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Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits Explained

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits in Motor Vehicle Accidents

What is PIP?
If you have been injured in an auto accident as a driver, passenger, or as a pedestrian, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are available through your insurance company, or if you were a pedestrian the drivers insurance company would provide PIP benefits. If you were working at the time of the accident then you would seek workers compensation instead of PIP benefits.

For Massachusetts insured drivers, PIP is offered by the insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This coverage helps with initial medical expenses, lost wages, household services, and if needed, funeral costs.
What Types of Expenses Do PIP Benefits Cover?
After suffering from a personal injury due to an auto accident, related and necessary medical expenses are covered within the two years following the accident. Emergency room, doctor visits, chiropractic care, and physical therapy are some of the treatments that you may need after an injury.

PIP will cover lost wages caused by the accident if you are disabled from performing your duties. You must provide a doctors note stating the time period of your disability and whether you are partially or totally disabled from work. PIP will pay three quarters of your average weekly rate from the previous year leading up to your accident. This benefit is tax free for you but will not be paid if your employer continues to pay you after the accident.

PIP will also pay for any ordinary and necessary household services that you would normally perform for yourself but are not able to perform due to your injury.

Funeral expenses are covered by PIP in the event that there is a death due to the accident.
What Amount […]

Should I talk to the insurance company before a personal injury attorney?

Should I talk to the insurance company before I get a personal injury attorney?
Contacting The Insurance Company
After being injured in an auto accident your insurance company is supposed to be informed. There is a difference between reporting the accident to your insurance company and working to settle a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. In many instances the statement that you make to your insurance company as well as statements made to other insurance companies are recorded. For this reason, it is often beneficial to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney to immediately begin guiding you through the process of seeking payment for your injuries. Having an attorney can help to ensure that your interests are protected and that you don’t make statements that could be misconstrued and later used against you to reduce or eliminate payment of the money you are owed for the damages and injuries that you sustained in the car accident.
Who’s on your side?
You may have the impression that since you pay the insurance company they should return the favor by looking out for your best interest, however, in reality their number one goal of Insurance companies is to make a profit while paying out as little benefits as legally possible. From day one the insurance company is going to be looking for information that may harmful to your claim or for a possible reason to deny or decrease the pay-out on your claim.

The expenses of being injured in a car accident can really add up. Medical care from an emergency room, urgent care, specialists, or physical therapy clinic, while potentially losing time with your family or your job can really take a toll on you mentally and […]

Things to know before a divorce

Things to know before a divorce
Planning for a Divorce
It’s that time of year again, the time in between summer and the holidays when commonly more people decide to start divorce proceedings. You may have been considering going forward with a divorce for a while but you have been waiting for the “right time”.  No matter when or why you decide to get a divorce it can be a difficult period to go through. The more prepared you are for this the better. A divorce is not something you want to approach blindly but instead you should do your homework on the subject. We’ve comprised some advice that may help you once you have decided you want a divorce.
Your Assets
Your first inclination may be to immediately hoard any financial assets in preparation of dropping the big news to your spouse. Being smart with your money is different than hiding your assets. Do not hide money since it will be found during the divorce and it will cause you to appear dishonest. If you feel as though there is a real concern for losing financial assets, than you should speak to a divorce attorney who will guide you on the preservation of assets before proceeding with the divorce.

The Wall Street Journal advises that you should keep track of all assets, income, debt, and living expenses. Make hard copies of any investments, bank accounts, pay stubs, art or jewelry appraisals, or any debts you as a couple may owe. Switch any of your bank, credit card, or any other accounts over to electronic statements to stop your spouse from being to keep track of your personal finances.
Keep track of credit.
Keeping track of your credit score will not […]

By |September 13th, 2016|Divorce|0 Comments|
  • Wedding rings
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    Why you should hire an Attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement

Why you should hire an Attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement

Why you should hire an Attorney to Draft a Prenuptial Agreement
Contrary to popular culture a prenuptial agreement is not just for the wealthy wanting to protect their assets. A prenup agreement, or premarital agreement, is particularly helpful for a couple planning to marry where one or both partners has substantial income or assets to protect property from being divided as a marital asset in the unfortunate event of a divorce. This, however, is not the only circumstance in which a prenuptial agreement can be helpful.

