At the Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque, we understand a reluctance to speak with a personal injury lawyer about the accident that hurt you. Popular culture tends to shames people who file lawsuits. Clients often feel guilty about “making a fuss.” And many innocent victims never even imagine they have a case. Even among those people who get past such concerns, many think, “A personal injury lawyer can’t help me.” But this is frequently not true. It is the case that some accidents don’t lend themselves to personal injury claims, and Stephen never encourages you to pursue a claim if you don’t have one. But he can still do you a tremendous service. If you’ve been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence and you need a personal injury lawyer, please call Attorney Stephen P. Levesque today at 401-490-4900 for a free consultation.
Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Claims
Workers Compensation is a part of your personal injury claim. When you are injured at work you have the right to receive medical care and payment for your lost wages. The Workers Compensation Court exists for that purpose and Stephen has been arguing for injured workers for 20 years, getting them the care and money they need. However, most clients don’t know that if your injury was the result of a third party; for example, you get hit by another car which driving on the job, you have the right to pursue the other driver in addition to your Workers Compensation claim. If you have been injured at work, don’t be a number in a big law firms book, speak with Stephen to the personal attention you deserve. And remember, Workers Compensation will pay for permanent injuries, scarring, and loss of use but will not pay for ‘pain and suffering’. That’s why it is important to understand your rights before you make a claim.
Malpractice and Negligence Claims
Malpractice and negligence claims can take many forms. Most of my clients will experience some form of malpractice and negligence during their lives. Often we think of the big problems such as medical negligence, however, there is legal malpractice, insurance company malpractice, appraisal and realtor malpractice. It all comes down to the one question: did the person fail to do something which caused you harm. For example, an insurance agent who has represented you for many years accidentally forgets to renew your workers compensation insurance and an employee is injured the next day. Now you are exposed to an enormous amount of liability and the real person at fault is the insurance agent. When a professional offers to provide you a service they owe you a duty of care to make sure they do their job; doctor, lawyer, insurance agent, realtor, etc. If this has happened to you, it is important to speak with someone like Stephen who has handled medical, legal, insurance, real estate, and other malpractice claims.
The first, and possibly most important, the way Stephen as your personal injury lawyer can help you is by talking to you about your case. You can’t be expected to know all the details of personal injury law in your state, and Googling can only get you so far. By speaking to Stephen, you’ll get the advantage of his years of experience. He will listen to your story, ask you the right questions and evaluate whether or not you have a claim. This consultation is completely free and comes with no obligations. Many of our clients were surprised to learn who was responsible for their injury or damages, as that’s something that can only truly be proven by a skilled and thorough investigation. When appropriate he will interview witnesses, examine physical evidence and follow every possible avenue on your behalf. And, once Stephen has determined fault, he will craft a legal strategy for pursuing compensation and protecting your interests. Sometimes that means negotiating with the insurance companies to ensure you don’t get stuck with an unfair settlement. Sometimes that means filing a law suit. With over 14 jury trials under his belt, he has learned how to put together a compelling case for his clients over his years of experience as personal injury lawyer. He is as comfortable in a court room as he is in a negotiating room. He understands how the personal injury laws in your state apply to your case. No personal injury lawyer can guarantee you a specific monetary award, but Stephen can promise you passionate, skilled legal representation. If you want to speak to a Stephen about the details of your case, please contact the office as soon as possible at 401-490-4900 for your free initial consultation.
1. Car Accidents
Vehicle accidents happen every single day in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the victims often call on our firm to help them recover the financial assistance they need in the aftermath.
As Rhode Island auto accident attorneys, with offices available in Massachusetts as well, we know first hand how devastating any auto accident can be for the victims and their families. Even a small-scale bump up can cause a tremendous disruption in your daily life, while more serious accidents might turn your whole world upside down.
Whatever you might be experiencing in the wake of a traffic accident, we know your struggle is real. Our office understands that the true cost of auto accidents extends far beyond the medical bills themselves, though those can certainly be extensive.
Victims also face pain, emotional distress, time away from work, lost income, and a diminished ability to live their lives like they used to. If any of those hardships sound familiar to you, we want you to know that you aren’t expected to bear those financial burdens alone.
