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Litigation

CIVIL LITIGATION ATTORNEYS

At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, we have successfully litigated cases against some of the largest corporations and insurance companies in the nation, as well as the government. Our civil litigation practice is effective and has a proven track record of providing a good outcome for our clients.
Our firm has the resources and ability to represent clients in many aspects of litigation including:

  • Insurance disputes;
  • ERISA and non-ERISA long-term disability insurance disputes;
  • Life insurance disputes;
  • Long-term care insurance disputes;
  • Business litigation;
  • Criminal negligence;
  • Serious personal injury, wrongful death; and
  • Construction accidents.

OUR CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE

ERISA & LONG-TERM DISABILITY INSURANCE

PRIVATE DISABILITY INSURANCE

We help those people who may have bought a private disability policy and are now facing a denial of coverage. After paying monthly premiums for years and years, they become disabled after suffering an injury or illness (such as cancer, broken bones, back injury, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis or depression) and are unable to work or perform their job. They make a claim for benefits and are denied because the insurance company claims they are not disabled, despite what a doctor states. They are left unable to work and without income. The insurance company can now be held liable for improperly withholding benefits.

Consequential and Punitive Damages

In addition to seeking unpaid disability benefits, an individual can also sue for consequential and punitive damages. Consequential damages are those that an insured individual incurs in addition to not receiving benefits. For example, as a “consequence” of not receiving benefits, a person will lose their home since they no longer can make mortgage payments. They no longer can pay bills, pay for prescriptions, pay child support and then may lose custody of their children.

Punitive damages are those that are court-ordered to punish the insurance company for their wrongdoing in order to create a disincentive for other insurance companies in the future from acting in a similar fashion.

LIFE INSURANCE DISPUTES

Life insurance is designed so that if an individual pays premiums throughout a course of years, in the event they pass away unexpectedly, their family and loved ones receive some financial security and support. However, when these life insurance benefits are wrongfully denied, litigation may be necessary to resolve the dispute.

If your policy was provided by an employer, it may be subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). If so, there may be significant hurdles and pitfalls preventing you for successfully disputing a denial of life insurance benefits. We have the experience and knowledge to guide you through these obstacles. Our life insurance attorneys represent clients with ERISA and private life insurance claims and disputes.

ERISA Life Insurance Claims

Similar to disability policies, if life insurance is employer-provided, it may be governed by ERISA. If your life insurance claim is denied, you may have to file an appeal directly to the insurance company. Our firm handles these appeals on a national basis. If the life insurance appeal is denied, we are able to file a lawsuit on your behalf, normally in federal court.

Our ERISA appeals attorneys place a lot of attention and focus on the appeals process. This is due to the fact that we understand how important it is to any given case. The appeals process increases chances that the insurance company will reverse their denial and grant benefits, and, if the case ultimately goes to court, the court will look heavily upon evidence submitted to the insurance company during the administrative appeals process. So it is to your advantage to submit as much relevant information as possible for the record.
Private or Non-ERISA Life Insurance Claims

If a life insurance policy is private or non-ERISA, it is considered to be a contract just like a private disability policy and the insurer can be sued and held liable for improperly withholding death benefits. Consequential and punitive damages also apply.

LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE

Long Term Care Insurance (LTC) is part of responsible financial planning for many. You purchase insurance and pay premiums for years to protect your savings in the event that you or a loved one require expensive medical care.

Insurance companies have convinced us that we must have such protection with increased life expectancy the associated risks of Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s and other disabling conditions. However, insurers do not always hold up their end of the bargain when it comes time to pay. When these benefits are wrongfully denied or terminated, we have the experience and expertise to even the playing field, even if litigation is necessary to resolve the dispute.

Employer Provided LTC Insurance

Similar to disability policies, if LTC insurance is employer-provided and therefore governed by ERISA, an individual must first file an appeal directly to the insurance company. Our firm handles these appeals on a national basis. If the appeal is denied, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf, normally in federal court. Even if the policy was purchased privately and is not ERISA governed, the companies will often consider an internal appeal in lieu of filing in Court. We can assist you during any appeal.

Why do I need a lawyer for an appeal?

The vast majority of appeals are denied. Think about it, you are appealing to the company that denied your claim or terminated your benefits. The only way to convince the insurer to reverse their denial is to convince them that you will win when you go to Court. We place a lot of attention and focus on the appeals process. This is due to the fact that we understand how important it is to any given case because:

  • It greatly increases chances that the insurance company will reverse their denial and grant benefits; and
  • If the case ultimately goes to court, the court will look heavily upon evidence submitted to the insurance company during the administrative appeals process. So it is to your advantage to submit as much relevant information as possible for the record.

COMMON ISSUES IN LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE DENIALS/TERMINATIONS

The following are common issues that arise in LTC disputes with insurance companies:

  • Whether you qualify for benefits and how much
  • Whether your benefits are limited or excluded by policy language
  • Your right to choose your care and providers
  • Whether your LTC policy covers home health, transportation, etc.
  • Whether your LTC policy covers prescribed treatment or equipment
  • Whether you are entitled to round-the-clock care
  • Whether you can choose to remain in your home vs. assisted living.

