Archive for November, 2015

How Dangerous is Black Friday?

November 25th, 2015 at 7:00 am

black friday, Westport Personal Injury AttorneyOver the past 15 years or so, the day after Thanksgiving has been the traditional holiday shopping day kickoff. Retailers typically offer significant sales—particularly on high-end ticket items—attracting millions of shoppers to take to the malls. Last year, over 90 million shoppers hit retail establishments on Black Friday.

Historically, venturing out into the retail world the day after Thanksgiving meant dealing with thousands of other shoppers in search of finding the biggest bargains. With Black Friday just days away, it looks like this year will be no different. Although most people associate holiday gift giving with goodwill and peace, Black Friday has created dozens of incidents of dangerous—and sometimes fatal—situations for people who were only looking to save money on gifts.

One study determined just how dangerous Black Friday is by examining the number of reported fatalities and injuries which have occurred since 2006. According to the study, there have been at least seven people killed and 98 others injured in incidents which occurred at retail establishments on Black Friday. The most “dangerous” place to be on Black Friday was at the large discount retailer Walmart, since this is where the most number of Black Friday injuries have taken place.

One of the most well-known scenes that many people associate with Black Friday is of a retail establishment unlocking their doors and a tidal wave of shoppers comes crashing through those doors. However, those tidal waves have caused dozens of injuries to people, including the death of one man.

Although many incidents of injuries involve people getting pushed or trampled, there have been several cases where a weapon was used on a victim. The number one weapon used is pepper spray, which has caused injuries to at least 41 people.

The incidents do not only occur in the stores—there have also been numerous events in parking lots where the demand of spaces far exceeds the supply. In 2012, two people were shot in a Florida Walmart parking lot over a parking space dispute.

If a person is injured while shopping on Black Friday—or any other day—just how liable is that store for the injuries?

People may be responsible for their own actions; however, the stores where you shop may also have a responsibility to their customers to provide a safe environment. In fact, even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided a safety checklist for retailers to follow in order to keep both workers and customers safe during this annual shopping event. This checklist was developed in response to the crowd trampling to death of a Walmart employee.

Retailers do have a duty of care to their customers that falls under the premises liability theory. They are required to keep the store safe and clear of dangers and hazards. Not only does this include making sure that customers are not exposed to areas in the store where they could fall or have something fall on them, but it also applies to safety and security of customers. Knowing that certain events in the store may create chaos and mayhem if not run under controlled circumstances, but failing to hire security to facilitate that controlled environment, could cause a retailer to be liable for injuries a person receives in that chaos.

If you have sustained injuries because of the act of another person, please contact an experienced Westport personal injury attorney to discuss your case and to find out what legal recourse you may have for your pain and loss.

Sources: ion/cevallos-black-friday/

Distracted Driving in Connecticut

November 18th, 2015 at 7:00 am

distracted driving, Westport Personal Injury LawyerEvery year, thousands of people are seriously hurt in car accidents caused by distracted drivers. Connecticut has passed laws to try and make the roads safer by punishing drivers for not paying attention. One of the most common distractions is the use of cell phones by drivers.

Connecticut’s Distracted Driving Laws

It is against the law in Connecticut to do anything while operating a motor vehicle that distracts the driver from his or her duties. This can include anything from a car radio to a cell phone.

Connecticut has passed special laws to deal with the problems of cell phones. Connecticut drivers cannot use a handheld cellphone while driving to talk or to text. For most drivers it is okay to use a hands free device such as a Bluetooth headset.

Novice drivers cannot use a cell phone in any way while driving, except to make an emergency call. This ban includes hands-free devices. Bus drivers are also prohibited from using a cell phone, even with a hands free device, while driving a bus.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Studies have shown that driving takes a lot of mental focus. Cell phones have been shown to reduce a driver’s ability to focus by more than 30 percent. There is some evidence showing that even when using hands free devices, a driver’s focus is still compromised.

Distracted drivers are more likely to be involved in serious accidents where they are injured.

The best way to keep yourself and your family safe while on the road is to hang up the cell phone. Even if you are allowed to use a hands free device, talking while driving may still be putting you and everyone else on the road at greater risk.

When you are on the road, do not do anything that will take your focus away from the safe operation of your car.

Distracted Driver Liability

It is increasingly common for cell phone records to be examined in car accident cases. If you are involved in an accident and your records indicate you were on the phone at the time of the accident, even if you were on a hands free device, you may be found to be at least partially responsible for the accident.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident, consult with a seasoned Westport personal injury lawyer right away. Call Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law, at 203-226-6168 to schedule a consultation today. You may only have a short period of time to protect your rights.


Overlapping Surgeries and Medical Malpractice Risk

November 11th, 2015 at 7:00 am

overlapping surgeries, Westport Medical Malpractice AttorneyFor most people who are facing surgery, we put our trust in the surgeon that will be performing the operation. We trust that he or she, as well as the rest of the medical staff, will put all of their focus on us—the patient—as we lay unconscious on the operating table, and do what it is they are supposed to do. We expect our surgeon to be present during the procedure. We do not expect that at the same time they are supposed to be operating on us, they are also operating on another patient in another operating room. Another patient who most likely has the same expectations we do. Yet, that is exactly what is happening in some of the most renowned medical centers in the country.

According to a recent Boston Globe Spotlight investigation, there are sometimes concurrent surgeries taking place at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). This means that while a surgeon has a patient booked in one operating room, he or she has an overlapping procedure booked, with another patient in another operating room, at the same time.

The hospital claims that when this happens, the surgeon is present during the “most important aspects” of the surgery and the patient is never at risk. Hospital administrators say that this is sometimes necessary in order to allow more patients access to surgeons who are in high demand. They also say that it gives in-training surgeons “hands-on” experience.

There is much debate on whether or not the hospital claims are valid, and there have been malpractice suits filed by patients who say they were injured because of overlapping surgeries. However, what may be even more disturbing is that the hospitals are not required to inform a patient that while his or her surgeon is supposed to operating on them, their surgeon may actually be in the room next door operating on another patient.

For example, at MGH, the only notification a patient is required to receive is contained in the consent form he or she signs, which states, “other medical professionals may perform some aspects” of the operation or procedure they are undergoing. Patient advocates say that the warning is not nearly enough and patients have a right to be informed of the overlapping scheduling.

If you have suffered an injury or illness from a medical procedure, please contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney today to find out what legal recourse you may have against the physician and/or medical facility for your pain and loss.


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