An Overview of Connecticut’s Dog Bite Statute Section 22-357

Recently, we provided a general overview of the concept of strict liability. As we saw, strict liability is a highly important concept in the context of civil law. If you’re a pet owner, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with this idea, even if you don’t have reason to believe that your pet is particularly dangerous or likely to harm others. Strict liability is based on statutory civil law; this is especially true when it comes to harm caused by pets and comes into play in the context of Connecticut dog bite law. Dog bite law is one of our practice areas, and so in this post we will discuss Connecticut’s dog bite statute – General Statute § 22-357 – in a bit of detail.

Mastering all the finer points of Connecticut’s dog bite statute would require a very long, in-depth treatise. This post, however, will provide an overview of three basic points which underpin § 22-357.

Point #1: There is a Statute of Limitations

The first point to mention when discussing Connecticut’s dog bite law is that injuries caused by dog bites are subject to a statute of limitations. Under current law, the statute of limitations applying to dog bites is two years. In general, the clock for the statute of limitations starts running at the time of the injury. However, some exceptions exist, and so you should always check carefully to know precisely when the statute of limitations clock begins in a given case. Statutes of limitations are rarely overlooked. If you initiate a lawsuit after the two year period has expired, the court will simply dismiss the lawsuit and will not consider its merits.

Point #2: Strict Liability Applies to CT Dog Bite Law

Connecticut’s General Statute § 22-357 adheres to the principle of strict liability. This means that owners will be held liable for injuries even if they didn’t have prior knowledge of any aggressive or dangerous tendencies. It also means that owners will be held liable even if they aren’t directly at fault or negligent. Under current law, injured persons only need to demonstrate three things in order to have a sustainable case against an owner. They need to show: (1) that either they or their property were actually injured by the animal, (2) that they weren’t trespassing, and (3) that they were not provoking the animal.

Point #3: There are Two Main Defenses

Even though strict liability is the basis for Connecticut’s dog bite law, owners can still raise defenses against the allegations of plaintiffs. There are two primary defenses: (1) the injured person was hurt while trespassing, and (2) the injured person provoked (or tormented, teased, abused, etc.) the animal. These defenses make sense intuitively. Think about it: if a person trespasses onto your property and is hurt while trespassing, holding the owner accountable in such a scenario would hardly be fair. In this case, the trespasser would need to bear the responsibility. Likewise, if a person “provoked” your dog – say, if he or she slapped your dog with the intention of causing harm – then it also wouldn’t be fair if that person didn’t bear some responsibility. As with all cases, the full story is needed in order to give an assessment of the most likely outcome. But these are the two most frequently raised defenses in dog bite cases. 

Reach Out to Apex Law Firm Today

Connecticut dog bite law can be complex. This is especially true in cases which involve trespassing or provocation. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, or you have a possible claim, please contact Apex Law Firm today. We can give you an assessment to see if you may have a viable case. Give us a call today at 860-385-8360 and we will respond immediately.

Can a Business Be Liable for Spreading Coronavirus?

The coronavirus pandemic has caused unimaginable harm throughout the country. Nearly every state in the union has had to partially close its economy in order to prevent the further spread of the virus. So far, over 150,000 people have lost their lives as a direct consequence of the virus, and the number may possibly be much higher by the time a workable vaccine is developed. Most states have passed regulations on the economy in order to forcibly prevent the spread of the virus. What’s more, most businesses which have remained open have instituted various safety measures to protect their employees.

If you have contracted the coronavirus, and you suspect that the contraction occurred due to the negligence of a business, the question becomes: can that business be held liable for any damages which result from the virus? The answer is a bit complicated and liability will be determined by your relationship with the business. In other words, were you an employee or a consumer?

Duty of Care

To start off, we should mention this critical fact: in order for someone to be held liable for another person’s damages, there must be a “duty of care.” The “standard of care” depends on the circumstances of a given situation. As a general rule, all employers owe their employees a certain duty of care to provide a safe work environment. Likewise, businesses owe a duty of care to protect consumers from harm or at the very least provide warning of potential harm. The precise methods which an employer or business must undertake in order to satisfy its duty of care depends heavily on the specific facts of the situation at hand. In the case of the coronavirus, employers clearly need to implement various types of safety precautions (i.e. masks, social distancing, etc.) in order to ensure that the threat of contraction is minimized on the job. Businesses have been mandated to limit the amount of consumers, and in some cases, have been precluded from conducting business at all (as in the case of bars). But, even if the precautions taken by employers and businesses are minimal, potential claimants should know that pinning responsibility for contraction of the virus on an employer or business will likely be very difficult.