Personal injury law in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts compels negligent drivers and their insurance companies to pay for the accidents they cause and the damages you incur as a result. Unfortunately, the other side is often reluctant to do the right thing. With our experienced Rhode Island auto accident attorneys on your side, though, you can insist that the insurance companies abide by the terms of their policies and the letter of the law.
No two auto accidents are alike. Likewise, our approach to each case is personalized and determined by the specific facts and circumstances of each accident. The type of vehicle involved is an important factor that affects everything from the value of the damages to the scope of our investigation and the legal standards that might apply.
We’ll look at several common kinds of auto accidents below. In reviewing these, please remember that you never have to pay a penny upfront. Our fees only apply if we win your case. Winning is always our goal, and we fight hard for it.
2. Workers Compensation
If you have suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to financial compensation under the system known as workers’ compensation, or “workers’ comp”. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, it is mandatory for most employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurance companies rarely pay full benefits without a fight. If you trust what your employer or its insurance company tells you about your claim for benefits, you may end up unknowingly accepting far less than you are rightfully owed. At our office we make sure that injured workers win the compensation they deserve.
Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury? With only limited exceptions, if you get injured at work, you will be required to file a claim for workers’ compensation. In most cases you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer.
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. This means that you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent in order to receive compensation. If you were injured on the job and your employer is subject to workers’ compensation, you are entitled to benefits for your losses.
With workers’ compensation, these benefits are limited to (i) reimbursement of your medical expenses, and (ii) a portion of your lost wages. The idea behind the system is to provide something to everyone without making workers’ compensation prohibitively expensive for their employers. But, remember, it is a no-fault system, so these are benefits you often would not be able to receive if workers’ compensation didn’t exist.
But, what if your workers’ compensation benefits don’t cover all of your losses? In many cases, work-related injuries result from dangerous products and negligence on the part of parties other than the injured worker’s employer. If this is the case for you, you may be entitled to both file a claim for workers’ compensation and pursue a personal injury claim to cover the rest of your losses.
Common Examples of On-the-Job Injuries
Many employees fail to claim workers’ compensation because they do not understand the full scope of what constitutes an “on-the-job” injury. You do not have to be sitting at your desk or operating a piece of machinery to suffer an injury covered by workers’ compensation. Examples of compensable injuries include:
1. Overexertion from pulling, lifting, pushing, or carrying heavy objects
2. Repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome
3. Injuries suffered in vehicle collisions while driving for work
4. Slips and falls in stairways and hallways, or on a job site
5. Injuries from assaults and altercations with other employees
Steps to Take if You Have Been Injured while Working
If you have been injured on the job, there are steps you need to take in order to protect your right to workers’ compensation. We can help you make sure that you do everything necessary to preserve your claim. After suffering a work-related injury you should:
1. Report the accident to your employer
2. If you are able, take pictures with your phone
3. See an approved doctor (if you see your own doctor, you may forfeit your claim)
4. Follow your doctor’s advice on returning to work
5. Speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible
Help for MA & RI Workers’ Compensation Denials
If you filed for workers’ compensation on your own and your employer denied your claim, it is not too late to obtain the benefits you deserve. In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, there is a special workers’ compensation appeal process that injured workers can use to challenge their workers’ compensation denials. These appeals can be challenging and you only have a limited amount of time to file, so you will want an experienced legal team on your side. Contact us today to fight your workers’ compensation denial.
* We also provide representation for individuals who have been wrongfully denied wages and unemployment benefits.
3. Wrongful Death
Stephen Levesque has helped prosecute numerous wrongful death claims throughout our Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities. At our firm, you will meet and speak directly with Stephen. You can expect a confidential conversation at no cost to help answer your questions and develop a strategy to help.
While no amount of money can ever truly make up for the loss of a loved one, you are entitled to recover for your expenses and it is important that you stand up for your rights and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
The term “wrongful death” refers to any situation in which a person’s or company’s negligent or wrongful acts or omissions cause someone else’s death. In many cases (such as auto accidents), multiple parties may be responsible for losses. Stephen represents family members of wrongful death victims in all types of cases, including:
Commercial vehicle accidents
Dangerous premises and unsafe work sites
Medical malpractice and nursing home abuse
In any situation involving personal injury or wrongful death, it is important to engage an experienced law firm quickly to protect your interests and speak on your behalf. From investigating the scene of the accident to getting out in front of the insurance companies, there is a lot to be done in a relatively short period of time. But, if you were too emotionally distraught to deal with the accident right away, we will still try to help you. Regardless of the circumstances, we can still provide comprehensive and vigorous representation to fight for the compensation you deserve.
