Things to Consider When Injured by a Defective Product

If you have suffered an injury because of a product you have used, there are several factors to consider before bringing a product liability case. Typically, these types of personal injury claims fall under three main categories: (1) defective product, (2) defective design, and (3) failure to provide proper label warnings or instructions on the product. Let’s take a closer look at each category of a product liability claim.

Defective Product

A defective product is one that has incurred damages or mistakes during production. If you bought or received a product that had a faulty wire, broken or missing parts, or some other physical or functional flaw, this is considered a defective product. If you sustain injuries or damages from a defective product then the manufacturer may be liable for them. Keep in mind that the defects in the product must be caused from production in order for a product liability claim to be valid. Defects caused by a third party will not suffice. 

Defective Design

This category covers products that were produced correctly but are designed improperly. In other words, if you were harmed or suffered loss because of the way the product naturally works, the manufacturer may be liable. An example could include a type of computer charger that tends to get excessively hot while in use or a type of cookware that has very sharp edges and causes injury when you wash it. A defective design claim must involve an entire defective product line to show inherent defects that caused your injury or loss. 

Failure to Provide Proper Label Warnings or Instructions

This type of product liability claim involves products that have caused injury or loss due to the lack of warning on the product’s packaging or unclear instructions for how to properly use the product, resulting in injury or damage. For example, a face wash with little to no warning about the harsh effects of its chemicals on skin. Although ingredients are listed, you may not have been able to read the very small warning on the back and now you have a chemical burn. Manufacturers have a duty to warn of known potential dangers and if they don’t, you could have a valid claim.

Contact Apex Law Firm for More Information

It’s important to remember the different categories that product liabilities fall under so you can better understand your rights and course of action if in a situation concerning product liability. If you have sustained injuries or damages from a product and would like help or more information, contact Apex Law Firm today.

Evicting a Tenant in Connecticut

Evicting a tenant is no small matter. An eviction can be among the more stressful experiences a person can experience, both for tenants and landlords. For tenants, an eviction can damage credit and impede the ability to obtain a new rental unit in the future. For landlords, the eviction process can be mentally draining and financially disadvantageous, as landlords miss rent payments and spend money on costly repairs. But, though this is the case, sometimes evictions are necessary in order to correct a defective situation. 

In this post, we will provide a thorough introduction to the eviction process here in Connecticut. We will cover the basic grounds for eviction, notice requirements, procedure, and the basic defenses to eviction. Importantly, this overview is limited to the normal procedures of Connecticut State law, we are not covering anything related to the eviction orders under COVID-19.

Grounds for Eviction

In the State of Connecticut, evictions are governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act. This law lays out all the rules and procedures which apply to evictions. The two most commonly cited reasons for eviction are nonpayment of rent and violation of the lease. Nonpayment of rent is straightforward: when a tenant fails to pay some or all the rent due at a given time, this nonpayment may provide grounds for eviction. Violation of the lease can take many different forms, and ultimately depends on the specific provisions of a given lease. But common examples of violations include things such as noise complaints, ownership of forbidden pets, damage or prohibited alteration of the unit, and so forth.

Notice Requirements for Non-Payment & Violations

When a landlord seeks to evict a tenant, the landlord must follow the lawful procedure for doing so. A landlord cannot simply decide to evict a tenant without going through the normal eviction process. Part of the eviction process involves the notice requirements for violations. Before a landlord can go to court in Connecticut and request an eviction order, the landlord must first provide notice to the tenant. The notice to the tenant is intended to either allow opportunity to correct a violation, or give the tenant a chance to remove himself or herself from the unit voluntarily. For nonpayment of rent, all tenants in CT have a 9 day grace period. After that, the landlord can serve a 3 day “notice to quit” to a tenant. This gives the tenant 3 days to leave the unit; after that, the landlord can move forward with requesting the eviction order from the court.

For lease violations, landlords must provide a 15 day initial notice to tenants. This notice identifies the source of the violations and gives the tenant the opportunity to correct the situation. After the 15 days, the landlord may then terminate the lease and issue the 3 day notice to quit if the violation hasn’t been corrected. Subsequently, the landlord may proceed with an eviction request.

