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The IME — Insurer’s Medical Examination

Following a bodily injury claim, your insurance company has the right to request that you present to a doctor of the insurance company’s choice for a medical examination. No matter who is at fault in an automobile accident, your insurance company always pays the medical bills through insurance coverage that you purchased called, Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This part of your insurance policy mandates that you must cooperate with your insurance company after you present a claim to your insurance company. This part of your policy also mandates that as part of this cooperation, you must present to a doctor for a medical examination if your insurance company requests you do so. Thus, the right to present to the insurer’s doctor is not optional.
 
When you present for the insurer’s medical examination, you should bring with you any documents/medical records you have in your possession that related to your accident or injury. You do not need to order records, have them mailed to you, or drive around to your doctors to get records. But if you have the relevant medical records in your possession, then you should bring them along.
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Massachusetts Super Lawyers Nominates Neil Burns

Super Lawyers magazine announced that Attorney Neil Burns was elected a “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” – a title awarded to less than 5% of the attorneys in the Commonwealth.
 
The Super Lawyers selection process involves three basic steps: creation of the candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by the research department; and peer evaluation by practice area. According to the findings, “Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” The award is made by Law and Politics, a division of Key Professional Media, Inc., of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They make awards across the country and reach more than 13 million readers.
 
I acknowlege that without the dedicated work of my associate and assistant, there could be no nomination. Further, without the acknowledgement by my peers in the evaluation process, there would be no approval. Finally, wihout deserving clients, there would be no motivation; you are all super!

Victims of Massachusetts’ Attorneys — Awards 2009

The Massachusetts Clients’ Security Board (CSB) is a panel of attorneys, appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court. They are entrusted with a never ending source of money – a portion of all registered Massachusetts attorneys’ annual fees! Unfortunately, the CSB’s job is never ending as well – to “manage and distribute the monies in the Fund to members of the public who have sustained a financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the bar acting as an attorney or a fiduciary.”
 
In the CSB annual report, filed on August 31, 2009, the total amount awarded was $1,328,039, a decrease of 50% from their 2008 fiscal year. On the other hand, the total number of claims decided, 116, was up 30% from last year. The largest single award was $243,498.00; the smallest, $365.00.

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Massachusetts Auto Accident Victims’ Chiropractors Now Subpoenaed

In a recent District Court decision in Salem, Massachusetts, the insurance companies won a small, but significant, victory in their never ending battle against the rights of Massachusetts insureds. In a non binding decision to other districts, but perhaps a sign of things to come, District Court Judge Richard A. Mori found that a Chiropractor who failed to appear at a deposition as per an insurance company’s subpoena could not seek payment for medical treatment he rendered to insured victims of a motor vehicle accident.

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Motor Vehicle Deaths Down in US

Massachusetts drivers share in the good news that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on October 9, 2009: the number of traffic deaths on U.S. roads reached a record low in the first half of 2009! The numbers are down approximately 7% for the first half of the year. A report on estimated 2009 traffic fatalities can also be viewed.
The Fatality Analysis Reporting System keeps statistics of highway fatalities each year. In 2008, the numbers were the lowest in over 10 years.
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Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Publishes Settlement

The following article regarding our office was published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on June 1, 2009.
Mother of Four Killed, Truck Driver Pleads Guilty
 
October 13, 2006, defendant driver was driving a dump truck weighing 68,000 pounds. The truck was traveling east exiting the rotary, in Concord, Massachusetts. After the Route 2 light turned red and the traffic slowed, he swerved from the right lane to the middle lane at a high rate of speed and ran through the red light.
 
Cars traveling north and south traveled through the green light. The plaintiff’s decedent, a 52 year old woman who had lived in Concord most of her life, was the second vehicle traveling north through the green light when the dump truck struck her driver’s door.
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Triple damages in Massachusetts When Using 93A

Massachusetts has several laws which govern and direct certain aspects of the insurance industry. This article will briefly discuss the two most useful to the physical medicine provider: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A and Chapter 176(d). They regulate unfair and deceptive acts and practices within the insurance industry.
 
These two statutes, for example, govern what constitutes a “reasonable” investigation by the insurer, whether the insurer acted in a timely manner in processing claims/bills, or whether the insurer offered a reasonable settlement in an ongoing matter. A Chapter 176(d) violation is a per se violation of chapter 93A.
 
Built within Chapter 93A is the availability of double or triple damages (meaning once damages are found a judge may double or triple the amount) and the possibility of costs and attorney fees. This is such a big deal because our civil justice system is neither designed to punish a defendant (that is left to criminal law), nor award attorney fees and costs: known as the American Rule, each party is left to pay their respective costs of litigation, win or lose.

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Boston Underinsurance Coverage is Key

Time and time again we urge our Massachusetts clients to pay for Underinsurance Coverage in their motor vehicle policies. For some reason insurance agents neglect to inform their customers that this is some of the most critical coverage you can purchase.
 
In Massachusetts, you are only required to have $20,000 of liability coverage. Thus, if you are injured by another driver, no matter what your lost wages are, no matter how high your medical bills are, and no matter how badly injured you are, you can only get $20,000 from their insurance company. It is not likely that they have any other assets to pay you.
 
There is an answer, however: buy more Underinsurance coverage! If you were to purchase a $100,000 policy from your insurer, you, or anyone in your vehicle, would be covered up to that amount in the event the other driver caused damage to you.
 
Please see our website for a more detailed explanation of
underinsurance in Massachusetts.