The laws of Rhode Island and Massachusetts allow wrongful death claims to be brought on behalf of the deceased individual’s estate. Affected family members can also bring claims directly under certain circumstances, and may themselves have claims for personal losses. The laws governing wrongful death claims are complicated and somewhat unique, and we have years of experience navigating the legal and procedural aspects of successfully suing for wrongful death.
In any wrongful death litigation, the estate and surviving family members may be entitled to recover a variety of types of damages. Depending on the circumstances, these may include:
1. The deceased’s medical expenses
2. Funeral and burial expenses
3. Loss of care and companionship
4. Lost wages and benefits
5. Pain and suffering
6. Property damage
Regardless of the facts at hand, you can rely on Bottaro Law to give you an experienced, compassionate and effective assessment of your case, and if we represent you, a vigorous representation to fight for the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
4. Slip and Fall Injuries
The general law is that a landowner has a duty to use reasonable care to keep and maintain the premises in a safe condition and to protect those individuals reasonably expected to be on the premises against the risks to be apprehended from a dangerous condition existing on the premises. Basically, there must be evidence to support allegations that an unreasonably dangerous condition existed on the premises, the owner knew or should have known of the condition, and injury resulted due to the owner’s failure to correct the condition or adequately warn of its existence.
To make your case, we need important evidence. In a RI or MA slip and fall case, the condition of the property is important and should be recorded as soon as possible. Also, there are circumstances when delay may result in the inability to bring a claim. There may be important notice requirements, for example, if a public entity owned the property. It is essential to contact our RI and MA personal injury lawyers right away to preserve your rights. Failure to comply can destroy your claim entirely.
Who Will Pay Your Medical Expenses and Lost Wages After a Slip and Fall? If you have experienced a slip and fall, then you may be entitled to coverage for your medical expenses (including out of pocket co-pays and deductibles) as well as your gross lost wages. When you contact us, we will discuss your situation for free in greater detail.
What is My Slip and Fall Case Worth? The answer depends on various factors including how the slip and fall occurred, the condition of the premises, and the types of damages incurred.
Do Property Owners Guarantee Your Safety? No. Property owners are only responsible for maintaining the land in a reasonably safe condition. Our lawyers are knowledgeable in premises liability law and will start to investigate whether the property owner or others have breached their duties owed to those on the property.
5. Medical Malpractice
Stephen has been recognized as a leading medical malpractice lawyer. Medical malpractice occurs when, by act or by omissions, a health care provider deviates from accepted standards of care in the medical community causing injury or death to a patient.
There are many types of medical malpractice. Each case is unique and requires an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. For example, Rhode Island or Massachusetts medical malpractice may arise when a healthcare provider makes a misdiagnosis, or otherwise acts negligently while treating you. We have the resources and top rated experience to take on these cases.
You Are Not Alone How common is medical malpractice? There are published studies indicate that medical malpractice errors are responsible for 98,000 wrongful deaths each year. This figure is more than double the approximately 40,000 people who die annually from car accidents.
Select the Right Medical Malpractice Lawyer. Medical malpractice can result in serious, life changing events. These cases require special attention to detail. Be aware: (1) Not every personal injury lawyer has the experience or fortitude necessary to handle a medical malpractice claim; and, (2) some firms have such a high volume of cases that your medical malpractice case may become lost in the shuffle. At our firm, we only accept a small percentage of medical malpractice cases as properly investigating these cases involves time and money. With over 20 years experience, Stephen closely reviews the facts found in your medical records and consults with experts in the relevant medical field. We work to obtain compensation for medical malpractice victims including recovery for:
1. Medical expenses
2. Disability, scarring, permanent impairments
3. Diminished future earning capacity
4. Loss of wages
5. Diminished quality of life
6. Loss of companionship and loss of consortium
7. Pain and suffering
Perhaps no type of medical malpractice case is more tragic than birth injuries. In most cases, birth injuries cause devastating irreversible injuries. If your child has suffered a birth injury, he or she deserves a chance to live the best life possible.
