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January 2016

Defective product: December crash causes 9th Takata fatality

By | January 25th, 2016|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Monday, January 25, 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of Takata air bag inflators that had been recalled nationwide, including in Connecticut, is approximately 23 million. Now, following one more driver's death in another state, an additional five million vehicles are being recalled. NHTSA says it expects the number of recalls to continue increasing, as it believes many millions of cars on U.S. roads with Takata airbags have not yet been recalled. This is said to be the biggest recall of a defective product in U.S. history. The most recent fatality -- the ninth in the U.S. to be linked to Takata -- occurred when a driver in a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck ran off the road when he swerved to avoid an obstruction in the road. He then hit another obstacle, and the air bag inflator malfunctioned, causing the bag to explode. NHTSA investigators launched an investigation after learning about the accident from the attorney of the deceased man's family. It was determined that although the air bag inflator was a Takata product, it was different to those used in the other recalled vehicles. This is the reason for the additional five million vehicles that may now be recalled. However, an exact number cannot be provided, as the recalled models may overlap with some already recalled vehicles. NHTSA investigators said the December crash was similar to others that happened at relatively low speeds and that would not typically lead to fatalities. Connecticut residents who have lost a loved one in an accident in which a defective product caused the death of the person retain the right to take legal action against the responsible parties. They may pursue financial relief by filing a wrongful death claim in a civil court. Many people are hesitant to take on big businesses in litigation, but with the support and guidance of an experienced product liability attorney, a monetary judgment may be obtained. Once negligence is established, the court will consider all documented financial and emotional losses. Source: ctpost.com, "Gov't: 10th death linked to exploding Takata air bags", Joan Lowy, Jan. 22, 2016

Young drivers appear receptive to anti-drunk driving messages

By | January 11th, 2016|Car Accidents|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Monday, January 11, 2016. For decades, Connecticut residents have been exposed to advertisements, billboards and public service campaigns warning of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. Additionally, most school-aged children are required to complete some sort of anti-drunk driving education as part of the public education curriculum. Now, based upon the results of a recent national survey, there's proof that all of these efforts to curb drunk driving may actually be paying off. Based on the responses of some 380,000 respondents to the government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers report that, from 2002 to 2014, there was a 59 percent drop in the number of drivers age 16 to who admit to drinking and driving. Additionally there was a 38 percent decrease in the number of respondents ages 21 to 25 who say they drink and drive. Researchers largely credit the drop in the number of young drivers who are drinking and driving to increased prevention and enforcement efforts. However, despite these encouraging statistics, roughly 20 percent of drivers age 21 to 25 still admit to drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, proving that additional and alternative measures should be implemented. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, during 2011 and 2012 alone a total of 179 people died throughout the state in alcohol-related traffic accidents. In Connecticut, law enforcement officials are allowed to operate sobriety checkpoints. Criminal penalties related to drunk driving convictions have also been instituted including mandatory driver's license suspensions and stricter policies with regard to the use of ignition interlock devices. Drunk driving traffic accidents are 100 percent preventable and drivers who choose to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after drinking should be held both criminally and civilly responsible for their actions. An attorney who handles personal injury cases can assist drunk driving accident victims in their fight to recover compensation. Source: The New York Times, "Fewer Young People Are Drinking and Driving, Study Says," Mike McPhate, Dec. 11, 2015 Connecticut General Assembly, "CONNECTICUT DUI LAW," July 17, 2012