Basic Overview of Eviction Process

If the tenant has not corrected the situation, and the 3 days following the notice to quit have expired, the landlord can move forward and request an eviction order. This means that the landlord can file a writ; a summons and complaint with the court in order to evict the tenant. The court will set a hearing date on which the matter will be decided. At the hearing, tenants can challenge the eviction by providing any number of defenses. If the tenant fails to provide an adequate defense, or doesn’t show at the hearing, then the eviction will ordinarily be granted.

Basic Defenses to Eviction

In order to combat an eviction, a tenant can raise a range of viable defenses. One defense against an eviction is when a landlord takes actions to compel a tenant to leave without an eviction order. For instance, if a landlord disconnects utilities, or changes the locks, this would qualify as unauthorized behavior without an eviction order in place. This falls under the category of “self-help” actions, and taking such actions can lead to a tenant successfully defeating an eviction order.

Another potentially viable defense can occur when a landlord fails to follow proper procedure. This can happen when a landlord fails to provide adequate notice to a tenant for nonpayment of rent or a lease violation. If the tenant doesn’t receive adequate notice, this can serve as a viable defense. Another possible defense is when a tenant is accused of nonpayment, but actually did pay during the 9 day grace period. Or, the tenant may have a defense against nonpayment if the rental unit itself wasn’t properly maintained by the landlord. If the landlord fails to provide heat, or fails to fix an appliance, this may provide a defense against nonpayment by the tenant. 

It is important to note that a tenant may not unilaterally withhold rent for violations of the lease agreement by the landlord. A tenant must also follow proper procedures to ensure his/her own protection. Neither tenant nor landlord should take matters into their own hands. Consulting with an attorney experienced in housing matters is essential to protect your rights.

Contact the Apex Law Firm for More Info

This is just an introduction to the eviction process in Connecticut. In the future, we may dive back into one or more of these issues in greater detail. For now, if you’d like additional information, or if you have an eviction issue, contact the APEX Law Firm today by calling 860-900-0900.

How Do I Collect if I Win a Small Claims Judgment?

In recent posts, we’ve discussed some of the issues involved with small claims court in Connecticut. As these posts have shown, small claims court can be a viable option for certain plaintiffs, though not for all. If you have a relatively simple case and the amount you’re seeking doesn’t exceed $5,000, small claims court may be a good choice. If you decide to pursue your matter in small claims court in Connecticut, and you win your case, you must then deal with the next issue: collecting your judgment. Contrary to what some may suppose, the small claims court isn’t responsible for collecting the judgment you win. Although the court can assist with collection in some ways, you are ultimately responsible for seeing that you receive the payment.

Once a judgment is entered, the court will order the individual that lost the case (the judgment debtor) to make periodic payments to the person who won the case. If the judgment debtor is a business or landlord, no periodic payments will be ordered, the full amount of the judgment is due. If the person fails to make the required payments as ordered, there are several options available for collecting your small claims court judgment. Any one of these options may be the correct one; everything ultimately depends on the precise nature of your situation.

Option #1: File an Application for Execution

An execution is a legal hold on someone’s property so it cannot be sold or used. It is important to note that an execution will not be issued if the judgment debtor is making the periodic payments required by the court. But if not, then there are three types of executions:

  1. A wage execution can be used against a person who has a job if that person is not self-employed. You must find out where the debtor works.
  2. A property execution attaches the personal property, not real property, to pay the judgment. You must know where the property is kept.
  3. Financial institution executions attach certain accounts at banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions. You must find out where the account is located.

There is an additional fee associated with applying for an execution. You must do your homework or hire someone that can help you, the court cannot do it for you. You must then follow the proper procedure for serving the execution. Failure to follow proper procedure can be fatal to enforcing it.

Option#2: Hire a Debt Collection Agency

Another option is to hire a debt collection agency. A debt collection agency is a company which specializes in pursuing debts from individuals or corporations. One plus about hiring such a company is that this type of company will have experienced professionals who possess skills in the area of debt collection. The company will have people who know how to communicate with debtors and arrange payment. Collection agencies will be able to easily contact credit bureaus in the event that a debtor refuses to pay; this will increase the likelihood that the debt is paid. The downside is that, if you hire such a company, you will likely only receive a certain percentage of your judgment, as you will need to pay for the services of the collection agency.

