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What Makes a Strong Products Liability Case in Connecticut?

While manufacturers take precaution to mitigate the risks associated with their products, there are still times when individuals are harmed due to substantial flaws that went undetected during product testing. When a consumer is harmed due to a product, they have a lot to prove to be successful, but it can be done. Knowing the laws and how they apply to your case ahead of time can alleviate a lot of stress and guarantee a more favorable outcome.

If you have suffered injury due to a lack of safety features, lack of warning labels, or a design or production failure or flaw, you could be eligible for compensation. The first step in your legal battle is to figure out if you meet the criteria to prove a product was defective and dangerous.

Types of Defects

Under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, victims of such injuries can only recover damages if they prove they have an injury, that it is the result of the product, and if it contained a defect that made it more dangerous than a reasonable person under the same circumstances would expect.

There are three categories of product defects:

  • Design defect. This is when the product was designed with a dangerous flaw such as a car that is prone to rollover.
  • Manufacturing defect. When the product was designed well but is rendered unsafe during production, it is a manufacturing defect. An example includes contaminated food.
  • Label defect. When a product does not properly warn consumers of its dangers or hidden risks and a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not have assumed its risk, it is a label defect.

When pursuing compensation, a jury will look at the circumstances in which a plaintiff was injured and conclude whether the product was unreasonably or unforeseeably dangerous. The goal is to hold manufacturers and designers accountable for how reliable and safe their products are to keep consumers safe.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to no fault of your own after using a dangerous product, contact our attorneys today. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we hold manufacturers accountable for the items they place in the marketplace and aim to protect the rights of consumers.


Sobering Slip and Fall Accident Statistics

Falls accounted for nearly 32,000 deaths in 2014, according to the National Safety Council. In fact, falls are the third leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. with the risk of falling increasing with age. In at-home settings and communities, more than 31,000 falls led to death with nearly 600 dying from a fall at the workplace. Even further, 47,000 falls that resulted in injury at the workplace in 2013.

More Statistics

  • There are more than 540,000 slip and fall injuries that require hospital care in North America every year.
  • More than 300,000 disabling injuries are caused by slipping accidents every year.
  • There are about 55 fatalities each day in North America from fall accidents.
  • Of all reported injuries, slip and fall injuries account for 30%.
  • Slip and fall injuries alone cost over $100 million each day.
  • 40% of all Workers’ Compensation claims paid out are from slip and fall accidents, accumulating over $1.8 billion in damages paid to victims every year.
  • In hotels, restaurants and public buildings, slip and falls are the top cause of accidents with 70% occurring on flat, even surfaces.
  • Slip and fall injuries are the leading cause of death in the workplace.
  • The incidence of falls increases with each decade of life.
  • Fractures are the most serious injury from a slip and fall and happen in 5% of all slip and fall incidents.

Prevention

Physical aspects can be handled to help reduce the number of slip and fall accidents but there are other factors that have a major impact. The three physical precautions that can be taken include:

  • Proper and regular maintenance
  • Well-maintained equipment and guards
  • Applicable rules and regulations

In addition to these preventions, there are three major contributors to the likelihood of slipping, tripping and falling:

  • Distractions
  • Walking too fast
  • Not paying attention to where you’re walking

The human factors can be best addressed in training sessions for safety. It is also important to be prudent with your own safety and to watch for safety signs and where you are walking.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our team of attorneys today at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.


Who is Financially Responsible when a Car Seat is Broken During a Car Accident?

In auto collisions, there are damages that extend beyond vehicle repair. If you have been in an accident that was not your fault and your car gets totaled, you will be reimbursed for the damages. But what happens when there are high monetary damages that go beyond the cost of your car?

In most collisions, there are three types of damages. The first category is damage is the physical harm to passengers and the driver. The second is the actual vehicle, with the third covering the property inside the car.

Despite the three levels of monetary damage, insurance adjusters will often only offer the costs for the car. For instance, if the car is totaled, they have to cut a check for the value of the car, according to the book of car values they use. When the car can be fixed, they will cover the costs of maintenance.

It is not likely an adjuster will offer to fix property or cover the damages in a car accident. However, personal items of value can be sought after. Most common of these items are child safety seats and boosters. This is because the National Highway Transportation Safety Board recommends these seats to be replaced after a moderate or severe crash, even when they are technically undamaged. This is the ensure children maintain a high level of crash protection.

