Boston Injury Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Millions of children and teenagers across the United States, from elementary school through high school, play school-sponsored sports and activities. A vast number of these students are treated each year for injuries caused by their participation in these physical activities. While a majority of sports-related injuries are minor and are treated in outpatient facilities, if they require any medical attention at all, there are also instances where injuries are more serious and even life threatening, and thereby require emergency and sometimes long-term medical care.

For parents of student athletes, especially those whose children play aggressive contact sports, such as hockey, rugby, football, soccer, and even acrobatic sports like gymnastics and cheerleading or non-contact sports like swimming, safety is a real concern, especially given the high instance of traumatic brain in juries, concussions, and broken bones. When a student athlete is injured during a game or practice, not only do concerns circle around whether the student is/will be okay, but also who is financially responsible for covering any medical care needed to treat an injury.

According to statistics compiled by from Safe Kids USA and the American Academy of Pediatrics,

  • Each year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries. More than 30 million children participate in sports each year
  • 62% of organized sports-related injuries happen during practice rather than during games
  • Collision and contact sports, like football and rugby, have higher injury rates, but injuries from individual sports, such as gymnastics and swimming, are usually more severe
  • About 33% of parents don’t take the same safety precautions during their child’s practice as they do for a game, and there are statistics showing that schools and coaches take practices less seriously than games when it comes to injuries

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A man who had been helping other individuals escape from a burning home in Dorchester was critically burned during his efforts to alert those living in the floors above his apartment. The man, who has yet to be identified, had been living on the first floor of a triple-decker home in Dorchester when the fire broke out early Wednesday morning.

According to preliminary reports, the fire started at approximately 4:00 AM at the home located on Ridgewood Street. Firefighters responding to the scene have stated that 15 people, including 7 children, were present in the home when the fire raged on in the middle of the night. All of the residents escaped from the building unharmed, and they have their neighbor to thank in part for that fact.

The man had been staying in an apartment on the first floor of the triple-decker home following a fire that had damaged his previous residence. The exact details surrounding the matter have not yet been disclosed, but officials responding on scene have indicated that they believe the fire started on the first floor. Although they are unsure at this time what could have directly caused the fire to start. District Fire Chief Jeff Whitman spoke to reporters and stated that “With this type of weather, with windows being open still, the fire can travel in or out very quickly.” He indicated that he believed the fire began either on the first floor porch or somewhere inside the first floor apartments. Continue reading

In one of the biggest fraud scandals in motor vehicle manufacturer history, Volkswagen has admitted to rigging 11 million vehicles with a software designed to cheat emissions tests. Millions of consumers have purchased the rigged cars, billed as eco-friendly, thinking they were doing something good for the environment and public health. However, the opposite is true. In fact, the “clean diesels” produce nearly 40 times the legal limit.

The German auto manufacturer got away with emissions fraud for seven years before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uncovered what was going on. After an environmental group tipped off researchers at West Virginia University, the researchers ran tests on various VW models and learned that emissions from two of the diesel models were significantly higher than allowed. In May of 2014, the researchers reported their discovery to the EPA, but VW put the blame on technical issues. However, on September 18 of this year, the EPA announced that VW had, in fact, violated clean air rules by purposely cheating emissions tests. Last week, the EPA notified car manufacturers that it will begin additional testing of diesel vehicles under ‘real world’ conditions, rather than just in a lab.

Consumers Sue For Compensatory and Punitive Damages

Consumers are furious, and rightfully so. Volkswagen stock has dropped 30% since last week alone, and millions of environmentally-conscious people are driving around major polluters that are worth thousands less today than they were last week. Continue reading

In a record-breaking settlement, Adventist Health System must pay over $118 million to settle a 2012 whistleblower lawsuit. The large settlement is a result of Adventist’s alleged over-compensation to physicians for referring patients to Adventist-owned health care facilities in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and North Carolina. The settlement, which is the largest of its kind involving doctor referrals to hospitals, will be distributed among those four states, and the federal government.
The lawsuit alleges that Adventist directed its hospitals to employ physicians within their local service areas and to purchase private practices in order to create a patient referral monopoly in those areas. In fact, many of the doctors at one of the Adventist-owned physician practices, Florida Hospital Medical Group, also worked at several Adventist hospitals and outpatient clinics.

Federal False Claims Act

The whistleblowers credited with exposing this record-breaking fraud, three former hospital employees, will be awarded handsomely for their efforts. The False Claims Act encourages individuals to  file “qui tam” lawsuits if they become aware of any fraudulent activity against the government. Whistleblowers are typically rewarded up to 25 percent of the financial recovery if the government gets involved.

All three whistleblowers were long-term employees at Adventist’s Park Ridge Health in North Carolina. After several years of attempting to use internal channels to have their concerns addressed, Michael Payne, Melissa Church, and Gloria Pryor filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2012, after realizing management wasn’t going to do anything to stop the fraudulent activity.

