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New Haven Personal Injury Law Blog

Dangerous working conditions prompt OSHA fines in Connecticut

On July 11, investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration returned to a work site in Easthampton where a former Dye Works building was being renovated. OSHA had previously investigated possible violations by a Salem general contracting company James J. Welch & Co. Following a complaint by a worker, OSHA returned to address a potential fall hazard.

Since 2008, 11 Massachusetts construction site inspections have resulted in a total of 62 violations. OSHA has now fined Welch & Co. and three subcontractors for unsafe working conditions at the site, some of which were reported by workers themselves, according to OSHA. Two of those companies are reportedly in agreement to pay the fines, but two others are contesting them. An OSHA spokesperson stated that he was unaware of any accidents that had occurred at the site. He also said that the general contractor bears the responsibility of ensuring that all workers are safe on-site, including employees of subcontractors.

Dog attack leaves 4-year-old girl injured

A 45-year-old Connecticut woman pleaded guilty to seven separate infractions arising out of an October 2013 pit bull attack during which a 4-year-old girl was severely injured. The two animals involved have been ordered destroyed, but their owner has appealed that order.

The incident occurred when a woman was walking with her three grandchildren to a school playground. The grandchildren were twin 4-year-old girls and a 10-month-old baby boy, who was in a stroller. According to the grandmother, two pit bulls approached, and one of the 4-year-old girls ran. One of the dogs chased her, and the other dog attacked the baby in his stroller. The other 4-year-old girl used her arm to try to fight the dog off her brother.

Connecticut man taken to hospital after dog bite

A dog's disposition is to be decided by the Waterbury Select Board. The individuals on the board must decide what will happen to a 5-year-old boxer after a dog bite incident occurred.

According to the dog bite victim, he was checking his mailbox outside his residence where he has lived for 25 years. He heard a woman shriek. About 20 seconds later, he saw a dog get in front of the woman and then jump on him. The dog then bit him on his right arm. The dog's owner said that she was attempting to put the dog outside when he suddenly broke free and headed toward the neighbor. The 86-year-old neighbor suffers from a medical condition that requires the use of blood thinners. He began to bleed profusely after being bitten and had to be transported to a hospital due to the incident.

New type of tissue helps scientists model brain injuries

Individuals in Connecticut who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury may be interested to know that researchers have grown artificial tissue similar to that of the brain that is helping them to understand more about the condition. Researchers used rat neurons to grow material that more closely mimics brain tissue than material used in the past, and it lives longer as well.

Researchers say that the roughly two-month lifespan of the tissue allows them to study brain injuries in real time. Dropping a weight on the tissue to damage it caused the neurons to change their chemical and electrical activity in a manner similar to animal brains suffering from traumatic brain injury. Scientists also noted that the tissue produced hyperactive electrical activity similar to what injured brain issue would produce.

Liability in a slip-and-fall case in Connecticut

When an individual slips and falls, who is liable for any injuries that the individual may suffer? While it is easy to say that the property owner is responsible, it is not always clear as to how much liability the property owner has to ensure that slip and fall conditions are prevented.

For example, if someone were to fall on a slippery floor, the owner of the property may not be liable for those conditions if other actions were taken to keep water to a minimum. If someone tripped on a rake in the front yard of someone's house, the person who fell may be liable because he or she most likely should have known it was there and avoided it. Typically, a court will look at whether a property owner took enough care to prevent a slip and fall as well as whether the injured person took enough care to avoid an accident.

Dog-bite statisics in the U.S.

Residents in Connecticut may benefit from learning more about the facts concerning dog bites as reported Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC describes dog bites as a preventable public health problem. However, as the number of dogs in the household increases, residents face an increased risk of dog-bit injuries. Experts estimate that there are approximately 4.5 million bite incidents occurring in the United States each year.

People who have more than one dog in the house are five times more likely to suffer a dog-biting incident. Out of the people who are bitten by dogs each year, about 50 percent of victims are children, and approximately 885,000 people require medical attention to treat a dog bite. According to the American Society of Plastic surgeons, in 2012, an estimated 27,000 patients required reconstructive surgery for damage caused by a dog-biting incident.

Safety improvements for electrical line workers

Connecticut readers with an interest in the safety of utility workers may wish to know about a recent ban the Obama Administration issued on a practice known as free climbing. This is a process that involves the worker climbing transmission towers without the aid of a safety harness. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates the new policy will save about 20 lives a year and reduce the number of work-related injuries.

For the most part, jobs that require climbing are under federal mandates to use safety equipment. Repair workers on cell towers have been under the requirements since the middle of the 1990s. However, electrical workers were still permitted to free climb. In general, the free climbs occur on the leg of the tower, and once they are working, employees can latch on with a harness. OSHA is allowing employers time to comply, so it will not be mandatory until April 2015.

Connecticut woman sues city and state after sidewalk fall

A Connecticut woman has filed a lawsuit against the state and the City of Middletown after a 2012 crosswalk accident at Connecticut Valley Hospital. However, the lawsuit does not name the state agency that operates the hospital. The slip and fall lawsuit was filed in Middlesex Superior Court on May 16. A judge has granted extensions to the city and state to allow them time to answer the woman's claims. The state has until Aug. 4 to respond to the suit while the city has until Aug. 12.

The East Lyme resident says that she slipped on a crosswalk near Page Hall, which is the hospital's main building. Attorneys representing the woman say that both the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the City of Middletown failed in their duties to ensure that roads and crosswalks in the area were safe for pedestrians. The suit alleges that paint on the pavement made the crosswalk treacherous.

Hamden man bitten by dog while helping turtle cross road

On July 15 at 4:30 p.m., a man was driving on Whitney and Evergreen Avenues when he stopped his vehicle to help a large turtle cross the road. As the 54-year-old man was helping the turtle along, the Hamden resident was bitten by a dog that was wandering in the area.

The good Samaritan suffered from bites on his forearm and leg areas. The injured party was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Mild TBI could cause lasting damage, cognitive issues

It may be shocking for Connecticut residents to find out that 90 percent of patients suffer mild to moderate TBI but may have no way to determine if they will suffer ongoing cognitive trouble. According to a recent report, Newcastle University researchers have discovered that mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries could cause lasting damage to the brain and impact cognition.

The study found that diffusion tensor imaging, which uses brightness and contrast to define brain tissue health, may address this problem. The study tested nine patients with moderate TBI, 44 patients with mild TBI and 33 healthy people as the control group. All the test subjects were close to the same education level and age. Through the DTI testing, the researchers were able to see brightness changes in the images to find brain damage. The study found that patients with TBI showed evidence brain damage in the DTI scans when the results were compared to the testing done on the control group.

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