The cost of replacing car seats can be steep, with many costing a few to several hundred dollars. An insurance adjuster’s job is to ensure the insurance company pays the lowest amount possible after an accident. As such, the adjuster won’t be upfront with your rights, no matter how kind or helpful they seem.

It is within your rights to have car seats replaced when they are broken during an accident. Not only is it personal property damage, which is covered, but the NHTS Board requires you to replace them following an accident.

If you have suffered damages after a car accident, we can help. At Jonathan Personal Injury Lawyers, our team of Connecticut car accident lawyers understand the law and will put our experience to work protecting your rights. Contact us online or give us a call today to find out more.


Important Information on ABLE Accounts for Special Needs Planning

ABLE Accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts for those who have disabilities. These accounts can help those with a disability, along with their families, better plan their future. These accounts were created because of the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, also known as the ABLE Act.

Unlike other accounts, the income that accumulates in these accounts cannot be taxed. Contributions by any person, including family and friends, into the account will be made with post-taxed dollars that are not tax deductible apart from a few states that allow for state income tax deductions for the contributions.

Why Are They Necessary?

More millions of people in the country that have a disability, their lives become reliant on public benefits for income, health care, and food and housing assistance. The eligibility for those benefits can require meeting a means or test which requires them to report less than $2,000 in savings. To remain eligible for these benefits, the individual must remain poor, which is a huge disadvantage for the disabled people in our country. Living with a disability often is a much higher cost of living than those who are deemed able-bodied.

The ABLE Act recognizes these hardships. For families with someone in their household with a disability, they lose out on a lot of the benefits that were made for the individual simply because they took them in. Under the ABLE Act, eligible individuals are allowed to create ABLE savings accounts that don’t affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid or other public benefits. Instead, these are private savings that secure funding for the high cost of disabled living and allow individuals to save up money.

Are There Limits to How Much Can Be Added to an ABLE Account?

The limit for all contributions annually into an ABLE account is $14,000. However, this amount is likely to be adjusted over time to account for inflation. This number is based on the current tax law that $14,000 is the maximum amount an individual can gift to another person without reporting the gift to the IRS.

The overall limit on how much an ABLE account varies from state to state, with most setting this limit at over $300,000. Those who are recipients of SSI have further limitations. For instance, the first $100,000 put into the account would be exempted from the SSI $2,000 resource limit. When it goes over the amount, the SSI cash benefit would be suspended only until the account fell back to $100,000 or less.

If you or a loved one is considering setting up an ABLE account but have questions about your SSI benefits, we can help. Contact our attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today.


Important Limitations of a Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust can make estate planning much smoother, but it comes with its limitations. While such a trust can have a huge impact on minimizing probate involvement when you pass away, it comes with limitations many are unaware of when going into their estate planning.

Here are some of the top myths regarding revocable living trusts that many people seem to believe.

Probate Can Be Fully Avoided with a Living Trust

This is the most commonly believed myth and can be the most damaging. Probate court procedures are, unfortunately, not fully avoidable. However, they can be significantly minimized with a proper living trust. In Connecticut, keeping your assets out of probate will lead to much less paperwork being filed, including the estate tax return, but there will still have to be some probate court involvement.

Estate Tax Can Be Avoided with a Living Trust

A living trust can certainly be made to include provisions that will address estate tax planning, but the same can be accomplished with a well thought out last will and testament. In Connecticut, the current estate tax exemption is $2 million.

Probate Court Fees Can be Avoided

It makes sense to think if you sort out your own affairs, the court won’t have fees. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even if none of your assets go through probate, there will still be a charge based on the size of your estate. This includes all non-probate assets. While it is called a court fee, it operates much more similarly to a tax, which is how the probate court system is funded.

My Assets Will Be Protected if I End Up in a Nursing Home

Unfortunately, assets in a typical living trust are not protected from a nursing home or even other creditors. If this is the goal for your living trust, there are other types of trusts that could be used instead that better address your specific needs.

If you are considering a living trust but aren’t sure where to start, we can help. Our Elder Law attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers can help from start to finish, and educate you on the best estate planning and trusts for your individual needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Can I Seek Damages When a Product Doesn’t Have Proper Warnings or Instructions?

