Archive for the ‘Premises Liability’ Category

Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents

As a business owner or manager, you have a responsibility to keep both patrons to your business and your employees safe. To that end, it is imperative that you take steps to prevent slip and fall accidents. In 2014, falls accounted for nearly 20% of all work-related deaths, and they are extra likely during the fall and winter months when there are leaves, ice, and snow on the ground. To protect your employees and customers from harm, and to protect yourself from expensive lawsuits, follow these steps to implement an effective fall-preventing strategy.

  1. Create a written plan to remove hazards. This plan should indicate who is responsible for inspecting for hazards, who is responsible for removing hazards, and how they should remove them. Include a logbook with this plan to note regular hazard inspections and clean-ups.
  2. Figure out how various common hazards, such as leaves and ice, should be removed, and properly train the person charged with clearing these hazards in how to do so.
  3. Train the person designated to inspect for hazards in what they should regularly inspect and who to contact if they notice a hazard. Give them access to the hazard logbook and teach them how to document any hazards they spot.
  4. When a hazard is reported, always immediately clear it.
  5. Take preventative measures, such as placing warning signage whenever an area may be wet.
  6. Whenever a hazard is removed, thoroughly document the removal in the logbook. Indicate what the hazard was, where it was, how it was removed, who removed it, when it was removed, and any other pertinent information.
  7. If a slip and fall does occur, immediately investigate the accident. Take pictures and write thorough notes about the hazard that caused the fall, the date and time of the fall, and any warning signs that may have been in place.

Following these steps will go a long way to preventing slip and falls at your workplace. However, even when you take these steps, accidents can still happen. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at your workplace or as a visitor to someone else’s premises, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today at (203) 397-1283 to learn more.

Are slip-and-fall injuries more common in the autumn months? 

While the crisp fall air and the changing colors of the scenery are typically indicative of a beautiful time of year in Connecticut, the change in seasons is not without certain risks.

During autumn, slip and fall accidents can become more common because of a wide variety of factors. Many are due to the changes in weather and the environment, and increased traffic plays a part as well. It is critical for property owners and managers to recognize these common hazards and help do their part to keep the premises safe for guests and patrons.

Slip and fall accidents during the autumn months are often caused by:

  • Increased Retail Presence — As Christmas nears, many establishments are going to see a more significant number of patrons. This also increases the likelihood of drinks being spilled or other accidents that lead to wet spot or slick floors in these stores. Such dangers become common causes of many slip and fall accidents.
  • Longer Nights — The further we get into autumn, the sooner the sun will begin to set. When it gets darker outside sooner, it simply becomes more difficult to spot certain dangers. Many slip and fall accidents involve people walking into objects or hazards that they could not see.
  • Unfavorable Weather — While autumn puts a little more bite in the air, it is also a time of year in which there can be some severe storms. Heavy rain can saturate sidewalks and roads, but heavy winds can also lead to tree branches being strewn on city streets. As winter nears, the ground may even freeze on some nights and slip and fall risk can be exceptionally high the following mornings.
  • Slippery Sidewalks and Roads — As mentioned above, a higher amount of rainfall in the autumn usually leads to a lot of wet walkways. Even when it has not recently rained, it is possible that moisture from leaves can remain on sidewalks even after being raked into a yard. Other objects touching the leaves can become similarly saturated.
  • Falling Objects — Again, this is the time of year when leaves and the tree branches themselves may fall. The branches can often land directly on sidewalks. Residents and other entities have an obligation to move these branches so as not to endanger pedestrians or visitors.

Most people who suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents will usually have property owners or their insurance companies immediately accuse them of being at fault for their injuries. Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers understands that slip and fall accidents are usually the result of a property owner’s negligence, and we are here to help you take legal action to get the compensation and justice that you deserve.

Our firm can immediately negotiate with an insurer for a fair and full settlement, but we will not be afraid to file a lawsuit when the insurance company refuses to provide adequate compensation. You can have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (203) 397-1283 to receive a free consultation.

Swimming Pool Accidents: Is the Property Owner Responsible?

During the warm summer months, public and private swimming pools are a popular destination for adults and children. While pools are a great way to escape the summer heat, they also present specific hazards, especially if they are not properly maintained and if guests are not supervised. If you or someone you love is hurt at a swimming pool, you could be eligible to pursue a premises liability claim against the property owner or management company. If this has happened to you, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your rights.