Option #3: Collect the Judgment Independently

The other option you have is to collect the judgment yourself. You can contact the debtor yourself personally and try to obtain the full judgment, or work out a payment plan. This is where the court can be of assistance: if you make a request, the court may be able to help you create a payment plan for the debtor. This isn’t the same as obtaining a seizure of property order or a wage garnishment; it is simply the court stepping in and offering assistance. Most people don’t want to have a blotch on their credit report, and so most debtors will be willing to work with you directly to get the judgment paid off. If, however, the debtor isn’t responsive, you may need to turn to one of the other options.

Contact the Apex Law Firm for Additional Information

Winning in small claims court is enough work on its own, but, as we can see, collecting the judgment can also be a challenge as well. If you’re heading to small claims court in the near future, or if you’d like more information, give Apex Law Firm a call today at 860-900-0900. We can help you navigate both the court process and then the collection process in a hassle-free, straightforward fashion.

An Introduction to OUI Law in Connecticut

Operating under the influence, or “OUI” (also referred to as DUI), is a serious offense in the State of Connecticut. Connecticut has its own policies when it comes to defining, enforcing, and punishing OUI violators. In this post, we’d like to introduce our readers to the basics of OUI law in Connecticut. Connecticut OUI law is fairly complex, and so mastering it in its entirety would require a good amount of effort. Our goal here is just to provide a very basic overview of how Connecticut OUI law operates. In the future, we may come back and dive into this subject more deeply.

Introduction to the Basic Concept of OUI in Connecticut

As with many other states, OUI is defined in Connecticut according to a person’s “blood alcohol content,” or BAC. The BAC level which can lead to an OUI depends on the person’s age and type of driver’s license. For instance, for drivers under the age of 21, an OUI begins at a BAC level of 0.02. For a person over the age of 21, this figure jumps to 0.08, but if a person over the age of 21 holds a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”), then a BAC level of 0.04 is the limit.

Consequences for First, Second and Third Offenses

The possible punishment for OUI offenses in Connecticut varies depending on the number of prior offenses of a person. If a person has no prior offenses, then the possible punishment for a first offender is the following: 48 hours to 6 months of jail time, $500 to $1,000 in fines, 45 day license suspension, 100 hours of community service, and 1 year of ignition interlock device (IID). For a second offense, the possible punishment is 120 days to 2 years in jail, $1,000 to $4,000 in fines, 45 day license suspension, 100 hours of community service, substance abuse assessment, and 3 years of IID. For a third offense, offenders can face 1 to 3 years in jail, $2,000 to $8,000 in fines, and permanent license suspension. An IID is technically unnecessary for a third offense, because the license is always permanently suspended and so the offender’s driving privilege is eliminated altogether. A third offense is also classified as a felony in Connecticut law, and so offenders will have that on their record.

This is merely a framework within which Connecticut judges may operate when they assess punishment for offenders. Judges have wide leeway when they impose fines and sentences, and so the outcome of every case is really dependent on its particular facts and circumstances. In addition to these penalties mentioned above, judges can also impose community service and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Implied Consent and Consequences for Test Failure or Refusal

When a person drives in the State of Connecticut, he or she is considered to have given “implied consent” to submit to a BAC test when an officer has reasonable cause to make this request. A driver in Connecticut cannot refuse a BAC test without facing consequences. Refusal of a lawfully requested test will result in an automatic license suspension of 45 days. If a driver submits to a test but fails, then this will automatically result in the 45 day license suspension; this is true regardless of whether that person is ultimately convicted of an OUI. What’s more, test failure or refusal will also lead to the installation of an IID for a certain period of time depending on the offender’s history.

Contact Apex Law Firm for Additional Information

Again, this is merely an overview of OUI law in the State of Connecticut. Make no mistake, the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime. If you’re convicted of an OUI, you can eventually lose your driving privilege entirely. If you’d like to learn more, or if you have questions or have been charged with OUI, contact Apex Law Firm today.

Why Do Most Car Accidents Happen?

