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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  • What is an Impartial Medical Exam for Workers’ Compensation Claims?

    In Massachusetts, when a worker is injured on the job, as part of their workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker may be required to attend an impartial medical exam. An impartial medical exam is different than an independent medical exam, which is an examination arranged by the workers’ compensation insurance company. The impartial medical exam is an examination required at a certain stage of a workers’ compensation claim by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act.  When required, the examination is arranged and scheduled by the Department of Industrial Accidents (the “DIA”).

    When either an injured worker or the insurance company disagrees with a Conference Order rendered by an Administrative Judge on a claim, they have the right to appeal. When a party appeals a Conference Order the claim will proceed to the next step in a workers’ compensation claim called the Hearing. Before the Hearing, however, the injured worker will be required to attend an impartial medical examination.

    Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152 §11(A) is the specific law that governs the impartial medical examination. The DIA has a list of impartial medical examiners who have no relationship with either party. The impartial physician will be provided with the medical records and documents that are submitted by the parties at the Conference and then will physically examine the injured worker.

    Following the impartial doctor’s examination, the doctor will prepare an impartial medical report which will be filed with the DIA and provided to each party. The impartial doctor’s report will be introduced into evidence at the Hearing and shall constitute prima facie evidence of the matters contained within the report. There are certain ways to challenge the impartial examination report, but this can present complicated legal arguments that are best suited for an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

    Speak With An Experienced Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

    If you have been injured on the job and have been ordered to attend an impartial medical examination, you may have many questions.  If you are not sure what your rights are or what to do, you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. 

    Attorney Charles S. Pappas of the Framingham law office of Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has extensive experience in Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims. Attorney Pappas specializes in helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve after being seriously injured on the job and will fight to protect your rights.

    Feel free to call us today at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation initial meeting and case evaluation. 

  • How Long Will it Take to Receive My Lump Sum Settlement Check?

    In Massachusetts, if an injured worker settles his or her workers’ compensation claim by way of a lump sum settlement, they usually want to know how long it will take to receive their check. Generally, the injured worker should receive their lump sum settlement within fourteen (14) days of the workers’ compensation insurance company’s receipt of the approved lump sum agreement.

    This general rule comes from Section 8 of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (M.G.L. c. 152), which states in part: “Any failure of an insurer to make all payments due an employee under the terms of an…approved lump sum agreement… within fourteen days of the insurer’s receipt of such document, shall result in a penalty…” This means that the workers’ compensation insurer must issue the lump sum settlement check to the injured worker within 14 days from when they receive the approved lump sum agreement, or they will incur a penalty.

    Do You Have Questions After Being Injured On The Job in Massachusetts?

    Attorney Charles S. Pappas of the Framingham personal injury law firm of Mahaney & Pappas, LLP  has helped injured workers across Massachusetts get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.  Attorney Pappas’ experience and knowledge of the law provides injured employees with an advantage in workers’ compensation cases.  

    If you are hurt on the job and are not sure what to do or have questions about your situation, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to get the answers you need.

  • I Was Hurt on the Job and I’m out of Work. How do I pay a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

    This is a question that we hear often. Unfortunately, it is usually asked well after the worker is hurt on the job and has been out of work for a while. Some workers don’t even bother contacting a lawyer after being hurt on the job. This is because they are losing wages from being out of work and barely have enough money to pay their bills, never mind hire a lawyer. But, the Workers’ Compensation Act in Massachusetts makes it easier for injured workers to retain a workers’ compensation attorney. Let’s see why.

    In Massachusetts, the Workers’ Compensation Act controls how and how much lawyers are paid for representing injured workers in a work-related accident. These lawyers are hired on a contingent fee basis. The contingent fee agreement provides that the lawyer’s legal fee is contingent upon being successful in the workers’ compensation claim.  In other words, the lawyer earns an attorney’s fee if they get the injured worker the benefits they deserve or are able to negotiate a lump sum settlement for their client. The fee, however, is not directly paid by the injured worker.

    How much and who pays the attorney fees depends on what stage of the workers’ compensation process the claim reaches. The laws in Massachusetts set a predetermined fee for each level of the workers’ compensation claim. For instance, if the injured worker is successful at his or her Conference, the judge will order the insurance company to pay the worker’s attorney a set fee. In another situation, the employee indirectly pays his or her attorney. For example, if an employee’s attorney is able to negotiate and obtain an agreement for a lump sum settlement, then the lawyer legal fee will be a percentage of the lump sum amount. The percentage is set by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The insurance company would then send a check to the injured worker and a check to the worker’s attorney for their respective amounts. See How an Injured Worker Pays for a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a more detailed explanation.

