Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Halloween Safety Tips for Families with Children

halloween safety tipsHalloween may be a month away, but preparations to keep children safe can start now. Having a cohesive plan to keep your kids safe is important during the holidays, as it can mean the difference between a happy holiday and a celebration gone wrong. Between unscrupulous characters, traffic while they are crossing the streets, and the activities that come with Halloween, there are a lot of inherent dangers with this holiday compared to others. However, with some safety tips, it can also be the most fun of the holidays for the younger ones.

Unfortunately, Halloween is one of the top nights for emergency room visits. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a night doomed for tragedy. Instead, follow our tips and create your own safety plan for your family to get ahead of the risks associated with the holiday.

Safety Tips for Halloween Activities

With the following tips, kids can have all the fun Halloween has to offer without any of the potential negative consequences.

  • Costumes can be the most fun part of Halloween, but they should be chosen with care. They should fit well, as to avoid getting caught or tripping a child. They also should be made from materials that are non-flammable. Accessories should be inspected for potential hazards, especially for younger children. Exercising good judgment in all aspects of a Halloween costume can lead to a happier holiday.
  • Visibility should be increased for children, as nights are beginning to get darker more quickly, just as kids are roaming the streets for candy. This can be achieved through reflective gear on costumes or by wearing glow sticks. Be sure to instruct kids not to put the glow sticks in their mouths, as it could lead to a puncture of the stick and make them ill.
  • Younger children should be chaperoned at all times while trick-or-treating. This can be a good opportunity to teach them how to use crosswalks and not dart into traffic, leading to better safety all year round.
  • Novelty makeup can be fun, but it can also be the cause of an allergic reaction. If your child has never worn such makeup before, be sure to test it on a small patch of skin before Halloween day to ensure they don’t have a reaction.
  • Using batteries rather than lit candles in jack-o-lanterns will not only make it a safer Halloween for children but will be safer for your home.

If tragedy does strike on Halloween and a member of your family suffers a personal injury due to a motorist or careless homeowner, contact us. Our team will help achieve justice for your holiday gone wrong.

Minimize Catastrophic Brain Injury Risk for Youth Football Players

football catastrophic brain injuryA paper by the researchers at Temple University, the Orthopedic Center in Rockville, Maryland, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio suggests air bladder helmets increase the risk of catastrophic injury and that there is no evidence that new football helmet technology has reduced the risk of a catastrophic brain injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their research suggests properly fitting helmets and proper inflation of air bladder linings are the most effective steps against TBI.

The paper was presented in 2012 at a meeting of the American Orthopaedic for Sports Medicine. In the paper, one of the most important specific findings was an 82% decrease in risk for concussion with a loss of consciousness in athletes that wear properly fitted helmets. In fact, the age and condition (new compared to reconditioned) and helmet lining type, such as foam, air and gel, did not have a significant impact on the risk for amnesia or loss of consciousness.

Even further, air bladder helmet might actually increase the risk for catastrophic intracranial brain injury. 84% of the injuries between 1984 and 2001 that resulted in a brain injury involved the use of air bladder helmets. According to the authors of the paper, it is possible the increased risk is due to leakage of the air bladder system, as the air bladders are prone to leaking that would lead to a compromised helmet. In a related finding, it was shown the risk of concussion with amnesia increased by 35% each higher grade level, which can be attributed to increased exposure.

New Technology in Helmets

Unfortunately, there is little to no evidence that the newer technology in helmets has done anything to decrease risk of injury. In fact, the paper mentioned above found the percentage of high schoolers and college football players that sustained concussions was pretty consistent over a 30-year period. With such a small impact, the authors of the paper questioned whether technological advances have had any positive impact on concussions. In some cases, the newer technology can be faulty, such as a deflated air bladder, and can actually put youth at a higher risk of injury.