Workers’ Compensation Law May Prevent a Lawsuit

Simply put, a substantial portion of potential coronavirus claimants are going to be barred from suing their employer because of workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation insurance limits the benefits employee may recover from job losses and bars an employee’s ability to sue an employer for injuries caused at work because it is considered a no-fault policy. In other words, an employee doesn’t have to prove negligence and is entitled to benefits even if hurt as a result of his or her own actions. However, potential claimants may have a case if one of the following scenarios applies to their situation: (a) your employer lacks workers’ compensation insurance, (b) a third party caused your illness or injury, or (c) your illness came about because of intentional wrongdoing on the part of your employer.

Personal Injury Liability

Businesses owe a duty of care to consumers to provide them with a reasonably safe environment. Liability against businesses depends on the knowledge and conduct of the business and its employees. In a typical slip and fall case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show that the substance that he or she slipped on was present for a long enough time for someone to have noticed it and cleaned it up or warn of the potential danger. Liability depends on the reasonable actions of the liable party. In the case of the coronavirus, if a business refused to follow State mandates and failed to ensure its employees wore masks, thus making it more than likely that spreading the virus was due to its negligence, you could have a potential claim.

Coronavirus Damages May Be Difficult to Link to Employer or Business

Even if a potential claimant may have a viable case – say, in a situation in which workers’ compensation law doesn’t apply or where an exception may exist or where a business is blatantly disregarding public safety – linking the contraction of the virus to the employer or business may be extremely difficult. In order to be held liable, claimants need to show that the actions of the employer or business were the “proximate cause” (i.e. legal cause) of the injury. This may be a very steep hurdle to overcome in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. After all, some coronavirus victims don’t show symptoms for up to two weeks. Given that this is the case, being able to conclusively demonstrate that the employer is the proximate cause or that you contracted the virus at one specific business might be very challenging.

Reach Out to Apex Law Firm Today

This is just an introduction to the topic of employer and business liability for coronavirus-based damages. Although it’s clear that there may be many hurdles to a successful claim in this area, this doesn’t mean that a successful claim is impossible. If you’d like more information about this rapidly developing issue, contact Apex Law Firm today. Call us at 860-385-8360 and one of our professionals will respond to your query right away.

A Basic Overview of Strict Liability

One of our goals at APEX Law Firm is to educate readers so that they can better understand certain legal concepts. We want our readers to be able to navigate the legal system successfully, and gaining more knowledge of legal concepts can assist in this area because many areas of law require a good bit of effort in order to fully grasp. Civil liability is one area which can be elusive to the typical layperson. In this post, we’re going to provide an overview of one important topic in civil liability: strict liability.

Of note, strict liability also applies in criminal law as well. But, for the the purpose of this article, we’re going to confine the discussion to strict liability within civil law.

Liability is a Layered System

Before discussing the essential points of strict liability, it’s important to understand liability in general. Readers should take note of the fact that liability is a layered system in the sense that defendants can owe different levels of care to plaintiffs depending on the circumstances. In other words, liability is something which is very much context-dependent. In one scenario, for instance, someone may be owed a certain duty of care and may assume essentially no risk; this might happen if a person walks into a supermarket or convenience store and has a “slip and fall” accident. The store has a duty to keep its aisles clear and free of hazards and cannot rely on the customer’s assumption of risk without proper warning.  In other situations, however, a plaintiff might assume a certain level of risk, such as a person who gets accidentally struck by an errant golf ball while voluntarily playing golf. The owner of the golf course will likely not be liable because the golfer assumes the risk by choosing to play that course.

The key thing to remember is that liability is almost never “absolute,” but depends heavily on the particular facts of a given situation.

Strict Liability Disregards Intent

In essence, strict liability is a theory which assigns liability without regard for the intentions or mental state of the defendant. In other words, if a defendant were held strictly liable, then he or she would be responsible for damages even though no fault or negligence occurred. The idea behind this theory is that the activities covered by strict liability are inherently dangerous, and so there is basically no need to apply any sort of fault or negligence analysis. Or, strict liability can also be applied to situations in which the defendant should always do whatever is necessary to prevent harm, even in those situations which aren’t inherently dangerous (such as harm caused by a domesticated pet).

