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Bridgeport Accident Lawyer Tells You How To Get More Money For Your Case!

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

If you’ve been involved in a Bridgeport, Connecticut accident case then one of the questions that you will have is what can you do to help maximize the amount of money that you can get for your accident case. Our Bridgeport injury lawyers and accident attorneys have been helping injured parties and their families for decades so we are happy to provide you with free information as to what you need to be doing. Our Bridgeport accident attorney has written a number of books that are provided to Bridgeport accident victims, for free, which provide valuable information and advice as to what you can do to help maximize the amount of money that you are able to obtain for your accident. So what is one example of what you can be doing to help get more money for your Bridgeport Connecticut accident case?

One of the things that the insurance company of the at fault party will be doing is carefully analyzing your medical records to look for ways that they can pay you the least amount of money possible. So if you want to assist your Bridgeport Connecticut injury lawyer in helping to get you more money for your case you have to be aware of the fact that every time you see your doctor that an office note will be taken down by your doctor indicating what was discussed at your visit. It is very important that you prepare for each and every one of your doctor appointments in advance of meeting so you can make notes of all of the problems, injuries, symptoms and restrictions that you are experiencing as a result of your accident. Many times a doctor will come in to see a patient and will ask the patient; how are you? In certain instances, the patient will respond by saying something like; I’m fine. This is how most of us respond to this type of a question in our everyday lives. However, when your doctor asks you how you are doing, the doctor is really asking how are you doing medically and what problems are you experiencing as a result of your accident.

When you go to see your treating physician you should tell your doctor about every pain, problem, restriction and injury which you are suffering from as a result of your accident. Do you experience a sharp pain or a dull pain? Does your pain radiate from one part of your body to another? How frequently do you experience these pains, how long do these pains last, do they occur more frequently during specific times of the day and how to these pains affect you? What restrictions are you experiencing? What activities can you no longer perform? What activities do you perform differently? What hobbies were sporting activities do you no longer participate in? What home exercises are you performing? What other doctors were healthcare providers are you seeing and what are they telling you? By being very detailed in your discussions that you have with your treating physician, at each medical appointment ,you will allow your doctor to provide you with the best type of treatment program and plan and your case should be properly documented by your doctor so that this information will make its way into your medical record. This is an excellent way to properly develop your case so that your complaints are adequately and properly reflected in your medical records which will be seen and carefully reviewed by the insurance company of the at fault party. This can only help to make your case better and will assist your Bridgeport accident lawyer in helping to get you more money.

 

Please visit our website at www.HCWLAW.com and download a free copy of one of our Connecticut accident and injury law books. Please call our toll-free number at 888-842-8466 and speak with one of our Bridgeport accident lawyers right away and get your questions answered. You can also schedule a free, in office consultation, or if you are too injured to travel then we will be happy to meet with you at either the hospital or your home or some other convenient location which you choose. We are happy to provide you with all of this free information so you can make an intelligent decision as to what Bridgeport injury lawyer you want to represent you. Do not make a mistake and discuss your case with the insurance company of the at fault party. Before you hire a lawyer, speak to an the insurance adjuster or sign any paperwork, download and read a free copy of our book and call and speak with one of our Bridgeport accident lawyers. We are here to help you and to answer your questions!

Distracted Teen Driver: New Canaan Teen Could Face Six Months If Convicted in Jogger Death

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

A 16 year old female New Canaan driver was placed under arrest, last week, after police said that she was distracted by the use of a handheld cell phone which resulted in her hitting and fatally injuring a 44-year-old jogger.

The death of Kenneth Dorsey of Norwalk and the subsequent criminal charges against the 16-year-old distracted teen driver come as other states are considering measures to force both teenagers and adults to discontinue using cell phones and other electronic devices when operating a motor vehicle.