The lawsuit alleges that excessive compensation for physician referrals was apparent in several instances, including:

A bonus of over $367,000 for a dermatologist who worked part time. This brought his total pay for the year to $710,000, in addition to extra payments for staff, equipment, and malpractice insurance.

  •  A family physician’s $366,000 base salary – nearly double the salary of other physicians in the same area.
  • A BMW and Mustang lease for a surgeon

The $118 million settlement is almost double the previous largest settlement for alleged hospital kickbacks, which was a $69.5 million settlement by Florida’s North Broward Hospital District. In addition to the physician-referral scheme, the settlement also covered several allegations of Medicare billing fraud, which included “unbundling” Medicare services in order to submit them as separate claims.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Whistleblower Law Firm

If you are aware of any type of fraudulent activity against the government, the Federal False Claims Act encourages private citizens to expose the fraud by filing a whistleblower lawsuit. If your unique information leads to a settlement, you may be rewarded with up to 25% of the settlement. Considering that whistleblower lawsuits can result in tens of millions of dollars in settlements, the whistleblower’s incentive can be quite substantial. Whistleblowers are extremely valuable to the safety and welfare of the general public. Fraudulent activity can lead to inadequate healthcare, dangerous pharmaceuticals, malfunctioning motor vehicles, and countless other health and safety hazards. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we encourage individuals with information about fraudulent activity to come forward. With nearly 50 years of experience in this area of law, we can help you determine the best strategy for moving forward. Call Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.






A study conducted by the Association of American Universities released on Monday has produced staggering results in regards to the number of sexual assaults taking place on college campuses across the country. According to their report entitled “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault” approximately 23.1 % of female undergraduate students have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by physical force or threat of physical force. The study included information amassed from 150,000 students at 28 different universities across the U.S.

The Association of American Universities, AAU for short, administered their Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault to 60 different member universities but only 27 universities chose to take part in the survey. One non-member university also participated in the survey administered by the AAU. Of the 60 member campuses, three from Massachusetts declined to take part. Boston University, Brandeis University, and MIT all opted out of the sexual assault survey. Harvard University, however, chose to take part in the survey and found their results to be alarming. Approximately 31% of their 60% senior female student body responded that they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since they began taking classes at Harvard University. Many of the 31% indicated that the sexual could be classified as rape and not just sexual harassment. Continue reading

Adventist Health System, based out of Florida, has reached a settlement with the federal government following allegations of the system offering “excessive” compensation for doctor’s referrals. In the settlement, Adventist Health Systems will have to pay a record setting $118.7 million to the federal government after three whistle-blowers from the company brought the case against the system in 2012.

Adventist Health System includes approximately 44 hospital campuses across 10 different states in the US. The whistle-blowers directly involved in the case had previously worked at a branch of the company, Adventist Park Ridge Health located in Hendersonville, N.C. The three individuals have been identified as risk manager Michael Payne, executive director of physician services Melissa Church, and a compliance officer for physician services by the name of Gloria Pryor. The case they brought against Adventist Health System alleges that Adventist paid doctors for referrals to their company in North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas. These allegations are in direct violation of the Stark Law—a law that was instated under three separate provisions that govern physician’s ability to self-refer clients to a medical facility that they hold some type of financial investment in. This investment may include ownership of the facility or a structured compensation agreement with the facility in question. The case brought against Adventist further prompted claims to the government alleging that the system was also in violation of the False Claims Act, which is imposed on companies who “defraud” government programs.

Included in the case against Adventist Health System is the claim that the company paid for car leases for a BMW and a Mustang for a surgeon involved with one of their facilities. Another claim states that they paid an additional $710,000 in bonuses to a dermatologist who only worked out of the office three days a week. Adventist Health System is one of the largest systems of its kind in the nation. And the settlement reached between the company and the federal government over these claims is the largest ever reported for a settlement under the Stark law.

Adventist Health System issued a statement addressing the matter on Monday following the settlement agreement that came on September 21st. The statement read, in part, that the settlement “fully resolves issues AHS voluntarily disclosed to the United States government in early 2013 involving its implementation of certain physician employment compensation models and highly technical physician billing and coding issues.” They went on to say that they conducted their own independent review and found that the reasons behind the claims brought against them had not negatively impacted quality, safety, or cost for patients under the Adventist Health System. The company went on to say that following the case brought against them by the three whistle-blowers from North Carolina, Adventist would be implementing a new centralized process that would establish a set compensation rate for physicians in an effort to prevent future Stark Law cases from coming against the company.

