How long do I have in MA to claim injury after an accident?

he Massachusetts General Laws explicitly says there is a three-year period in which to claim personal injury protection benefits after an accident. However, the law also stipulates that you make your claim “as soon as practicable after the accident occurs from which such claim arises” (G.L. Chapter 90, Section 34M)

Your insurance company is responsible by law for paying legitimate medical expenses, arising directly from the accident, regardless of fault, up to the limits of the relevant policy. It must begin payment on these reported expenses within ten days.

However, the insurer can contest the validity of your medical bills. Remember, insurance companies are trying to spend as little as possible on you, no matter how faithfully you make your payments. This is what makes it so important, aside from health reasons, to visit a doctor for treatment and documentation shortly after an accident.

The law allows your insurer to demand that an injured party “submit to physical examinations by physicians selected by the insurer.” As to how often you might have to make a trip to see any doctor hand-selected by the insurance company, the law only specifies “as often as may be reasonably required.” Should you think that the insurer’s demands are unreasonable, it may use your “noncooperation” as a reason to deny payment.

If an insurance company is not giving you your due, call us today to discuss options.

Food Related Injuries Under Massachusetts Law

Here’s a little-known fact: under Massachusetts law, if you’re injured by a bone lodged in your throat after eating a prepared dish, whether you can recover for your injuries may depend on what kind of bone it is. If it’s a bone from a chicken pot pie, then you may have a viable claim. If it’s a fish bone from a bowl of chowder, then you probably don’t.

To explain why that’s the case, in this article we examine how Massachusetts law addresses claims of physical injury resulting from ingesting food. (We exclude from this discussion foodborne illnesses, which, though they involve similar legal basic issues to those described below, also typically feature some evidentiary and causal complexities that are beyond the scope of proving injuries from chicken and haddock bones.)  [Read more…]

Massachusetts Personal Injury Claims Explained

You could be driving down I-290 during rush hour when, suddenly, a person driving a large SUV whips into your lane, causing you to rear-end him. However, there were multiple witnesses who reported to the Massachusetts State Police trooper that the other driver was speeding. Three witnesses reported he was weaving in and out of traffic. Suddenly, what could have been your fault is a clear case of reckless driving, because, thank goodness, people were willing to share what they saw with the police. Now, you’re laid up in a nearby hospital awaiting surgery for multiple hip and leg fractures. This type of car accident is more common on Massachusetts highways than one might think.

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit?

A car accident can be devastating, causing you and your dependents to lose your economic stability due to debilitating injuries. In Massachusetts, there is a statute of limitations that limits how long you have to file your claim. Here, as an injured victim, you will typically have three years beginning on the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and his or her insurance company. Your lawsuit may be for economic (such as lost wages or income, medical expenses and car rental expenses) and non-economic damages (such as bodily injuries, pain, and suffering). If you’re trying to sue a government entity (i.e. a city, county, or state agency) within this state, then your statute of limitations to file a claim demand letter with the government entity is only two years, although your time to file a lawsuit is still three years. In cases where there’s a latent injury, which means you didn’t know about the permanent bodily damage caused by the accident until a later date, there may be a three-year statute of limitations beginning on the date you discovered it.  [Read more…]

Civil Rights Claims Against Fall River Police Officer Dismissed In Federal Court

In a case handled by RJA Attorney Andrew Gambaccini, a federal judge last week dismissed federal civil rights claims against a police officer from the Fall River Police Department.  The primary plaintiff’s allegations generally were that he was present in an apartment when members of the Fall River Vice Unit executed a search warrant and, during the warrant execution, he was kicked in the head repeatedly.  That plaintiff brought a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging that he was the victim of excessive force, that officers failed to intervene in the use of excessive force and that officers also failed to provide him with medical attention.  The plaintiff, who is black, further claimed that the officers were involved in a conspiracy to harm him based on his race.  The plaintiff’s two daughters also sued, claiming that their relationships with their father had been damaged because of his injuries.

A motion to dismiss resulted in the federal court’s rejection of the conspiracy and state civil rights claims, as well as all claims by the two daughters.  Discovery proceeded concerning the limited federal claims remaining and the plaintiff repeatedly was pressed to substantiate his allegations.  When the plaintiff failed to cooperate in discovery, a motion to dismiss based upon his discovery failures was filed.  The federal court permitted the plaintiff a last bite at the apple but, when he failed to cooperate again, all of the remaining claims of the plaintiff were dismissed with prejudice.  Although the Judge noted that dismissal of claims based upon a failure to cooperate in discovery is an extreme sanction that only should be used in situations where there is no other alternative, the Judge was persuaded that this situation fit that high standard.

Andrew Gambaccini Selected To Write Employee-Side Commentary For The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission Reporter

In Massachusetts, a significant number of public employees, including many police officers, are civil service employees and see their employment governed by the Commonwealth’s civil service laws and regulations.  The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission is the agency that processes and decides appeals of various types involving civil service employees, including disciplinary actions, bypass decisions, job classification disputes and other issues related to the civil service laws and regulations.

