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liability, Connecticut personal injury attorneysAccording to the calendar, winter is still two weeks away, but many parts of the country have already experienced snowfalls. With winter weather, of course, comes the danger of snow and ice on the roadways. Local municipalities often struggle to keep the roads clear for safe travel. At the state level, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is responsible for clearing state highways and interstates. Unfortunately, however, accidents are not uncommon when roads are covered by snow or ice. Under Connecticut law, it is possible to take legal action against CTDOT for negligence, but a ruling by the state Supreme Court recently limited how far the Department’s liability extends.

A Weather-Related Accident

In 2011, a man was seriously hurt in an early-morning accident on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge between New London and Groton. The pickup truck he was driving slid on ice, rolled, and crashed into the structure of the bridge. The man’s accident was just one of many that day.

Court records indicate that the state police had started making calls to CTDOT an hour before the man’s crash, requesting a salt truck from the department’s fleet. With the salt truck still about an hour away, the state police did not shut down the bridge until later that morning—after the man was injured.

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dog bite, Connecticut personal injury attorneyWhen 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.

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bad faith, Connecticut personal injury lawyerDrivers throughout the country are generally required to carry liability insurance that is designed to protect them in the event of an accident. While most drivers realize that insurance carriers are for-profit companies, it is reasonable to believe that an insurance company will do its best to protect their customers when an accident occurs—regardless of who was at fault for the crash. Unfortunately, however, such is not always the situation, as a recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court clearly demonstrates.

A Tragic Accident

The case began with a fatal car accident in August 2006 in which one man was killed. The at-fault driver had an auto insurance policy through GEICO with a liability limit of $100,000. According to court records, GEICO advised the driver that while there was coverage available, the claim against him would likely exceed his policy limits and that he had the right to hire an outside lawyer.

An attorney representing the deceased victim’s estate contacted GEICO asking for a statement from the at-fault driver and other documents and records. Court records indicate that the claims handler at GEICO denied the attorney’s request but did not tell their customer—the at-fault driver—about the request for two weeks. The claims handler reportedly refused to communicate with the driver and the decedent’s estate several more times. Finally, the deceased man’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, resulting in a jury verdict of $8.47 million in favor of the victim’s estate.

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drugged driving, Hartford personal injury attorneyWe all know that drunk driving is a serious problem—one that kills thousands of people each year on American roadways and injures tens of thousands more. Drunk drivers continue to cause accidents despite massive educational campaigns, clear laws, and enforcement efforts.

Over the last few years, more and more states have relaxed their laws regarding the use of a different substance that is considered by many to be as dangerous as alcohol—at least for those who are behind the wheel. The legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in states around the country has created new concerns about drugged driving and keep the roads safe. Unfortunately, there is no breathalyzer equivalent for marijuana, and it is often difficult for law enforcement to obtain solid evidence that a driver is under the influence of drugs. In neighboring Massachusetts, however, a test program is underway that could prove useful in potential drugged driving cases—including drugged driving accidents.

An Expected Surge

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