In addition to the announcement of the new processes being implemented by Adventist Health System, the company also stated that not every hospital under their system was directly involved in the whistle-blower’s accusations. They expressed regret for the actions of the few who broke the law by offering outlandish compensation to a select few physicians in exchange for referrals. Adventist expressed that this was the direct result of oversights within their company, and that they would be working toward improvements in the future. Adventist went on to say that they will be more closely monitoring their facilities in an effort to maintain the highest regulation standards possible.

Just last week, on September 15th, a similar settlement had been made between the U. S. Justice Department and the North Broward Hospital District. The Hospital District had agreed to pay a settlement for $69.5 million following accusations that they pad doctors more than market value, partly based off of referrals. This settlement had been the largest under the Stark Law until Monday’s settlement with Adventist. A week prior to the North Broward settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, an additional settlement of similar nature was settled between Columbus Regional Healthcare System. The Columbus (Ga.) Regional Healthcare System had agreed to pay a settlement for $35 million following accusations that they had also violated the Stark Law and the False Claims Act.

An attorney from the Washington D.C. based law firm Phillips and Cohen, Peter Chatfield, has said that these settlements prove that the Stark Law is being viewed and upheld seriously in recent months. His law firm Phillips and Cohen have represented whistle-blower cases in the past and are familiar with the process that comes along with these cases. Chatfield has said that the government is looking at these Stark Law violations earnestly and that he believes physicians receiving payment for referrals is inappropriate behavior and is being prosecuted accordingly.


Violations of the Stark Law are being brought to light more frequently under the False Claims Act, and those companies that are found to be in violation of these laws are being held accountable for their actions. As these settlements garner more attention, they have also highlighted to possible whistle-blowers that they will be entitled to some percentage of the money the government is able to recover during settlement. The percentage received by the whistle-blowers involved in the case against Adventist Health System was not made immediately available following the announcement of the settlement.

The settlement agreement covers the lawsuit presented by the three whistle-blowers from North Carolina as well as an additional lawsuit brought against the company by whistle-blowers from Florida. The settlement includes payments of $115 million to the federal government, $3.48 million to Florida, and $198,453 to North Carolina. The settlement also includes payments of $66,897 to Tennessee and $4,711 to Texas. Adventist Health System has facilities in each of these states in which physicians were compensated for referrals they were providing that violated the Stark Law.

While the Stark Law has faced some criticisms since it was first implemented, the regulations recently underwent changes that allowed for the Law to become more easily practiced. These changes have also opened the door for further settlements to take place to hold those in violation of the law accountable for their actions.


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A man was struck and killed by a train Monday afternoon according to reports provided by The Boston Fire Department. Law enforcement officials received a call at approximately 2:30 PM stating that man had become pinned underneath a Red Line train at the JFK/U Mass MBTA station. Though responding officers worked to release the man from beneath the train, the victim was later pronounced dead on scene following the retrieval efforts.

The name of the victim has yet to be released by authorities are stating that the unidentified man is between the ages of 50-60 years old. The exact events surrounding the accident are currently under active investigation but police have stated that they do not suspect foul play in the matter. According to an MBTA police officer, the man allegedly stumbled onto the tracks in the Dorchester neighborhood that houses the JFK/U Mass MBTA station. It is not clear at this time if the man accidently stumbled onto the tracks or if he does so purposefully. He was subsequently struck by a Red Line train destined for the Braintree station shortly after falling onto the tracks.

Transit police detectives for the MBTA are currently investigating the incident with help from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in an effort to determine what lead to the fatal accident. Continue reading

Hand sanitizers have become increasingly popular over the years as people have become more fearful of germs and what they can do to our bodies. Sanitizers contain approximately 70-90% alcohol content that allows for the immediate removal of germs on your hands. But recent studies show that children may become poisoned by the sanitizers if the children were to ingest them—also a trend that seems to be on the rise as these new sanitizers come in a variety of scents that could prove confusing to young children.

A mother from Easton, Massachusetts, Jennifer Daly has said that in a home with three children, she treats hand sanitizer as a toxin. She keeps the sanitizer bottle on the top shelf of a medicine cabinet along with the other medicine that needs to be kept away from young children. Daly  is the mother of twin 5 year olds as well and an 8 year old child—she is doing what she feels is in their best interest in an effort to keep them safe from the harmful side effects that come along with ingesting hand sanitizer.

According to reports released form the Georgia Poison Center, the number of cases of children under 12 years of age who have suffered harmful side effects as the result of ingesting hand sanitizer has quadrupled from 2010 to 2013. There were 16, 117 cases reported nationwide of children suffering from hand sanitizer poisoning in 2013 as opposed to the 3,600 reported nationwide for 2010. Dr. Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, has said that children have a tendency to eat things regardless of how they may smell and taste. Dr. Lopez has stated that this is one of the main causes for alarm in terms of children ingesting hand sanitizer. Nowadays, the sanitizers come in a variety of scents, such a strawberry, grape, and cherry. Some children may not realize the severity of the matter when they ingest such sanitizers, and may become “drunk” as a result of the sanitizer consumption.