The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission Reporter is an important resource that publishes regularly the official decisions issued by the Civil Service Commission.  In addition to publishing the Commission’s decisions, the Reporter also features exclusive commentary from noted and experienced civil service attorneys.  These expert commentaries analyze the decisions of the Commission and provide readers with useful insight from the selected attorneys, who represent the sides of management and employees in disputes before the Commission.  Beginning in 2018, RJA Attorney Andrew Gambaccini will be writing the employee-side commentaries for the Reporter.

RJA Vindicates Deputy Police Chief

By Amaris Castillo | Lowell Sun

DRACUT — There will be no disciplinary action for Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand and Sgt. Gregg Byam will be suspended for one day without pay over their administration of the Police Department’s evidence locker.

The decisions end more than a year of controversy over the management of the evidence locker, which was the subject of a scathing September 2016 consultant’s report that found the Police Department failed to follow numerous evidence policy requirements that led to the mishandling of property and evidence.

“That was recommended and, out of respect for the process, out of respect for the hearing officer, I will accept his recommendation,” Town Manager Jim Duggan said Thursday of the recommendations recently rendered by hearing officer James P. Hall.

Chartrand’s lawyer, Andrew J. Gambaccini, said in an email to The Sun: “After having to endure months of speculation, as well as troubling negative commentary from Town Manager Duggan, Deputy Chief David Chartrand is pleased to have been vindicated by the hearing officer’s finding that there does not exist evidence to impose any discipline whatsoever upon the Deputy for matters related to the evidence room controversy in Dracut. The hearing officer in this case was Attorney James P. Hall, who was chosen by the Town Manager to sit as the finder of the facts in this case. Although hand-picked by the Manager, we always had every confidence in Attorney Hall and his reputation for thoroughness and honesty.  [Read more…]

April 11, 2018 – Federal Bar Association Panel Discussion

On April 11, 2018, the Civil Rights Section and Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association will present a panel discussion on “Qualified Immunity on the Cutting Edge: Has the Doctrine Run Its Course?” RJA Attorney Andrew Gambaccini will be one of the panelists, speaking on the doctrine of qualified immunity from the defense perspective. Other panelists include Judge Timothy Hillman, United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and Professor Karen Blum of Suffolk University Law School. Further details can be found in the flyer for the panel. [download flyer]

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Vigliotti and Gambaccini Named Super Lawyers

The Worcester, Massachusetts law firm of Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C. announces that two of its attorneys, John K. Vigliotti and Andrew J. Gambaccini, have been selected as Super Lawyers for 2017 by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Vigliotti receives the award for the third time, one for each year he has been eligible.  Prior to being named a Super Lawyer, Vigliotti was twice named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Gambaccini receives the award in his first year of eligibility.  Previously, Gambaccini was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine for eight years.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in Massachusetts are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

Personal Injury Claims in Massachusetts – What You Need To Know

Personal injury means an injury to your body, mind or emotions, and it covers all types of injuries involving head injuries, slip and fall accidents, car or construction accidents, as well as medical malpractice. In Massachusetts, if you have suffered an injury that you believe was due to someone else’s medical negligence, then you can seek compensation, even if you were partly responsible for the accident. Before deciding to file a lawsuit, or pursue compensation, it is important to know your rights within the law. Therefore, it is highly recommended that anyone suffering due to any mishap, accident or medical injury contact a personal injury & medical malpractice attorney for advice and guidance through complicated personal injury laws. Consider the following:

Statute of Limitations

Massachusetts sets a time limit for an individual to file a personal injury lawsuit which usually begins on the date of injury.  There are a few cases where this date could shift, but nonetheless, the injured individual must keep the three-year limit in mind and seek legal advice as soon as possible. [Read more…]

RJA Defends Against Inmate’s $5.7 Million Dollar Lawsuit Associated With Drug Lab Scandal

The Daily Hampshire Gazette recently published a story concerning “[a] $5.7 million lawsuit filed in federal court in Springfield [that] sheds new light on the inner workings of the now-defunct Amherst Drug Lab and alleges failings of numerous state offices, a local police department and an entire municipality.

‘This is a case about government corruption,’ begins the 57-page lawsuit filed by Northampton attorney Luke Ryan on behalf of plaintiff Rolando Penate, of Springfield, in U.S. District Court.

The corruption, Penate alleges in the lawsuit, was widespread and led to his imprisonment for 5 years, 7 months and 12 days on a conviction of distribution of a class A substance. That conviction was ultimately dismissed in June in a 127-page ruling by Hampden Superior Court Judge Richard Carey.

Assistant attorney generals, Massachusetts State Police officers, state Department of Public Health chemists, leaders within DPH, Springfield Police and the city of Springfield are all alleged to have taken part in ‘multiple, overlapping conspiracies to suppress highly exculpatory evidence,’ the lawsuit states.”

RJA represents one of the named defendants in the lawsuit, Captain Steven Kent of the Springfield Police Department.  The Gazette article states that:

“Andrew J. Gambaccini, the attorney for Springfield Police Officer Steven Kent, said his client will file a motion to dismiss the claims against him.

It was not immediately known how many of the defendants have been officially served. Gambaccini is the only attorney named in court filing representing a defendant.

‘If that claim was trapped in a wet paper bag, it would not be able to fight its way out of the wet paper bag,’ Gambaccini said of the allegations against Kent.

In response, Ryan said, ‘I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.'”

[Read the entire article]