Michael S. Mehrmann

Having insurance in Massachusetts is a legal requirement in order for an individual to legally operate a vehicle within the state. While the extent of one’s coverage may vary, in Massachusetts individuals are required to carry four types of compulsory auto insurance with their own minimum requirements. The types of auto insurance are Bodily Injury to Others, Personal Injury Protection, Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto, and Damage to Someone Else’s Property.

  • Bodily Injury to Others: The minimum requirement in Massachusetts for Bodily Injury to Others is $20,000 per person/ $40,000 per accident. This type of insurance gives an individual protection against legal liability for the accidental injury or death of others caused by the operation of your car. This is only applicable to accidents that occur in Massachusetts. While this protects an individual from legal liability to individuals involved in an accident, the protections do not extend to your passengers.
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You must meet minimum Insurance requirements to be eligible to drive in Mass

A famous book once advised, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” While that advice may work well in many areas, the law is not one of those areas. In legal matters, including workers’ compensation cases, small details can make big differences in outcomes. To make sure you have all of your bases covered in your workers’ compensation case, both great and small, be sure you have representation from a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.workers' compensation

C.P.’s workers’ compensation case was one example in which the details mattered a lot. C.P. was an assistant manager of a supermarket meat department in 2013 when, while pulling a box of chicken at work, he injured his back. The manager filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer fought the manager’s request for benefits, but the workers’ compensation judge ordered the employer to pay temporary total disability benefits of $1,040 per week, starting on Dec. 2, 2013.

In the spring of 2016, the employee filed a request for permanent total disability benefits. The judge, however, only awarded the employer partial disability benefits. At the hearing, the judge had heard from a doctor who diagnosed C.P. with a protruding disc and, while concluding that the employee could not perform his old meat cutter duties, found that he could do light-duty work as long as it involved no prolonged standing or walking, and no lifting of more than 10 pounds.

To win a premises liability case in Massachusetts, you may have multiple options that you can use. If you seek a favorable judgment based upon the “traditional theory” of premises liability, you need proof that the hazard upon which you slipped was something of which the property owner knew or something that had existed for a long enough period of time that the owner reasonably should have known about it if it was being properly diligent. To learn more about your options if you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall (or trip-and-fall) accident, be sure you retain skilled Massachusetts premises liability counsel to handle your case.wet floor

A recent example of a slip-and-fall case with a “traditional theory” of premises liability was the accident suffered by D.K. D.K. was a shopper at a supermarket when she slipped and fell, suffering substantial injuries in the process. D.K. discovered that she slipped on an advertising sign that had fallen to the ground. The injured shopper’s lawsuit asserted that the store was liable to her and owed her compensation based upon the legal concept of “premises liability.”

If you slip and fall on something like the sign in D.K.’s case, you can win even without evidence that the store knew about the sign having fallen to the ground. The law in Massachusetts says that if a hazard had certain “physical characteristics” from which a jury could reasonably infer that a substantial amount of time had elapsed since the object was there, the injured plaintiff can still be entitled to a successful verdict.

Negligence is defined as a failure to use the level of care someone of ordinary prudence would have used under the same circumstances. Negligence consists of actions or omissions where there is an expected duty or responsibility owed by one person to another person. Events which cause injury not due to fault of another person involve negligence, and the elements of negligence are as follows.

  • Duty of Care: This boils down to, does the defendant have a responsibility to the plaintiff that it must legally uphold? Is it a responsibility of which the plaintiff is the intended recipient of the defendant’s actions? Establishing a legally defined duty and recognized responsibility of the defendant is the first step to determining a defendant’s negligence.Negligence
  • Breach of Duty: After the duty of care has been established, it must be determined whether or not the duty of care was breached. For example was the plaintiff lawfully on a premise owned by tenant? Did the person injure him or herself on the defendant’s premises? Did the owner of the business fail to reasonably prevent the injury? These are but one example of many situations involving a breach of a legally recognized duty.

workers' compensationThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently issued an important new ruling regarding who qualifies as an employee and who is an independent contractor when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. While court did not adopt the rule for which the injured worker advocated and the ruling ultimately was an unsuccessful outcome for this particular worker, that does not mean that you should give up and fail to pursue your case for benefits, even if your employer asserts that you are an independent contractor. Each case is different and the factors that Massachusetts uses may yield a more favorable result for your case. Be sure never to assume and, instead, talk to an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

The worker in the case was a woman who delivered papers. She fell on a ramp while working and hurt her right knee and hand. A few months later, she fell on ice and injured her right leg. The injuries eventually caused the worker to undergo two surgeries, one on her knee and one on her hand.

