News, Events & Publications

Workers Comp: Your Rights as a Massachusetts Worker

August 17, 2016 – Workers compensation is a type of insurance that MA employers are required to purchase for their employees. This type of insurance will cover you if you are injured or become sick due to your job and miss five (5) days of work, or receive less pay due to the injury or illness.

From the time the work related injury/illness occurs, you have four (4) years to report it to your employer. Once you report the incident with your employer, they will need to file a claim with their workers comp insurance company, who will then have 14 days to both approve the claim and mail your first check, or deny the claim and notify you of the reasons why.

If your employer refuses to file your claim with their workers comp insurer, you should report the incident to the insurance company or contact the Division of Industrial Accidents (DIA) for help filing the claim and receiving information about what steps to take if your employer is not cooperative.

If the insurance company denies the claim, and you believe their decision to be incorrect, the DIA recommends you:

If you have filed a workers compensation claim that has been denied and need a lawyer, you can contact the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service to be connected with an attorney who can assist in resolving your claim issues. Call us today at 617-742-0625, or fill out our online request form to begin the referral process.

Quick Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

August 4, 2016 – Whether it’s remodeling your kitchen, adding an extension, or making repairs, every homeowner dreams of their house’s potential for renovation.  However, when trying to make those dreams a reality, homeowners can face unfinished jobs, shoddy results, or even outright scams.

If you’re thinking of making some home improvements, consider these tips when hiring a contractor:

  • Ask for a complaint history. A quick call to the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation’s (OCABR) toll-free number, (617) 973-8787, can make sure your contractor doesn’t have a malicious history.
  • Sign a contract. Put together a detailed, written contract including a total cost that must be signed by both you and your contractor BEFORE construction begins. Check that the contractor’s name on the contract matches their name at the OCABR.
  • Protect your money. If you need a building permit, have the contractor get it. The Guaranty Fund of Massachusetts provides funding to resolve homeowner-contractor disputes, but getting a building permit yourself can make you ineligible for such funds.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Visit the OCABR website, http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/hic-consumers.html, or contact OCABR at (617) 973-8787 or (888) 283-3757 for toll-free assistance.

If you need legal assistance with a current contracting dispute, please do not hesitate to call our intake staff at (617) 742-0625. You can also request an attorney through our online request form.

Consulting With A Lawyer After A Car Accident

July 21, 2016 – Getting into a car accident can be a stressful experience, and many questions can arise after the fact. Will my insurance cover the damage to my vehicle? How can I afford my medical bills? What do I do next? A lawyer who deals with accident cases can help answer these questions, and represent you in various cases such as negotiating with other attorneys or insurance agents, handling personal injury lawsuits, or defending against criminal charges. You don’t need to handle the situation alone. Call us today to be connected with a lawyer for:

  • Criminal Defense;
  • Automobile Insurance Denials;
  • Lost Wages from Injuries;
  • Medical Bills resulting from the accident;
  • Personal Injury;
  • Property Damage;
  • Wrongful Death.

Time is of the essence with car accident cases, so if something happens consult an attorney right away. Call us at (617)-742-0625 or submit a request online to connect with us.

Outside the Box and Inside the Budget: Alternative Dispute Resolution Can Help You Save

June 30, 2016 – When the time comes to hire a lawyer, very few people are excited about the process. Going through a divorce, trying to administer a will, or resolving a business dispute can be emotionally and financially draining. Sometimes the people you are fighting against are family or friends.

Some people look for lawyers who are trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR.  Attorneys who use ADR draw from mediation, negotiation, and conciliation to avoid extensive and expensive litigation in court.  ADR attorneys can help you mediate many kinds of legal situations, such as:

  • Business Disputes
  • Custody Issues
  • Divorce
  • Employment Matters
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Wills and Trust Disputes

ADR can be less adversarial than typical court procedures, and can reduce the emotional toll on parties, while often being more cost effective than litigation.  The Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can recommend attorneys who use ADR in their practice.  For more information, please call us today at 617-742-0625 or fill out an online request form.

Citizenship Applications on the Rise

June 13, 2016 – Each year, an increasing number of immigrants apply for citizenship in the United States.  In Massachusetts, nearly 8,000 individuals applied for citizenship from January 1st to March 31st, 2016. This marks a 30% increase from the number of applicants during the previous quarter. This is mirrored by a 34% increase nationwide during the same time period.

Applications-for-naturalization-climb

The process of applying for citizenship can be daunting, and is easily complicated by additional factors or language barriers.  Therefore, it can be very helpful to hire an attorney to guide you through the process.  The Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service intake staff can refer you to a lawyer that specializes in these matters, as well as in other areas of immigration law.  We also have attorneys that speak a variety of languages.  Please call us today at 617-742-0625 or fill out an online request form.

