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Bridgeport Personal Injury Law Blog

Must a car accident be reported?

Being in a car accident is no fun. Even if the individual involved feels he or she came out OK, there's the after effects of the adrenaline that no doubt flooded the person's bloodstream, not to mention the possible need to repair or replace the vehicle. Then, the realization may hit that it also means having to deal with an insurance company and possibly even the court system. It may sometimes seem like it'd be better, assuming the vehicle is still operational, to drive off and try to forget it happened. There are however, several reasons that make this course of action a bad idea in most cases.

First, Connecticut requires that all accidents that result in over $1,000 in property damage be reported within five days of the occurrence. There is also a distinct possibility that injuries might have been suffered that have not yet manifested themselves. Damage to the neck and back, in particular, may not be apparent for several days. In these cases, not only is there a cost to repair the vehicle, there will also be medical costs incurred by the accident victim.

At least 6 killed in Connecticut holiday car accidents

As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, travel on Connecticut's roadways tends to increase around the winter holidays. The weeks between Christmas and New Year's Day generally find heavy traffic on the highways that transect the state, as well as in urban areas like Bridgeport. Unfortunately, this, coupled with the penchant for residents to be going to and from parties where alcohol is served during this time period, as well as the often inclement winter weather the state experiences, can contribute to a rise in serious accidents. The results of these crashes can be serious, with injuries and death as potential consequences.

This year, the Connecticut State Police have reported at least 6 fatalities in accidents in the state between Dec. 22, 2016 and Jan 2, 2017. These included a pedestrian hit by an alleged drunk driver, and a man who was ejected from a vehicle that rolled down a slope. The latter individual was not wearing a seatbelt. Over 1,100 accidents were reported during this time period, including 125 that caused injury to people. Further, there were 81 arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and 705 individuals cited for speeding.

Why civil suits for nursing home abuse are important

Everyone knows the population of the United States is aging. Entire news cycles are spent regaling us with statistics and projections of Connecticut's and the remainder of the country's recent penchant for 'greying.' Because of this, in both political and legal circles, the issues that affect older people are becoming more and more visible and important. One of these is the abuse and neglect of people living in long-term care facilities or nursing homes.

As we have previously pointed out, there are several layers of regulation at both the state and government levels that are intended to curb and punish the abuse of nursing home residents. This includes laws regarding 'mandatory reporters,' as well as agencies that are supposed to investigate and pursue claims of elder abuse both in and out of long-term facilities.

Governments can't stop all nursing home abuse

As a society, we can often accomplish more collectively than we can individually. Utilizing a wide range of organizational tools, modern civilizations create entities responsible for helping maintain the health, comfort and well-being of their citizens, from police forces to trash collection to regulatory agencies that ensure air and water quality. Connecticut, like most states, has state departments that are tasked with regulating long-term care facilities and nursing homes. One of the facets of this is inspecting institutions, surveying patients, and investigating reports of abuse.

While generally, the people who work in these types of departments do the best they can, the unfortunate fact is that resources are limited, and these departments are often not a high-priority for lawmakers come budget time. This means that the state regulatory apparatus may not be able to catch all instances of abuse, or always effectively correct those that occur. In fact, the federal General Accountability Office conducted a study in 2008 that showed that 70 percent of state surveys fail to report a deficiency in an institution and in 15 percent of these cases, what is missed is a case of actual harm to a nursing home resident.

Who are the most at-risk for nursing home abuse in Connecticut?

It has been a much-remarked-on fact recently that the population of the United States is growing older. Due to the so-called 'baby boom' generation reaching retirement age, the age-based demographic pyramid is becoming top-heavy. As a result, social issues that affect the older population are becoming more prevalent in the national consciousness. One of these is the looming specter of nursing home abuse.

With the rapidly aging population, more and more individuals may need nursing home care in the near future. We know that nursing home neglect and abuse occurs more than we'd like to think. But, who can we say is more likely to suffer from it? What risk factors need we be aware of so that we can better protect this vulnerable population?

