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download-6-2Almost every injured accident victim is relieved to finally reach the end of their case and receive compensation for their injuries.  A personal injury case can be long, grueling and traumatic as the injured person has to relive the crash over and over again.  However, many victims are surprised to learn that their medical providers and health insurance company may be entitled to a chunk of their settlement funds.

Medical Liens

Under Massachusetts law, a medical lien is a claim asserted by an insurance company or healthcare provider for services rendered to the injured following a car accident.  The law states that both of these healthcare entities may have a lien against any third party proceeds recovered by the victim.  This includes insurance funds paid as part of a personal injury settlement.

17121929030_92a984fc9a_b-300x178Many people who are injured in Massachusetts car accidents find that medical bills can start racking up quickly.  When this happens, victims begin looking to their insurers for help in offsetting these costs.  While having health insurance will certainly help matters, health insurance can also have high copays and deductibles, making it financially impossible for victims to receive adequate healthcare following a crash. For an injured victim, having Medpay coverage can be invaluable during these times.

Medical Bills After an Accident

In our state, each driver is required to carry at least $8,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.  PIP coverage is initially triggered following an accident and pays up to $2,000.00 in medical bills for treatment of accident-related injuries.  As you might guess, $2,000.00 goes quickly when you are seriously hurt.  After the initial limit is exhausted, your healthcare provider becomes responsible for the remaining bills.

478px-Elderly_Woman_BW_image_by_Chalmers_Butterfield-239x300Nationwide, nearly 8 million people are estimated to receive long-term medical care in facilities such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.  While these medical facilities are entrusted with the care of our most vulnerable residents, many times this trust is broken by stories of abuse and neglect towards patients.  In most cases, the abuse and neglect is made worse by the fact that the patient is frail, either mentally, physically or both, and is unable to properly advocate for themselves in these settings.

Common Types of Abuse and Neglect

While every case of Massachusetts nursing home abuse and neglect is different, there are several common themes which tend to recur in these situations, such as:

download-5-2According to a Study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than half of all Massachusetts residents own a pet. Moreover, 1 in 4 Massachusetts households keep a dog as the family pet. A study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Injury Surveillance Program reveals that there are an estimated 6,300 dog bite injuries reported in Massachusetts that require medical attention every year.

Massachusetts Dog Bite Law

According to MGL c. 140, s. 155 dog bites are strict liability offenses in Massachusetts.  Strict liability is a legal concept which means that someone is liable for an injury to another regardless of whether they were negligent or not.  This basically means that if your dog bites another person and the other person is injured then you are responsible even if you exercised reasonable care to avoid the bite from occurring.

download-1-4-300x168In nearly every personal injury case, the amount of available insurance coverage is one of the initial and most important questions that must be answered.   Several issues may arise in the context of determining the availability of coverage for a particular accident.

Coverage Minimum Limits

In Massachusetts, a person is required to carry automobile insurance and it is illegal not to do so.  Any insurance policy issued in our state has minimum coverage limits.  In Massachusetts, every driver is required to carry coverage with at least $20,000.00 per injured person and $40,000.00 per accident.  Additionally, you are required to have uninsured motorist protection in the same amounts.

download-4-1If you are involved in a Massachusetts personal injury accident you may eventually have to sit down for a deposition.  This may not be a comforting thought for many accident victims, however, a deposition is a necessary part of the process in many personal injury claims filed across our state each year.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition is basically a question and answer session with the other side’s attorney.  In your case, an attorney representing the person who caused your accident or the responsible insurance company will be the person asking the questions.  A deposition is electronically recorded and all activity is transcribed by a certified court reporter who will prepare a written transcript of the session.  A deposition may also be video recorded.  The deposition typically takes place in an attorney’s office and may last an hour or two or much longer depending on the complexity of your case.

images-1-1Injuries to the head and brain are commonly seen in car accidents and are among the most serious injuries that can occur.  Unlike a broken bone or a muscle sprain, these injuries do not typically have a clear course of recovery and can be extremely complicated to treat, even under expert medical care.

Causes and Symptoms of Head Injuries

A traumatic brain injury, otherwise known as a TBI, is a particularly severe head injury. The causes of these vary, but they may be the result of a fall, motor vehicle accident, or an attack.  A TBI may be experienced in a car accident when a person’s head collides with the steering wheel or dash inside their vehicle during the impact of the crash.  The most common symptom of a TBI is a headache experienced shortly after the trauma.  Other symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, light sensitivity and inability to focus.  The symptoms of a TBI may not be readily apparent for several days.  Symptoms can seem minimal at first and then become progressively worse over the course of days or weeks if left untreated.

download-2-3If you’ve been hurt in a Massachusetts car accident, you almost certainly have many questions and few answers.  Your future looks murky at best as you struggle just to make it through a day to day routine that you did not plan for and certainly did not want to happen.  As you go to doctor appointment after doctor appointment and you haven’t been cleared to go back to work, you are probably wondering what you can actually recover from your Massachusetts personal injury case.

Massachusetts Damages Law

In car accidents as in every other civil case, an injured Plaintiff may be entitled to damages from a Defendant.  Damages is simply a legal term for the amount of money or other compensation you are asking to receive.  In Massachusetts personal injury cases there are several types of damages available to injured victims, including:

images-2-2We typically think of traffic accidents as involving one more vehicles.  However, this discounts the fact that pedestrian accidents make up a large number of reported accidents each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 13 percent of total traffic-related fatalities in 2010 were caused by pedestrian accidents.  In the same year, the number of pedestrians injured in accidents exceeded 70,000.00. These are nationwide numbers, however Massachusetts certainly experiences its share of pedestrian accidents, especially in metropolitan areas.

Most pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers or pedestrians not paying attention to the traffic conditions. In Massachusetts, pedestrians have the right of way when using a crosswalk or if they are crossing an intersection with a green traffic light.

If traffic signals are malfunctioning or the pedestrian chooses to walk against traffic anyway, a driver still must yield to any pedestrian in a legally marked crosswalk. If the driver fails to do so, and the pedestrian is injured, the driver is legally responsible for the resulting injuries.

images-3-1A car accident is scary and unexpected.  Even in cases where no one is hurt, an accident leaves you feeling shaken up and on edge.  When there are injuries, an accident takes on an entirely new level of severity.  Many people are rightfully focused on healing in the days and weeks after a car accident.  However, what some do not realize is that these times are crucial to ensuring that their personal injury case is not damaged by their own actions.

An Attorney’s Perspective

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our team assists car accident victims on a daily basis.  We see people who are struggling through what may be the worst time of their lives.  We also see many common mistakes that these people make following an accident.  If you have been hurt in a Massachusetts car accident, please keep the following advice in mind: