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Holiday Event At Griswold School Benefits Music Programs

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

The Parents Club at Griswold School will run a holiday shopping event next month that will feature area vendors and others and will raise money for a local organization that provides music programs for children in town.

The Griswold Holiday…

City Man To Be Arrested In West Hartford Hit And Run

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

Police have found a Hartford driver who they say struck a pedestrian Wednesday night and left.

Farmington police discovered Angelo Wimbush, 21, of South Whitney St. in a 2007 black Nissan Murano about a mile from the hit-and-run scene. There was…

Danbury Slip and Fall Jury Charges: Control

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

You slip and fall in Danbury, Connecticut.  This incident can ruin you physically, emotionally and economically.  Who will pay your bills?  How do you go about getting your lost wages?  How much money are you entitled to receive for your injuries?  Who is to blame?  These circumstances create very difficult times that require immediate answers.

If your case is tried before a jury, then at the conclusion of your case the trial judge will give instructions to the jury that tells them how to apply the facts to the law regarding a number of legal issues. These instructions are referred to as jury charges. One such charge that relates to your  Danbury, Connecticut slip and fall case would be Control:  The legal responsibility for maintaining premises in a reasonable safe condition depends upon who has control of those premises.  “Control” means the power or authority to manage, superintend, direct, oversee, restrict or regulate.

In considering whether a party is one who controls the premises, you can consider evidence of the following: acts of maintenance, such as fixing, repairing, cleaning, painting, performing upkeep – or the power to direct those activities; acts of inspection such as conducting or directing inspections or surveys of the property; acts restricting or allowing entry onto the premises; acts warning others of conditions or boundaries on the property, or setting or laying out rules for conduct upon the property; using the premises or property to store things, or to receive mail, visitors, customers or deliveries.

You must determine whether the plaintiff has proved that the defendant was in control of the premises at the relevant time.  If the plaintiff has not so proved, then you must end your inquiry and return a verdict for the defendant.  If the plaintiff has so proved, then you must consider whether the plaintiff has proved the other necessary parts of (her/his) case in making a determination of your verdict.

If you have been injured in a Danbury, Connecticut, Slip and Fall case, we are here to help you. Get a free copy of our book today so you can learn exactly what you should be doing. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call us today for a FREE consultation.

Police Identify Victim Of Fatal Hartford Motorcycle Accident

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

Police have identified the victim of a fatal motorcycle accident on Main Street Tuesday night as 25-year-old Bryant Belin of Rocky Hill.

Belin, of 35 Grimes Road, had been driving his motorcycle north on Main Street when he crashed into the side of a…

Social norms research: Exaggerating bullying could increase bullying

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

by Larry Magid
This post is currently a work in progress and is subject to change

As I previously wrote, cyberbullying is a serious problem, but not an epidemic.  Yet, there continue to be widespread reports that bullying has reached epidemic proportions. This misinformation can actually have the unintended consequence of increasing bullying.

One study, from the Crimes Against Children Research Center, showed that bullying has actually decreased in recent years, and no credible studies have shown a significant recent increase.  The recent EU Kids Online (PDF) study from the London School of Economics found that “across Europe, 6% of 9 to 16-year-old Internet users have been bullied online, and 3% confess to having bullied others.” In the U.S., the Cyberbullying Research Center found that 20% of  ”randomly selected 11 to 18 year old students in 2010 indicated they had been a victim at some point in their life.”

Even the most optimistic numbers indicate a problem but, I wouldn’t call this an “epidemic” of either bullying or cyberbullying as some articles and TV shows  have suggested.

Some well-meaning advocacy groups have contributed to the misinformation by releasing data suggesting that the majority (in some cases the vast majority) of youth have been bullied or have bullied others, though most surveys have put the percentages much lower — typically around 20%. One reason for the discrepancy in the research results is the lack of a uniformly agreed upon definition of bullying. Some studies ask whether “anyone has ever been mean to you” or has “hurt your feelings.” Based on this definition, I am surprised that the rate isn’t near 100%.

Bulling defined

A more widely accepted definition of bullying comes from the Olweus Bullying Prevention program which says that bullying has “three important components:”

1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions.
2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time.
3. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.

Olweus is a widely respected bullying prevention program

When these components are used to determine incidents, the rate of bullying is substantially lower. Of course, you can argue with the definition, especially when it comes to online or so-called “cyberbullying,” because – online — a single act of bullying can be repeated over time and it’s harder to agree on the definition of an “imbalance of power,” where a person’s online “power,” influence or presence may have little or nothing to do with traditional means of obtaining power such as physical strength, appearance or popularity.

Social norms research shows  accurate reporting makes kids safer

Putting the bullying problem into its proper perspective doesn’t minimize it, but actually helps prevent it from getting worse. I know that may seem counterintuitive, but there is a lot of solid research that shows that if people overestimate anti-social or harmful behavior, they are more likely to engage in it themselves. In other words, telling youth the truth about the rate of bullying actually makes them less likely to bully others.

Much of this research focuses on health related activities such as smoking, alcohol abuse and overeating, but there is also data on the impact of peer perceptions on bullying.

Overestimating contributes to the problem

paper (PDF) published in the April, 2011 edition of Group Processes Intergroup Relations, by H. Wesley Perkins, David W. Craig and Jessica M. Perkins,  shows that “variation in perceptions of the peer norm for bullying was significantly associated with personal bullying perpetration and attitudes.” As the authors pointed out, “decades of research in social psychology … have demonstrated the strong tendency of people to conform to peer norms as they look to others in their midst to help define the situation and give guidance on expected behaviors in the group or cultural setting.”

The authors also observed that “adolescents and young adults (incorrectly) tend to believe that risky or problem behaviors and attitudes are most common among peers and think protective responsible action is rare,” and that “these misperceptions then contribute to or exacerbate the problem behavior as more youth begin to support and engage in the behavior than would otherwise be the case if norms were accurately perceived.”

Source: Perkins, H. Wesley, David W. Craig, and Jessica M. Perkins. "Using Social Norms to Reduce Bullying: A Research Intervention in Five Middle Schools." Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 2011.

Big gap between perceived bullying vs. actual bullying Source: Perkins, H. Wesley, David W. Craig, and Jessica M. Perkins. "Using Social Norms to Reduce Bullying: A Research Intervention in Five Middle Schools." Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 2011

Bullying is not normal and it’s not OK

To put it simply, over-estimating bullying makes it seem like it’s common. And, so the reasoning goes, if it’s common, it must be normal and if it’s normal, it must be OK. Well, it’s not OK and, fortunately, it’s not normal.  And that’s exactly what anti-bullying programs need to emphasize.

Norms awareness campaigns

The authors of the study recommend that schools engage in awareness campaigns that emphasize that most kids don’t bully. In their paper, they give examples of positive media campaigns to help reinforce behaviors that are both positive and normal.

Social norms campaign emphasizes positive behavior (Source: Perkins, H. Wesley, David W. Craig, and Jessica M. Perkins. "Using Social Norms to Reduce Bullying: A Research Intervention in Five Middle Schools." Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 2011

Responsible media coverage

While media coverage about bullying can help raise awareness and lead to positive results, it’s important that it be accurate and reasonable. Coverage that exaggerates either the size of the problem or the likely outcomes does little to help and can actually hurt. It’s also important to realize that the impact of bullying can range from mildly annoying to extremely serious. And while it is true that bullying can be a contributing factor to some suicides, it’s also true that it’s rarely the only factor. What’s more, the vast majority of youth who are bullied are able to handle it without extreme reactions.

Parents, educators, government leaders, non-profits, the media, religious organizations and, of course, young people themselves need to step up our efforts to create a positive social climate but we must do so without resorting to histeria  and exaggeration.

Slide show:

 

Law Limiting Liability Preserves Popular Paths

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

Things are looking up for the thousands of walkers and bikers who enjoy trails at the Metropolitan District Commission’s West Hartford reservoirs. A new law went into effect Oct. 1 that grants limited legal immunity to municipalities — and the MDC…

One Dead In Motorcycle Crash In Hartford

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

One person is dead in a crash on Main Street Tuesday night in which a motorcycle burst into flames.