To apply for citizenship, you must be 18 or over, and a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least five years if you are single, or three years if you are married to an American citizen.  Additionally, residents applying for citizenship must pay fees and pass a test on United States government, history, and language.

Insects Bugging You? When to Call a Lawyer

June 1, 2016 – Summer is often a time for fun and relaxation, but unfortunately summer weather can bring with it an increase in bug infestations, such as ants. Removing pests and insects from a home can be very expensive. However, if you are renting a house or an apartment it may not be your responsibility to pay for removal or extermination costs.

Having an infestation may be considered an uninhabitable living condition according to the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code. According to the law, if you live in a building with two or more units and have an infestation, the landlord must remedy the situation within five days. If the landlord is using pesticide, they must inform you at least 48 hours beforehand with written notice. In addition, landlords are sometimes responsible for providing screens for windows on the first four floors of a building to prevent insects from coming in.

These laws ensure a safe, clean environment for tenants. Sometimes landlords do not know the law, or do not follow it. When this occurs it’s helpful to reach out to an attorney. Attorneys can help with:

  • Writing letters to your landlord;
  • Representing you in a Housing or District Court case;
  • Determining when and how you can legally withhold rent;
  • And many other issues related to housing and tenancy.

If you would like to speak to a lawyer about housing issues or any other legal matter, please call us today at 617-742-0625 or submit an online request.  We make referrals to attorneys who practice in a nearly 300 areas of law.

For more information about the required standards for housing and the building owner’s responsibilities go to http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cissfsn/sfsnidx.htm for further details.

 

License Legislation Lets Lawbreakers Lead Lives

May 18, 2016 – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently signed a law that ends automatic license suspensions for people convicted of most drugs crimes, including possession and sale of drugs.  Previously, anyone with a drug conviction automatically had their driver’s license suspended and were required to pay a fine to have it reinstated.

This law will end one barrier for former prisoners to reintegrate into society, hopefully allowing individuals more flexibility getting to and from a job and supporting their families.

Those navigating post-conviction life may need other legal support. The Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can connect people with attorneys in several practice areas, including:

  • CORI/Record Sealing;
  • Parole Hearings;
  • RMV/License Reinstatement Hearings;
  • and Criminal Appeals.

To connect with us, please call 617-742-0625, or receive a referral by email by submitting an online request.

 

BBA LRS supports 2016 Victim Rights Conference

May 9, 2016 – Recently, Boston Bar Association staff attended the 2016 Victim Rights Conference hosted by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA).  This annual conference brings together individuals and agencies that promote victim rights and services.

As an exhibitor at the conference, the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (BBA LRS) spread the word about how individuals can receive a referral to an attorney.

The BBA LRS has been a trusted public service for over 60 years and makes unbiased referrals to qualified attorneys throughout Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.  To see a list of the practice areas that we cover, please visit our Areas of Law page.

Individuals may contact us by phone at 617-742-0625, or through our online request form to receive a referral or to get more information about our services.

What to Know when DCF Gets Involved With Your Family

April 28, 2016 – The Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) was created to help protect children across the state of Massachusetts. Many people such as teachers, daycare workers, doctors, nurses, and social workers are required by law to report to DCF any time they think a child is experiencing abuse or neglect. Reports from other people may be anonymous.  These reports may lead to an investigation of parents and caregivers.

If DCF begins an investigation (referred to as a 51A Investigation), it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to remove a child from your custody. If DCF gets involved:

  • Don’t sign anything you don’t understand;
  • Only sign completed forms, and ask for copies;
  • Find out the specific charges against you;
  • Read over everything carefully;
  • Consult an attorney before making any decision ;
  • Take notes of anything the Social Worker says; and
  • Remember, you have the right to an interpreter if needed.

For more information about your rights during an investigation consult the Mass Legal Help page on DCF Investigations:  http://www.masslegalhelp.org/children-and-families/dss

If you would like to speak to a lawyer, about DCF, child custody issues, and other family matters, please call us today at 617-742-0625 or submit an online request.  We make referrals to attorneys who practice in a nearly 300 areas of law.

Autism Awareness April

April 19, 2016 – In April, we recognize Autism Awareness Month to support all people living with autism. For individuals with autism and their families, legal issues can often arise. Most notably, when an individual with disabilities turns 22, they are no longer eligible for special education programs, and are often limited in their access to government-funded programs. During that transition, a lawyer can be a great asset. Parents may need to create a specialized trust, fight against discrimination, or obtain guardianship of their child.

If you or somebody you know is struggling with legal matters related to someone living with a disability, the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service may be able to help you find a lawyer familiar with the following:

  • Disability Benefits,
  • Guardianship,
  • Insurance,
  • Medicaid,
  • Special Education,
  • Special Needs Trusts; and more.

To connect with us, you may speak directly with the intake staff by calling 617-742-0625, or you can receive a referral by email by submitting an online request.

For more information about Autism Awareness Month please visit the Autism Society’s website.