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  • Attorney John Finbury takes novel issue in a negligence claim against the City of Haverhill to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and wins.

    Click here to view opinion

    Click here to watch oral argument
  • $500,000 worker's compensation settlement
    for Massachusetts Home Depot employee who suffered severe spinal injury when he hyperextended his body in order to avoid being struck by employee pushing carriages towards him in an aisle.
  • $400,000 worker's compensation settlement
    for Massachusetts truck driver who injured lower back as a result of a fall in gas station while delivering gasoline.
  • $230,000 worker's compensation settlement
    for employee who developed RSD/CRPS following finger joint surgery for work-related repetitive stress injury.
  • $1.5 Million Verdict
    in Essex County for serious personal injuries caused by a drunk driver in a motor vehicle accident.
  • $1.4 Million Verdict
    in Essex County for a young man who was injured when a stool collapsed at a restaurant in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It was necessary to use experts in the field of medicine, economics, and vocational rehabilitation to prove the damages suffered by this client.
  • $1.3 Million Settlement
    In Essex County for an electrician injured in an arc blast while working in North Andover. He suffered burns and a fractured elbow. Medical, electrical and code experts were used to prove liability and damages. The firm is experienced in filing suit and litigating these types of cases in order to obtain the maximum benefit to which our clients are entitled.
  • $1.275 Million Settlement
    in Essex County where a motor vehicle chased by the police crashed and overturned resulting in injuries to a passenger. The injuries included fractured vertebrae which required surgery and which resulted in a permanent injury, as well as internal complications and lower leg ailments.
  • $1 Million Verdict
    in Essex County Superior Court (Lawrence, MA) for a wife who was beaten and stabbed by her husband, leaving her with significant permanent injuries.
  • $835,000 Settlement
    in New Hampshire for a medical malpractice claim and related workers' compensation claim involving a failed sympathetic block for complex regional pain syndrome.
  • $767,000 Settlement
    for a man who was partially paralyzed as the result of a motor vehicle collision. The plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle in which the operator was over-served at a club in Haverhill. Expert testimony was used to prove that improper training and serving procedures led to the over-serving of alcohol.
  • $750,000 Verdict
    in Newburyport Superior Court for a woman injured in an auto collision. The insurance company offered $75,000 to settle, one-tenth of the ultimate verdict. That offer was refused and we went to trial. With interest the verdict exceeded $1,000,000.
  • $650,000 Settlement
    for a liquor liability case in New Hampshire
  • $450,000 Workers' Compensation Settlement
    where a New Hampshire employee was contaminated by chemicals in the air at his place of employment in Massachusetts.
  • $450,000 Settlement
    in Hillsborough County New Hampshire where a young teacher slipped and fell while exiting a convenience store resulting in orthopedic injuries and a closed head injury.
  • $400,000 Verdict
    in Middlesex County Superior Court (Cambridge, MA) for a young man injured at the Haverhill train station when the train began pulling away as he was boarding. A final offer of $25,000.00 was rejected. With interest, the final judgment was over $500.00.00.
  • $379,000 Arbitration Award
    For tenant in commercial lease dispute
  • $250,000 Verdict
    in Essex Superior Court (Lawrence, MA) for a mailman attacked by two dogs in the course of his employment, resulting in injuries to his back and neck as he was fleeing from the animals. With interest the judgment exceeded $316,000.00.
  • $250,000 Settlement
    in Rockingham county for a Newton, New Hampshire woman who was severely injured in a head-on collision resulting in multiple fractures.
  • $225,000 Settlement
    in Essex County where an employee slipped and fell on her way into work as a result of weather conditions. She settled with the workers' compensation carrier as well as the owner and property maintenance company.
  • $150,000 Verdict
    in Suffolk County for a patron of a bar whose leg was fractured by the negligent conduct of a security guard.
  • $150,000 Settlement
    in Rockingham county for a woman who was severely injured when she slipped and fell on water at a major department store. A lawsuit was necessary to obtain discovery which ultimately showed that the store allowed a freezer to leak for several days without adequate clean up..
  • $140,000 Settlement
    in Essex county for a Methuen woman who suffer a fractured hip on a dark outside stairway due to the landlord's failure to properly maintain the lighting.
  • $45,000 Settlement
    in Essex County for a boy under 2 years old who fell from a landing in a rented apartment due to improper construction of a railing.
  • $25,000 Settlement
    in Rockingham County for a man injured when he slipped on icy stairs at a mall in Southern New Hampshire as a result of negligent maintenance of the property.



Social Security Information

Disability can pose an insurmountable obstacle to earning a living. If you or a family member suffer from an injury or disease that prevents you from working, or is expected to prevent you from working for one year or longer, then you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal agency that administers retirement and disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to an impairment or combination of impairments. To be considered disabled, a person must ordinarily establish that he or she cannot perform his or her past work and also must establish an inability to perform other types of employment. To get Social Security Disability benefits, you must apply. How much a person receives as a benefit depends on his or her work history, resources, and other available income. If you have been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or are simply considering whether you should apply, please contact us today. To learn more about Social Security Disability, please read on.