It is also possible that some kids are simply more prone or have a predisposition for injury. Some factors include helmet fit, dehydration, medications, gender, genetics, depression, fatigue, metabolic, ADHD, history of head injuries, hormonal disturbances, migraines, prior concussions, and many other factors yet to be identified.

The only proven consistent preventative measure against such injuries lays in proper helmet fitting and maintenance, such as ensuring air bladders are properly inflated. If your child has suffered a concussion due to an underinflated helmet, improperly fit helmet, or other negligence, contact us today to find out your legal options.

Concussions Could Lead to Worse Brain Injuries

sport head injury concussionAlthough concussions are considered a mild form of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), there is nothing mild about the concern they pose. These injuries are most often caused by blows to the head, falls, or other impacts to the body that cause jerking of the head. Although these are not typically life-threatening, the symptoms can be serious for the sufferer. The most common causes of concussions include falls, auto accidents, assaults, sports, and being struck by an object, usually in the head. Even when the impact to the head is minor, a concussion could happen. In many cases, the victim is unaware an injury has occurred.

Signs and Symptoms

When someone has had an impact to the head, they could have a concussion no matter how mild the blow appeared to be. However, there are signs and symptoms to look out for that could give you a better idea of how the person is being affected. Anyone that shows the following symptoms after a head injury should seek medical attention immediately:

  • Feeling frail or dazed
  • Lingering or worsening headache
  • Speech that is slurred
  • Experiencing confusion
  • Becoming agitated
  • Losing consciousness, even for a short period of time
  • Amnesia
  • Pupil sizes not matching
  • Excessively drowsy
  • Inability to coordinate movements
  • Nausea, queasiness
  • Convulsions, seizures
  • Lack of recognition

Brain Damage

Multiple concussions can lead to cumulative effects, making getting the right amount of rest and healing for the brain incredibly important. It is a good rule of thumb not to participate in normal activities until the symptoms of a concussion have fully subsided. Even at that time, it makes good sense to slowly get back in the swing of things. While it can make a person impatient to have to gradually adjust back to normal life, it can stave off some of the severe consequences of multiple concussions.

These problems that can accrue include memory loss, severe mood swings, loss or impediment of motor skills, depression, an inability to fully concentrate, and imbalance. Unfortunately, many are unaware they have fallen victim to a concussion as symptoms don’t appear until days or even weeks after the impact. This makes it important to get proper rest every time you have such an impact, even if no signs or symptoms appear.

If you have suffered a head injury due to the negligence of another, contact us today. Our experienced team understands how to pursue TBI claims successfully.

Tips for Suing a Retail Location for Personal Injuries

retail personal injuryPursuing a personal injury case against a retail location has a similar process as any other injury-related lawsuit. However, there are some tips to make the process a bit smoother with this specific type of defendant. Depending on your own specific case, there are different steps you will have to take for a successful claim. Even still, the following tips can be helpful in determining your best move.

Seek Medical Treatment

If you refuse medical attention after the accident, not only will it hinder your ability to prove your injury, it will appear you were not hurt. Even if you believe you are fine after a shopping-related accident, it makes good sense to seek medical attention to be sure. This is also a smart move health-wise, as many injuries appear later on. But most importantly, it serves as an important piece of evidence and base for damages.

Request Surveillance Video

In many cases, facts will be disputed from the case. Video surveillance provides more concrete evidence to support one side or the other during the lawsuit. Legally, the retail store is required to provide this evidence. If they refuse or claim it has been destroyed or doesn’t exist, it could actually benefit the plaintiff’s case, as it looks suspicion on the part of the retailer.

Statute of Limitations

An important consideration for any lawsuit is the statute of limitations on it. Depending on the state in which the injury occurred, you will have a different amount of time to file your claim. In Connecticut, the law stipulates a claim must be filed within two years of the injury. This means from the date of injury, you have two years to file the claim. It does not limit how long the process can take, only when the claim must be filed by.