There are millions of auto accidents in the United States each year. According to Driver Knowledge, more than 3 million individuals suffer injuries from these crashes, and more than 30,000 individuals are killed as a result. This averages out to more than 90 car accident-related deaths every single day.

There are a number of reasons why auto accidents occur, and just under 95% are due to some form of human error. Most of these errors would fall into the category of driver negligence, although the actions of outside parties sometimes contribute to these accidents as well.

Of those accidents that are caused by driver negligence, here are some of the most common risk factors:

Speeding

Everyone has exceeded the speed limit at one time or another, but for some drivers, this is a regular habit. Speed kills, and when a vehicle is traveling faster, the driver has far less time to react adequately to adverse situations that may arise. Someone who speeds runs a greater risk of getting involved in a collision, and because there is a greater force upon impact with high-speed collisions, the chances of serious injuries and fatalities increase as well.

Aggressive/Reckless Driving

Those who speed also tend to drive more aggressively, and in some cases, they cross the line into reckless driving. Excessive speeding is one form of reckless driving, others include weaving wildly back and forth between lanes, straddling the center line of the road, running stop lights and stop signs, making sharp and unsafe turns, making illegal or dangerous passing maneuvers, following too closely/tailgating, and street racing.

Drunk Driving

Even after several decades of high-profile public awareness campaigns, driving while intoxicated continues to be one of the most common causes of car accidents, and particularly those that occur at night and on weekends. Drunk driving claims the lives of more than 10,000 individuals each year, averaging out to approximately 29 DUI-related deaths each day. Chemically impaired driving is very dangerous, because it slows reaction times and inhibits a driver’s ability to stay focused on the road. A chemically altered state of mind can also cause a motorist to drive aggressively or recklessly without care for the rules of the road or the safety of others.

Distracted Driving

Driver distractions are quickly becoming one of the leading causes of auto accidents. In our electronic age, drivers have a hard time staying off of their cell phones, and this is particularly true among teen drivers who are less experienced as it is. Texting while driving and similar activities are especially dangerous, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. The end result is that a driver’s total focus is taken away from the road, making them more likely to miss something important, such as a pedestrian crossing or a motorcycle that enters their blind spot. Distracted driving is responsible for an estimated 3,000 deaths each year.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy or fatigued driving is identified as the cause of approximately 9% to 10% of all motor vehicle crashes each year. These are most likely conservative estimates, however, because many drivers do not admit to the police that they were sleepy just before getting into an accident. Drowsy driving is especially common among commercial vehicle drivers, those who work long shifts that run into the evening and overnight hours, those who travel frequently between time zones, those with untreated sleep disorders, and those who regularly get less than six hours of sleep each night.

As mentioned previously, there are some motor vehicle accidents that are caused (at least in part) by outside parties. Common outside risk factors include:

  • Faulty/Defective Products: A motor vehicle or vehicle part that is defective could malfunction at the wrong time and cause an accident. Common examples include brake line failures, tire blowouts, and computer dashboard malfunctions.
  • Inadequately Maintained Vehicles: Sometimes, an accident happens because of negligent maintenance, such as the brake pads or tires not being changed or other types of servicing that was not performed. When this happens with a commercial vehicle, the party responsible for maintaining the vehicle may be to blame for an accident.
  • Poorly Maintained Roads/Driving Areas: Some roads and parking areas are not properly maintained. They have potholes, large cracks in the pavement, and other hazards. If any of these hazards contributes to an accident, the party responsible for maintaining the roads could be responsible.

Injured in a Car Accident in Connecticut? Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in an auto accident that was someone else’s fault, you deserve to be fully compensated. If the accident happened in Connecticut, contact the APEX Law Firm for assistance. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. To schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a member of our legal team, message us online or call our office today at 860-900-0900.

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.

Unique Considerations for Divorcing Parents of Special Needs Children

When a marriage dissolves, it is difficult for all parties involved. There is uncertainty about the future, and there are many important issues that must be resolved during the divorce process. When divorcing spouses have children, there are additional considerations, such as child custody, visitation schedules, child support, and many others. This is especially true when the couple has a child with special needs.