Common Example of Strict Liability

Many strict liability situations are derived from statutes. One of the most common instances in which strict liability is applied is in cases involving harm caused by pets. In Connecticut, C.G.S. § 22-357 imposes liability on a dog’s owner or keeper for injuries caused by the dog to someone else’s person or property. This is a strict liability statute, so it does not require the victim to prove that the dog’s owner or keeper knew that the dog was vicious or was negligent in any way.

A person injured by a dog could also proceed under a negligence theory by proving that the dog owner or keeper knew that the dog was vicious and did not take appropriate steps to prevent the harm. In certain cases, third parties (such as landlords) can be held liable if it can be shown that the party knew about the dog’s propensity to cause harm and did nothing to alleviate the danger.

There are defenses to strict liability situations as well. In the dog bite example, if the dog owner was able to prove that the person harmed was antagonizing the dog or provoked the dog to attack, he or she may not be liable for the damage.

Contact Apex Law Firm for Additional Information

This is just a very basic overview of strict liability as a useful introduction. If you’ve been harmed and you think the theory of strict liability may apply, contact Apex Law Firm right away. If you’ve suffered an injury from a dog bite, a defective product, or other similar cause, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Call us at 860-385-8360 or email us at info@apexlawfirmct.com.

How Can Distracted Driving Accidents Be Prevented?

Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes attention away from driving, such as speaking to passengers in your car, texting or talking on your mobile phone, tinkering with the navigation system, stereo, or entertainment system, eating and drinking or any other activity that diverts attention away from driving safely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that drivers who are distracted when driving and do not focus on the road are the primary cause of most accidents. These kinds of drivers not only injure themselves but are also a threat to passengers and other drivers on the road.

This danger is even greater in the case of teenagers. Of all the drivers, new teenage drivers have the highest rate of crash fatalities. They must develop safe driving habits that are free of distractions right from the beginning.

Distractions due to Technology

Today, vehicles come pre-loaded with various technologies meant to make the experience of driving a comfortable and pleasant one. These add-ons pose the hazard of distracting drivers from the most important aspect of being on the road-the actual driving.

Traveling has undoubtedly become much more convenient and enjoyable due to satellite radios, mobile phones, in-car DVD players, GPS systems, and much more. However, the use of these technologies as they were intended is vital.

It is crucial for the vehicle driver to refrain from using any of these devices when the vehicle is moving. In case their use is necessary, it should be done by a passenger in the car, or the driver should pull the car safely off the road and then operate the device.

Distractions by Passengers

Drivers working for organizations transporting other passengers, such as adults or kids with disabilities, are faced with another form of distraction. These drivers must receive specialized training to manage such distractions. It’s a wise idea to have a chaperone or assistant in the vehicle to handle passenger distractions. In all circumstances, the attention of the driver should always remain on the road.

In case passenger distractions are significant, the driver should pull over and handle the situation. The probability of a crash rises exponentially with every moment that the driver takes their attention away from driving.

Some suggestions to drive in a safer manner are as follows:

Use your mobile phone only in emergencies

Drivers should only use cell phones in exceptional situations when on the road. Even in such cases, the driver should pull over to the right shoulder to speak or text on the phone. Vital audio and visual cues, necessary to avoid an accident, can still be missed even when using hands-free devices.

Drivers should not engage in social conversations on their phones while on the road. In an increasing number of jurisdictions, doing so is against the law. A driver can get a ticket and be fined.

Pull over if you feel drowsy

The risk of an accident quadruples when the driver feels drowsy. According to a government study, 37 percent of drivers in the country have dozed off or actually slept at least one time since they started driving. In case you feel sleepy, pull off the road and sleep instead of trying to reach home at that time. You may never reach home if you don’t drive smart!

Restrict the number of passengers and activity level within the vehicle

In a majority of states, driver licensing regulations do not allow teenagers to drive with other teen passengers in the vehicle with them during their initial months of driving. It can create a hazardous driving environment if teen drivers travel with friends as novice drivers may focus on their friends, instead of the road.

Try not to eat while driving

Distracted driving should not be blamed on a busy lifestyle. While having breakfast in the car to school or work may seem like an excellent way to save time, it makes the driver focus less on the environment on the road. A significant cause of distraction is food spills.

Do not multi-task in a moving vehicle

People spend a significant amount of time in their cars. This makes it seem like a good idea to get small tasks done, such as speaking or texting friends or searching for music. But this is highly dangerous. Drivers should pay attention to the road as well as the other drivers around them. It’s logical to settle everything before commencing to drive.