Witnesses

If there were witnesses to your injury, it is important to get a statement from them. Getting the actual statement can be done by your legal team, but it is important you get their information for a later statement at the time of the incident, as it can be difficult to find them later. Having unbiased third parties corroborate your story can be a powerful piece of evidence for a personal injury case.

The most important step is finding the right legal team. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the intricacies of a personal injury claim in Connecticut. Contact us today to learn more.

Safety Tips for Bicyclists to Avoid Auto Accidents

bicycle safety auto accidentOn average, in 2015, more than two people were killed while riding a bicycle each day, or 818 in total for the year. Compared to 2006, this was a 6 percent increase in fatalities and a 12.2 percent increase from 2014, the previous year. While the estimate of bicycle-related injuries dropped from 50,000 in 2015 to 45,000 in 2015, research into hospital records show that police records only represent a fraction of bicycle crashes that cause personal injury through auto accidents.

Breakdown: Who Are the Victims of Bicycle Accident Fatalities

  • Of those killed, 88% were male.
  • Urban areas account for 71% of fatalities.
  • Out of the states, California, Florida, and Texas have the most bicycle-related fatalities.
  • There are only two states that did not report bicyclist fatalities in 2014: Rhode Island and Vermont.
  • Of bicyclists killed, 19% had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 g/dL or higher, which is beyond the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.

While these figures seem daunting, bicycling is not inherently a dangerous mode of transportation. These fatalities account for less than two percent of all traffic fatalities, which is a high figure considering bicycle trips only account for one percent of trips in the United States. However, there is no reliable source of exposure data to properly indicate miles traveled by bicycle, how long it takes to cover those miles, and therefore, how long they are exposed to motor vehicles. With some safety tips, this exposure and the danger of bicycling can be reduced.

Safety Tips

  • Adhere to Traffic Laws. Bicyclists are subject to the same rules and laws that other motorists must follow when using roadways. Examples include obeying red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, and yielding to pedestrians.
  • Be sure you can be seen when riding your bicycle. This can be done with reflective or brightly color clothing, along with reflectors on helmets and bikes, or a flashing light attached to either.
  • Hand Signal Usage. When stopping, turning or changing lanes, it is important to alert motorists to your next move using hand signals.
  • Take Advantage of the Entire Lane. To increase motorists’ view of you, use the whole lane and not just the side. This will help motorists not only see you on your bike but also give a better indication of where you are going.
  • Avoid Traffic Congestion. When possible, choose less congested roads to get to your destination, limiting your exposure to motor vehicle traffic.
  • Intersections and Driveways. Use extra caution when approaching intersections and driveways, where many accidents occur.

If you were struck while riding a bike, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today about your personal injury to find out more.

Preparing for Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

preparation for depositionWhen a personal injury case gets to deposition, it’s important to be prepared for the process that will come. From the types of questions to what will bode in your favor, preparation is key for success. While no one ever wants to do homework, especially in their adulthood, a little research can go a long way. In fact, knowing what is to come helps a lot of plaintiffs get rid of pre-deposition jitters and sound more honest during questioning.

Questioning

One of the biggest components of deposition for a personal injury case is the questioning from the defense attorney. These questions will cover the following areas:

  • How the injury impacts daily life such as what you are no longer able to do and what you are still able to do but at a lower capacity.
  • How the accident occurred, if there were witnesses, and if anyone was spoken to after the accident and what they said, along with other information about the accident itself.
  • Your physical condition prior to the injury. This could be anything from if you broke your dominant versus non-dominant hand, or if you had back issues prior to a back injury. The purpose is to understand what type of impact the injury had and if other conditions worsened or lessened the severity of the injury.
  • Medical treatment and your physical condition after the accident and injury. This includes questions such as if you went to the hospital, who you were treated by, which injuries were sustained as a direct result of the accident, if you saw your family doctor, and if you required surgery, how long you were unable to work.
  • Basic background information will also be needed such as name, address, your date of birth, work history, and so on.

