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How Can Social Networking Affect Personal Injury Cases in Massachusetts?

We represent victims of personal injury in Massachusetts. In most cases the insurance company for the defendant will undertake an investigation of Massachusetts accidents. If it is a small case, with a claimant unknown to the insurance world (someone who has not filed many claims) they may not put much effort into their investigation. However, what if it is a large claim? What if it is contested? Can they use social media to investigate victims?
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Injury Victims in Massachusetts Should See the Movie “Hot Coffee”

The McDonald’s scalding coffee case received lots of media attention a few years ago, but what Massachusetts injury victims should know is that a lot of the “news” was false and misleading. In the movie Hot Coffee, filmmaker Susan Saladoff “investigates the civil justice system” pointing out how “[b]ig business has brewed an insidious concoction of manipulation and lies to protect its interests, and media lapdogs have stirred the cup.” Massachusetts jury trials results reflect that trend. In a blog article we posted on June 21, 2010, we pointed out that “half of the counties had zero plaintiff verdicts in 2009.” Further, one judge, who calculated some statistics of his own, found that only 16 of 151 personal injury trials resulted in a jury verdict higher than the pre-trial offer.
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Massachusetts Victims of Law Suit Lenders

Massachusetts plaintiffs need to beware that borrowing money during their personal injury lawsuits can be detrimental to their pocketbooks. Victims of Massachusetts personal injury cases need also to know if and when their lawyers borrow monies to pay for experts. The lending to plaintiff industry is generally unregulated and there are reports of interest rates up to 100%! The New York Times and Center for Public Integrity undertook a study informing that interest rates on these loans generally exceed 15% and that there are approximately $1 billion of outstanding lawsuit loans at the time!
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Massachusetts Personal Injury Trial Expert’s Testimony Limited

In a recent case in Fall River, Massachusetts, Trial Judge Welch held that the victim of personal injury could not exclude the defendant’s civil engineer expert testimony as to the methodology to determine the speed of the vehicles involved in a collision. The appellate court held that Judge Welch’s decision to allow the testimony was “within the discretion of the trial judge and will be reversed only where it constitutes an abuse of discretion or error of law.” This is notwithstanding the fact that the methodology was questionable, the defense “expert” had not viewed the vehicles, and his training was in civil engineering and had only taken a class in accident reconstruction. Further, the court found that even though the “treatise” with the critical equations was not put into evidence at trial.

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New Massachusetts Law for Small Claims Cases Raises Jurisdiction Limit to $7,000

We often encourage clients to file their consumer cases in Small Claims Court. This is relatively easy in the local district courts and trials are quick. For many years, however, the limit for damages that could be claimed was $2,000. The exception was for property damage to motor vehicles. Now, in the Economic Development Bill, the legislature has raised the small claims damages limit to $7,000.
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The Cost of Medical Bills at Trial

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, sitting in Boston, Massachusetts, has had a busy week handing down significant case law. The Law Office of Neil Burns reported earlier regarding slip and fall injuries on ice and snow, and the change in the law in evaluating those cases. Also this week, the Court changed how the medical bills of a personal injury plaintiff, someone injured a car accident, for example, are submitted into evidence at trial.
In a significant ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court came down against personal injury plaintiffs in proving damages. In a typical trial, the plaintiff gets his medical bills certified and they are presented to the jury a proof of the costs of medical care. This is pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 233, Section 79G. However, medical bills are usually negotiated by the insurance carrier, such as Harvard Vanguard or Blue Cross, so that the insurance carrier only pays a portion of the bill. This does not typically happen with PIP; Personal Injury Protection insurance from your motor vehicle insurance company.
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Massachusetts Employee Barred From Suing Employer

A case recently decided in Boston and upheld by the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found no merit in an employee’s personal injury lawsuit, where claim she should be able to sue her employer because at the time of her injury she was working for a wholly-owned subsidiary of her employer. The Boston attorneys at the Law Office of Neil Burns have successfully resolved cases for employees injured at work through no fault of their when liability rests with a party other than the employer. We can evaluate your work injury claim to determine if this option is available to you.
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