Personal Injury

How do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

You must be able to show that you have been injured and that your injury was caused by another individual’s negligence.

How Much is My Case Worth?

All injury cases are different. There are many factors that are involved in determining the value of a case. These would include the severity of your injuries; the length of time of your total and/or partial disability; the amount of your medical bills; whether or not there is permanency of injuries; scarring; broken bones; expected future medical expenses and/or life support costs; emotional trauma and loss of consortium. If you are partially liable for the accident/injury, your case will be worth substantially less determining the percentage of your liability. Our job, however, is to put as much money as possible into your pocket. How much money you receive will depend on the factors listed above.

How Long do I Have to Make a Claim for Personal Injuries?

Every state has certain time limits, called “statute of limitations” that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In Massachusetts, you may have as many three years to file a claim; however, if the suit is against a city, you have only thirty (30) days to notify the city that you were injured and intend to pursue a claim against them. In other cases such as claims against the MBTA, the statute is two years. Time is of the essence. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.

How Long Will it Take to Settle My Claim?

The time it takes to settle a claim depends on many circumstances. It is important to allow injuries to stabilize before beginning settlement negotiations. By settling too early, important consequences of a serious injury may be missed, such as the need for future medical treatment, scarring, or rehab difficulties. When the treating physician issues a final medical report stating the diagnoses of the injuries and their opinion as to the prognosis, the evaluation of the case for settlement can begin. Once a demand has been submitted to the insurance company, it may take 4-6 weeks for the company to review it before negotiation may begin. However, in more complicated cases, the time may take substantially longer.

How Can I Afford to pay for an Attorney?

Hendrie handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney fee and expenses are deducted from the settlement or award. No attorney fee is paid unless you receive a settlement on your case.

Workers’ Compensation

What is Workers' Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her

What does Workers' Compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation benefits are defined by statute and include coverage for medical costs, partial lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability (either partial or total). Pain and suffering damages, emotional distress compensation and punitive damages are not available under workers’ compensation.

How do I make a Workers' Compensation claim?

You will need to file a notice of your injury (First Report of Injury) to your employer after you suffer a work-related injury or become ill as a result of your work duties. Your employer will review the report and other medical information and details related to your injury. Your claim will either be approved and benefits will begin or be denied and you will need to appeal.

What if I am denied Workers' Compensation benefits?

If you are denied workers’ compensation benefits, there is an administrative appeals process. You should get help from a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about the appeals process and to appeal the denial. You have a limited window of time in which to appeal, so do not hesitate to contact a lawyer or you may find your claim is time-barred.

What if I am disabled?

If you are disabled as a result of the work injury, you will be able to receive temporary disability benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement. You may then be entitled to permanent disability benefits if your injury prevents you from working on a long-term basis.

Do I need an attorney to file a Worker’s Compensation claim?

Like many things, you do not NEED an attorney to file a claim for you.  However, most employers have attorneys handle these cases and will fight to minimize your injuries and award you the least money possible.

Criminal Defense

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

The simple answer is that misdemeanors are less serious offenses.  They can range from simple shoplifting, operating while under the influence of alcohol or assault and battery.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor, however, do not take this lightly. Many misdemeanor charges carry a jail sentence.  Depending on the nature of the charge or your prior record, a misdemeanor can carry up to a two- and half-year jail sentence.  It is important to maintain as clean a criminal record as possible and we can help advise you on all your options. A felony conviction, however, carries a potential state prison sentence and can have significant effects on your life going forward.

What is a clerk's hearing?

In Massachusetts, if the police want to charge you with a misdemeanor and they do not arrest you, you will generally be entitled to a clerk’s hearing. The purpose of this hearing is for a clerk magistrate (or assistant clerk magistrate) to determine if there is probable cause to believe that you committed a criminal offense. If so, the magistrate has the power to issue charges against you and schedule the case for arraignment before a judge.

Do I need a lawyer at a clerk's hearing?

You do not need to hire me or my firm, but at a clerk’s hearing, your attorney can speak for you. An experienced attorney will be able to “read” what is going on at the clerk’s hearing by following what is said, how it is said, how the clerk magistrate is reacting, etc. It does not matter how smart or confident you are, if you are in danger of being charged with a crime, it makes much more sense to have an attorney speak for you.

What if I lose at a clerk's hearing?