If you have been injured because of a product you used, you may be entitled to compensation. There are three categories that claims fall into where compensation may be available to the victim of the product: defectively manufactured, defectively designed, and failure to warn about proper use or the potential for harm.

Even products that have been created well and have no flaws in their design can cause harm when the consumer is not properly informed.

Duty of Care

When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation. Companies have a duty of care to let consumers know how to properly use their products and must warn how misuse can lead to injury. For instance, if a hair remover may cause burns if left on too long, the consumer must be properly warned about the risk. Failing to do so can put the company on the hook for damages that result from leaving the product on.

In these cases, the danger must be overt. In the case of the hair remover, a consumer may assume the product is safe since it is being used on the skin. If the company knows risks increase the longer a product stays on the body, they are required to give instructions on how to avoid the burns, along with information on how to handle a situation where the product begins to burn the skin.

Misuse of Product

While you may seek damages when the product does not have proper warnings, your case may be dismissed if you misused the product. In these cases, a product was used for something other than its intended use and the instructions were clear. For instance, a manufacturer is not liable if a consumer uses an outdoor grill indoors when it is marketed clearly for outdoor use.

Manufacturers should be able to warn against foreseeable misuse, but when there is adequate warning of misuse, they cannot be held liable. They also cannot be held accountable for not warning of unforeseeable uses. For instance, it is not reasonable for a microwave company to be expected to warn consumers not to microwave a laptop, but they should be able to foresee warning them against microwaving a plastic bowl.

If you feel your injury is due to the negligence of a manufacturer, contact our Connecticut defect product lawyer at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.


Recovering Lost Wages After an Injury

Los Angeles, California–September 5, 2016. Homeless woman arrested by police officers and handcuffed. Confrontations between transients and police on the rise as homeless population increases.

Whether you have been in a car accident or had a slip and fall accident, receiving medical treatment can take you out of work for some time. Even less severe accidents can subject a person to lost  wages and absence from work, both of which can have a huge impact on an individual’s ability to pay their bills. In more extreme circumstances, this can lead to falling behind in bills or even evictions and repossessions.

Following an accident, not everyone is eligible to recover their lost wages. Before filing for lost wages, understand you may be denied and even if you are awarded damages, the process is often a very long process. Because of this, it is a good rule of thumb not to rely on getting your award to pay off debts.

Submit a Claim for Loss of Income

In the event of a car accident, a victim can submit a car accident claim immediately. However, you will want to wait until you receive medical treatment to submit the form if you intend to file for lost wages. Simply put, you must incur a loss before you can claim the loss, even when it is easily foreseen.

It is also important to know that adjusters will need adequate time to investigate a claim before making an offer. When being investigated, you are not necessarily being accused of faking your losses. Instead, an insurance company needs time to assess what they believe the losses are. During this time, your insurance company may offer to pay some of your bills and will pressure the other insurance company to pay out the remainder of the claim.

At this point, it serves to have legal representation. By giving a lawyer all relevant information, they can put together the best evidence in an organized fashion that can help expedite a claim, or find you can claim more than you realize.

It Takes a Long Time

Be prepared for the investigation to take a long time. Depending on the accident, an investigation can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. This means it will take even longer to receive lost wages.

Don’t leave it to the insurance companies to compensate your lost wages. Have a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at your side from the beginning stages. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we help our clients receive the compensation they deserve and put the pressure on the insurance companies to pay the costs.


Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Nursing Home

It’s difficult to trust a stranger with the full care of your loved one, but sometimes a professional is the only one who can best take care of someone who can no longer safely live on their own. It is good practice to check the facilities out before deciding on a location, but it can be difficult to know what to look for specifically–instead of trying to go through a detailed checklist that may not indicate the quality of care, there are a few simple questions to ask yourself.

Before you go, familiarize yourself with red flags that may be an indication of elder abuse.

What do you hear?

In every nursing home, you will hear patients calling for help or moaning. These are unlikely signs of nursing home abuse or mistreatment. Instead, listen to how staff speaks with patients and one another. When staff considers how their patients wish to be addressed and show respect rather than using nicknames or “grandpa,” it is a good sign.

What do you smell?