A deposition isn’t as scary as it sounds. For the most part, it’s a sequence of questioning that helps both sides understand the accident, the injuries, and how it impacted the plaintiff’s life. This is to help both sides have fair access to relevant information in a case and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Contact us today if you have questions about how your deposition could affect your case.

Homeowners Prepare for Storms to Avoid Personal Injury Cases

personal injury casesWhether it is a rain or snow storm, ailment weather has the potential to create hazards. These hazards are important to keep in mind when you own a home as a fallen branch can quickly turn into a personal injury case. With Autumn on the horizon, there are other hazards that can quickly accumulate.

So how can homeowners protect themselves during a storm? For starters, the gutters of the home should be inspected regularly but particularly when a storm is coming in. The gutters and downspouts of a home are prone to clogging from debris and fallen leaves. Branches should be cleared from the backyard ahead of time to lower the amount of debris that could become airborne during a storm. Dead plants should also be removed from the property.

Preparation Tips for Storms

There are some preparations that should be made before a storm, both to avoid personal injuries and to increase safety in general while also protecting the expensive items in your home. The following list will help avoid big costs for homeowners:

  • An emergency kit should be created ahead of any storms. This kit should include first aid items and food that does not need to be prepared for consumption.
  • Gas ranges and BBQ or grills should never be used indoors, even if it gets cold, as they could lead to disaster.
  • If possible, purchase a generator, as this can be one of the best defenses against a storm for backup power.
  • If possible, use flashlights and other battery-operated sources of light if the power goes out. This will significantly lower the risk for fire, which drastically increases with the use of candles.
  • Expensive electronics, such as televisions and computers, should be unplugged before a storm, or at least before it becomes severe. A power surge could lead to a lot of lost equipment.

Depending on your specific home, there may be other preparations that need to be made. The best thing to do is walk through your home and make a list of what areas of the home could need attention if a major storm should come through. By creating a list ahead of time, preparations will be a quick process, letting you focus on keeping everyone safe rather than running through your home last minute. If a personal injury does occur on your property, contact our team. We will help protect your rights.

Can You Be Sued for More Than Your Insurance Company Covers?

personal injury lawPersonal injury falls into many categories from medical mishaps to slip and fall accidents, to car accidents and beyond. These injuries can range from mild to extreme and happen every day. However, when you are the one at fault rather than injured, complications can arise. Even when the person at fault holds an insurance policy to cover potential damages, the financial burden could extend beyond the policy coverage.

Many believe if they have insurance, they won’t be liable for damages. This can change depending upon the damages and what coverage has been paid for by the insured. In fact, insurance may not cover what someone is personally sued for. When the injured person feels they are entitled to further compensation than the policy limit allows. In most cases, this happens when there is not a high enough liability limit for the expenses of the injury.

Preventing Lawsuits

Preparation before an accident occurs is the best practice. When you sign up for an insurance policy, it is important that you understand what your coverage is and understand what the limit will be if there is an accident. Many look at only the monthly costs of holding insurance but don’t weigh out the more practical parts of insurance. While you can save a lot each month that an accident does not happen, it could cost you big later down the line.

Whether it is your premises, auto or home insurance and liability policy, it’s important to discuss what you are paying for with an adjuster. Asking them what will be covered and the best option for what you can afford is good practice. Saving $50 a month might not seem like as good of a deal when you realize if you cause an accident, it could cost several thousand dollars all at once rather than $600 a year.

Good Faith Practice

It is possible for an insurer to act in bad faith. It is absolutely possible to be sued beyond your policy limits. However, your provider has an obligation to act in your best interest and on your behalf. This means they are required to attempt to settle claims with the policy limits each insured party holds. When they decide to act outside of this obligation, they are acting in bad faith. When this occurs, they could be liable to pay the entire amount without the policy limit in mind.