    Need More Information on Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claims

    Attorney Charles S. Pappas at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specializes in helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve after being seriously injured at work.  He understands that if you have been hurt on the job and are unable to work and earn money you probably have a lot of questions and concerns.

    If you have questions about what to do or what you deserve after being hurt at work, feel free to call Attorney Pappas at (508) 879-3500 or contact him online. He offers free, no-obligation meetings and case evaluations where he will let you know what your legal rights and options are.

  • Am I Entitled to Interest on my Personal Injury Award in Massachusetts?

    Yes, if a jury returns a verdict awarding you damages in your personal injury lawsuit against the defendant (the negligent party), the Court in Massachusetts will add interest to your jury award.

    The law in Massachusetts (M.G.L. c. 231 § 6B) provides in relevant part: “In any action in which a verdict is rendered or a finding made or an order for judgment made for pecuniary damages for personal injuries to the plaintiff … there shall be added by the clerk of the court to the amount of damages interest thereon at the rate of twelve per cent per annum from the date of commencement of the action even though such interest brings the amount of the verdict or finding beyond the maximum liability imposed by law.”

    For example, if you were injured in a car accident in Massachusetts caused by another person and you file a personal injury lawsuit against that other person seeking money damages, if the case proceeds to trial and a verdict is returned in your favor awarding you damages (or financial compensation), the Court will add 12% interest per year to your award starting from the date you filed the lawsuit.

    But, keep in mind, if you settle your personal injury claim before filing a lawsuit or after you file a personal injury lawsuit, you settle your case before trial, there will be no interest added to the settlement amount.

    Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today

    If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts, you should consult with an experienced accident attorney to get the legal advice you need and an expert evaluation of your case.

    The Framingham personal injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP offer complimentary consultations where we will evaluate your case and provide you with a fair valuation of your accident claim. We offer contingent fee agreements on car accident cases, which means you don’t pay us anything unless and until we get you the money you deserve for your injuries.

    To speak with someone on our legal team or to schedule your free meeting, please call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online

  • After an Accident in Massachusetts, if I Use an Attorney, Will I Recover More Money?

    This is a topic that frequently comes up during casual conversations and something we are asked during initial case evaluations with potential clients. There is a lot of mixed information out there, especially if you are speaking with an insurance adjuster. Generally, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney after being seriously injured in an accident has been shown to result in larger settlements than without an attorney. This isn’t our opinion, but are the results from an in-depth study that was conducted.

    In 1999, the Insurance Research Council conducted a study that compared settlements of car accident cases for accident victims who hired lawyers with accident victims that represented themselves. The study established that people injured in accidents who hired a personal injury attorney recovered larger settlements than those without a lawyer.  This study concluded that accident victims with a personal injury lawyer received 3.5 times more money in accident case settlements. So, applying these results, if someone was injured in an accident caused by someone else and settled his claim for $10,000, the study suggests that, with a personal injury attorney, he could have received $35,000 (3.5 times more).

    Insurance companies and their adjuster are well aware of this study. This is why, sometimes, adjusters may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer. We have been told by clients that some adjusters have even told them that hiring a lawyer may result in them receiving less money because attorney fees and expenses will be deducted from any settlement. In fact, we recently met with a woman who was injured in a car accident in Framingham, MA who said this is exactly what she was told by the insurance company. The study, however, has clearly shown that hiring an attorney will likely get you more money, even after deducting the lawyer’s fees.

    Therefore, if you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should consult with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney. Find out what an experienced injury lawyer can do for you to help get the money you deserve for your injuries.

    Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today

    If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts, you should at least consult with an experienced attorney and get the legal advice you need and an expert evaluation of your case.

    The Framingham personal injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP offer complimentary consultations where we will evaluate your case and provide you with a fair valuation of your accident claim. We offer contingent fee agreements on car accident cases, which means you don’t pay us anything unless and until we get you the money you deserve for your injuries.

    To speak with someone on our legal team or to schedule your free meeting, please call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online

  • 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.

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

  • 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. 

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

  • 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.