Of course, all facilities will have a certain funny smell due to medications and diets. However, the amount of scent tells a lot. If you pick up a whiff of urine, it typically means someone recently had an accident. Strong, stale smells of urine that reek throughout the facility, on the other hand, are a sign of improper cleaning.

How does the food look and taste?

It is difficult enough to get older folk to eat. Having palpable food helps keep good spirits in a nursing home and will encourage them to eat regularly. It is also important to check out what types of diets they offer and if you can bring in homemade food to give them a taste of home.

How do residents spend their time?

If you see a large group hanging around a nurses’ station or together in a community room, it’s a good sign. Residents who are consistently tucked away in their rooms often have depression and other mental health issues.

How does the staff interact?

Respect starts with the staff. If they address each other harshly or disrespectfully, it can be assumed they will have the same attitude toward your loved one. It is also important to listen to what they discuss. Staff that gossips rather than going over care plans should be avoided.

If your loved one is showing signs of abuse, be proactive. Get in contact with one of our Connecticut nursing home abuse lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers as soon as possible to keep your loved one safe.


Wrongful Death Claims in Connecticut: Important Questions Answered

There are few times in life more emotionally-charged than losing a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person. Despite the emotions, it’s important to have the right information and important questions answered before pursuing legal action. While many will want to immediately hold the person accountable, it can pay off to take a step back and full understand what comes with the territory of a wrongful death claim.

What is a wrongful death claim?

The compensation gained from a wrongful death claim is meant to help financial aid family members following a fatal accident. This is often when the family members had been financially and emotionally dependent on the deceased.

Who can seek damages?

A good rule of thumb is whether the person is part of the estate. Surviving spouses and children are the most common, but surviving parents and other family members may also be able to seek damages.

What damages can be covered?

Damages following a wrongful death fall into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include monetary losses and the expenses that came as a result of the death such as funeral arrangements and medical bills. Noneconomic damages cover losses and injury that are harder to quantify, such as lingering effects of injuries.

Can I be compensated for pain and suffering?

In a wrongful death suit, pain and suffering may be sought when the victim did not die instantaneously. Collecting for your own pain and suffering is much more difficult to claim.

Can I claim emotional distress as a bystander?

In some circumstances, damages can be sought as a bystander. Family members who witnessed the death or saw their loved one at the scene of the accident may be able to collect compensation for their emotional distress. They might be compensated for emotional and psychological injuries that would be expected from the loss of a loved one.

Can I seek damages for loss of consortium?

When your spouse passes away and you have children, you are losing your parenting partner. In Connecticut, you can seek compensation for the loss of the ability to enjoy their companionship such as the spouse’s affections, companionship and sexual relations.

If you have lost a loved one suddenly due to the careless actions of another person, contact the Connecticut wrong death lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to find out how we can help.


How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Slip and Fall Accident in Connecticut?

After a slip and fall accident, the focus is often not on getting compensation but inattention immediately after an accident can cost you. In Connecticut, it is important to understand the limitations in filing a lawsuit after your accident. Gathering the right evidence at the start, such as having someone snap a photo of the scene, can help down the line. But how long do you have to file?

Do You Have a Case?

Before getting into how long you have to file, you should first establish that you should file. Chances are, if you have fallen to no fault of your own, you should file a lawsuit. In order for someone to be held accountable for your fall, one of the following must be true:

  • A spill was caused by the owner of the premises or an employee, or there was a worn or torn spot that was not fixed or had warning signage. Slippery or dangerous surfaces or items that are placed in such a way that they are underfoot also apply.
  • Either the owner or an employee should have known about the dangerous situation. In the same situation, a reasonable person overseeing the property would have noticed and had it taken care of or provided warning.
  • The owner or employee had knowledge of the danger but took no action.

How Long Do I Have?

Each state has its own statute that governs how long a victim has to file a lawsuit. In Connecticut, the same rules apply to a slip and fall accident as they do in a personal injury case. A victim has two years from the date of injury to file the lawsuit. Specifically, the law states no action to cover damages can be brought to a court once two years from the date of injury passes.

More simply put, if you feel the owner or an employee are responsible for your injury, you must file within two years from being injured. This makes it important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible to allow enough time to build your case. Talk to one of our Connecticut personal injury lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to set up a free consultation and get started on your claim today.

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