Drive in a focused and safe manner

The objective of safe driving is to ensure that you and your passengers remain safe on the road. It has been shown in studies that individuals can only process a limited amount of information at any specific time. At times, people shift their focus back and forth to handle the various demands that occur when driving. Teenagers are much less experienced in driving, which can make distractions more deadly.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in CT

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash due to a distracted driver, you may be able to claim your rightful damages. To understand if you are entitled to receive compensation, consult a knowledgeable and dependable personal injury attorney at APEX Law Firm, LLC. Call us today at (860) 900-0900 or message us online for a free consultation.

How Common is Drowsy Driving?

When an individual driving a vehicle is too exhausted to remain fully alert, it is known as “drowsy driving.” Driving in a tired or sleepy state can cause the driver to have slower reaction times, decreased alertness, and impaired thinking. The driver may even fall asleep while operating the vehicle.

In the US, drowsy driving is a significant cause for concern. The outcomes of drowsy or fatigued driving are often catastrophic. Drowsy driving refers to the hazardous combination of driving and lassitude or sleepiness. This is typically the case when the driver has not gotten an adequate amount of sleep. However, it can also occur due to medicines, drinking alcohol, sleep conditions, or working in shifts.

It is not possible to predict the exact second when sleep affects the body. While falling asleep during driving is undoubtedly risky, being sleepy impacts a person’s ability to drive safely, even if they do not fall asleep. Drowsiness may cause the following:

  • Make an individual less able to focus on the road
  • Decrease the reaction time if the driver has to steer or brake abruptly
  • Impact a person’s ability to make sound decisions

How frequently do Americans Succumb to Sleep while Driving?

A survey involving 150,000 adult participants in 19 states and DC revealed the following:

  • Four percent of the participants stated that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel on at least one occasion in the previous 30 days.
  • Individuals who snored or typically slept six or fewer hours daily were more susceptible to falling asleep when operating a motor vehicle. 

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is a contributory factor to a minimum of 100,000 motor-vehicle accidents and over 1,500 fatalities annually. Approximately 71,000 accidents involving drowsy driving lead to non-fatal injuries.

Drowsy driving leads to an estimated yearly loss of nearly $12.5 billion. Cases of drowsy driving usually go unreported when police officers fill out an accident report. It can be challenging to detect drowsy driving as the reason for a crash unless the driver owns up to falling asleep.

The National Sleep Foundation indicates that nearly 50 percent of adult drivers in the US confess to regularly driving while feeling sleepy. Almost 20 percent agree to falling asleep when driving at some point in the previous year, while over 40 percent reveal that this has occurred on at least one occasion in their driving careers.

Key Facts on Drowsy Driving

Time

The most common times for drowsy-driving crashes to occur are late night and early morning as these are the natural sleep periods for the body. On top of this, the middle of the afternoon is also a time when sleepiness peaks. The probability of older adults having a drowsy-driving crash during mid-noon is higher.

Speed

Devastating accidents related to drowsy driving typically happen at high speeds on major roadways and highways. But accidents due to being drowsy behind the wheel can also take place at slower speeds.

Driver attitude

In many instances, drowsy drivers do not make any effort to apply brakes or avoid a crash. Many cases involve at least one vehicle veering off the road.

Risk Factors

Risks related to drowsy driving increase with even a single night of inadequate sleep or poor sleep. However, some individuals face an increased risk of drowsy driving.

Untreated Sleep conditions

Many people experiencing narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea may remain untreated. Severe sleepiness in the daytime is a common side effect related to sleep apnea. In the case of narcolepsy, a person may fall asleep suddenly. These sleep disorders increase drowsy driving risks.

Shift work

The risk for drowsy driving is higher for individuals whose work involves rotating shifts or night shifts, such as pilots, doctors, nurses, police officers, and truck drivers. There is a significant risk of drowsy driving when such people drive home after their shift.

Drug-related side effects

Sleepiness is a side effect of many medications. Individuals on such drugs face an increased risk of drowsy driving.

Young men

Accidents that occur due to drowsy driving happen most frequently among teenage males and men in their 20s and 30s. Such crashes typically happen between 11 pm and 8 am.