Families with special needs children have many unique concerns to deal with, and standard parenting plans may not be sufficient to effectively account for all the underlying issues that must be resolved. When the Connecticut courts consider child support and child custody arrangements, they are able to examine specific factors that must be addressed to ensure that the final divorce decree is in-keeping with child’s best interests.

Unique Considerations for Divorcing Couples with Special Needs Children

Raising a child with special needs can be a full-time job, and when parents get divorced, there are several additional complications that may need to be resolved. In the best-case scenario, parents should work together on these issues and begin addressing them at the beginning of the divorce process.

Some of the unique factors that divorcing parents with special needs children may need to look at include:

Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements

Standard custody and visitation arrangements typically call for the child to split time between each parent. This often means the child makes frequent transitions from one parent to the other. A child with special needs usually has more difficulty traveling back and forth between the parents. For this reason, it might work better to use a more structured visitation schedule in which the child has less frequent and more extended visitation periods with the non-custodial parent.

The Child’s Medical and Functional Needs

A special needs child typically requires ongoing medical care which often includes specialized medical equipment in the home and in-home visits from a health professional and/or caregiver. This may require the non-custodial parent to make special accommodations for the child when he/she comes to visit. In addition, child support payments may need to be increased to account for additional medical expenses that may not be covered by health insurance.

Special Educational Needs

Special needs children often have learning disabilities that require additional educational resources. This may include an individualized education plan, specialized schooling, in-home tutoring, and many others. The structure of the visitation plan needs to account for the child’s educational plan, and the cost of these additional resources should also be factored into the child’s support needs.

Eligibility for Government Benefits

Special needs children often qualify for government benefits to help cover the extra expenses parents incur to care for their child. During a divorce, eligibility for these benefits may be threatened by the child support payments and the income of the parents. This issue can often be resolved by setting up a special needs (OBRA) trust. These trusts have specific requirements and must be set up correctly in order to be used to house child support payments, so be sure to work with an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of this area of the law.

Adult Child Support

Usually, a parent’s obligation to provide child support ends when the child turns 18. This may not be the case with a special needs child. If an adult child is disabled and cannot live alone, parents must continue to support the child until either parent dies or until the child becomes able to live on their own. For support payments to continue, the child must have already been mentally or physically disabled before turning 18, and it must be shown that the child is still unable to function on their own after they reach adulthood.

Contact a Skilled and Compassionate Hartford, CT Divorce Attorney

Caring for a child with special needs involves unique challenges that require a full commitment on the part of both parents to provide for the child’s well-being. When parents get divorced, these issues can become more complicated, and it is important for divorcing couples to work together to continue to ensure that their child will be taken care of.

At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we understand that divorce is a difficult and emotional time, and we work closely with our clients to listen and understand their specific needs, and to ensure that their interest, and the best interests of their children, are fully protected. For a consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (860) 900-0900 or send us a message through our online contact form. You may also visit our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.

Putting a Price on the Death of a Loved One

Losing a family member or loved one is one of the most difficult things to go through in life, especially when the death occurs because of a tragic accident, rather than natural causes. While those who lose a family member due to the wrongful acts of another have the right to pursue a wrongful death case in Connecticut, putting a price on the death of a loved one can be an emotionally tough thing to do. However, here we attempt to make sense of this process.

What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a wrongful death claim is brought forth by the executor of a decedent’s estate following a negligent, reckless, or careless act of another, the executor will seek damages for the benefit of the deceased’s estate, which will then be distributed amongst beneficiaries. The types of damages that are available in a wrongful death claim are similar to those that are available in a personal injury claim, although there are some differences. To be sure, damages that are available in a wrongful death suit include:

  • All hospital or other medical expenses related to the accident;
  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • The value of the decedent’s lost wages and loss of earning capacity;
  • Pain and suffering of the decedent suffered prior to death;
  • The value of the decedent’s loss of ability to enjoy life; and
  • Additional damages when the defendant’s conduct was reckless.

Determining the Value of a Lost Loved One’s Life

You may feel that there is no amount of money that can make up for what has happened, nor fully compensate you for the extent of losses that you have suffered because of your loved one’s death. However, it’s important to remember that the damages listed above are designed to provide you a portion of what you deserve, as well as the compensation that you need to continue to provide for yourself financially.