Study reveals that an alarming number of doctors don’t perform physical exams

By | January 4th, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, January 4, 2016. Many Connecticut residents have likely heard troubling stories of patients whose baseball-sized cancerous masses went undiagnosed or whose late-term pregnancies were ignored as contributing to worrisome symptoms. While these types of gross medical oversights seem inexcusable, increasingly, they appear to be an unforeseen and unfortunate byproduct of doctors’ increasing reliance on modern medical technologies. While the value of medical equipment like X-rays, CT scans and MRIs cannot be overstated; there's growing concern within the medical field that some physicians are relying too heavy, and in some cases solely, upon the results of these tests. A recent study that was published in the American Journal of Medicine details 208 incidences in which doctors admitted to relying chiefly on the results of diagnostic tests. Consequently, obvious clues and symptoms that could have been easily been discovered via a physical exam weren't noticed until after patients received a misdiagnosis or underwent often invasive and costly procedures. According to the study, 131 out of the 208 medical mistakes detailed were the result of a doctor’s failure to perform basic physical exams. The majority of the remaining errors were attributed to "misinterpreting or overlooking physical signs." The negative effects of these arguably inexcusable medical errors included 65 percent who experienced a delayed diagnosis, 27 percent who were incorrectly diagnosed and 18 percent who underwent unnecessary treatments. If you are dealing with painful or other disruptive physical symptoms, all you want to know is what's wrong and what can be done about it. In cases where a doctor misses obvious physical symptoms which result in you or a loved one suffering a delay in diagnosis, misdiagnosis or unnecessary treatments; it's wise to consult with an attorney. Source: Standford Medical: Scope, "Medical errors caused by doctors not examining their patients," Tracie White, Dec. 21, 2015

December 2015

Retail storage hazards expose workers to injuries and illnesses

By | December 19th, 2015|Workers Compensation|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Workers Compensation on Saturday, December 19, 2015. A Connecticut owner of a retail store, regardless whether it is a multiple-store enterprise or a stand-alone business, must provide a safe workplace environment for employees. It is the responsibility of employers to address known hazards and establish a safety protocol that will protect workers from injuries and illnesses. During an inspection in May at Forever 21 Retail Inc. at the Westfarms Mall in Farmington, investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found conditions that threatened the welfare of the workers. OSHA inspectors found stacks of boxes that were dangerously unstable. The piles were as high as 10 feet, creating struck-by hazards. Furthermore, these boxes were reportedly stacked in front of exit routes. An OSHA spokesperson noted that negligently stacked merchandise could also create trip and fall hazards. Forever 21 reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to pay penalties of $100,000 and eliminate the identified safety hazards. This settlement might have resolved the issues in this store, but retail employees in other stores might be exposed to similar hazards. At this time of the year, increased stock volumes are typical, and effective safety protocols are vital. Employees in retail stores in Connecticut who have suffered injuries and illnesses that were caused by unsafe workplace environments may have to face high medical costs. Injuries can also bring about a loss of income due to the inability to return to work for some time. Fortunately, claims for workers' compensation benefits may be pursued. Some injured workers choose to utilize the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help them navigate the administrative and legal proceedings to obtain fair compensation. Source: ctpost.com, "Forever 21 fined $100,000 for hazard at CT mall", Jim Shay, Dec. 18, 2015

For aging Baby Boomers, driving can be difficult to give up

By | December 7th, 2015|Car Accidents|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Monday, December 7, 2015. Individuals in the United States who were born between 1946 and 1964 are part of the infamous Baby Boomer generation. Today's Baby Boomers are between the ages of 51 and 70 years old. In the coming years, as individuals of this generation continue to age, they will comprise a significant percentage of the U.S. population. In addition to the expected increase in demands for nursing homes and geriatric medical specialists, many Baby Boomers will also have transportation needs. By the year 2050, nearly 84 million Americans are projected to be age 65 and older. It's unavoidable and undeniable that for most people, with age comes certain physical and cognitive impairments that can affect an individual's vision, reaction time and ability to quickly take in and process information. These are just a few of the skills that are essential to safely operate a motor vehicle and there's growing concern about a possible increase in traffic accidents related to aging Baby Boomers who continue to drive well after they should. For many of the men and women in this generation, being able to drive equates to independence and it can be extremely difficult to give that up and have to rely on family, friends or other services for one's transportation needs. For the sake of everyone with whom they share the road as well as their own safety, aging drivers would be wise to pay attention to changes in their vision and other physical and cognitive abilities. Starting at age 70, the likelihood of an individual causing or being involved in a traffic accident begins to increase. Additionally, "fatal crash rates increase remarkably beginning at age 70," as an individual's body may not be able to withstand the stress of injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. While Connecticut isn't among those states that require drivers over a certain age to undergo regular vision screens or obtain a doctor's approval to renew a driver's license, older drivers in the state must acknowledge their own limitations.   Source: Eastern Arizona Courier, "Senior drivers causing more crashes," Dec. 2, 2015 Governors Highway Safety Association, "Mature Driver Laws," December, 2015

