$3,000,000 Settlement of Premises Liability Claim
$1,200,000 Settlement of Premises Liability Claim
$625,000 Settlement of Worksite Injury Claim
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American Association for Justice
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Greater Lowell

While COVID-19 has impacted our lives in innumerable ways, one huge impact is on the way we work. Some workers have been fortunate enough to be able to transition from office life to working remote. While that presents its own set of challenges, one thing you may not think about is taxes and how that interacts with your wages. Massachusetts shares a border with five (5) different states and many people may live in one state and work in another. Some people are now working from home in one state, while their company is still “doing business” in another. This leads to a series of State-based tax issues and has resulted in New Hampshire suing Massachusetts over their tax policy.

Before the pandemic, over 80,000 New Hampshire residents commuted into Massachusetts on a normal workday. While New Hampshire has no income tax, New Hampshire residents working in Massachusetts would have to pay Massachusetts state income taxes, and that money would be withheld from their paycheck. However, an issue arises when these New Hampshire residents do their work from their homes in New Hampshire.

Beginning in March 2020, Massachusetts established that those who work out of state for Massachusetts-based companies would continue to be charged income tax in the state to “minimize sudden disruption for employers and employees during the COVID-19 state of emergency,” according to a Massachusetts government release. The regulation was intended to be temporary; however, subsequent changes removed the “temporary” language.

It is a common phrase to say “mistakes happen,” because in all honesty, they do. No one is perfect and we all inevitably fail. However, this does not mean there are no consequences to these failures. There is no greater example of this than in the field of medicine. Patients, often at their most medically-vulnerable, rely on the opinions of their examining and treating medical professionals. But what happens when that professional makes a mistake? Are they, too, able to chalk it up to “mistakes happen” and move on? The short answer is that medical professionals owe you a higher duty of care and “mistakes” they make could very well fall under malpractice. 

What is Medical Malpractice?

Generally speaking, medical malpractice is a type of negligence that occurs during the medical care and treatment provided by a healthcare professional, i.e., doctor, nurse, physician assistant, etc. In order to prove malpractice occurred, you need to prove the “Four Ds of Medical Malpractice:” 1) duty, 2) dereliction (failure to meet that duty), 3) damages, and 4) direct cause.

In Part 1, we discussed the duty owed by property owners in terms of snow and ice removal. In this post, we will discuss what happens if you are injured after slipping on ice or snow. It is important to know what steps are available to you and what, if any, fault you may have in the matter. 

As noted in the previous post, it used to be much harder to recover damages from a slip and fall caused by snow and ice. A 2010 Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) case (Papadopoulos v. Target Corp) overturned an over-a-century-old law regarding the accumulation of snow. The duty placed on property owners was raised and it became easier to prove negligence. However, just because it became “easier,” does not mean collecting damages will be easy. There are still multiple factors at play.

All slip and fall cases fall under a class of personal injury claims requiring you to prove negligence. You must establish a duty, a failure to meet that duty, injuries, and that the breach of duty caused those injuries. In a case of snow and ice-induced slip and fall case, the duty owed is by the landowner and he or she owes you “reasonable care” for a safe walking environment, that is, free of ice and snow. Further, you must suffer a significant injury, for example, sprained or broken bones or traumatic brain injury from hitting your head. Finally, you need to establish that the ice was the cause of your slip and fall. 

Winter in New England, a right of passage we all endure every year. No one can claim to be a real New Englander without going through a handful of winters full of blizzards, wind, and freezing temperatures. Cleaning off your car, shoveling the sidewalks and stairs, and salting or sanding the ice are all tenets of our yearly winter ritual. While many of us are used to the cold, snow, and ice, it is important to know what happens when those conditions result in an injury. In the first part of a two-part series, we will discuss what duty you owe as a property owner to others entering your property and what happens in the event someone is injured as a result of a fall on snow or ice. 

Under Massachusetts law, all property owners (commercial and residential) and landlords are legally responsible for snow and ice removal from their property. While each town and city has its own specific codes (and we encourage you to take a look at your city or town’s requirements), it is important to know the state law establishing this minimum. This means that any publicly-accessible areas, e.g., sidewalks or walkways, driveways, parking lots, etc., must be free of snow and “de-iced.”

This is a relatively new law, coming into effect on the heels of a 2010 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruling that overturned 125 years of precedent of unnatural vs. natural snow accumulation. The arcane distinction aside, the takeaway is that the SJC prioritized safety of guests and visitors. (That case was Papadopoulos v. Target Corp, which dragged snow and ice law into the 21st century. It got rid of the rule that a “natural accumulation” of snow means that a property owner wasn’t responsible for someone’s injury.). 