The calculation of economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, is the most straightforward. Economic damages are paid in full, which means that the decedent’s estate has the right to recover 100 percent of economic losses. If your loved one incurred $50,000 in medical bills prior to death, had a funeral that cost $10,000, and will be unable to acquire the $1.5 million in wages they would have otherwise earned but for death, the estate can seek compensation for the full value of these losses.

Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate, as they don’t have a correlating real dollar value. Indeed, how does one decide how much a person’s pain, suffering, or loss of ability to enjoy life is worth?

Juries in wrongful death cases are often instructed to award noneconomic damages based on what seems sensible, fair, and just. Factors that may affect the award include the amount of suffering the decedent endured, the age at time of death, and the loved ones the deceased has left behind.

As noted above, additional damages may be available in certain cases. As found in Section 14.295 of Connecticut Code, double or triple damages may be awarded when a death results from the operation of a motor vehicle with reckless disregard.  

Our Attorneys Are Here to Represent You

There is nothing easy about losing a loved one or about making the decision to pursue a wrongful death case. To help you learn more about your options and provide you with the support you’re looking for, contact the Connecticut wrongful death attorneys at the law offices The APEX Law Firm, LLC today. Consultations with our legal team are offered free of charge, and we always work hard to improve your chances of recovering your full compensation amount. Call us directly at (860) 900-0900 now.

Keeping Aging Workers Safe

Just because an employee reaches a certain age, doesn’t mean that their usefulness to the organization expires. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the age of 65 each day and a quarter of the workforce will be 55 or older by 2020.

Instead of jumping into retirement, many workers today are remaining in the workforce for a variety of reasons. They might continue to work for the additional pay and benefits or as a way to keep active and engaged. Whatever the reason workers choose to remain on the job, it’s become more important than ever that employers take measures to keep them healthy and safe while they are there.

Older Workers in the Workplace

There isn’t one particular industry that has a greater percentage of aging workers than another. Older workers are found across all industries, including blue-collar, white-collar, and service industry jobs. While most employers have a positive perception of their older workforce, there are some safety concerns depending on the position and the industry.

Older workers might have more knowledge and experience in a position, but some of the changes in their bodies could impact the severity of workplace injuries. Specifically, aging workers might suffer from a loss of strength and muscle mass, diminished vision and hearing, and slower reaction times.

Potential Work Injuries That Threaten Aging Workers

It might be a misnomer that older workers are automatically going get hurt the quickest and file the most worker’s compensation claims. Depending on the job, older workers simply adapt and worker “smarter” in their positions. Yet, when they do get injured, it could take longer to heal.

A 2014 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses gives data on injuries according to age group. Among injured workers for all industries, the median days away from work for all ages was 10 days. That went up to 12 days for workers ages 45-54, 15 days for workers ages 55-64, and 17 days for those 65 and older.

Some older workers may also be more susceptible to certain types of injuries. According to the same survey, employees in the 45 to 54 age group experienced musculoskeletal disorders at the highest rate of any age group, or 40 per 10,000 full-time workers. Older workers are also more likely than their younger counterparts to experience back, shoulder, trunk, hand, and head injuries.

The worst thing that can happen to a worker is for a life to be lost on the job. The 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reports that this risk does increase with age. In just 2014, 8.2 percent of fatal falls were for workers ages 20-24. As age increases so does the risk of a fatal fall. The risk of dying when a worker falls at work was 16.8 percent for workers ages 45-54, 20.7 percent for workers ages 55-65, and 27.3 percent for workers ages 65 and older.

How to Keep Aging Workers Safe on the Job

Whether you’re an aging worker or an employer who wants to keep their staff safe, there are ways to mitigate risk in the workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gives several recommendations for keeping aging workers safe on the job. Among them are:

  • Give aging workers more flexibility in how and when they do their jobs.
  • Match a worker’s tasks to their abilities and limit repetitive tasks.
  • Avoid sedentary or prolonged work without breaks.
  • Manage workplace hazards such as excessive noise and trip hazards.
  • Ask an ergonomic specialist to evaluate your workplace.
  • Promote healthy lifestyles and give employees incentives for risk-factor reduction.
  • Invest in safety training in the workplace.
  • Proactively get employees back to work by offering light duty and other accommodations.
  • Encourage aging workers to train for supervisory and management positions.

