The field of personal injury law is constantly evolving, and it takes an attorney dedicated to personal injury law to keep abreast of these changes. Some of these changes are relatively minor; for instance, a change in how a court document should look. Other changes are more significant, affecting not only how much compensation an injured plaintiff can recover but also whether that person can recover anything at all.
In looking over the landscape of personal injury law, there are some bills that can mean big changes for personal injury lawsuits.
House Bill 857
If passed, House Bill 857 would repeal laws pertaining to “no-fault” motor vehicle insurance. Presently, Massachusetts is a “no-fault” accident state, meaning that it is usually your own insurance company that pays your bills after an accident. You are also generally unable to collect damages from a negligent driver unless certain circumstances are met. But House Bill 857 would do away with these limitations, allowing injured drivers to more easily sue negligent drivers after an auto accident.
House Bill 3634
This bill seeks to establish a “birth-related neurological injury compensation” program in Massachusetts. As this description suggests, the legislators sponsoring this bill are attempting to control the manner in which cases alleging a birth-related neurological injury are handled. Under the terms of this bill, every birth-related neurological injury would be referred to a tribunal consisting of a judge, a physician, and an attorney. The plaintiff would be required to file a claim with the tribunal, and the tribunal would have the opportunity to investigate the claim to see if the injury is truly a birth-related neurological injury. The finding of the tribunal on this point – that is, whether the injury was a birth-related neurological injury – would be binding on the parties in any other lawsuit or proceeding.
House Bill 1697
Finally, House Bill 1697 would make changes relating to the impartial medical examination applicable in worker’s compensation cases. Of particular interest to injured workers is the addition of a section indicating that an employee who fails to report for an impartial medical examination after being notified of the hearing, or who fails to submit records or documents requested, can have their benefits suspended. In other words, missing an appointment for an impartial medical examination without a good reason, or failing to provide documents regarding your medical history and treatment when asked, can result in any workers’ compensation benefits you are currently receiving to be suspended.
It must be remembered that, at this point, none of the above-mentioned bills have been signed into law. But it should be easy to see that, if they are, the rights and remedies available to injured plaintiffs can be affected significantly. An experienced personal injury attorney can and should keep abreast of these changes.
If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of another, contact us at (508) 755-7535 right away. We can advise you of your legal rights under current laws, and will help you understand the procedure that must be followed.