$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

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. 

You may know “someone on disability,” but what does that mean?

Many people may not be aware that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) oversees a program for individuals who are unable to work due to medical impairments. The program is a lifeline for those who are unable to work, mostly through no fault of their own. 

This includes people who have physical impairments such as a back injury as well as mental impairments like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At the same time, it doesn’t matter whether your impairment, whether mental or physical, happened at the job. It also doesn’t matter whether your impairment happened suddenly or was something that happened over time.

We have all become more and more dependent on our cell phones for not only communication or entertainment, but also as an important tool for making our lives easier. Trying to get to Fenway Park from Lowell? Our phones can give us step-by-step directions, giving us the fastest route, even with traffic. We can also use our phones to reserve a parking space for when we get there. Alternatively, we can buy a train ticket on our phone and take public transportation to get there.

For all the positive our phones provide, they can also distract us from what’s going on around us. When someone is looking at their phone at the dinner table, it can be very rude. But, its unlikely that someone can get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true if someone is distracted by their cell phones when they’re behind the wheel.

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use by drivers causes more than 1.6 million car crashes across the country each year. While many people associate these injuries with texting, there are many ways that people can get distracted by a cell phone. This includes everything from browsing Instagram to trying to make a phone call. However someone is using their phone, when it takes their attention from the road, it makes it more dangerous for everyone else.

The Commonwealth’s top court, the Supreme Judicial Court, gave landlords a bit of a break recently in Goreham v. Martins, 485 Mass. 54, (2020).  The decision involves the “warranty of habitability” and the ways for tenants to recover for injuries sustained on their rented premises, including cases for people who slip and fall on snow and ice.

By way of background, an injured person has a claim “in tort”, that is, that someone’s negligence caused the injury.  There are circumstances, however, when the remedy is contract or semi-contract based.  For example, there is a “warranty of merchantability” attached to products.  They have to be fit for the purpose intended.  A table saw that does not have a guard, for example, can be found not to have met the warranty of merchantability, and resultant injuries can be compensable under a breach of warranty theory.  

Similarly, the warranty of habitability assures that a rented property is fit for human occupation.  If a ceiling falls on your head, you have a claim for breach of the warranty of habitability even though the landlord lacked notice of the hazard thereby making a negligence claim very difficult.

If you regularly follow social media, you have probably seen hundreds of posts about dogs and children. Not only are pooches and kids cute together, but dogs may improve the mental and physical health of the young ones in your family. If a dog bites your son or daughter, though, he or she may end up with more than physical injuries. 

From broken bones to life-threatening infections, dog bites can result in serious bodily harm. Therefore, if a dog attacks your child, it is vital to seek emergency medical treatment. Your son or daughter may also need mental health therapy. That is, psychological scars may plague your child after a dog bite. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder 

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