In recent years there has been an increase in situations where one or both partners entering into a marriage have substantial debt from either student loans or credit cards. In the event of a divorce the courts do not just consider diving assets but also divide debt and assign responsibility for payment of debt. To help protect yourself from being responsible from your partners debt load consider having an attorney draft a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement can also be useful for estate planning purposes. If you have inherited family heirlooms or gifts that you would like to see given to certain loved ones or friends a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that your estate planning is carried out in the way that you would envision instead of divided as assets in a divorce.

Lastly, a prenup agreement is not the only way to protect yourself and your assets. If you are already married an Attorney can draft a postnuptial agreement, or if you are unsatisfied or want to amend your current premarital agreement, we can review your agreement and work to draft an amendment to the agreement.

At Cohen Cleary, P.C. we have extensive experience representing clients in Massachusetts who want a […]

  • Driving under the influence of drugs
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    Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with OUI for Drugs or Alcohol?

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with OUI for Drugs or Alcohol?

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with an Operating Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol?
If you have been arrested or charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) or what many states commonly refer to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) then you are already discovering the complicated procedures of the criminal court and the effect that this charge can have on your life. You could have been charged with an OUI/DUI for alcohol or drugs. Operating under the influence of drugs is a growing concern for the public safety given the opiate epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the near daily news coverage of resulting tragedies.  Given the increase in public concern the police have responded by charging individuals with OUI Drugs. This can lead to even more consequences than an OUI for alcohol because the police have the ability to contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license indefinitely as an immediate threat to public safety and if this happens the process for getting your license back is long and complicated.

If you are going to proceed in your case by having a trial, it is always in your best interest to be represented by an attorney that knows the rules of evidence, the trial procedures, and the best way to defend against these specific charges. An experienced attorney will also be able to look at the evidence against you and determine what motions need to be filed on your behalf. For example, to admit the results of a breath test against you at trial certain procedures needed to have been adhered to, and an attorney can look at the evidence and see if the proper procedures […]

Big Changes Ahead for Overtime Exempt Employees

Big Changes Ahead for Overtime Exempt (Salaried) Employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was a revolutionary act established during the “New Deal” phase of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. The act established, for the first time, minimum wage requirements, overtime laws and created the standard work week for all Americans. Over time additional requirements have been added creating the current federal standards for employment pay in the United States.

Most recently, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update some of these regulations. Included in this directive was a request to increase the compensation for executive, administrative, and professional (“EAP”) employees, often called overtime exempt or salaried employees. Prior to this directive, the last increase to the minimum requirement for the base salary of these EAP employees occurred in 2004 and required that EAP employees be paid a minimum of $455.00 per week or $23,660.00 annually.

As one could imagine, this regulatory scheme was quite beneficial to employers, as those employees who satisfy the “duties test” (the test designed to indicate whether an employee constituted an executive, administrative, or professional employee) were exempt from being paid overtime for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours so long as they were provided with compensation equal to or greater than $23,660.00 annually. This is no longer the case however; as the Department of Labor’s new regulations will substantially increase this amount to more than double the current level.

The final rule promulgated by the Department of Labor calls for the following changes to the current FSLA:

1. Sets the new standard salary compensation at the 40th percentile of the salary of full-time employees in the lowest wage census region. Currently the lowest wage census region is the […]

  • Child Custody, Paternity, Support, Massachusetts
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    When there’s love and a baby carriage, but no marriage: how an attorney can assist an unmarried parent in establishing paternity, custody, and child support.

When there’s love and a baby carriage, but no marriage: how an attorney can assist an unmarried parent in establishing paternity, custody, and child support.

When there’s love and a baby carriage, but no marriage
How an attorney can assist an unmarried parent in establishing paternity, custody, and child support.
Families come in all shapes and sizes but when the parents of a child are not married parental rights are different than they are for married couples who separate after the birth of their children. There are a great many factors to consider in these circumstances including the legal implications and the legal options that may be available to you.

In Massachusetts, the mother has “presumed” legal and physical custody of a child from a non-marital relationship. Presumed means that the mother has custody until the Court is shown otherwise. In other words, this custody can be challenged when the father asserts his rights in Court. That doesn’t mean that suddenly the father has custody because he files a complaint. It means that the Court will then decide custody based on the best interest of the child using a variety of factors. Such factors could include the parents’ backgrounds, support systems, and geography as well as a parent’s relationship with the child.
Navigating the Courts
It’s important to note that the Courts encourage parents to work together and coordinate a resolution that works for their family. When that doesn’t happen, there are various ways to obtain custody, parenting time and child support through the Court. Our office can assist you in navigating the Courts in this process and determining what options are available to you to ensure that your rights are protected.
Choose An Experienced Family Law Attorney
At Cohen Cleary, P.C. we have extensive experience representing clients in Family Law matters involving paternity, custody, and child support. We will advocate on your behalf to ensure […]

When is an Employer Required to Pay the Prevailing Wage Rate?