How is Liability Determined in Swimming Pool Accidents?

Because swimming pools are considered part of the property, premises liability laws apply to any accidental injury claims that arise. When it comes to the level of responsibility assumed by the property owner, there are three different types of entrants on the property that are recognized. These entrants include:

Invitees– In the case of a public pool, entrants are considered to be invitees, regardless of whether the pool is free or if admission is charged. The owner of the property has a responsibility to take reasonable care of the pool, which includes maintenance and repairs.

Licensees– If you are invited to someone’s private pool, you are considered to be a licensee. The pool owner has a responsibility to warn you of potential hazards like slippery deck surfaces, shallow water, and other hazards that might not be readily apparent.

Trespassers– If you are not invited to someone’s pool, you are considered a trespasser on their property. If you are hurt at someone else’s pool while trespassing, the property owner has almost no “duty of care” in this situation.

It is important to note that while premises liability laws do not protect trespassing adults, children who trespass and are injured at a pool might be protected under the state’s “attractive nuisance” doctrine. Because pools are considered attractive nuisances, the property owner might still be required to safeguard it from potential trespassing children. This could include signage warning of hazards and fences or gates to keep children out.

Hurt in a Swimming Pool Accident? We Can Help.

The swimming pool accident attorneys of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are ready to help you if you’ve been hurt in an accident at a public or private pool. We understand the impact that an accident can have on your life, and we want you to know that you have legal options to protect yourself and your family. Contact us at 1-800-PERKINS to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with us today.

 

 

 

 

Who is at Fault if Someone is Injured While Sledding on Private Property?

Sledding - Premises LiabilityWith snow comes the fun of winter activities: ice skating, skiing, sledding and more. When you go to a ski resort or ice skating rink, you know that the owner and operator take on a certain amount of legal responsibility for the condition of their property. But what about sledding? What are the premises liability rules for a homeowner with a great hill on their property that attracts all the neighborhood children? If someone is hurt while sledding at their home, is the sledder responsible, or the property owner?

The situation happens more often than you’d think, and in cases where the injury was a result of the condition of the property where the accident took place, premises liability laws will rule against the property owner and in favor of the person who sustained the injury.

When a person is injured in a sledding incident, or really on any property other than their own, there are three questions that need to be addressed. They are:

  • Who is responsible for the property? People who own or occupy property have a duty of care to keep it reasonably safe. Though a property owner is not responsible for somebody else acting recklessly on their property, they are responsible for the condition of the property and for removing any conditions that put people at risk.
  • Was the person who was injured trespassing? As a property owner, you have a responsibility for anybody who is welcome on your property, but not to people who are trespassing. But if your property is widely known as having a good sledding hill, it doesn’t matter whether the children have your permission to be there or not – you are responsible for protecting them by warning that there’s a dangerous condition present.
  • The assumption of risk vs unknown dangers. While a sledder assumes a certain amount of risk when they go sledding that risk is for falling off the sled, twisting an ankle that type of injury. It does not include being hurt by a hidden dangerous condition. If a property has hidden dangerous rocks, sharp metal, or broken glass and somebody gets hurt by it, premises liability laws make the owner responsible.

If you’ve been hurt on somebody else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages you’ve suffered. Contact our office today to learn more about your rights.

Understanding Connecticut’s Sidewalk Liability Laws

sidewalk liability lawsAs the temperatures cool, the specifics surrounding Connecticut’s complex sidewalk liability laws becomes more important. When ice makes its way to sidewalks, slip and fall accidents will increase, but who will the liability fall on for injuries due to improper clearing of a public sidewalk? In some states, the answer is simple, but Connecticut has a unique set of laws that govern such claims and liability. While slip and fall injuries that occur in privately owned businesses is plain, there is a statute in the state that makes public sidewalks confusing.

Initially, it is assumed the blame is on the city or municipality for not properly maintaining sidewalks. This applies to many sidewalk conditions but specifically includes inadequate snow and ice removal during the colder months. However, there are two exceptions to the statute that governs this assumption. The first is when a landowner creates the hazard through a positive act. The second exception comes when there has been a law or ordinance created by the city that explicitly states the landowner is the responsible party for the sidewalk and is liable if they fail to clear snow and ice.