Social Security Disability – Programs and Benefits

  • Social Security Programs

The Social Security system provides two benefit programs for disabled persons: Social Security Disability (Title II) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

Social Security Disability (Title II) is for workers covered by Social Security who have contributed to a Social Security account while working for a specified period of time, usually five out of the last ten years of work. Disabled widows and widowers of Social Security wage earners may also qualify.

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) provides disability benefits for low income persons not covered by Social Security. It can also be added to Social Security benefits which are lower than a certain minimum level. Second, the employee’s sole recourse against the employer for work related injuries is a worker’s compensation claim. The worker is not permitted to bring a suit against an employer or co-worker for work related injuries.

  • Social Security Benefits

Social Security disability beneficiaries typically receive two primary benefits: a monthly check and medical benefits. The amount of the monthly check is determined by a formula that takes into account the amount paid into Social Security and the length of time of employment.

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) does not require previous employment and monthly benefits are based upon "need", considering the individual’s other income and assets. Special rules apply for legal residents who are not citizens.

Disability and Claims – The Process

  • What does it mean, legally speaking, to be "disabled"?

The standard of disability that must be shown is the same for both programs. You must have physical or mental problems – or a combination of problems – severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least 12 months. A disability due to drug and alcohol addiction is not covered, but certain physical and mental conditions caused by a prior addiction may be covered.

When considering disability, the test is not whether you would be offered a job, but whether there are jobs that you could perform.

For those over 55 years old, new regulations allow a more realistic look at age, education, and experience in making this test.

  • The Application Process

For either Social Security or SSI, an application for disability benefits may be filed at your local district Social Security Office. The Social Security Disability lawyers at Finbury, Sullivan can assist you in filing a disability application in the appropriate cases, particularly if you have been disabled for at least twelve months with documented significant disability.

If your claim is denied, you should not become discouraged. Statistics show that 80-90% of the applications are denied the first time. If your claim has been denied, you should contact an attorney experienced with Social Security Disability claims. The lawyers at Finbury, Sullivan can discuss the circumstances of the case with you and give you an opinion of the merits of your claim. The sooner that one of our attorneys starts working on the case, the better chance we have of being successful. GENERALLY A CLAIM IS REVIEWED AND A DECISION MADE WITHIN THREE MONTHS.

If your claim has been denied the next step in the process is a “Request for Reconsideration” or, depending on the situation, a “Request for Review by a Federal Official. THIS REQUEST MUST BE FILED WITHIN 60 DAYS OF THE INITIAL DENIAL AND CAN BE ACCOMPANIED BY ADDITIONAL MEDICAL EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM. THESE ARE GENERALLY PROCESSED WITHIN THREE (3) MONTHS.

The Hearing

If a denial at the prior level occurs then one must file an appeal and request a hearing; this can take six-twelve months to be scheduled.

The hearing is the most crucial stage of the appeal process, where representation by Finbury, Sullivan is extremely helpful. An Administrative Law Judge will preside over the hearing and testimony will be taken under oath, but the hearing is generally somewhat informal. It is private, usually held in a small room with only the Administrative Law Judge and his or her assistant, you, your attorney, and possibly your spouse or a friend. ON OCCASION A VOCATIONAL EXPERT OR PHYSICIAN MAY ALSO BE ASKED TO AID THE JUDGE IN HIS DECISIONMAKING. THE PROCESS IN NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ADVERSARIAL.

The medical records will be admitted into evidence. You will be asked questions, either by the Judge or by your attorney, which you must answer to the best of your ability or recollection. The Administrative Law Judge may ask questions of the attending experts to talk about the possibility of training for a new job and the severity of the medical condition. One of our attorneys will prepare you thoroughly for the hearing, so there is no need to be apprehensive. Its purpose is to seek the truth and to carry out the purpose of the Social Security Act.

The Decision

The Judge usually will not announce a decision at the hearing. A written decision will be sent to your lawyer and to you. It typically takes at least two to three months after the hearing to receive the decision, if not longer. You should always contact your lawyer after you have received a decision from the Administrative Law Judge. AFTER THAT POINT IF ONE IS SUCCESSFUL IT THEN TAKES THE LOCAL OFFICE ABOUT THREE MONTHS TO GATHER INFORMATION AND START THE CHECKS.

IF UNSUCCESSFUL ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO APPEAL WITHIN SIXTY DAYS TO THE APPEALS COUNCIL, AND THEREAFTER TO THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT FOR THE AREA WHERE THE CLAIMANT RESIDES.

Do you have a claim? Contact us for your free consultation.