You should understand that some of the most common forms of debilitating birth injury are shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy, and Klumpke’s palsy. Other common birth injuries include prenatal asphyxia and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (“HIE”). These injuries may be caused by medical malpractice during the birthing process resulting in nerve damage and reduced motor function. Other injuries may occur at other times during the pregnancy from prenatal care through the post delivery care. For example, actor Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly have produced a documentary film describing the near fatal medication overdose given to their newborn twins and their medical malpractice case.
When you contact Stephen to discuss a potential birth injury case, he will treat your family with dignity and compassion. We will promptly communicate with you and obtain and review the appropriate medical records to confidentially analyze your situation.
6. Product Liability
When’s the last time you used a product? The question is almost impossible to answer because we’re almost never not using a product of some kind. If you’re reading this right now, you’re already using at least one product or device in this very moment. Products are so pervasive in society that they absolutely have to be safe as soon as they hit the market. Our country is set up so that anyone who uses any kind of product or device can expect that they won’t suffer illness, injury, or death as a result.
Unfortunately, products aren’t always as safe as they ought to be. Every day in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — and all around the country. Innocent people suffer unfair and unexpected injuries because a product or device turned out to be dangerous or defective. That isn’t fair, and if it’s happened to you or your loved one, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and the expenses you’ve incurred as a result.
This area of the law is known as Product Liability. State and federal law require product manufacturers to obey various rules and regulations when producing something that the public might use, and they must make every reasonable effort to ensure that innocent consumers won’t get hurt along the way.
Manufacturers aren’t the only ones with a responsibility, though. Everyone in the chain of distribution, from the maker and the distributor all the way down to the retailer, has a duty to exercise care when supplying the public with products.
Products liability lawsuits in Rhode Island usually make one of three kinds of allegations:
Negligence — Alleging that the manufacturer (or other party) failed to exercise reasonable care when planning, designing, testing, inspecting, advertising, manufacturing, distributing, or selling a product, medication, or device.
Breach of Warranty — Many products are accompanied by a manufacturer’s written warranty. These are known as express warranties, and the manufacturer can be held liable for breaching those terms. Additionally, product makers are responsible for upholding a number of implied warranties, which the law applies to the manufacturer even if they never expressly agreed to them. A Rhode Island defective product lawyer can help you pursue claims for breach of both express and implied warranties.
Strict Liability — Under a theory of strict liability, a plaintiff can recover compensation for an injury without having to establish that the defendant was negligent or in breach of any warranty. The plaintiff must still prove that the product was dangerous and demonstrate the extent and value of his or her damages. Strict liability isn’t available for every claim, and determining whether it applies in your case can be complicated. Talk with your Rhode Island defective products lawyer to learn more.
Product liability often involves a combination of state and federal law. Where state laws are concerned, Rhode Island and Massachusetts apply similar (but not identical) rules in many cases. We are licensed and experienced in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts product liability law.
7. Dog Bites
Stephen has extensive experience helping dog bite victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island enforce their legal rights. We have helped numerous clients secure substantial compensation for dog bites; and, if you have a claim, we can help you win the compensation that you deserve. A dog bite can change your life in ways in which you couldn’t have previously imagined. To make sure that you don’t bear the burden of the attack for years to come, let us put our experience and relentless will to win to work for you.
Information for Dog Bite Victims in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, dog bite claims are governed by a rule known as “strict liability.” Under Massachusetts’ strict liability law, a dog’s owner or keeper is responsible for any bite victim’s injuries – regardless of the circumstances involved in the attack. This is significant because it removes the requirement to prove negligence, which is usually required in order to secure compensation in a claim for personal injuries. There are only two exceptions to Massachusetts’ strict liability rule for dog bites. Strict liability does not apply if:
1. The victim was trespassing or committing another violation at the time of the attack; or,
2. The victim incited the attack by teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
For children under the age of seven, the law presumes that all dog attacks are unprovoked, and that the child was not trespassing at the time of the attack. In order to avoid liability, the dog’s owner or keeper bears the burden of proving that the child was to blame.
