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.

  • Page 5
  • Is the Surviving Spouse of a Fatally Injured Worker Entitled to Workers' Compensation?

    In Massachusetts, if an employee is injured in a work related accident that results in the employee's death, the surving spouse of a fatally injured worker may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The benefits include reimbursement of burial expenses up to $4,000 and weekly death benefits.

    The weekly death benefits are governed by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152 Section 31. Section 31 provides that the surviving spouse may be eligible for weekly workers' compensation benefits equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker's average weekly wage, but no more than the state's average weekly wage (SAWW) set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in effect at the time of the injury or death. The total payments of death benefits to the surviving spouse shall not be more than the SAWW multiplied by 250. 

    If the surviving spouse remarries, all death benefits from workers' compensation shall terminate. 

    Have You Lost a Loved One in a Work Accident in Massachusetts?

    If you have lost a loved one in a work related accident in Massachusetts, there may be workers' compensation benefis available. Please call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to set up a time to speak with our legal team so we can evaluate your case for free. It just might be the best decision you make. 

  • If I am bitten by a dog, is the dog owner covered by insurance?

    When we meet with people, who have been bitten and injured by someone else's dog or other pet, they usually ask if there is any insurance that would cover their injuries and losses. Generally, the dog owner's home owner's insurance policy would cover any damages caused by their dog. Remember, Massachusetts follows a strict liability standard for dog bite cases. The dog owner, therefore, may be held liable and legally responsible for the damages his or her dog causes, even if the dog owner is not necessarily negligent. Generally, damages are the only matter at issue and the home owner's insurance policy will normally cover the damages. 

    Do You Have More Questions? Get Legal Help Now

    If you, or someone you know, has been bitten by a dog, you should seek legal advice and guidance about how you can pursue financial compensation for your injuries and losses. At Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we have handled numerous dog bite cases and are here to help you recover the money you deserve.

    Call us today at 508-879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We offer contingent fees on dog bite cases. This means, you don't pay us until and unless you recover compensation.

  • Who Pays the Medical Bills for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car in Massachusetts?

    Our office has represented many clients involved in pedestrian accidents. A pedestrian’s injuries can be very severe after being hit by a car, which often results in very expensive medical bills. When we meet with a pedestrian client, we are often asked: Who pays my medical bills?  

    In Massachusetts, a portion of the pedestrian’s medical bills incurred from treatment for injuries after being hit by a car will be paid, initially, by that car’s auto insurance company. Yes, the car that hit the pedestrian’s auto insurance policy will pay some of the pedestrian’s medical bills.  The payments will be made from the Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits portion of the auto insurance policy.

    Remember, though, PIP will pay up to $2,000 of medical bills if the pedestrian has private health insurance and will pay up to $8,000 if the pedestrian has no health insurance or Medicare, Mass Health, or a fully self-funded ERISA health insurance plan.

    Any medical bills over and above either the $2,000 or $8,000 paid by PIP will then be submitted and paid by the pedestrian’s health insurance plan.

    If it is determined or established that the driver of the car was negligent, then at the end of treatment or the case, the pedestrian may be receive financial compensation by way of a settlement for the medical bills paid over and above the PIP benefits paid by the car’s auto insurance.

    Have you Been Hit and Injured by a Car in Massachusetts?

    If you have suffered injuries after being hit by a car in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You probably have many other 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 to you what your legal rights are and how we can best help you. 

  • What is an MRI?

    MRI stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging”.  It is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of organs and tissues within your body.  MRI machines are usually large, cylinder-shaped magnets that you lie inside of while the machine spins and creates the image of your body’s tissues.  MRI’s are used by orthopedic surgeons to diagnose or confirm tears and injuries to tissues in your body. For example, an orthopedic surgeon will order an MRI of a person, who was involved in a car accident and complains of pain in his or her shoulder.  The MRI will create an image of the ligament and tendon tissues in the body to determine if either are torn. 

    This is different than an x-ray, as an x-ray will show the bone and any fractures or breaks in the bone. 

    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 an Orthopedic Doctor or Surgeon?

    An orthopedic surgeon is a specialized physician that is educated, trained, and experienced in the diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative treatment of the musculoskeletal system, such as, bones, joints, nerves, etc…  Most times individuals who are involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents or work accidents injure bones or joints.  For instance, a person, who was in a car crash, may hurt their knee.  The knee injury could be a fracture of a bone or a tear of ligaments or tendons.  This person would most likely be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan that may consist of preoperative treatment (i.e., physical therapy), operative treatment (i.e, surgery) and postoperative treatment. 

    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

  • Is there a time limit to file my Workers' Comp action?

    In Massachusetts, the workers' compensation laws set a time limit on when claims for workers' compensation benefits must be filed. Specifically, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152 Section 41 provides that notice of an injury must be given to the insurer or insured as soon as practicable after the injury. Additionally, an employee (or their attorney) must file a claim for compensation due from the work injury within four (4) years from the date the employee first became aware of the causal relationship between his disability and his employment.

    Since the laws in Massachusetts set a deadline for when a workers' compensation claim must be filed, it is always highly recommended that a worker who is injured on the job speak with an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney after being hurt on the job. A lawyer will protect your rights to benefits and be able to advise you on the workers' compensation process in Massachusetts

    Have you Been Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts?

    If you, or someone you know, has been injured on the job 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. 

  • 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

  • Are my workers' compensation benefits taxable?

    If an employee is injured on the job and unable to work, he or she is entitled to incapacity or disability benefits from their employer's workers' compensation insurance company.  We are often asked if these workers' compensation disability benefits are taxable.  The answer is "No".  

    Workers' compensation benefits, whether they are temporary total disabilty benefits or temporary partial disability benefits are not taxable at the state or federal level.

    Have you Been Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts?

    If you, or someone you know, has been injured on the job 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. 

  • I was injured on the job and now I'm out of work. Can my employer terminate my employment?

    In Massachusetts, if you are hurt on the job and your injuries are keeping you out of work, your employer is not legally required to hold your job open if you are unable to work, unless a union contract or an employment contract of hire requires it. 

    There is a law in Massachusetts (M.G.L. c. 152, § 75A), however, that requires employers to give preference to the rehiring of injured employees when they are able to return to work, if there is a job open and available for them.  

    Have you Been Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts?

    If you, or someone you know, has been injured on the job 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. 

  • 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