The woman brought a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer asserted that the woman was an independent contractor and, as a result, not eligible for benefits. The woman, in opposition to that argument, contended that the definition of an “employee” contained in the independent contractor statute established that she was an employee.

firefighter

Firefighter exposed to toxic smoke

The Massachusetts Senate approved a firefighter cancer bill that will enable firefighters and other state workers, such as police officers who are regularly exposed to dangerous fire related conditions, to treat cancer as a work related/line of duty injury. This change offers increased protections to first responders who put their lives at risk for the safety and security of our society. Before this bill, first responders suffering from cancer related illnesses would utilize their sick time while treating for cancer. After the finite amount of sick leave ends, payroll and healthcare benefits cease, making an already difficult financial, physical, and emotional battle all the more challenging.

“We accept the sacrifice of our job as a part of our calling, but when we get diagnosed with cancer, and we run out of sick leave, and we go off the payroll, and we lose our healthcare that is just wrong,” said Ed Kelly of the International Association of Firefighters. Firefighters, and other first responders, especially in Massachusetts have an increased risk of being exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, more so than any other state. Massachusetts mandates flame-retardants in their fire code in hopes of preventing out of control fires and deaths attributed to fires. Boston had one of the lowest national rates of firefighters killed in action, which influenced Massachusetts decision to keep flame retardants a part of the fire code. (Boston Magazine)

piggy-bankThere are many different types of wrinkles one may encounter in an effort to obtain compensation for the harm you suffered in an auto accident. On the surface, your case might seem straightforward: prove that the person you sued was, in fact, at fault, prove that the accident injured you, and prove that those injuries caused you to suffer damages. Seems simple, right? But what happens when the person who hit you has all his assets held by an irrevocable trust? Questions like these are a reminder of the importance of retaining experienced Massachusetts injury counsel, so that you are prepared for whatever twists, turns and surprises your case may throw at you.

Recently, such a “twists and turns” case was the Massachusetts lawsuit brought by S.C. The backstory underlying S.C.’s injury accident dated back several years. In 2001, B.M. was injured in an auto accident. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. In 2007, an irrevocable “spendthrift” trust was established for the benefit of B.M. The trust held more than $4.1 million in assets, including $3.5 million in stocks and bonds, a house in Plymouth worth $538,000 and $120,000 of other assets.

Fast forward to 2014, and B.M. and S.C. were involved in a head-on collision. Allegedly, B.M. was traveling 76 mph in a 35 zone, crossed the center line to pass and slammed head-on into S.C.

medical researchThere can many traps awaiting the unwary claimant in a workers’ compensation case. Your employer, or its insurer, likely will be armed with knowledgeable attorneys who are well-versed both in the facts of the case and the law. They may recite Latin words and phrases you don’t know, or legal terms with which you are unfamiliar. To make sure you avoid those traps, make certain you are as well-equipped as your opponent by retaining the services of an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.

If you have pursued both a civil lawsuit and a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the former has the potential to impact the latter. An example of this was the case of L.Y., who worked as a clinical researcher at a biotechnology company, testing new medications. According to the researcher, his supervisor engaged improper methodology on some tests, which the researcher refused to follow. After the supervisor’s results were discarded, the researcher was allegedly reduced to “meaningless” work, ridiculed by co-workers and eventually fired. All of this, according to L.Y., caused him to suffer a psychological injury.

The researcher did not seek psychiatric care for nearly three years. His doctor diagnosed him as having experienced a “severe, single episode depression.” An impartial physician who examined L.Y. concluded that the researcher had schizoaffective disorder that, while not caused by the negative events at work, had been made worse by them. The independent doctor concluded that L.Y. was totally disabled and that “significantly improved functional capacity is unlikely.”

If you, or a loved one who has been injured Plymouth County personal injury law attorney Michael S. Mehrmann has spent many years helping people from across Plymouth County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury, deal with their legal needs. Attorney Mehrmann was recognized by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys in 2018 as one of the 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in MA for exceptional and oustanding client service.

Taken from the American Institute of Legal Counsel:

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10 Best Attorneys In Client Service

elderly womanA development in a Massachusetts nursing home negligence case serves as an important reminder of many things, but one in particular. That one particular thing is just how incredibly important it is to be ready to oppose, and defeat, a facility owner’s motion to derail your case via arbitration. Failure to avoid arbitration at this stage means never getting to argue your case in front of a jury, and having to present your case in a setting where it may be harder to get the full amount you deserve. A success at this stage opens up a variety of opportunities for obtaining the compensation your family needs. To ensure you are equipped to take on the other side and succeed, be sure you have experienced Massachusetts injury counsel in your corner, advocating for your needs.

An example of this type of situation played out in a Massachusetts wrongful death action, with the plaintiff receiving a $500,000 settlement recently. The case involved a 100-year-old resident of a Bristol County nursing home, whom her 98-year-old roommate allegedly suffocated with a plastic bag. After the resident’s death, the deceased woman’s son filed a wrongful death claim against the nursing home.

There are many possible ways that a nursing home can be liable for the injury to, or death of, a resident. One way, of course, is through neglect of the resident. Neglect can manifest through untreated bedsores, malnutrition or dehydration. Another way, however, is inadequately providing for resident safety. For residents with memory/cognitive issues, this can involve inadequate systems to prevent residents from wandering away.