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New Haven Connecticut Legal Blog

A discussion of personal injury slip-and-fall cases

Even the most sure-footed Connecticut residents sometimes succumb to slippery floors, uneven carpets and other common hazards and suffer trips, slips and falls. When they do they may be inclined to blame themselves or their own clumsiness for any injuries that result; they should be aware, however, the slip-and-fall incidents may be preventable had other parties met their duties of care and avoided negligence.

Consider, for example, the patron of a movie theater who suffers a serious fall while walking to their seat. In the dim light of the theater the patron did not see that a large portion of the aisle carpeting had buckled, leaving lumps and raised portions of the flooring. If the movie theater owner should have known about the hazard or had knowledge of it and took no steps to remedy it, they may be responsible for the harm suffered by the patron.

Who is most likely to drive distracted, it's not who you think

The stereotype of a teenage girl many of us have in our head is of a chatty, giggling, phone addict who is completely lost in their own world. When that scenario translates inside of a car, it is an easy recipe for a case of distracted driving. However, it may surprise you that according to a new study, it is not young women, but young men that are more prone to distracted driving.

The findings were reported from a Norwegian study which looked at personalities and driving habits of high schoolers and adults. It is interesting to point out that very few of the study participants labeled themselves as someone who drove distracted, but patterns emerged regarding who was more likely to drive distracted.

Tractor trailer accidents can be deadly in Connecticut

Motorists in Connecticut, and all other states, often share the roads with tractor trailers and other large, commercial vehicles. While this is typically not a matter of concern, a big rig that becomes involved in a crash can turn what might have been a run-of-the-mill fender bender into a deadly pile-up. As roads and highways become increasingly crowded, these types of truck accidents seem to be more and more common.

A more dramatic example of the tragic consequences a tractor trailer crash can entail occurred recently on Route 9, near Cromwell. A big rig was traveling southbound in early morning traffic. The truck was in the far-right lane of traffic on the highway, when it veered across the left lane and into the median. The semi passed all the way through the median and entered the northbound lanes.

Connecticut looking to test self-driving vehicles

A lot of headlines in recent months have been devoted to self-driving vehicles. Unfortunately, this has been largely due to the number of recent car accidents involving vehicles equipped with the technology - including a handful of fatal crashes. The crash that resulted in the most extensive media coverage involved an Uber vehicle that was operating in semi-autonomous mode with a safety operator in the driver's seat.

The self-driving Uber was being tested in Tempe, Arizona, when it struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking her bicycle across the street. Uber immediately halted its self-driving testing program in Tempe and in several other locations. At the same time, state and local regulators began to scrutinize self-driving vehicle testing programs in their jurisdictions.

Connecticut among safest places to live, less so to work

Citizens of Connecticut generally enjoy a higher quality of life than do citizens of many other states. In fact, a survey of the safest states was conducted and published by the website WalletHub and ranked Connecticut sixth overall among all states. In spite of its high overall ranking, however, Connecticut ranked only 22nd in the survey's "workplace safety" ranking. Clearly, this indicates that there is plenty of room for the state's employers to improve job conditions in Connecticut.

The ranking is somewhat surprising because Connecticut had the fewest number of fatal occupational injuries of any state in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is available), with 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers - compared to the national average of 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. Despite its relatively small number of workplace fatalities in that year (28), Connecticut's workers are injured and become ill at a rate that is significantly above the national average, resulting in higher numbers of workers' compensation claims.

1 out of 6 traffic fatalities occurs on motorcycles

When the weather finally turns, motorists on Connecticut's highways begin to encounter increasing numbers of motorcyclists. Even though motorcycle riding is largely seasonal in Connecticut, a high percentage of all traffic fatalities stem from motorcycle deaths. This is because motorcyclists are more exposed and have considerably less protection than the drivers and passengers in other types of vehicles. Although car accidents are more frequent, motorcycle accidents tend to be more fatal.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reported last month that nationally, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed in 2016. Examining data going back to 1994, 2016 was the second deadliest year after 2008, which saw 5,312 motorcycle deaths. In 2016, 14.1 percent of all traffic fatalities were motorcycle deaths. This is a sharp increase from 8.4 percent in 1994.

Nice weather in Connecticut can bring motorcycle accidents

Once the snow has melted and the temperature rises, motorcycle enthusiasts hop on their bikes and hit the roads. Unfortunately, an increase in the numbers of motorcycles on Connecticut's roads also means more motorcycle accidents. There are, of course, many factors that lead to motorcycle accidents, including drivers of cars and other larger vehicles failing to be on the lookout for bikes.

A recent accident provided a tragic example of the dangers motorcyclists face on the state's roads. A Newington man was riding his motorcycle in New Britain and was killed when the bike collided with a car. The crash occurred during daylight hours and before typical rush hour traffic begins. An investigation into the crash is pending, and no charges have been filed.

Report: Connecticut has lowest work fatality rate in the nation

In AFL-CIO's annual "Death on the Job, The Toll of Neglect" report, 2016 data indicated that Connecticut was home to the safest workplaces in the United States. During that year, the latest for which statistics have been compiled, 28 people died on the job in Connecticut, resulting in a fatality rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. The national rate, by comparison, was 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. Rhode Island had the second lowest fatality rate at 1.8 per 100,000 workers, followed by California at 2.2 per 100,000.

On the other hand, Connecticut had a rate of injury or illness resulting in days away from work and/or work restrictions that was greater than the national average. In 2016, 1.9 out of every 100 workers suffered such injury or illness on the job in Connecticut. These types of injuries and illness result in more workers' compensation claims. Nationally, the injury/illness rate was 1.6 per 100 workers.

How do you prevent car accidents?

At a time where everyone is so distracted behind the wheel, safety is always a very important concern. Even a small fender bender can be costly. Practicing safety at a time when the road is so unpredictable is a good idea. You never know who or what you may encounter, so it is good to be prepared.

Drivers in Connecticut are the most unsafe in nation

Using its EverDrive app to analyze more than 781 million miles of driving data that it compiled in 2017, EverQuote - an online insurance aggregator - was able to conclude that Connecticut is home to the United States' least safe drivers. However, drivers in the state shouldn't feel particularly singled out. The other four states among the five worst were also in the Northeast: Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

The EverDrive Safe Driving Report 2018 examined five unsafe driving behaviors that could lead to car accidents, personal injury or even death. These included speeding, phone use, hard braking, acceleration and hard turning. On a national basis, 38 percent of all trips analyzed in 2017 included speeding; 37 percent included phone use; 23 percent included hard braking; 14 percent included aggressive acceleration; and 11 percent involved hard turning.

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