Drowsy-driving Warning Signs

  • Unable to notice turns or road signs
  • Veering onto other lanes or rumble strips located on the shoulder
  • Yawning
  • Drifting too close to nearby vehicles
  • Challenges in keeping the head up and “nodding off”
  • Inability to keep the eyes from closing

Prevention

Turning up the sound system or rolling the windows down may not do much to increase your attentiveness while driving. Some better techniques to avoid drowsy driving are as follows:

  • Before driving ensure that you get a good night’s sleep for seven to eight hours
  • Avoid driving at late hours
  • Avoid driving solo
  • Share the task of driving with a co-passenger on a long trip
  • Consume caffeine for a short-term alertness boost
  • Take a brief nap after having caffeine for maximum effect
  • Arrange for a ride back home after a late-night shift

Experienced Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyers in CT

Drowsiness and/or fatigue while behind the wheel can lead to devastating, and sometimes, fatal consequences. If you or a loved one has been injured or worse in a drowsy driving-related crash, you may be eligible to claim damages. The skilled attorneys at Apex Law Firm, LLC, can help you at every step of the way. Call at (860) 900-0900 today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

How a Criminal Record Can Affect a Personal Injury Case

Does having a criminal record affect the outcome of a personal injury case in any way?

This is a question that people often ask while discussing the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party. It is a valid concern, as most people – including juries – tend to see criminal records in a negative light.

The Impact of a Criminal Record on a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Generally speaking, a personal injury lawsuit stands on its own merits. As a plaintiff, you are only required to prove the following things:

  • The defendant’s actions (deliberate or unintentional) caused the accident.
  • You suffered financial and non-financial losses as a result of the accident.

If you can prove it, you will be awarded compensation which is proportionate to the injuries and other losses you suffered as a result of the accident.

If you, on the other hand, have a criminal record, the opposing counsel might try to use it against you and discredit your claims. Whether or not they are able to do so generally depends on what you were charged with and how long ago you were convicted.

For example, if you have been convicted for a breach of peace or disorderly conduct, the opposing counsel might not even bother to bring it up during the trial, since it has absolutely no relevance to your lawsuit.

If, on the other hand, you were convicted of a crime which included an element of fraud or forgery, the opposing counsel is likely to use it against you in a trial to imply that you are being dishonest with your claim.

How Your Criminal Record Might Be Used Against You

The primary goal of the opposing counsel is to discredit your claims by questioning your integrity and credibility. They do so in order to corner you and intimidate you into accepting a low settlement offer.        

For example, if you have been convicted for defrauding a federal agency like Social Security Disability or Medicaid, the opposing counsel might bring it up during the trial and argue that you cannot be trusted, since you have a history of defrauding other people.

If they manage to convince the jury that your claims are exaggerated, it can weaken your case significantly. As a result, you might be left with no choice but to accept a low settlement offer from the defendant’s insurance company.

What Can You Do to Prevent Your Criminal Record from Being Used Against You?

First of all, make sure you disclose everything to your personal injury lawyer. You should tell them what you were convicted of, how long ago you were convicted, and whether you can prove that you have reformed as a person since then.

This is very important, because your personal injury lawyer needs to develop appropriate strategies for a number of “what-if” scenarios, including and especially the possibility of the opposing counsel using your criminal record against you. So, do not try to hide any detail – even if you think it is insignificant – from your lawyer.

Secondly, and more importantly, do not try to hide your criminal record or lie if you are asked about it by the opposing counsel. Defense attorneys are trained to catch witnesses in a lie – a process known as witness impeachment – and use it to discredit their claims. So, if you are caught lying under oath, the jury or judge might question the validity of your claims.

Your best option is to be upfront about your criminal record, discuss it with your lawyer, and be prepared for the possibility of the opposing counsel bringing it up during the trial.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can think of all the possible scenarios in which your criminal record might be used against you and devise the right counter strategies, so that your credibility is not called into question by anyone at the trial.

In some cases, your personal injury lawyer might be able to expunge some of your criminal records before the trial. In some other cases, your lawyer might advise you to waive a jury trial and let a judge decide your case.

If you have been convicted of serious crimes in the past, it is likely to affect the outcome of a jury trial. A judge, on the other hand, tends to be dispassionate and is likely to deliver a verdict based on the evidence presented, irrespective of your history. 

Personal Injury Lawyers in Connecticut

The trial attorneys at APEX Law Firm have successfully represented a number of personal injury victims in Connecticut – including those with a criminal record – over the years. We know how to navigate the traps set by the opposing counsel and establish the defendant’s negligence. We can help you recover compensatory damages for your pain and suffering as well as the financial losses you suffered as a result of the accident. To talk to an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer, call us today at (860) 900-0900.

Is a Retail Store Responsible for My Slip & Fall?

