Westborough Firm Guides Clients on Disability and Injury Claims
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westboroughâ”Nicole D. Sullivan's law practice specializes in helping clients who have claims arising from injuries or disabilities, but she also offers consultation and planning advice, particularly for families with disabled children.
“We’re one of the very few law firms that can handle all areas of disabilityâ”Social Security disability, workers’ compensation, long-term disability and personal injury,” said Sullivan, the firm's principal. “If you get hurt, injured or sick, you should come see us.”
Since the firm does specialize in all three areas, attorneys can help clients determine which path best suits their needs in making sure they are compensated for medical costs and benefits related to an injury or disability, she said.
If someone has an illness or injury that may mean they will have to stop working earlier than planned, Sullivan recommended a call. “We can help determine your options, the types of insurance you may need and how to plan for your financial future,” whether a client is on the verge of retirement or is younger but concerned about the future impact of a disease or disability.
Planning is particularly important for families with disabled children, she noted.
“If a child is disabled before age 22, he or she is eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In addition, if the parent of a disabled child is deceased or becomes disabled, the child can access that parent's earnings to get higher benefits.”
The key to receiving those increased benefits, however, is to substantiate that the child was disabled before age 22. “You can file for benefits after 22, but you have to prove you were disabled before 22,” Sullivan said, and her law firm can help families with this documentation and planning.
“Most parents of disabled children plan for their children's care after the parents” death through an estate attorney, but they don's think about seeing a disability attorney for the child's support while the parents are still alive.”
Initial consultations with her office are always free, Sullivan said. “The majority of fees we charge are contingency fees, so there are no out-of-pocket costs in most cases.”
Another consultation service the office offers is a no-charge review of automobile insurance policies to make sure drivers are carrying enough coverage to protect themselves and their assets, a review Sullivan particularly suggests as parents add teen-age drivers to their policies. “A large number of people have little or no uninsured or underinsurance coverage, which protects you if you are hit by someone who doesn's have enough insurance or has no insurance.”
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.
In a sign of the times, Sullivan noted a sharp increase in the past year in the number of claims by drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who have been injured by a driver who was using a cellphone or texting. Such claims are about 25 percent of the office's cases now, she said.
“We do win those cases. There's usually no issue with liability,” she said, urging drivers to stop using handheld cellphones while driving.
“There are all these devices to make it safer to talk on a cellphone while driving. And why people are texting while driving is beyond me,” she said.
Working with Sullivan is Kelli Skog Silva, who joined the firm in 2009. Silva is an occupational therapist as well as an attorney, and brings that unique perspective to the practice, Sullivan said.
Sullivan is currently running for school committee in Westborough.
“Westborough has been very good to me, and it's time to give back,” said Sullivan, who has four young children; the oldest ones are in the school system now.
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.