Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

When a dog attacks and causes injury to a person, the owner of the dog is generally liable for those injuries under Connecticut law. The damages that the victim could collect depend on a number of factors, including the extent of his or her injuries and the effect those injuries have on the victims’ life. For example, a person who has been permanently scarred as the result of a dog bite might be entitled to collect more than an individual whose injuries healed completely in a matter of weeks. This idea can perhaps be best explained with real-world cases that were resolved recently right here in Connecticut.

FedEx Driver Receives $160,000 Settlement

Delivery personnel, including those who work for the U.S. Postal Service and private companies like UPS and FedEx, encounter dogs virtually every day. In 2013, a FedEx driver was backing into a residential driveway in Thomaston when he was attacked and bitten by two pit bulls. According to the victim’s account, the attack continued for nearly two agonizing minutes. The man’s wounds were reportedly so deep that the staff at the hospital decided against stitching them up, opting to irrigate them instead to reduce the risk of infection.

The insurance company for the dogs’ owners offered a settlement of $10,000, reports indicate, and the victim’s initial demand was for $250,000. The victim filed suit in Litchfield Superior court in 2015, but a settlement agreement was only recently reached. Under the terms of the settlement, the man received $120,000 from the dog owners—via their insurance carrier—and $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits since the attack occurred while the victim was working. The victim has recovered from his injuries but still has permanent scars on his arm.

Arbitration Nets $364,000 for Woman Bitten in the Face

In 2014, a woman entered her friend’s house to pick up her daughter and was attacked by a 35-pound Portuguese water dog. The dog—who had reportedly bitten three other people before the incident in question—“lunged at [the woman’s] face” as she attempted to pet the dog. The woman was only bitten once but the bite caused severe damage to her face. Court records indicate that the woman required stitches on both the inside and outside of the wound, as well as plastic surgery and a number of injections.

The woman filed a lawsuit in Hartford Superior Court in April 2016, and the case went to arbitration. In August, the arbitrator awarded the victim approximately $14,000 in past economic damages, $150,000 in past non-economic damages, and $200,000 in future damages for a total of $364,094. The woman’s facial scarring is expected to be permanent.

Call a Hartford Dog Bite Attorney for Guidance

If you have been injured as the result of a dog bite, an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney. Call 860-290-8690 for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. We will help you explore your available options and take action to get you the compensation you deserve.

 

Sources:

https://www.wci360.com/ouch-former-ct-fedex-driver-is-awarded-160g-in-settlement-after-vicious-dog-attack/

https://www.law.com/ctlawtribune/2018/08/01/glastonbury-woman-bitten-in-face-by-dog-gets-364094-in-arbitration/

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marijuana-medical-test-rulingImagine a scenario in which you are applying for a job. You pass the interview stage with flying colors, and the hiring manager is ready to bring you on immediately. The only thing you have left to do is pass a pre-employment drug screening. You are not worried because everything you currently take has been prescribed by a doctor who is licensed to practice in your state. When the screening results come back, however, they show that you have a particular drug in your system—one that you even told your prospective employer about beforehand. As a result of the test, your job offer is rescinded. Sounds pretty unfair, does it not? This is exactly what happened to a Connecticut woman in a situation that shows just how far we have left to go as our country tries to figure out exactly how to handle medical marijuana.

A Quick Background

In 2016, a woman was recruited and applied to work at a nursing home and rehabilitation center in Niantic, Connecticut. The woman’s interviews went well, and she was offered the position of Activities Manager pursuant to a pre-employment drug test. Prior to the screening, she informed the hiring manager that she was a registered patient under Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA)—the state’s legal medical marijuana program. She had been in an accident in 2012 and was currently using a prescribed pill form of marijuana at night to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

As she expected, the drug screening did indicate the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. What she did not expect, however, was the rescinding of her job offer. The nursing home decided they could not hire the woman because they used the federal list of legal drugs, and marijuana is not a legal prescription under federal law. The woman subsequently filed a lawsuit for employment discrimination under PUMA, which specifically prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on an applicant’s status as a registered medical marijuana user.

The Court’s Decision

In early September, a federal court judge issued a judgment in favor of the woman. The judge determined that federal laws that promote drug-free workplaces do not preempt the anti-discrimination clause included in PUMA. In his ruling, the judge clarified that employers are entitled to keep the workplace itself drug-free but held that his case did not address medical marijuana in the workplace.

While the court’s ruling was sufficient to provide relief for this individual applicant, the underlying problem is much bigger. Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 drug according to federal law, which means that it is not recognized to have any medicinal uses and that it has a high potential for abuse—despite the fact that there has never been a recorded case of a fatal overdose of marijuana. Meanwhile, 32 states and the District of Columbia have created medical marijuana programs. With federal and state laws at odds in so many jurisdictions, it is nearly impossible for medical marijuana users to feel safe, even though they are following the laws of their state.

Contact Us for Help

If you are facing criminal charges related to marijuana or any other drug, contact an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney. Call 860-290-8690 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. We will help you review your options and assist you in making the best possible decisions moving forward.