Every retailer in Connecticut, whether it is a big box store, a grocery chain outlet, an independent retailer, or even a mom-and-pop store, has a legal obligation to keep their premises safe for the customers. If you slip and fall in a retail store and sustain injuries, you could have a personal injury claim against the responsible parties.

Premises liability laws in Connecticut are designed to protect your rights in cases where you suffer an in-store trip and fall injury. The key factor in these cases is to show that the retail store owner, manager or maintenance agency was negligent about ensuring safe conditions for visitors to the store, and that your injuries resulted from such act of negligence.

To recover compensation in these cases where you are pitted against a powerful business with large resources, it is best to have an experienced Connecticut premises liability attorney by your side.

Common Reasons for In-Store Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall injuries at retail stores may occur for many different reasons. Some of the most common include:

The Floor is Wet and Slippery

Retail stores need to mop and clean their floors frequently because of the high foot traffic throughout the day. A floor that was just mopped and left unattended, or a liquid spill that was not properly cleaned and dried from the floor could cause you to sustain a serious slip and fall injury. Wet or slippery floors must be properly marked, so that they do not present a trip and fall hazard for customers.

Torn Carpeting, Damaged Flooring, or Uneven Surfaces

If a retail store has an uneven surface (even if it is just outside the store), it could present a tripping hazard. Old or poorly maintained stores may have damaged flooring or torn carpeting, which can pose a risk of tripping and falling for the customers.

Inadequate Lighting

Lighting in and around the retail store may sometimes be so poor that customers may be at the risk of slipping and falling. The light in some area of the store may be broken, which makes it difficult to navigate the aisles safely. The hazards increase when poor lighting is combined with debris or merchandise on the floor, which can cause customers to trip over and get hurt.

Constructive or Actual Notice

According to the laws in Connecticut, the liability of a retail store owner or manager typically can only be established in slip and fall injury cases if they had a reasonable opportunity to either prevent the problem or to take corrective action to remove the hazard.

In other words, the premises owner or manager must have had advance knowledge of the hazard or should have reasonably known about it. Ignorance of the hazard is not a valid defense so long as you can prove it that any other reasonable store owner in their place would have known about the hazard in the normal course of maintaining safety at the store.

Damages must be Real

To be eligible for slip and fall accident compensation in Connecticut, you must have real damages. The general rule is that you will only recover compensation in proportion to the actual losses that you are able to prove.

Therefore, it makes sense to work with a competent and skilled premises liability attorney who will help ensure that your actual damages are correctly documented to the fullest extent.

Modified Comparative Negligence Rule in Connecticut

Your retail store trip and fall injury case in Connecticut will be subject to the rule of modified comparative negligence in order to determine your actual compensation (if any). Under this rule, you have a right to recover damages even if you were partially at fault for your own slip and fall injuries in the retail store. The damages will be determined in proportion to your share of fault.

However, if your own share of liability is more than 50 percent, you will not be able to recover any damages at all. Even if you enter into an out-of-court settlement, the modified comparative negligence rule in Connecticut will still be a factor in the negotiations.

Consult with a Seasoned Retail Store Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer  

In Connecticut, you can only file a slip and fall injury claim for damages within two years from the date of the accident. A delay in speaking to a premises liability lawyer will only work against you, not only because of the statute of limitations, but also because delays make it more difficult to preserve the critical evidence needed to build a strong case.

At APEX Law Firm, we are here to help! If we determine that you have a viable case, we will move fast to secure critical evidence and formulate a winning legal strategy for your claim. Call our office today at 860-900-0900 or message us online to schedule a free consultation.  

How do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case in CT?

Most people understand the term “injury.” We’ve been falling since we were kids and that’s part of growing up. But as we get older and fit into society, there is an expectation of reasonable behavior in a civil society to keep us all safe.

You expect the person driving the car next to you to stay in his lane and not cut you off.  You expect the elevator in a place of business to be working properly. You expect not to have crates fall on you in a big box store.

Those are reasonable expectations. However, in the real world these things do happen, and many times, they happen because someone else was negligent. When someone is injured due to the negligence of others, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed. 

The civil court proceeding will help you recover your medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation, and the loss of wages from being out of work.  If your injuries are catastrophic, a personal injury lawsuit will help replace the income you lost and pay some of the bills which otherwise can be overwhelming.

Under Connecticut law and its statute of limitations, you must file your personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury.  If you do not, you will lose your right to ever file an action for compensation.

