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Officer Learns He Does Have a Case

Western & Central Massachusetts Injured Officers: We’re Here For You On Third Party Injury Claims, As This Worcester Officer Recently Learned, After First Being Misinformed By Local Counsel That He Had No Case

In 2003, Officer Brown of Worcester was injured during a stolen car chase when his cruiser collided with another cruiser in pursuit of the same stolen motor vehicle.  Like some other officers from Western/Central Massachusetts cities and towns, Officer Brown wrongly assumed that he could not be represented by our law firm, which specializes in bringing valuable third party claims for injured officers, because we are located in eastern Massachusetts in Norwood, MA.  To the contrary, we have represented police officers throughout the Commonwealth for over twenty years, including Central and Western Massachusetts and we have the use of law offices in Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester when needed.  After consulting with a respected Worcester attorney, Officer Brown was wrongly advised that he had no case.  Officer Brown even presented that attorney with an article I wrote in the Sentinel, indicating that cases like his case were valuable and could be successful.  The Worcester attorney wished him well but still declined to take his 2003 case, as his interpretation of the law lead him to believe no claim could be made.  Officer Brown is typical of other injured officers from Western and Central Massachusetts who have either been wrongly advised about their rights by a local attorney or wrongly assumed we were not available to conveniently and effectively represent them.

After being dismissed by the local Worcester attorney, Officer Brown contacted me by telephone at the end of  January 2006, two and a half years after his accident.  We discussed his case at length and then quickly corresponded by mail and fax, exchanging important documents to make his claim.   Given the information on the telephone, I was convinced that his prior lawyer was wrong and that a successful claim could be made.  That telephone call was followed by a meeting within the week between Officer Brown and one of my associates in the Worcester area.  Within six months of being contacted by Officer Brown, we not only successfully resolved his claim, but we collected  the maximum insurance coverage available of $20,000.00.  Officer Brown received the entire amount after the deduction of our attorneys fees and expenses.  To date, we have yet to represent an injured officer who did not recover monies from a successful case, despite the existence of substantial liens held by their employer.  Additionally, the monies which Officer Brown received are likely tax free, as monies received in connection with a personal injury are usually not treated as taxable income.  Officer Brown willingly agreed to have his case discussed as an example to other Central and Western Massachusetts officers who are injured, but may hesitate for one reason or another to contact us to discuss their cases. (*In order to protect the privacy of the injured officer, all names and dates have been changed.  Any resemblance to names of real persons, past or present, is merely coincidental and not intended.)

After speaking at length about his accident over the telephone, Officer Brown faxed and mailed us various documents to get us started.  After my quick review, I advised Officer Brown that his prior attorney was wrong about the law.  We then arranged a meeting nearby in the Worcester area the following week. 

At the time of the accident, Officer Brown was driving an  unmarked cruiser at night when he became aware of a pursuit of a stolen motor vehicle through the radio communications of the pursuing officer who requested assistance.  Officer Brown then paralleled the pursuit with the intent of assisting in case the car was stopped.  As he entered an intersection a mile behind the pursuit, he was struck by a marked police cruiser which was also attempting to catch up and join the pursuit.  Both Officer Brown and the marked cruiser had their lights and sirens activated as they entered the intersection which was busy with heavy traffic.  Due to the amount of traffic pulling over and the blocked vision of each other’s vehicles the collision took place.  The entire right side of Officer Brown’s unmarked cruiser was crushed in the collision.  The most significant of his injuries was to his left knee which required surgery to repair a torn meniscus.  The City of Worcester paid his injury on duty wages and medical expenses pursuant to Chapter 41 of the Massachusetts General Laws.  The driver of the stolen motor vehicle was eventually stopped and prosecuted.

During the past twenty plus years I have spoken to many injured officers who received legal advice from local attorneys which was incorrect about their potential claims.  In many cases, the local attorney employed the wrong strategy.  In some cases the attorneys minimized the value of the claim and failed to use available legal and ethical strategies to reduce applicable liens against the claim leading to a minimal or no recovery by the injured officer.  I have been contacted a number of times by injured officers upset because they received no money on their claims, while their lawyers and employers received all of the financial recovery on their claims.  Bad planning by these attorneys on such cases not only is unfair to the injured officer, but leads to the misconception that such claims are not worthwhile to pursue.  It is our policy to never let an injured officer’s case resolve without the injured officer collecting substantial money from a valuable claim.

Officer Brown was not alone in wrongly assuming we were unavailable to represent injured officers from Central and Western Massachusetts.  We have heard this before which has prompted this article.  For the past 24 years we have successfully represented officers from all parts of the Commonwealth, including many in Central and Western Massachusetts.  For example, some of the departments where we have successfully resolved matters for injured police officers include:

North Adams, Pittsfield, Lanesboro, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Gardner, Holyoke, Westminster, Amherst, Ware, Springfield, West Springfield, Northborough, North Hampton, Montague, Westminster, Shirley, Leominster, Fitchburg, Blackstone, Charlton, Wilbraham, Auburn, Hudson, Millbury, Upton, and Worcester.

Whenever possible, we arrange convenient meetings in person with the officer to discuss their matter, and when that is not possible we are able to immediately start our work by communicating over the telephone, through the mail, via fax transmissions and email.  With the availability of overnight mail, fax and email, we can timely receive the same information and documents necessary to a making a successful case, as we would receive in a personal meeting.  Although a personal meeting is always desirable and available, we will work with the injured officer to provide him with whatever services meet his legal needs and time frame.  Each and every police officer who contacts us receives the same thorough representation and attention, regardless of whether the initial consultation is by telephone or in person.  Your matters are important to us and we always endeavor to meet your needs.  Our work frequently takes us to Central and Western Massachusetts, so timely meetings can be arranged and we have access to law offices in Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester which we use for  local meetings and depositions.  Many injured police officers in close proximity to our office prefer and appreciate the convenience and speed involved in beginning our legal representation by discussing the matter over the telephone and then transmitting documents back and forth by fax, overnight mail and email attachment.

Injured officers throughout Massachusetts should always consider seeking a free consultation with us to determine his or her rights, benefits, and the probability of making a successful claim.  I am always available by telephone, email or a personal meeting.  Once I evaluate the case and the officer’s chances of success, the decision whether to go forward rests with the officer.  If the injured officer is out of work, the decision when to return to work rests, as it should, with the officer and his or her doctor.  Unlike other attorneys, we do not believe in, nor do we have any interest in, keeping officers out injured any longer than necessary to heal from their injuries.  As it is, many of our injured officers never miss a day of work and are still able to receive substantial compensation for their injuries which continue to nag at them during long hours spent behind the wheel of a cruiser and/or standing on a road job.

As with all claims involving an officer's injury on duty, there are no guarantees.  Many police injury cases involve sophisticated legal issues, problems of proof, technical insurance policy coverage disputes, and issues that arise under Massachusetts General Laws c. 41, §100 and §111F, Chapter 152, State Police Article 8 and or other related laws.

When we work on these cases, we work on a contingent fee basis. That means the injured officer pays nothing up front and while the case is pending.  He or she only need pay for legal services and expenses at the end of the case, if we successfully collect money on the claim.   We typically will receive one-third of the money collected.   In the off-chance we are unable to collect money for the injured officer, the officer owes nothing for our legal services. 


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