 

Sources:

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0532d84d-0bf2-46b5-b3c5-2738a69f213f

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9761608550061527496&q=Noffsinger+v.+SSC+Niantic+Operating+Co&hl=en&as_sdt=400006

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/744636/food+drugs+law/ZeroTolerance+Policy+Didnt+Justify+Refusing+To+Hire+Medical+Marijuana+User+In+Connecticut

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hit and run, Connecticut personal injury attorneysWhen you are involved in a hit and run accident, it can be extremely difficult to collect compensation for the damages you incur. If those damages include bodily injury, you are likely to face even greater challenges. It is possible, however, to recover compensation for your injuries after a hit and run accident, as a case out of Waterbury, Connecticut recently demonstrated.

The Accident in Question

The crash took place in August 2016 at an intersection in Waterbury. A 44-year-old man was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a Toyota—knocking him to the ground and causing injuries to the rider’s back and right leg. According to court documents, the driver of the Toyota stopped briefly and then fled the scene.

A subsequent investigation into the crash determined that the driver of the Toyota was not the owner of the vehicle. In fact, the owner claimed she had no idea who would have been driving her car that day. She had reportedly left the car with an acquaintance for repairs, but an attorney for the plaintiff said that the owner’s account “was very sketchy.” The driver of the vehicle was never positively identified for the purposes of this case. The Toyota owner’s insurance policy through State Farm paid out $20,000, but the payment fell far short of the losses that the rider had incurred.

Battling the Insurance Company

As a result, the rider filed a claim with Geico, the company with which he had coverage. Geico refused to pay the claim on several grounds. First, the company alleged that it did not have sufficient knowledge or evidence of the victim’s injuries. The insurer also tried to shift blame for the crash to the rider, saying that the collision was caused by his “negligence.”

The trial took place in Waterbury Superior court and lasted about a day and a half. However, it only took a six-person jury two hours to return a verdict in favor of the injured rider. The jury determined that the victim was due a total of $130,000, including the $20,000 already paid by State Farm. Geico, therefore, would be responsible for the remaining amount.

The Importance of Gathering Information

Fleeing the scene of an accident in which a person has been injured is a criminal offense that Connecticut courts take very seriously, yet hit and run accidents are not uncommon. Perhaps the most important thing you can do after a hit-and-run is to gather as much information about the fleeing vehicle or driver as possible. Make a mental note of the make, model, and color of the vehicle, as well as any numbers or letter you can see on the license plate. You will probably not be able to get all of the details that you wish you could have, but every piece of information will help law enforcement track down the other vehicle.

An experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney can also assist you in taking action after a hit and run accident. We will work with insurance companies in pursuit of the compensation you need to start putting your life back together. Call 860-290-8690 for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today.

 

Sources:

https://www.law.com/ctlawtribune/2018/10/26/waterbury-jury-returns-verdict-for-motorcyclist-injured-in-collision/

http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/DocumentInquiry/DocumentInquiry.aspx?DocumentNo=15556742

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DNA, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyUnder the current law in Connecticut, anyone who is convicted of a felony is required to provide a sample of his or her DNA to be cataloged in the state’s DNA database. In 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court even ruled that prison and law enforcement officials were permitted to use reasonable force to obtain the DNA sample when a convict refuses to cooperate.

While there has been debate over whether the collection of such samples constitutes a violation of privacy, the law and the Supreme Court ruling only apply to individuals who have already been convicted of a serious crime. Meanwhile, reports indicate that law enforcement officials in Connecticut are asking young men and women—including juveniles—to give DNA samples without their parents’ consent or knowledge.

A Cause for Worry

Earlier this month, lawmakers in California passed legislation that makes it illegal for police officers to obtain DNA from a minor without either permission from the minor’s parent or guardian or a court order. The law was widely regarded as a response to allegations of the police in San Diego targeting young African-Americans for DNA collection. Advocates are pushing for similar laws in other states as well.

In 2016, a report by ProPublica found that police were collecting DNA from juveniles and adults in several states, including Connecticut, Florida, and Pennsylvania. These individuals had not been charged with nor suspected of committing a crime. Instead, the DNA collections were being done as part of “stop-and-frisk” interactions.

The primary concern is that minors are often not aware of their rights, and those who are can be easily intimidated by police. “Kids are more susceptible to the coercive nature of police,” said Jamie L. Williams, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation—a civil rights group that expressed support of the new California law. Williams added that young people “probably don’t even think about having their DNA in a database, which has implications for their entire family.”

Talk to Your Children

As a parent, you can help your children understand their rights under the law. While there is nothing stopping a police officer in Connecticut from requesting a DNA sample, your children need to know that they can politely refuse. The same is true when it comes to a warrantless search of their belongings. The police could still attempt to collect DNA or conduct a search, but by giving consent on the spot, your child would unknowingly give up the ability to challenge the legality of the collection or search in court.

Call Us for Help

If your child was stopped by police and forced to give a DNA sample, or he or she was arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney. Call 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. We will review the situation and help ensure that your child’s rights are fully protected.

 

Sources:

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-felons-dna-samples-0628-20160627-story.html

https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/crime/article219443025.html

https://www.propublica.org/article/dna-dragnet-in-some-cities-police-go-from-stop-and-frisk-to-stop-and-spit

Posted in Hartford Criminal Defense Attorney, Search and Seizure, Your Rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment | Edit