November 2015

Workers’ compensation: Utility worker injured by speeding driver

By | November 24th, 2015|Workers Compensation|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Workers Compensation on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Two utility workers in another state suffered serious injuries in an accident that was allegedly caused by the driver of a speeding vehicle. According to reports, the incident occurred on a recent Tuesday morning in an area where employees of a utility company were digging a trench for a gas pipeline. Injured workers nationwide, including in Connecticut, are entitled to claim workers' compensation benefits, and if their injuries are caused by third-parties, such as in this case, the workers may also have viable third-party civil claims. Reportedly, slow moving traffic was going through the construction area, and an officer was directing the traffic. For unknown reasons, a car with a 76-year-old driver and her 84-year-old husband as passenger chose to speed down the left side of the backed-up traffic. She reportedly barely missed striking the traffic officer and smashed into the front of a backhoe that was excavating the trench. Police said the impact caused the heavy machine to spin, launching one worker -- who was next to the backhoe when it was struck -- across the road, and he landed about 30 feet away. The windshield of the backhoe smashed and debris caused leg injuries to the operator. The worker who landed on the roadway suffered serious back, neck and head injuries. Another car was also struck, but that driver was not injured. The only other injured person was the passenger in the car that struck the backhoe. The type of injuries that this worker suffered could cause long-term medical problems. While the workers' compensation benefits may cover most of the medical expenses and lost income, successful third-party claims may provide additional financial relief. In Connecticut, some victims of workplace accidents choose to retain the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can provide guidance throughout the claim proceedings. A lawyer can also determine whether the injured victim has a viable third-party claim and can assist in navigating such a claim. Source: lowellsun.com, "Utility worker critically injured in Lowell accident", Cassidy Swanson, Nov. 17, 2015

When a work injury occurs

By | November 10th, 2015|Workers Compensation|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Workers Compensation on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Work-related accidents and injuries are fairly common and, at times, may be serious enough to warrant medical care, inhibit a worker's ability to return to work and result in a permanent disability. For these workers, the state's workers' compensation program can provide much needed compensation while one recovers from his or her injuries or in the event that a worker's injuries prevent his or her return to work. For every worker in the state, it's important to understand what you should and should not do if you or a loved one suffers a work-related injury. With any injury that occurs at work or while an individual is performing work-related duties, it's important to notify an employer as soon as possible. An employer will direct an injured employee to a preferred medical facility where he or she will receive prompt medical attention. A worker should then take steps to file an official workers' compensation claim in which he or she must provide details related to an injury as well as the circumstances that lead to the injury. Provided a claim isn't denied, an injured worker should start receiving benefits within a couple of weeks of filing a claim. There are several reasons why a claim may be denied. For example, an employer may dispute that an injury was work-related. Likewise, an employer's insurance company may deny a claim based upon the results of a medical exam. If a claim is denied, a worker can appeal the denial at what's known as an Informal Hearing during which he or she must provide compelling evidence that disputes a denial. Even in cases where benefits are awarded, at any time, an employer's insurance company may take action to stop, shorten the duration or decrease the amount of benefits being paid. For an injured worker who faces issues securing or keeping benefits, an attorney who handles workers' compensation matters can provide valuable advice and strong legal advocacy throughout the entire process. Source: State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, "An Employee’s Pocket Guide To Connecticut Workers’ Compensation," John A. Mastropietro, Nov. 10, 2015

October 2015

Is your loved one safe in a nursing home?