As a result, in many dog bite cases, the victim will be entitled to full financial compensation from the dog’s owner or keeper. In addition, dog bite claims are often covered by the owner’s home insurance policy. Stephen can use Massachusetts’ strict liability law to help you recover the money that you need to move on from your attack.
Information for Dog Bite Victims in Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s dog bite law is different from Massachusetts’ in that it only imposes strict liability under certain circumstances. Specifically, Rhode Island’s strict liability law only applies in situations where the attack occurs outside of the dog’s enclosure. For example, if a dog escaped from a fenced yard and attacked you on the sidewalk, this is a common scenario where Rhode Island’s strict liability rule would apply.
If, on the other hand, you were attacked within the dog’s enclosure, your dog bite claim will be governed by the law of negligence. This is the same law that applies in car accidents, boating accidents, and most other types of personal injury claims. Securing compensation in these cases requires evidence that the dog’s owner or keeper knew about the dog’s propensity to bite – a requirement commonly known as the “one-bite rule” in Rhode Island. What constitutes an “enclosure” can often be a question of fact, and our legal team is experienced in pursuing claims based on both negligence and strict liability.
If you have suffered a dog bite or any other type of animal injury in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, contact us today to speak with attorney Stephen P. Levesque about your case. Call (401) 490-4900, or tell us what happened online and schedule your free initial consultation today.
8. Nursing Home Injury
How widespread is the problem of neglect and abuse in nursing homes? The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that 44 percent of nursing home residents say they have been abused, and an astonishing 95 percent say they have either seen a resident neglected or been neglected themselves.
Many victims of mistreatment in nursing homes are afraid to speak up because they think they will not be taken seriously. More still live with the abuse because they assume that what they are experiencing is “normal” in the nursing home setting. While, sadly, the statistics show that negligent and abusive treatment may actually be the norm, that does not mean it is right. In fact, due to the widespread nature of nursing home negligence and abuse, it is critically important that victims and their family members stand up for their legal rights.
Nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities are required by law to provide their residents with an acceptable standard of care. Inadequate staffing, mistakes in treatment, and ignoring patients’ needs are just a few examples of the many ways that nursing homes can fail to meet the standard of care.
The saddest part about nursing home mistreatment is that it is 100 percent preventable. Yet, residents are often powerless to protect themselves. This is why the attorneys and staff at Stephen’s Law Firm as so passionate about helping victims hold their nursing homes responsible and fight for just compensation.
Stephen represents elderly residents and their family members in cases involving all types of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home, we encourage you to contact us right away. Some of the cases we see most frequently include:
Falls Resulting from Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
Statistics show that senior citizens living in nursing homes are twice as likely to suffer falls as compared to those living at home. Falls can be extremely dangerous for elderly nursing home residents, often resulting in chronic pain, permanent physical limitations, anxiety, and even death. Victims of fall-related injuries in nursing homes deserve to receive financial compensation for their losses.
Nursing Home Prescription Errors
The vast majority of nursing home residents take multiple prescriptions every day. With so many bottles and pills, it is easy for elderly patients to lose track of when and how to take all of their medications. As a result, many nursing home residents rely on nurses and other staff members to track and administer their medications for them. Tragically, medication errors in nursing homes result in numerous deaths and leave many, many residents in dangerous medical conditions every year.
Malnutrition Due to Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Malnutrition is also exceedingly common in nursing homes that fail to provide their residents with the appropriate standard of care. Malnutrition is dangerous not only because of its own effects, but because it can lead to many other dangerous conditions as well.
Dehydration Due to Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
The same types of errors and negligent treatment that can lead to medication errors and malnutrition can also lead to dehydration. Dehydration is especially dangerous for elderly nursing home residents, who may already be in weakened states or unable to care for themselves.
Decubitus Ulcers in Nursing Homes
Decubitus ulcers, also known as “pressure ulcers” or “bedsores,” are preventable injuries that result from inadequate and improper nursing home care. If not treated, these can become life-threatening injuries that can leave elderly victims in severe pain and extreme discomfort.
Injuries During Wandering or Elopement from a Nursing Home
Part of nursing homes’ duty of care includes ensuring that residents are safe at all times. Whether due to deteriorating mental health or other reasons, many nursing home residents end up wandering or eloping from their facilities. If a resident suffers an injury while they should have been under supervision, the nursing home may be financially responsible.