Get Help From a Qualified Connecticut Worker’s Compensation Lawyer

No matter what your age, if you have been injured on the job or are suffering from a work-related illness, you are entitled to benefits under the state’s worker’s compensation system. The experienced and knowledgeable Connecticut worker’s compensation lawyers at The APEX Law Firm, LLC will not only help protect your rights but will also advocate for your rightful compensation. Contact us today at (860) 900-0900 or online to schedule a free consultation.

How to Avoid Distracted Driving in Connecticut

It’s a fact that most serious accidents on our roads are preventable. There is a good reason we have traffic laws and safety guidelines for vehicles, but human and mechanical error can lead to dangerous and catastrophic crashes.

Keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road may seem like common sense, but failure to do either has become one of the leading causes of car crashes in the past several years. In fact, distracted driving has become so prevalent that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called the problem an epidemic.

How Big of a Problem is Distracted Driving?

In 2015 alone, distracted driving in the U.S. claimed the lives of 3,477 people and injured another 391,000. While most distracted drivers are teens and young adults, anyone can fall victim to the temptation of various distractions. What are some of the things we do other than pay attention to the road? Just a few of the most common driving distractions include:

  • Using handheld cell phones
  • Using hands-free cell phones
  • Messing with radios and GPS systems
  • Typing on laptops
  • Reading
  • Putting on make-up
  • Eating
  • Shaving
  • Speaking to other passengers
  • Rubbernecking or sightseeing

Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving

When you aren’t fully engaged in the act of driving, you are putting both yourself and others at risk. You not only need to have your eyes on the road at all times and your hands on the wheel, but your mind must also be on the task at hand.

Too many of us don’t appreciate the responsibility involved in getting behind the wheel of a car. Your safety, that of your passengers, and others on the road is at stake if you make even the slightest error in judgment. By putting all of your attention into the task at hand, you have the best chance making it to your destination as safely as possible. Here are eight ways that you can avoid distractions while driving.

  1. Turn off your cell phone. The most common cause of distracted driving accidents is people texting while driving. Other causes are looking at social media and speaking on the phone. If you can’t turn off your cell phone in the car, put it on silent, or just put it away.
  2. Groom at home. If you have to put on makeup and shave in the car, you might want to give yourself some more time at home in the morning. Not only are you making a mess in your car, but you are also not paying attention to the task of driving, which is dangerous.
  3. Let your passengers help. Ask your passengers for help to avoid distractions while driving. Let them respond to an important text, change the radio station, or enter some GPS coordinates.
  4. Avoid stress. Wouldn’t we all like to live a stress-free life? Of course we would, but this is especially important in the car. Avoid heavy conversations while driving and ask young children to keep the play reasonable.
  5. Harness the pets. We all love our pets, and some of them get excited for car trips. Furry friends roaming inside a vehicle can be a major distraction when you are trying to drive. Instead, put a safety belt on your pet or keep them in a carrier for the ride.
  6. Skip the drive-through. Eating and driving might save you some time, but it’s distracting. It’s even more distracting when you spill coffee down your shirt or have to dig for a wayward french fry on the freeway. If you must pick up food, let it wait until you reach your destination.
  7. Map out your route in advance. It’s nearly impossible and incredibly dangerous to stare at a map while you’re driving. Do what you can to visualize your route or enter your GPS coordinates before you get moving.
  8. Stop rubbernecking. We get it. Accidents and people being pulled over by the police are interesting. They are also distractions that could cause you to create your own scene. In the interest of safety, keep your eyes on the road ahead and wait to look up the details of the incident online when you get home.

When Distracted Driving Accidents Happen

Even with all the precautions in place, accidents still happen. You might be 100% engaged while another driver is distracted, causing a serious crash. If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident in Connecticut, The APEX Law Firm, LLC understands your hurt and frustration. Contact us today at (860) 900-0900 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.