When is an Employer Required to Pay the Prevailing Wage Rate?

The Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law sets the minimum wage that an employer must pay its employees on public works projects. The Prevailing Wage Law allows the Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development to set the rates for each type of occupation that an employer must compensate its employees. These rates change year to year, and are different for different projects in different counties. The employer must compensate its employees with at least the rate set by the Secretary.
Jobs that fall under the Prevailing Wage Law
Different employees are entitled to be compensated under the Prevailing Wage Law. If you work on public construction projects, school bus transportation, operation of vehicles and equipment used by public entities for public workers purposes, janitorial services for state buildings, office moving services, and certain work for the housing authority your employer may be required to compensate you at the prevailing wage for your job classification. Regardless of union status, the employer must comply especially on any project where the government funds the project for $2,000.00 or more, or it is a municipal contract. The employer, typically a contractor or a subcontractor, must comply with law or face substantial fines for its noncompliance. Employees who are not properly compensated have the possibility to recover substantial damages as if the proper procedures are followed, employers may have to pay triple damages to the employee for failure to pay the proper wages timely.
Are you properly compensated?
If you believe that you are entitled to compensation at the prevailing wage and your employer is failing to properly compensate you, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney with […]

Child Support law in Massachusetts

Why it is important to hire a lawyer who understands Child Support law in Massachusetts
It is important to understand what your rights and financial obligations are to your children. Our office can assist you in navigating the Courts in this process and determining what options are available to you. To help you consider this important issue we have summarized some information that is helpful to consider.

When a child has parents who are unmarried or separated, it’s important that the child’s life be financially impacted as little as possible. Child support was established to help equalize the environments that impact a child whose parents are no longer a couple. The purpose of child support is to help provide food, clothing and shelter for the child no matter where the child lives and is determined primarily through the “Massachusetts Child Support Guideline” calculations. The calculation is based on the gross or pre-tax income of each party and only medical insurance costs, child care costs and child support obligations to another child are allowed to be deducted from that gross total. Taxes, rent/mortgage, car payments, and other financial liabilities are not factored in at the time of the initial calculation.

A variety of financial factors are taken into consideration the official child support guidelines are utilized by the Court in issuing an order of child support. That being said, there are circumstances that may allow for a deviation from the child support guideline calculation as well as the possibility or the parties working to reach an agreement on child support that deviates from the child support guidelines. This deviation could mean seeking to receive a greater child support payment than is listed in the guidelines or working to […]

The Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractors Act

 
The Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractors Act
Spring is here, and with it comes that familiar sound of construction. After the last snow has melted away homeowners across the Commonwealth come out of hibernation. Some will want to repair damage done by the winter weather, while others may decide that their home and property could use some revamping. No matter the reason, spring and summer are the months where many homeowners will engage the services of a contractor to perform services on their home.

Before engaging the services of a contractor it is important for a homeowner to do their homework. Researching a contractor before hiring the contractor is an obvious step, but one that is often overlooked by the homeowner. The Commonwealth provides a database for homeowners to lookup their chosen contractor to confirm that they are registered with the state. After choosing the contractor, the homeowner must then decide what the scope of the work is to be performed. At this point a contact is usually drawn up and the parties make agreements as to the work performed and the cost of these services.

Massachusetts has enacted a statute aimed to protect the homeowner from unscrupulous contractors. The Home Improvement Contractors Act regulates how a contractor performs their service.  The act applies to all contractors who perform services related to “reconstruction, alteration, renovation, repair, modernization, conversion, improvement, removal, demolition, or construction of an addition…” of a pre-existing owner occupied building, which contains 1 to 4 units. The act also applies to any structure adjacent to a pre-existing owner occupied building.

In addition to specifying the types of activities that the act regulates, the act also spells out with specificity the language and notices that must appear in […]

Cohen Cleary, P.C.

Cohen Cleary, P.C.