Comparative Fault

Connecticut is a comparative fault state. That means if you share some degree of blame for the injury, that percentage will be subtracted from any amount you are awarded.

If, for example in a car accident, you were found to be 20% at fault for speeding prior to the collision, you will be awarded only up to 80% of the total judgement or settlement, if there is one. On the other hand, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for your own injuries, you will not be allowed to collect from the defendant.

Types of Personal Injury Cases in CT

Catastrophic injury may result from a motorcycle accident, a fall, a car crash, or medical malpractice.  You may have been mauled by a dog or hit by a car while riding your bicycle. Maybe a loved one in a nursing home is covered in bruises or you are exposed to toxins in the workplace.

These are preventable injuries that could result in the filing of a personal injury lawsuit because someone was negligent or showed a wanton and reckless disregard for others.

It will be the job of your personal injury lawyer to consider all the factors and determine the at-fault party.

Personal Injury Actions might include:

Premises Liability – These are commonly referred to as “slip and fall” injuries and for some, a fall can be very serious, especially if it involves an injury to the head. Falls among older Americans account for over 50% of injury-related deaths, and they may be preventable if the premise owner makes sure his property is free of hazards.

Dog Bites – Under Connecticut law, the owner of a dog who bites is strictly liable for those injuries regardless of the history of that dog’s past behavior.  The only exception might be when someone is teasing a dog or was a trespasser.

Car /Truck Accidents – Because Connecticut is a “fault” state, the at-fault party is responsible for compensating everyone injured in the accident. Their insurance will pay the bills, but your personal injury attorney will need to make it clear what the accident has cost you financially. Never admit fault at the scene of an auto or trucking accident.

Connecticut does not have damage caps in a personal injury case and it allows for punitive damages even in medical malpractice cases, though that amount is limited to the actual cost and attorney’s fees. 

Personal Injury Lawyer in CT

If you have experienced a personal injury that may not have been your fault, it is very important to call an experienced injury lawyer right away.

Apex Law’s Toney Pignatiello has extensive experience with personal injury litigation and thoroughly understands Connecticut law. It will be his job to send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining your injuries and the cost to you. And he can help you seek compensation for your injury caused by someone else’s negligence.

Call our office at 860-385-8360 to schedule a complimentary consultation and case assessment.

5 Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident

Getting into a car accident can be among the most traumatic experiences a person has to go through. A collision with another vehicle causes an immediate state change. Your heart rate accelerates, and your mind begins racing in numerous directions as you try to figure out what all this means.

The first thing you need to do is to take a deep breath, calm down, and assess the situation. The steps you take immediately after a car accident will greatly impact your health and well-being, the well-being of others who were involved, and your legal right to recover compensation (if you suffered any injuries from the accident).

There are several things you should do right after an auto accident, here are five of the most important:

Call 911

The first priority after a car accident is to secure the scene and make sure everyone is safe. If anyone appears to be injured (including yourself), call 911 right away to summon an ambulance to the scene. It is important to note that not all injuries are apparent right away. Even some injuries that are serious and life threatening may not be immediately detected. One common example is internal bleeding. If there is any possibility that someone was hurt, get prompt medical help. It is better to be safe than sorry.

When you call 911, they will most likely call the police for you as well. This is another essential step, because the police need to be called if anyone was injured. The police will make sure the vehicles are moved to the side of the road and out of danger, and they will speak with witnesses and compile an official report describing what happened. The police report is most often used as the basis for determining who was responsible for the accident.

Obtain Extensive Documentation

The police will produce an accident report, but you should have your own report as well. If you are able, take detailed notes describing the accident while everything is fresh in your mind. You should also take as many photos as possible from various angles to provide visual evidence showing how the collision happened. If you do not have anything to write with, use the voice recorder on your smartphone to create an audio report that you can transcribe later on.

Exchange Information with Other Parties Involved

One of the least pleasant but necessary steps after a car accident is to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). When you do this, be calm, courteous, and polite. Give them all of the required information and obtain the information you need from them as well. During this exchange, it is extremely important that you do not apologize or admit fault in any way. Just stick to the facts and let the experts sort out who was responsible.

Secure Statements and Contact Information from Witnesses

If there are any individuals who saw the accident, be sure to get statements and contact information from them. Eyewitness testimony is a very important factor that can help substantiate the facts and evidence in a car accident case, so try to secure this information while the witnesses are at the scene. Memories tend to fade over time, and as people go forward with their lives, they may not be as motivated to help you with your case.

