Law Offices of Nicole D. Sullivan & Associates
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough–An injury or serious illness does not have to mean financial disaster if people are insured in advance and take advantage of all the protections and services available.
Attorneys with the Law Offices of Nicole D. Sullivan & Associates in Westborough specialize in advising clients facing disability issues, with experience in all three areas of disability law–Social Security disability, worker’s compensation, and long-term disability—as well as personal injury claims.
Nicole D. Sullivan, owner of the practice, urges everyone working to invest in disability insurance.
“If your employer offers a short-term or a long-term disability insurance policy, you should absolutely take it. If not, buy your own private policy through an insurance agent,” she said. “A disability policy protects you if you are unable to work because of an accident or illness. It pays a percentage of your salary or wages.”
Sullivan suggested employees taking advantage of a company-offered policy make sure the policy is purchased with after-tax dollars so that benefits paid by the policy are not taxable.
She noted that most loans, such as a mortgage, automobile, even credit card loans, have riders for disability insurance and for life insurance, which will cover payments on those loans if a person is disabled and pay off the balance in full if the borrower becomes disabled or passes away.
“You cannot afford not to have this coverage. It can cost as little as a few dollars a week,” she added. “The number one cause of personal bankruptcy is medical bills related to an accident or illness.”
Her law firm can advise clients about such insurance, review insurance coverage to make sure it is accurate, and make sure clients receive all the benefits they are due, from a variety of sources, if they do suffer an accident or serious illness.
“The client can focus on getting better, and I can focus on getting the insurance benefits to pay the bills while someone is out of work,” Sullivan said.
She noted, for example, that it can take years to access Social Security disability insurance, and recommended consulting an attorney to be sure the application is filed correctly. “Mistakes can cost you benefits.”
She recommends that people who receive a diagnosis of a serious illness but are still able to work consult an attorney “sooner rather than later to see what benefits will be available when they reach a point where they can no longer work and what their rights and options are as a working disabled person.”
Someone who suffers a heart attack or stroke while on the job should pursue a worker’s compensation claim, and if the person dies, the spouse and children may be eligible for benefits under worker’s compensation laws, she said.
Initial consultations with her office are always free, Sullivan said. The firm has staff members fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
The law office also emphasizes customer service. Representatives of the firm will pick up clients and bring them to the office or to a court when necessary. Attorneys will respond to calls or emails in the evening, and Saturday appointments are available.
Working with Sullivan is Kelli Skog Silva, who joined the firm in 2009. Silva is an occupational therapist as well as an attorney, bringing an unusual perspective to the practice. Jeff Steinberg, an attorney specializing in personal injury litigation, works with the firm on an “of counsel” basis.
The Law Offices of Nicole D. Sullivan & Associates are located at 69 Milk St., Westborough. For additional information, see the website, www.nds-law.com, or call 508-836-5590.
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