In the second exception, the language is clear in the statute that the city must make it clear both that the landowner is responsible for the clearing of snow and ice and that they will be liable if they do not do so. If any element is missing, the law or ordinance will be void. It is also important that the owner is an abutting landowner, meaning the land owned must touch the sidewalk in question. For instance, if there is a café with outdoor seating, an ordinance or law can be passed that the café is responsible for the sidewalk as their property touches the sidewalk in addition to the business using the sidewalk for their business.

These complications mean when someone slips and falls due to a sidewalk being improperly cleared or not cleared at all, it is initially assumed the city is at fault, but they can prove a landowner is the responsible party. Due to this complexity, those who suffer personal injuries have a harder time filing when they slip on sidewalks in Connecticut. Contact our team today to get legal representation on your side that understands the complex nature of sidewalk falls.

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.

How Adjusters Calculate Pain and Suffering After an Injury

Connecticut Slip and Fall LawyerWhile it may seem difficult to put a numeric value on the pain and suffering one goes through after an injury, compensation for damages has to be calculated. This type of damages is classified as compensatory damages. The compensation is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the severity and duration of pain, along with the symptoms of lingering pain and emotional distress. Unsurprisingly, lingering symptoms can be difficult to prove in general, and even more difficult to reflect in a court-of-law.

When looking to prove you have been through pain and suffering following an injury, it is important to understand how an insurance adjuster will calculate pain and suffering.

Calculations Used

After you have completed your medical treatment and therapy, coming up with the monetary amount for medical care is relatively easy. However, putting a monetary amount to your pain and suffering is much more difficult. So how do adjusters do it? The basic method used is the 1-5x multiple system, where one is the lowest pain and suffering, whereas five is the highest amount. They will consider the following aspects:

  • Severity of an injury. Soft tissue injuries tend to stay within 1 – 2x the full amount of your care. However, harder injuries, such as a broken collarbone, will likely be between 2 – 3x as much. Brain damage, however, will be put at 5x or more of the amount.
  • Liability of the insured person. If the victim is partially at fault or a third-party intervened in such a way that contributed to the accident, the question of liability may affect compensation.
  • Future prognosis. When extended medical treatment is clear and evident, the amount of pain and suffering is increased. This is because having to go through long-term treatments adds to the emotional distress of the ordeal, making the award much higher.
  • History of jury verdicts. Many find it surprising that other awards could influence their award. Geographic location plays a huge role in this aspect of calculation. Someone injured in the Midwest will likely have a lower award than someone in NYC, which an adjuster takes into consideration.
  • Exceptions. When the aftereffects of an injury are high but the cost of medical care was low, the case will be considered under its own merits.

Don’t let an adjuster be the full force in deciding what you deserve after a personal injury accident. Our Connecticut personal injury lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers understand how adjusters work and how to present a better case for a more profitable outcome.

Can You Sue Your Landlord for Lead Poisoning?

Lead is not as uncommon in today’s rentals as you might think. In fact, lead was in paint up until the middle of last century, along with other industrial and construction materials. If you are renting an older property, you may be at risk for lead poisoning. If you have small children and pets, it may be beneficial to use a testing kit to see if lead is present in a home before signing a lease.

But if you already have signed and are living on the property, there are health risks and signs to look out for that stem from lead poisoning.

Health Risks and Symptoms

The symptoms of lead poisoning are varied both in type and severity. This is due to the many factors of lead poisoning, such as the frequency, duration and severity of lead poisoning. Exposure to high levels of lead can affect the nervous and reproductive systems, kidneys, heart, bones and intestines.

Depending on these many factors, sufferers may experience:

  • Low energy
  • Irritability
  • Anemia
  • Low appetite
  • Reduced IQ
  • Constipation
  • Behavioral problems
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Pain or cramping of the abdomen
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lessened sensual responses
  • Kidney damage
  • Hearing problems
  • Slowed body growth
  • Headaches

Responsibilities of Landlords

Legally, landlords are required to let tenants know in writing that a rental unit may contain lead. If a landlord knew about the risk of lead, or should have known about it, but didn’t warn the tenant, they can be held liable for all damages that result from the exposure. Some states also hold the landlord accountable even when they don’t know or would not reasonably know about the presence of lead.

Lead poisoning can be fatal at worst but is disastrous at best, even when exposure is less severe. Because of this, many landlords are unable to cover the long-term costs of medical care needed after lead exposure, and even less can cover compensation for pain and suffering damages. In these situations, the insurance typically covers initial payments. However, some insurance liability does not cover lead poisoning.