BUSINESS LITIGATION

A sales agent leaves your company, taking the client list with him. A developer pulls the plug on a new hotel before breaking ground and the architecture firm that designed it demands payment. You are a minority shareholder, who has been locked out of your company. These are examples of business disputes that arise every day. They may vary in significance from irritation and inconvenience to potential financial ruin.

Our attorneys have successfully litigated a variety of business disputes, including:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of disciplinary policy by university or college
  • Breach of exclusive licensing agreement
  • Breach of entertainment agent agreement or management contract
  • Partnership and shareholder disputes
  • Failure to pay claims
  • Commercial lease disputes
  • Construction disputes
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Claims under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act
  • Commercial general liability insurance claims
  • Property insurance claims
  • Exclusive licenses on patented properties
  • Employment discrimination
  • Wrongful termination claims

Representing Clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Nationwide

The vast majority of business disputes can and should be resolved between the parties, without the expense and uncertainty of litigation. When an resolution is not a reasonable option or when one side refuses to deal reasonably and fairly with the other, then litigation provides a means to achieve a just result. Our business litigation attorneys handle cases in both the state and federal courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We also make calculated use of litigation, including civil and administrative complaints, subpoenas, arbitration, temporary restraining orders and other injunctive relief to provide options for fair and just results.

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE AND NEGLIGENT SECURITY

Property owners are responsible for providing a reasonably safe environment for guests. Employers have a duty to competently train and supervise employees. If you are a victim of a crime in a setting such as a parking lot, a business or your place of employment, you may be entitled to compensation through the civil justice system. Criminal negligence is the term lawyers use to describe civil liability arising out of a criminal act. You may also be entitled to insurance proceeds.

Our attorneys have successfully represented crime victims and their families in cases of serious assaults, shooting deaths, reckless and drunk driving, robberies and theft of prescription medications. We handle such cases selectively and with discretion. We seek to maximize recovery while always remembering that these cases are sensitive and that we work for the client — not the other way around.

CCK often handles criminal negligence cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay us only if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you.

What Is Criminal Negligence?

One example of criminal negligence is negligent security. Owners of businesses and other commercial properties have a responsibility to protect people from foreseeable harm. Examples of ways businesses can protect people from criminal acts include:

  • Installing security cameras and lights to deter crime
  • Hiring security guards in high-crime areas
  • Another form of criminal negligence is dram shop liability. If a bar continues serving drinks to an intoxicated person and you are injured by that person, then the bar owner is responsible for compensating you for your losses.

Many people — including some attorneys — believe that if you are the victim of a criminal act, that’s bad luck. The law, however, holds otherwise. As an injured person, you have a legal right to seek compensation in cases where the property owner was negligent.

These cases also often involve disputes over life insurance proceeds or liability insurance coverage. The attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD are particularly well suited to handle these insurance issues in connection with claims as a crime victim.

SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH

If you have been hurt or injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party and/or the negligent party’s insurance company. If your loved one has lost their life as a result of another’s negligence, we are experienced in compassionately but aggressively seeing that appropriate compensation is secured. While no one can restore a life, measures can be taken to see that those left behind are taken care of and, sometimes as importantly, answers are obtained.

Our Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Practice

Personal injury or wrongful death can result from many different types of negligence. Our lawyers handle all types of negligence cases, including:

  • Car, truck, motorcycle and other auto accidents
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Defective products
  • Nursing home injuries
  • Criminal acts, including negligent security
  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Dog bites
  • And all related insurance coverage issues

CCK often handles personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay us only if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you.

Prompt Investigation Is Essential

When a serious injury or wrongful death occurs, it is important to promptly contact an attorney with substantial experience in handling these cases. Evidence supporting your case must be collected and preserved before it is lost forever.

Our attorneys have the knowledge, skill and tenacity to represent you in negotiations/settlements with the responsible parties and their insurance companies. Our willingness to try cases — to litigate cases through trial and appeals — strengthens our ability to help you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS

Construction sites can be dangerous places to work. Scaffolding collapses, ladder falls and other accidents can change your life in an instant and even take away your ability to earn a living. For that reason, it is critical that each company, crew and worker do their job and follow safety rules. All too often, however, the rules are not followed and someone is seriously injured or dies as a result.

At the law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, our attorneys represent victims of construction site accidents. We also represent families who have lost loved ones in construction accidents. Our law firm often handles personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay us only if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you.

Sources of Recovery in Construction Site Accidents

Most people who are injured on the job in Rhode Island or Massachusetts are covered by workers’ compensation. These benefits are limited, however, and do not provide compensation for damages such as pain and suffering. You may be entitled to compensation in addition to workers’ compensation if your injury was caused by a third party, meaning someone who is not or does not work for your employer. Examples of third-party liability cases include:

  • Injuries caused by vendors or subcontractors, such as the company that installed scaffolding at your construction site
  • Injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence
  • Injuries caused by equipment manufacturers
  • Injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents occurring in the course and scope of your employment
  • If you were working for a subcontractor, you may have a claim against the General Contractor.

Our attorneys are familiar with OSHA and other state and federal rules and regulations regarding construction site safety, and have substantial experience prosecuting these cases. This helps us recover the maximum compensation for injured construction workers and their families.