Many times, a witness will be willing to provide a video or audio statement, which you can record using the video camera or voice recorder on your smartphone.  Take advantage of this option if it is available, but at the very least, try to write down what they say and obtain their contact information for later follow-up.

Get in Touch with an Experienced Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer

Those who are involved in a car accident are required to file a claim with the insurance company. When this happens, you will most likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster or another company official within a short period of time. Before speaking with the adjuster or anyone else from the insurance company about the accident, it is absolutely critical that you speak with a skilled auto accident lawyer, so you fully understand your legal rights and options. 

It is important to understand that the primary motivation of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible for your accident. As such, their interests are not aligned with yours. When you have been injured in an auto accident, you need a skilled advocate in your corner who is looking out for your best interests and who is willing to fight for every dollar of compensation you deserve.

Contact our office today at (860) 900-0900 or through our website contact form.

What Can I Expect during an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?

When you are involved in a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, the other party will often request additional verification of the claimant’s medical condition. This is typically done by asking the claimant to undergo an independent medical exam (IME), also known in Connecticut and some other states as a respondent medical exam (RME).

An IME/RME is often requested when there is a disagreement between the parties regarding the extent of an injury, or when the claimant’s physician is recommending surgery or another type of medical procedure. Essentially, the respondent is requesting a “second opinion” from a supposedly independent medical examiner.

In most cases, the examiner is likely to be anything but “independent”. Usually the examiner is a person who is selected by the employer or their insurance company and is someone who has performed other exams for them in the past. Just the fact that the parties have a working relationship means that the examiner is at least somewhat incentivized to find in favor of the employer or their insurer, which is likely to cloud their judgment.

How Should I Prepare for an IME/RME?

Knowing that the medical examiner you are going to see is likely to be biased in favor of the other side, you should approach this situation with caution. Remember, the ultimate goal of the other side is to either find a basis to deny your claim outright, diminish the value of your claim, or deny you a medical procedure that you need.

Just because this is an adversarial situation, that does not mean it is reason for panic. Independent medical exams are requested frequently in these types of cases, and with proper preparation, you can successfully clear this hurdle and help bring your claim to a favorable conclusion.

Here are some of the most important steps to take to help get you through your IME/RME:

Prepare Ahead of Time

Before the examination occurs, the respondent will send your medical records and any other documents that are related to your injuries to the medical examiner. The respondent may also write a letter to the examiner posing various questions about your injuries. You should try to obtain a copy of any letter sent to the examiner, so you can review it ahead of time for inaccuracies. If you are working with an attorney, your attorney can handle this for you.

You should also be intimately familiar with your medical history. The examiner will already have this in front of them, including information about previous injuries and medical conditions. Take some time to review your medical records in detail, so you fully understand what the examiner is referring to when you are asked a question about it. Finally, bring some notes along with specific dates, locations of injuries and other important information.

Bring Someone with You to Your Appointment

You should always have someone along with you for your IME/RME appointment.  This way, if there is ever a dispute about what was said or what happened during the exam, you will have a witness to confirm the facts. Ideally, you should have a nurse or other health professional along to accompany you, so they are able to provide more authoritative testimony. But if all else fails, bring a family member or close friend.

Arrive Early

Be sure to allow yourself plenty of travel time to get to the location of your exam. Arriving late could cause you to miss your appointment, which could be detrimental to your claim. Leave for your appointment early and make sure to account for any potential traffic delays.

Stay on Guard

Keep in mind that you are most likely to be under observation from the moment you pull up in the parking lot. Assume that the inside and outside of the building are under video surveillance, and that your every move is being watched carefully.

Be Honest and Cooperative

Always be honest and polite with the examiner, and never exaggerate your symptoms or the extent of your injuries. This is why it is a good idea to thoroughly understand your medical history, so you can give accurate answers to the examiner’s questions. Along these same lines, be courteous and cooperative with the examiner and other staff. There is nothing to be gained by being combative and argumentative in this type of situation.

Take Detailed Notes

After you leave the examiner’s office, write down or record in as much detail as possible what happened during your appointment. Note the questions the examiner asked you, the tests that you were given, what the examiner told you, and other important details. It is best to do this as soon as possible after you leave the office while everything is still fresh in your mind.

Consult your Attorney for Additional Guidance on Preparing for an IME/RME

For more information on what you can expect during an independent medical exam (or respondent medical exam) and how to prepare for it, speak with your attorney (if you have one). Your attorney can give you counsel and advice that is more specific to your claim.