Question of the Week

Law Offices of Graham N. Wright > Question of the Week

Personal Injury through Another Driver’s Negligence

Q: I was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in which I broke my leg due to another driver's negligence. I have been in touch with the other driver's insurance company who has indicated that he has the minimum 20/40 coverage available to cover my injuries and medical bills. They offered me the policy limit, but I'm not happy. I have had two surgeries and incurred almost $60,000 in medical bills. What can I do? A: First, do not settle with the other driver's insurance company until we get more information. The other driver is carrying a 20/40 policy, meaning they have $20,000 per person / $40,000...

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Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Q: I was in a car accident in which I was injured. I thought that in Massachusetts insurance companies are required to offer Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage up to $8,000 for lost wages, medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses, but my insurance company is saying that they aren't paying because I have a deductable. Is this legal? A: You are correct that in Massachusetts automobile insurance companies must offer Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on your insurance policy, but you as the insured can opt out of that coverage, often without even realizing it. Unfortunately automobile insurance companies are beginning to entice...

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Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits

Q: I recently tried to apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.  My local Social Security office told me that I am not insured for SSDI benefits and denied my application, but I worked all of my life and paid taxes until 7 years ago when I suffered a head injury on a construction site.  I don't understand why I wouldn't be eligible if I paid into Social Security for all those years. Is there something I can do? A: Yes.  Social Security Disability (SSDI) works like any other type of insurance you can buy. As long as you have paid...

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Pedestrian Intentionally Struck by a Car in Massachusetts

Q: I was a pedestrian intentionally struck by a car in Massachusetts.  Can I still collect money for injuries sustained in the automobile accident from the driver's insurance company if the collision was intentional? A: Yes. According to Massachusetts law, you will at least be covered up to the compulsory auto insurance limit of 20/40. Wheeler v. O'Connell, 297 Mass. 549 (1937); Cannon v. Commerce Insurance Company, 18 Mass. App. Ct. 984 (1984).  If your injuries are severe enough to be worth more than the $20k compulsory limit, and additional coverage is available under the optional bodily injury portion of the insurance policy, you may also be able...

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Collecting Social Security Disability and Unemployment Benefits at the Same Time

Q: Can I collect Social Security disability and unemployment benefits at the same time? A: If you are collecting Social Security benefits, either SSI or SSDI, then you should not be collecting state unemployment benefits at the same time. The reason is that you are swearing under oath to contradictory levels of impairment on the applications.  If you are collecting SSI/SSDI then you are considered "totally disabled from substantial gainful employment" by the federal government. If you apply for unemployment benefits you are swearing that you are "ready, willing and able to work." Collecting both benefits may get you into a situation...

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Permissive Use

Q: My husband and I co-signed for a car loan, but I am the only person listed on the registration as an owner. We separated a few months ago. Last week he took my car without asking and was responsible for causing an accident in which someone was injured. Am I going to be held personally responsible as the owner of the vehicle? A: As your husband is not registered as an owner of the vehicle with the state registry or listed on the title to the car, he is not technically an owner of the vehicle even though he has financial responsibility...

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