Before talking to your landlord, contact our team of Connecticut lead poisoning lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. We understand the laws as they pertain to Connecticut rentals and will put our experience to work for you.

How to Identify Lead-Based Paint

 It has been almost forty years since federal regulations were put in place restricting the use of lead in household paint, yet it continues to cause serious health problems today. Paint that contains lead is one of the leading causes of lead poisoning, and that is in large part due to the fact that so many homes built prior to 1978 still have the paint in place. Sometimes the problem comes from lead that is hidden under layers of new paint, and in other instances it is present without people realizing its content or its dangers. Though lead paint that is in good shape is generally not considered a problem, when the paint begins to deteriorate and peel, chip, or crack, it can easily be chewed by children, and the dust that it generates can be inhaled. Sometimes people don’t realize that the paint that they are stripping away during a renovation project contains lead, and improper handling can lead to lead poisoning as well. Lead poisoning is a permanent condition that can lead to learning disabilities and aggressive actions in children, and serious health problems in adults. If you live in an apartment or home that was built before 1978 then it is important that you know how to identify lead based paint and know what to do if it is present. The Connecticut lead poisoning lawyers from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers want you to have this valuable information so that you can take appropriate action to protect yourself and your family.

The first thing that you need to know is that if your apartment building or home was built after 1978, you likely have nothing to worry about because after that it was under a federal ban. If your home is older than that, the first thing you want to look at is the areas of your home that are the exterior areas that are most exposed to weather and interior trim areas. Lead paint was frequently used to paint railings on stairs and the interior and exteriors of windows and doors. Remember that any furniture that was built before 1978 could also have been painted with lead paint. Once you know what you should be looking at, you need to know what to look for. Lead paint chips in a way that is different from oil and latex paints. The chipping pattern is often described as geometric or scaly. Another thing to look at is whether you find a chalky residue when you rub it – this is a characteristic of lead-based paint.

You can purchase a lead testing kit at your local hardware store. These are available in formats where you can read the results yourself or send a sample away to be tested in a lab. Both types are accurate. If you do find lead, remember that it is only a danger if it is deteriorating, so don’t panic. If it is chipping, then keep family members away from the area until you can have the situation addressed. It is generally best to have a professional who has specific training in lead paint removal take care of the situation.

If you believe that you have been exposed to lead paint, then you need the help of a Connecticut lead paint attorney from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.

Snow Removal Facts and Tips

 Winters in Connecticut are certainly beautiful, but they are also a source of additional work for homeowners and those who are responsible for properties. When snow falls and ice accumulates on sidewalks, driveways and parking lot surfaces, you need to know what your responsibilities are for its removal, as well as what the best ways are to take care of it. Taking care of your property’s snow removal is an important responsibility, and failure to do your part can lead to more than just your neighbors being denied. If you are careless or negligent in addressing dangerous conditions, then you might find yourself on the wrong end of a slip and fall lawsuit. Slip and fall accidents are more than just pratfalls: they can lead to serious and debilitating injuries, and can sometimes even be fatal. Here are some snow removal facts and tips that will help you understand what you need to do to avoid being accused of negligence.

The state of Connecticut’s laws say that anybody who owns a property, or who is the occupant or person in charge of the property, must keep its sidewalks clear of snow, ice and sleet within six hours after a storm has stopped. If the storm occurred during the evening hours, then the responsible person has to get rid of the accumulation before noon of the next day. Some municipalities may have shorter or longer deadlines for addressing the issue, so if you’re not sure about your specific town’s rules, it is a good idea to check. The person responsible for the party also has the duty of making sure that pedestrians are able to walk on the sidewalks safely by putting down sand or another material designed to keep ice from forming, or where the snow or ice have not been able to be removed. The same is true of any paved gutter so that water can easily flow to the storm drains.

The state has the right to impose a penalty or fine of $99 for failure to comply. Even more importantly, the state’s laws clearly state that if a property owner or the person responsible for a property fail in these duties, they assume legal liability for anybody who is injured as a result of their negligence. The only way that they can escape liability if they have been negligent in these duties is if the injured person fails to file a lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations imposed by the state.

We’d all rather stay inside where it’s warm and dry when bad weather strikes, but those of us who own our own homes or businesses or who are responsible for a property do not have that luxury. Making sure that your premises are cleared of ice and snow helps you avoid premises liability lawsuits for slip and fall accidents.

If you have been hurt because somebody failed in this responsibility, contact the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.

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