If a complaint issues against you as a result of a clerk’s hearing, you will be summonsed to court for an arraignment before a judge. This is a crucial stage of the court process. Prior to arraignment, the potential criminal charge is not a public record at the courthouse. Once you are arraigned on the charge, however, it becomes a public record. It also is entered on your criminal record and will be visible on standard background checks. The difference between winning and losing at a clerk’s hearing is a big deal.

How will my case be resolved?

This will depend on the seriousness of your case.  Many minor cases are often dismissed on court costs or restitution.  However, if the prosecutor intends to go forward on your case, there are a variety of dispositions that are available to you short of trial. Some of the most common is a filed without a change of plea, pre-trial probation, a continuance without a finding, and a guilty plea.  You always have the absolute right to have a trial.

What is a file without a change of plea?

A file without a change of plea is a favorable disposition for many people. Essentially, it is an agreement not to have any further difficulties with the law during a required time period.  If you are not arrested, the case is dismissed. Unlike other dispositions, this is not considered probation- it is as if your case was “put in the filing cabinet” for a period of time. If you are rearrested, the prosecutor can bring the case back and continue with the prosecution.

What is pre-trial probation?

Pre-trial probation operates like a continuance without a finding, in that the accused is placed on probation, the successful completion of which would entitle the accused to a dismissal. There are two important differences, however, between pre-trial probation and a continuance without a finding. First, to receive pre-trial probation, the accused does not have to admit and guilt or fault. Second, if the accused violates his pre-trial probation, he is entitled to go to trial. By contrast, if the accused violates his probation after having received a CWOF, he is not entitled to go to trial. He will instead face a probation surrender hearing and would be in jeopardy of receiving a conviction – or being sentenced to the house of correction.

What is a "continuance without a finding?"

A continuance without a finding – or a “CWOF” – is a disposition whereby someone can admit to a criminal charge but not receive a conviction. Technically, the accused actually “admits to sufficient facts,” i.e., admits that there are sufficient facts contained in the police report for a finding of guilty. Because the person is not technically pleading guilty, however, the judge is then able to continue the case (i.e., delay the case) without a finding of guilty and place the accused on probation. If the accused successfully completes probation, he would be entitled to a dismissal of the charges when the probation ends

What if I want a trial?

It is everyone’s absolute right to have a trial.  You can choose to have either a jury trial or a bench (judge alone) trial.  The Commonwealth must summons witnesses and prove the case against you. Your attorney can cross-examine witnesses and argue on your behalf.  You can sit there silently, and it is up to the Commonwealth to prove each charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is a civil motor vehicle appeal?

If you receive any motor vehicle citation, you have a right to appeal it to the Court.  If the issuing officer shows up, you have the right to ask them questions and dispute the allegations.  A motor vehicle infraction can have an effect on your insurance so it is important to take this seriously.  An experienced attorney can help you with this process and argue on your behalf in front of the judge.

What if I am served with a harassment order or want to get a harassment order against someone?

In order to have a harassment order issued against you, there must be three allegations of harassment.  This does not necessarily mean that the police must have been called three times; rather, there is a history of harassment.  If these criteria are met, a temporary order will be issued. At that time, a hearing with both parties will be set up to be heard by a judge.  Each party is able to present evidence and ask questions. These hearings can sometimes be overwhelming, and it is difficult to get the entire picture across to the judge.  An experienced attorney can go over the allegations with you, present a case to the judge, and ask questions of the other party. If a harassment order is issued and there is an accusation it was violated, it can result in a criminal charge.

What if I am served with a restraining order or want to get a restraining order against someone?

In order to have a restraining order issue, there must be an allegation that the person seeking one is in fear of an immediate threat against the other party.  If this is demonstrated, a hearing is set up for both sides to state their case in front of the judge. You are able to present evidence and question the other party.  We can help with all aspects of the restraining order process. Like a criminal harassment order, if a restraining order is issued and violated, it can result in criminal charges.  Do not take a restraining order hearing lightly!

What if I want to seal my criminal record?

Many people have suffered the effects of a one-time mistake and have difficulty finding employment or obtaining higher education. If you have been convicted of a crime, or even charged with a crime in your past, you may have the right to apply to have your record sealed.  If enough time has passed, depending on whether it is a misdemeanor or felony we can help you seal your record in Boston.  Given certain circumstances, we can also assist you in sealing your record even if enough time has not passed.

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