The accident happened near the intersection of Main Street and Atheneum Square shortly before 7 p.m. At least one car and a motorcycle were involved in…

Driver Of Stolen Truck Caused Multi-car Crash, Enfield Police Say

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

A police chase ended in a multi-car crash after a man driving a stolen truck swerved into oncoming traffic Sunday evening, injuring two pregnant women and their husbands, according to police.

Police said that officers from Springfield and Longmeadow,…

Connecticut Personal Injury Jury Instructions: Duty to Protect from Wrongful Conduct of Third Persons

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

If you have been hurt as a result of an assault at a large retail mall facility in Connecticut, or you suffer a serious injury as a result of inadequate security at a retail mall facility in Connecticut, then you need immediate legal representation.  Order our FREE book today “The Crash Course On Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut”.  Do not unknowingly hurt your case.  Find out what you need to do now.

Jury charges are instructions that the trial court judge will give to the jurors after the closing statements have been made by the attorneys but before they begin deliberations. There charges are the law in the State of Connecticut as it relates to certain decisions, which the jury will be called upon to make. One decision that the jury will have to make involves the duty to protect individuals from the wrongful conduct of others and an appropriate jury charge might be:

Duty to Protect from Wrongful Conduct of Third Persons.  The plaintiff claims that the defendant was negligent in failing to provide adequate security to prevent a third person from committing crimes on the premises that were likely to cause harm to persons such as the plaintiff. You have already been instructed on the duties owed to an invitee by one who controls the premises.  In this case, if you find that the plaintiff was an invitee and if you find that the defendant was in control of the premises, the defendant owed a duty to take reasonable steps to safeguard the plaintiff on the premises from the criminal acts of third persons provided the plaintiff also proves 1) that the defendant had notice of the risk and 2) that the defendant’s conduct placed the plaintiff within the scope of the risk.

The plaintiff must prove that the defendant actually knew about, or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about crimes or conduct of the same general nature as that befalling the plaintiff occurring on the premises or in its immediate vicinity.  If you find that the defendant a) knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known of such crimes, and b) that such crimes or conduct were of the same general nature as that befalling the plaintiff and c) that such crimes had previously occurred on the premises or the immediate vicinity, then the plaintiff has proved notice to the defendant.  If you find that the plaintiff has failed to prove any one of these elements, you must find in favor of the defendant.  If the plaintiff has proved all of these, then the plaintiff has satisfied the requirement that such notice be proved.

The plaintiff must also prove that it was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant that the failure to take steps reasonably necessary to safeguard the plaintiff would subject the plaintiff to the type of harm of which the defendant had notice.  Even if the defendant had notice as I have defined it for you, the plaintiff must still prove that the defendant could reasonably foresee that failure to take action to warn or safeguard the plaintiff would subject the plaintiff to the same general type of harm — what the law calls placing the plaintiff “within the scope of the risk.”

If you find that the defendant could not reasonably foresee that the failure to take reasonable steps to safeguard the plaintiff was likely to subject the plaintiff to the same general type of harm of which the defendant had notice, then the plaintiff has failed to prove that the defendant’s conduct placed the plaintiff within the scope of the risk.  If you find that the defendant could reasonably foresee that the failure to take reasonable steps to safeguard the plaintiff would likely subject the plaintiff to the same general type of harm of which the defendant had notice, then the plaintiff has proved that the defendant’s conduct placed the plaintiff within the scope of the risk and this element is satisfied.

If the plaintiff has proved the status of an invitee — that the defendant was in control of the premises, that the defendant had notice of the risk, and that the defendant’s conduct placed the plaintiff within the scope of the risk — the plaintiff has proved the necessary elements of negligence and you must go on to consider proximate cause.

Do not retain an attorney, say anything to anyone from the insurance company or sign any type of documents until you read a copy of our FREE book “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Cases in Connecticut”. Learn what you need to do and how an injury case is developed and put together. Learn how cases are evaluated and what insurance adjusters look for before making offers of money or the injured party. Call us at (888) 842-8466, visit us at www.hcwlaw.com and tell us about your case. We’ll call you and answer your questions. Get the answers you need today!

Prevent Infections During Chemotherapy

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

This podcast discusses the importance of preventing infections in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Dr. Lisa Richardson, CDC oncologist, talks about a new Web site for cancer patients and their caregivers.