How far does premises liability extend?

The blog has previously discussed various aspects of premises liability law in the state of Connecticut. We've touched on the use of the negligence tort in such cases, and the various elements that generally go into proving negligence, including duty, causation, and damages. We've also mentioned the various categories into which people present on someone else's property may fall, such as invitee, licensee and trespasser. But how far does, say, a business owner's duty extend, in physical or geographic terms?

For example, is a business owner liable for an injury that occurs in the parking lot in front of his or her store? Or how about a sidewalk that runs past the door? Is it always the duty of the business owner to ensure such areas are safe?

Are multiple parties liable in Connecticut medical malpractice?

Medical practices these days tend to be pretty specialized. While a Connecticut resident may have a general practitioner for basic check-ups and small problems like colds, when there is something more serious happening, that person is likely to be referred to someone for that specific problem. Further, when dealing with internal medicine, there may be multiple doctors and other health care workers involved in patient care, as a radiologist may need to read scans or x-rays, while a specialist determines the best course of action, and a surgeon does any necessary procedures, usually accompanied by an anesthesiologist.

This means that when something goes wrong with the care of a patient, there may be a question as to who is responsible, and the fault could actually be traced to more than one individual. Further, it may be possible that the hospital or clinic in which the problem occurred could also share some of the blame. Because of this, it is important to understand the basics of how Connecticut apportions liability between defendants in a medical malpractice suit.

Untimely cancer diagnosis could be medical malpractice

Humans have been seeking a cure for cancer for as long as we have been aware the disease existed. Such a cure may have been easier to come by if there weren't so many different types of it and ways for cancer to attack. While we are not there yet, we have come a long way in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and, for many types, cancer does not have to be a death sentence. However, in almost all cases, treatment depends upon catching the disease in an early stage, before it has spread to multiple, or more vulnerable organs.

While most doctors do everything they can to diagnose and treat patients appropriately, sometimes mistakes are made. When a primary care physician, radiologist or other health care professional misses the signs of cancer, the delay can cause irreparable harm. What may have been a relatively easy treatment or fairly good prognosis can turn into years of suffering and a shortened life span in a very short time period.

What is 'constructive' notice in Connecticut premises liability?

We've previously discussed many aspects of premises liability law in the state of Connecticut. Readers may remember that, in many cases, plaintiffs will attempt to recover under a negligence theory when they are injured on someone else's property. Negligence requires a legal duty to the injured person, and we've touched on the various statuses people in Connecticut can have when on another's land, namely, trespasser, licensee, and invitee. While the exact duties a landowner or possessor has to each of these types of individuals will vary, one component of a premises liability case usually remains the same: notice.

Notice is a legal term that indicates a party is aware of some fact, usually one upon which he or she can take action. In premises liability in Connecticut, notice generally applies to the land possessor and whatever hazard it is that the injured party claims caused the injury. The basic rule is that a property owners are not liable if they were not on notice that the hazardous condition existed.

Who is liable for dog bit injuries in Connecticut?

There are many aspects to premises liability law in Connecticut. As this blog has discussed, various negligent behavior by owners of property that cause injury to people on that premises may make the landowner financially responsible for the damage that has been done. What kind of duty a land owner has is often dictated by the kind of status the injured party had, either as an invitee, licensee or trespasser. In these types of cases whether the owner of the premises breached his or her duty is an important part of the case.

However, there is a type of case that many people might not think about when it comes to premises liability: dog bites. Although for many Americans, our pets are part of our families, the law treats dogs as the property of the owner. Thus, the owner of a dog may be liable for harm done by the animal to another person. In Connecticut, unlike many other types of premises liability cases, many times damage done by a dog bite is a 'strict liability' matter, which means the owner might be responsible regardless of whether he or she was 'at fault.'

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