. In most situations an arbitration can be an efficient and cost effective method of resolving a case.  Rather than going through a prolonged trial with the uncertainty of a jury or judge, the parties can agree to arbitrate their case.

    There are three important aspects of arbitration that should always be considered.  One, both sides have to agree to arbitrate the case; Two, the parties must agree on which arbitrator(s) will be used; and Three, and most importantly, the arbitrator’s decision is final.

    Arbitration is a great way to resolve a personal injury case, but may not be appropriate for all cases. An experienced personal injury lawyer should be consulted before making a decision to arbitrate.

    Have You Been Injured in an Accident in Massachusetts?

    If you have suffered injuries in an accident in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You most likely have many questions about your legal rights and options. If so, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary meeting and case evaluation. We will explain what your legal rights are and how we can best help you. 

  • What is Mediation?

    Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution for legal claims and cases. It is a voluntary process that parties to a legal dispute can agree to in an attempt to resolve the dispute. For example, if a person is injured in a car accident case and the other driver’s insurance company claims the injured person was at fault, the two parties can agree to mediate the case to resolve the dispute.  

    If the parties to the dispute agree to mediate the case, they will select a mutually agreeable mediator. Mediators are usually former judges or lawyers that are experienced in a certain area of law. For instance, in a dispute regarding liability of a car accident, the parties will usually want a mediator that is experienced with car accident cases and injuries.

    The mediation is an informal process where the parties and their lawyers will meet at an office with the mediator. The parties and the mediator will begin the mediation in one office and both parties will have an opportunity to present a brief summary of the facts of the case, legal issues and the claims and defenses. Next, the parties will split up and go to separate offices or rooms. The mediator then will go back and forth between the two rooms and explain the realistic expectations of the case to the parties based upon his/her experience and view of the case. The mediator will attempt to bring the parties to some middle ground to help resolve or settle the case.

    Mediation is not binding upon the parties, which means if either party is not satisfied with the mediator’s recommendations or result of the mediation, they are not constrained by the mediation and can continue to litigate or pursue their other legal options.

    Have You Been Injured in an Accident in Massachusetts?

    If you have suffered injuries in an accident in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You most likely have many questions about your legal rights and options. If so, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary meeting and case evaluation. We will explain what your legal rights are and how we can best help you. 

  • What is "open reduction internal fixation"?

    Over the years of representing accident victims injured on the job, in car accidents or other accidents, we have come across some severe injuries.  With serious broken or fractured bones we often see surgery being a necessary medical procedure to stabilize the bone in order to have it heal properly.  

    Open reduction Internal fixation is a type of surgery that encompasses two parts.  First "open reduction" is where the broken bone is put back (or reduced) in its normal place. And secondly, "internal fixation" is completed with the use of steel rods, screws, or plates to keep the broken bones stable so the bones can heal properly.    

    Have you Been Hurt in an Accident in Massachusetts?

    If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident in Massachusetts you most likely have many questions. Feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. You should take the time to speak with our legal team so we can evaluate your case for free. It just might be the best decision you make.

    For answers to many questions and great information on how to get the best possible settlement in your accident case, get a copy of our book: You Were in a Car Accident: How to Maximize Your Settlement. This book will provide you with information to help maximize your accident settlement. Best of all, it’s free

  • What is Contributory Negligence or Comparative Negligence?

    In a personal injury case, who was at fault for the accident is the main issue that is dealt with.  The plaintiff in a personal injury case must establish the defendant was negligent.  But, what about when the defendant denies he was responsible for the accident and claims the plaintiff caused or contributed to the accident?  The defendant’s defense in the case will be based on contributory/comparative negligence. 

    Under the old traditional contributory negligence defense, if a defendant could prove that the plaintiff contributed to causing the accident at all, then the plaintiff could not recover any money for his or her injuries.  This old rule is not used in Massachusetts anymore.

    In Massachusetts, our legislature has enacted a modified comparative negligence law.  It can be found in Massachusetts General Law Chapter 231 § 85, which states: “Contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in any action by any person or legal representative to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or in injury to person or property, if such negligence was not greater than the total amount of negligence attributable to the person or persons against whom recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person for whose injury, damage or death recovery is made. In determining by what amount the plaintiff's damages shall be diminished in such a case, the negligence of each plaintiff shall be compared to the total negligence of all persons against whom recovery is sought. The combined total of the plaintiff's negligence taken together with all of the negligence of all defendants shall equal one hundred per cent.

    What this means is that the plaintiff cannot recover any money for his or her injuries if a judge or jury finds him or her to be 51% or more at fault for the accident.  If the plaintiff is found to have contributed less than 51% toward the accident, then he or she can recover money.  The amount of money, however, is reduced by the percentage of fault the judge or jury assigned to the plaintiff.

    For example, in a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff for injuries she sustained in a car accident, the defendant claims the plaintiff caused the accident and he is not responsible for her damages.  The case is litigated and ultimately tried before a jury.  The jury, after listening to the testimony of the plaintiff, defendant and witnesses, and evaluating all the evidence presented at trial, determined that the plaintiff was 25% at fault and the defendant was 75% at fault.  The jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000 for her injuries.  The plaintiff’s verdict will be reduced by the 25% fault assigned to her by the jury.  So, she will receive a net award of damages in the amount of $75,000,   

    Have you Been Hurt in an Accident in Massachusetts?

    If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident in Massachusetts you most likely have many questions. Feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. You should take the time to speak with our legal team so we can evaluate your case for free. It just might be the best decision you make.

    For answers to many questions and great information on how to get the best possible settlement in your accident case, get a copy of our book: You Were in a Car Accident: How to Maximize Your Settlement. This book will provide you with information to help maximize your accident settlement. Best of all, it’s free

  • How long will it take to resolve my claim?

    The length of time it takes to resolve an injury claim depends on a number of different factors. Each claim is different and there are many issues that may be involved. For instance, there may be a dispute about who was at fault, how severe the injuries are, and whether the other side is willing to resolve the matter.  Some simple claims are resolved in a reasonable timeframe, while other more complex cases take much longer.  

    In the simpler cases, fault may not be an issue and we are able to resolve the claim as soon as the injured party is done with medical treatment or has reached a maximum medical improvement for their injuries.  While in the more complex cases, where fault may be at issue, a lawsuit may need to be filed.  This may be because the other party claims they did not cause the accident or injury.  In that case, it will take much longer to resolve the injury claim.  This is because lawsuits take time and Courts don't move very fast. Click Here to read about the Progress of a Lawsuit for a summary of what happens during a civil lawsuit. 

    Our goal is to resolve injury claims as quick as possible while striving to get the maximum amount of damages the injured person deserves and is entitled to. 

    Have you Been Hurt in an Accident?

    If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident in Massachusetts you most likely have many questions. Feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. You should take the time to speak with our legal team so we can evaluate your case for free. It just might be the best decision you make.

    For answers to many questions and great information on how to get the best possible settlement in your accident case, get a copy of our book: You Were in a Car Accident: How to Maximize Your Settlement. This book will provide you with information to help maximize your accident settlement. Best of all, it’s free