If your insurer is acting in bad faith or you are facing legal action beyond your policy limits and need help, contact us today. Our team has extensive experience working with insurance companies and personal injury accidents, and we will put that experience to work for you.

Suing a Town or School in Connecticut for a Personal Injury

school suingTowns and boards of education have a duty of care to the community in terms of safety measures, but there are times they come up short. Personal injury law in Connecticut, in general, can become very complicated, especially with the addition of governmental immunity and the muddled laws surrounding filing personal injury claims. While the towns and schools can be sued in Connecticut, it’s not as cut and dry as suing a person or corporation.

While it is possible to sue a town or school, they may assert governmental immunity, leading to complications. There are a few issues that are important to understand regarding governmental immunity, though there are further issues and complications outside of the few examples.

Discretionary Act Immunity

If a town employee is working on behalf of the public and uses their judgment and discretion to aid the public, they cannot be liable for negligent acts or omissions. The point of this act is to protect town employees, both who have discarded the safety measures and the innocent employees trying to work in favor of the public. The act aims to work on behalf of government employees and allow them to act in their best judgment rather than worrying about potential consequence.

So, if an employee does not follow safety protocol but it was a discretionary act trying to help people, they are able to act in those best interests. However, if the employee is discarding the safety protocol but it is not a discretionary act, they can be held accountable, such as ignoring public safety to take a joy ride on the sidewalks rather than driving on a sidewalk to get someone medical attention.

Ministerial Acts

A ministerial act includes duties a public employee is required to perform as described, without the use of judgment or discretion. The best example of these acts is driving. When an employee, whether governmental or police, is on the road, they must obey traffic laws and are not protected by immunity. This is because operating outside of traffic laws can cause car accidents and general confusion to the public.

Identifiable Victim

Having an identifiable victim can serve as an exception to immunity but must have the following elements:

  • Plaintiff was identifiable on their claims of negligence against the defendant.
  • Damages suffered were unavoidable due to the action or inaction of the defendant.
  • Defendant knew or should have known action or inaction taken was likely to cause the alleged harm.

Proving these elements can be difficult as they are subject to the circumstance of the situation. However, they can be successful. Cases where a child was bullied and there were no steps taken by the school have been proven due to records of the child reporting the bullying or witnesses of the obvious bullying.

If you are thinking of pursuing justice against a school or town in Connecticut, our team at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today to learn more.

What is Personal Injury Mediation in Connecticut?

Statistics show that 97% of all personal injury cases in Connecticut never make it to trial. However, these aren’t all dismissed cases. Instead, a resolution was found before the case needed to go before a jury. In those cases, personal injury mediation was used in place of litigation, typically ending in a more favorable outcome for both sides.

Mediation can be a much easier and more productive way to resolve a case, but it is a voluntary process. If you feel your case should go before a jury, you have the right to bring it to trial. Even if you choose to use a mediator, you cannot be forced into settling. The only part a mediator can play is trying to facilitate a settlement between the two parties in question.

In mediation, the two parties sit down to discuss and attempt to resolve the case. A mediator is a neutral third party that has no interest in the outcome of the case. Most often, a mediator is a judge, attorney with experience in personal injury law, or a retired judge. In Connecticut, there is a Mediation program that is free for litigants. The two parties select a judge then schedule the mediation.

In some cases, a private mediator is used. When this is the case, it is up to both parties to pay for the mediator. Deciding who will oversee the case is an important decision. Having someone who is experienced in mediation and can proceed without bias is imperative for both sides in the case.

Mediation can happen at any time. In some cases, mediation occurs before anything is filed. However, there are times when mediation comes even the day before a trial. The biggest factor is how willing both parties are to resolve the case, and whether they are willing to make compromises to serve the interests of everyone.

In some cases, resolution can come from a phone call or in pretrial with a judge. Mediation can be a lot of work but can also work out more favorably in the end. If you are considering using a mediator, contact our team of attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today.

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