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to file for Social Security Disability, it is

important to know that you may or may not be eligible for two different programs. Those

programs are known as Title II or Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Title XVI or

Many people ask about the difference between Workers Compensation benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits (“SSDI”). While there are certainly differences between them, what many people don’t think to ask is whether you can collect from both programs at the same time. The answer might surprise you.

If you have been injured at work and have or are receiving Workers’ Compensation, you may also be eligible for disability payments under Social Security’s SSDI program. Because there are no asset limitations for SSDI, getting Workers Compensation payments does not automatically preclude you from qualifying for SSDI. However, that does not mean that there will be no impact on any potential SSDI benefits. 

In most situations, Social Security requires that SSDI benefits be reduced or “offset” so that the total monthly amount that a disabled worker receives is no more than 80% of the amount she/he earned when she/he was fully employed (“average current earnings”). In order to calculate the offset amount, Social Security will first determine the maximum total monthly amount of combined benefits that the recipient is allowed to get under federal law. This is known as the “applicable limit.” If, in any given month, a claimant receives money exceeding the applicable limit, then Social Security will offset SSDI payments in the amount required to bring the total back down to the applicable limit. An offset is most common among individuals who earned lower incomes when they were working. This is due to the fact that their applicable limits are lower and more easily exceeded once the worker starts to receive both SSDI and workers compensation.

The main goal of personal injury lawsuit is to make people whole after an injury caused someone’s negligence. This compensation is usually broken down into three parts: medical expenses, lost earning capacity (lost wages), and pain & suffering. However, many people don’t realize that there’s a lot more to proving a case in front of a jury.

If you suffered harm due to the action, or failure to act, by another person, group of persons, or business, you may have a personal injury lawsuit. In law books, the technical term is commonly known as a “cause of action.” A cause of action is a set of facts under which one person sues another person, business, or organization.

A cause of action can arise in a variety of ways. First, it can occur due to either an act or even a failure to act.  This means that some cases happen because someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Others arise because someone did something improperly. A cause of action can also arise on account of a breach of duty, or a violation of the law. This means that there is a law or other regulation that requires someone to act a certain way, and then that person or entity doesn’t meet those requirements. Obviously, the circumstances of the facts of your case will have an impact on your cause of action.

Massachusetts has been called many things throughout history, but at the top of that list should be “consumer friendly.” This is true even about our laws. They try to protect consumers instead of big businesses.

One example is a section of the Massachusetts’ Consumer Protection Act, specifically Section 93a, that affords broad protections to consumers from merchants engaging in “unfair and deceptive” practices. This includes sales and leases, debt collection, many contracts, foreclosure, landlord-tenant law, and even bad faith insurance claims.

If you have been subject to unfair business practices, the easiest course of action would be to simply come to an agreement with the business with which you have a conflict. However, if all disputes were that simple, there would be no need for laws protecting the rights of consumers. If you are unable to resolve a complaint with a merchant, i.e., an individual or business, informally, then you may decide to take legal action. 

Most people know that if you were injured at work, you may be eligible for what is known as “Workers’ Compensation.” But, oftentimes, injured workers don’t know what kind of benefits are available, and they don’t always know how to qualify.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that every employer is supposed to have to cover injured employees. While there are many types of benefits available, the two main types of benefits provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured during the course of employment. One of the good things about Workers Comp is that it is supposed to provide you benefits right away. The system was set up this way because when a worker is injured, he/she might not be able to pay rent or put food on the table if they go too long without a paycheck. However, there is a tradeoff for these “quick” benefit. Under the Workers’ Compensation system, the employee forfeits the right to sue his or her employer for negligence. 

September saw a couple of significant victories as Marcotte Law Firm is settling into its new locale.

Sean Kelly secured a not guilty verdict for a client charged with drunk driving after slamming into the rear of a car whose driver had stopped on a New Hampshire country road to turn left.  The investigating officers determined that the client had failed field sobriety tests, and they admitted to consuming alcohol an hour earlier.  The municipality did not use breathalyzers but opted for blood tests administered at a local hospital.  The suspect declined, as they later would explain due to fear of COVID.  Unlike Massachusetts, refusal to take the test can serve as evidence against the accused.  The client testified that the accident occurred because they had gotten lost and was checking GPS.  When they looked up, the vehicle ahead had stopped.  

The collision, however, was substantial.  Attorney Kelly not only questioned the officer’s conclusions on the field sobriety tests (first having mastered all the training and grading methodology taught to the police), but also argued that any deficiencies in her performance were equally explained by the severity of the collision.  The prosecution could not show beyond a reasonable doubt that whatever symptoms might have been attributed to alcohol could as easily have been due to the collision.  Ironically, our client might have been guilty of distracted driving, but was never charged with it.  Happily, they have been extra cautious since. 

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