When you pursue an injury case, there are several hurdles to clear. There’s filing the lawsuit, collecting and organizing all of the evidence, preparing for trial, and obtaining a judgment or settlement. However, there are many more tasks beyond just these that go into a successful result in an injury case. A knowledgeable Massachusetts car accident attorney can help you make sure that “all of your bases are covered” when it comes to your case.
Sometimes, your injury case may be affected by a person or entity that wasn’t even involved in the accident. A recent example involved a case from Bristol County. Evelyn was an 85-year-old woman who was crossing a street when a vehicle driven by Annmarie crashed into her. Evelyn had dementia before the accident, but the crash made it worse. Eighteen months after the accident, Evelyn died. Her children sued Annmarie, and the two sides settled for $250,000. Annmarie’s auto insurance company paid the judgment, and the family dismissed the lawsuit in January 2014.
This might sound like the end to a successful outcome, and, in some situations, it might have been. For this family, however, there were additional complications. During her final years, Evelyn had received some $18,000 worth of care that was paid for by MassHealth. Massachusetts gives MassHealth the right to pursue repayment of these expenses from the estate of a deceased person in certain circumstances, while others may possibly be exempt from this estate recovery.
In March 2016, after discovering that it was not named on the settlement check issued by the insurer, MassHealth filed a legal claim seeking repayment of the $18,000 sum. MassHealth won in both the trial court and the appellate court. The family attempted to argue that MassHealth waited too long to request repayment, but the appeals court determined that the family was partly to blame for the delay because they kept MassHealth “in the dark” about the settlement.
Additionally, the appeals court ruled against the family partly as a result of steps they did not take earlier in the process. The family did not offer proof of the “full claim and the amount from the settlement that reimbursed medical costs,” which harmed one of their arguments that the expenses were not recoverable. Additionally, the family did not dispute the amount of expenses ($18,026) owed to MassHealth when the case was before the trial court. It is possible that taking some or all of these steps might have yielded a more favorable result.
Clearly, the family still received substantial compensation even after the MassHealth judgment, but taking different steps might have yielded an even more successful result. As a layperson, it is extraordinarily difficult to anticipate all of the complications that could arise in your case. To make sure that you are as prepared and protected as possible, contact experienced Plymouth County car accident lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann. Our team has been working hard to represent injured drivers and passengers from across Plymouth County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury, for many years. To find out more about how we can assist you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.
More Blog Posts:
Getting Your Day in Court for Your Massachusetts Auto Accident Case, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2018
Winning Your Pedestrian Accident Case in Massachusetts Even if You Crossed Against the Light, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Feb. 6, 2018