Dr. Lopez went on to say that they received a call for two children, aged 5 and 6, who were rushed to the emergency room for suspected sanitizer related poisoning. One of the children had registered a blood alcohol content of .179, which is twice the legal limit for adults. Dr. Lopez indicated that this particular child had consumed “two or three squirts” of strawberry scented sanitizer which is what led to their poisoning. Dr. Lopez went on to say that alcohol poisoning can cause confusion, vomiting, and drowsiness primarily. But if a child were to consume too much of the sanitizer, it could prevent them from breathing properly and could even lead to death.

Massachusetts has also seen an increase in alcohol poisoning caused by hand sanitizer in recent years. Reports from the Department of Public Health indicate that 292 cases were reported in 2014, which is a slight increase to the 287 reported cases in 2013. These cases included poisonings caused by alcohol based and non-alcohol based hand sanitizers alike. A spokesman for the Department of Public Health, Omar Cabrera, has said that the DPH is working toward better prevention methods in an effort to decrease the number of children being poisoned by sanitizer consumption. “In terms of prevention efforts, our providers have again begun reaching out to preschools for education sessions. They will be addressing hand sanitizers when discussing common poisoning agents to teachers.”

Many schools across Massachusetts have stated that while they do have hand sanitizer available at their facilities, they are often located in areas that are monitored by adults. The sanitizers offered in classrooms, bathrooms, and in the hallways are often non-alcohol based sanitizers or foam sanitizers which provide less of an opportunity for children to become sick after consumption. Dr. Gaylord Lopez said that despite these improvements, teachers and parents need to become more aware of the dangers presented by hand sanitizers and learn the best ways to halt a poisoning from taking place. Knowledge of these events is the first step toward prevention. But children also need to be spoken to about the issues these sanitizers may pose if the children were to consume the products. Being proactive is the key in order to prevent further tragedies from taking place.


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The transition of a family member to a nursing home can be an emotional and confusing time for everyone involved. Relatives hope for the best possible care. However, the unfortunate truth is that many patients suffer from dehydration and malnutrition at some point during their residence in a nursing home. The most prevalent reason for this form of neglect is insufficient staffing.

Medical issues resulting from poor diet and dehydration include bone problems, tooth decay, low blood pressure and anemia, all of which can lead to death. One recent study revealed that an estimated 85% of nursing home residents do not receive proper nourishment. This study analyzed patients in over 17,000 facilities across the United States. The same study reports that 30% to 50% of residents are underweight. Family members can help prevent these types of neglect by knowing which symptoms to watch for, and by addressing any potential warning signs as soon as possible.

Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987

In response to the Institute of Medicine’s discovery of an epidemic of nursing home neglect in a 1986 study, the Nursing Home Reform Act became law in 1987. This act established the Residents’ Bill of Rights and ensured services to provide higher levels of physical, mental, and psychological wellness. Nursing facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid income require compliance with certain practices in the Nursing Home Reform Act. These practices include:

  • Thorough care plans for each resident, to be assessed periodically
  • Full nursing care
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Nutrition services
  • Full-time social worker services for homes with more than 120 beds

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As the end of summer approaches many people are still riding their bikes to school and work.  You always have to be keenly aware of bike riders, but especially during busy rush hour.  A bicyclist suffered serious injuries Thursday morning after colliding with a vehicle in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Preliminary reports for the accident reveal that at approximately 7:30 AM a bicyclist crashed through a window of a minivan after colliding with the front of the vehicle. The bicyclist was taken via medical helicopter to a nearby hospital following the accident.

Reports have indicated that the bicyclist has been identified as 38 year old Stephen Rogan who currently resides at 36 Howard Street in Bridgewater. Rogan had been riding his bike along the intersection of Pearl Street and Perkins Street when he collided with the front of a Dodge Caravan. Upon impact, Stephen Rogan crashed through a window of the vehicle and ended up somewhere inside the Caravan. According to Bridgewater Fire Lieutenant Bob Mancinelli, Rogan sustained head and facial injuries as a result of the collision. The severity of these injuries was not made immediately available.

The driver of the Dodge Caravan has been identified as 50 year old Michael Lee of Wedowee, Alabama. Lee was not injured as a result of the collision. Initial reports indicate that Lee had been stopped at a Stop sign on Perkins Street. Rogan had attempted to take a turn from Pearl Street onto Perkins Street when he collided with Michael Lee’s Caravan. Reports have not indicated whether or not Rogan possibly lost control of his bike or simply didn’t see Lee at the Stop sign. The exact circumstances surrounding the collision are currently under investigation by the Bridgewater Police Department as well as Plymouth County BCI. Continue reading