By | October 30th, 2015|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, October 30, 2015. According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 24,200 people in Connecticut are residents at certified nursing home facilities. Additionally, thousands of more people live at assisted living facilities or rely upon the assistance and care of in-home nursing aides. These individuals tend to be elderly, physically disabled and have special medical and care needs. Nursing home residents, and their family members, trust and rely upon nursing home administrators and individual staff members for their safety and care. Unfortunately, there are times when a nursing home and its staff members fail to address the specific and unique health and safety needs of individual residents. When these types of oversights and infractions occur, residents are at risk of suffering painful and debilitating injuries. Recently, Connecticut's Department of Public Health issued fines to five nursing homes in relation to serious injuries suffered by residents at the facilities. At one facility, a resident who was left alone while using the restroom fell and suffered broken ribs and a broken leg. In another incident, a resident was hospitalized after suffering "dehydration and acute kidney injury," while in the care of the nursing home. The DPH also issued a citation to one skilled nursing home after a resident suffered serious burns over the hand and abdomen when coffee spilled. Nursing home residents are a vulnerable population the safety and wellbeing of which must be respected and protected. In cases where an individual has concerns about a loved one's physical and mental health and how a nursing home is addressing these concerns, it's wise to consult with an attorney. This is especially true in cases where a loved one has suffered injuries that are believed to be related to neglect or abuse. Source: CTwatchdog.com, "Five Ct Nursing Homes Fined Following Injuries To Residents," Kate Farrish, Oct. 21, 2015

Are your child’s products and toys safe?

By | October 16th, 2015|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Friday, October 16, 2015. When most Connecticut residents look around their homes and think about the sheer number of products they own and use on a daily basis, it’s fairly amazing. From the shampoo you use to wash our hair with in the morning to the car you drive to work, all of the products we use have undergone extensive testing to ensure that they are effective and safe. U.S. consumer product safety laws exist to ensure that the products we purchase and use have been tested and declared safe for use. However, despite laws like the Consumer Product Safety Act and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, annually thousands of U.S. products are recalled due to reported defects and safety concerns. While it's imperative that product manufacturers and regulatory agencies ensure that all products that are marketed and sold to U.S. consumers are safe, this is especially true of children's toys and products. Not only must a children's toy or product work as intended, but it must also be able to endure the varied and often unorthodox ways a baby or child uses them. For example, a toy rattle must not only live up to the products claims of being colorful and making stimulating sounds, but must also be safe for a baby to chew and slobber on and sturdy enough to endure a baby pounding it against a hard surface. Unfortunately, some products that are made for and marketed towards babies, children and parents prove to be unsafe and result in unintended injuries and deaths. From tainted baby food to defective baby slings, parents who have a child that suffers injury due to a defective product may choose to take legal action. Source: FindLaw.com, "Dangerous Baby & Kids' Products," Oct. 13, 2015

September 2015

Have you or a family member been the victim of a diagnostic error?

By | September 28th, 2015|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, September 28, 2015. When an individual is experiencing odd symptoms or feeling ill, he or she may seek the advice of a doctor to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix or make it better. Medical doctors are highly trained and experienced professionals upon whom patients blindly trust and rely to figure out what's wrong and how to make it better. However, in many cases, figuring out what's wrong is much more complicated and difficult than both a patient and doctor anticipate or would like. Unfortunately, today's fast-paced healthcare environments often don't afford doctors or patients the opportunity to take their time and get it right. Consequently, every year in the U.S. millions of men, women and children receive a diagnosis that is wrong. At times, these diagnostic errors, and the resulting delays in treatment, can have negative and even dire outcomes that adversely affect the health and lives of patients and their families. A recent report released by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine estimates that five percent of U.S. adults "who seek outpatient care," are the victims of diagnostic errors. This number is likely even higher as most doctors and hospitals don't have any type of feedback or notification procedures in place to track when a diagnosis ends up being incorrect. The actual diagnostic process is highly complex and difficult and is rarely given the time, attention and thought that's warranted. Additionally, the report's authors point to several factors that contribute to the large number diagnostic errors including communication failures between vital and invested parties, increasingly complex medical systems and restrictive and punitive healthcare environments. Connecticut residents who have suffered adverse health events due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may choose to discuss their case with an attorney. Source: The Washington Post, "Most Americans will get a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in their lives," Lena H. Sun, Sept. 22, 2015