Mr. Dorsey, an experienced runner, was training for a marathon and out on a morning jog when he was fatally struck by a distracted teen driver who was operating an SUV. The New Canaan teenage girl, whose identity is being withheld by the police police because of her age, was charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, using a handheld telephone under age 18 while driving and failure to drive in the proper lane.

This tragic accident is prompting renewed calls to remind people to discontinue distracted teen driving habits while operating their vehicles.

“We tried to convey just how this incident illustrates how dangerous it is to be distracted while driving a 3,500-pound vehicle 35 to 40 mph,” Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said. “You need to focus all your attention on what you’re doing. It only takes a second to swerve a few feet. Everybody should look at this and learn from it.”

Connecticut, one of the national leaders in driver safety advocacy, is one of 31 states as well as Washington, D.C., that ban all cellphone use by new drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Additionally, 38 states prohibit texting while driving, with Ohio about to become the 39th state after a proposed ban that Gov. John Kasich has promised to sign this coming Tuesday. Under Ohio’s new law, texting while driving would allow police to pull over a teen for texting while driving.

In 2009, almost 5,500 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving distracted driving and almost half a million people were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It has been reported that 16% of all accidents resulting in fatalities in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. Not surprisingly, teen drivers were more likely than those in other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distracted driving was an issue.

The accused distracted teen driver accused of killing Kenneth Dorsey could be sentenced up to six months in jail on the negligent homicide charge if convicted. The lesser charge of using a cell phone under age 18 while driving carries a 30-day license suspension and $175 in license restoration and court fees for a first offense, according to the state DMV.

Education is a large part of accident prevention. As a result of this accident, the New Canaan Police Department is offering a program on June 6 at 7p.m. in the high school to help further educate the public. The fatal accident involving the local girl was part of the impetus for the session, said Sgt. Carol Ogrinc, the department’s youth officer. “But we’ve had accidents involving distracted driving in town and we felt something community-based would be helpful to offer.”

Despite the existing laws and ongoing education programs little comfort is provided to Leo Dorsey of Milford, Ken Dorsey’s father. Mr. Dorsey will advocate for cell phones that will not work if a motor vehicle is moving to prevent the tragedies that have taken the lives of victim’s like his son.

William Seymour, a CT DMV spokesman said that some cell phone providers are studying ways to do just that, possibly by installing a chip in the phone. “I know that different companies are looking at ways to have the cell phone shut off when the engine comes on. We’re attempting to
deal with this issue from the front door, the back door and the side doors,”
he said.

Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state.  A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: “The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims”; “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut” and “The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents.”  He has also co-authored the best selling book “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know and Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late!” He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.

A Generous Tip or Forfeited Drug Money? An Interesting Legal Case With An Unexpected Turn of Events

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

An old adage among attorneys in general states:  Widows and orphans make for bad law.  In other words, judges and juries will sometimes bend, twist or torture the law so that seemingly needy plaintiffs obtain relief from the law when other less sympathetic parties might not.  So what might happen with a struggling mother of five children who, has worked as a waitress for almost 20 years to help make ends meet, apparently does the right thing, and ends up in a lawsuit?

In this case, the struggling waitress and mother of five was in need of a miracle to help her overcome her family’s financial problems.  The miracle, it turned out, came in the form of a tip.  After serving a woman at the restaurant, the patron left to go to her car leaving a to-go box from another restaurant on the table.  The waitress brought the box out to her customer who told her to keep it.

Apparently, the box felt too heavy to be leftover food so the waitress opened the box and found bundles of money totaling $12,000.  The waitress, despite desperately needing the money, did not feel right keeping it and decided to turn it over to the local police.  The police told her that if no one claimed the money in 90 days, it would be hers.

After the expiration of the 90 days, the waitress went to pick up her “tip” and was told that it was being held as “drug money” and that she would instead only get a $1,000 reward for turning over the money.

The police indicated that the money had a strong odor of marijuana and therefore falls under a law that allows for forfeiture of the money because it was in the proximity of a controlled substance.  However, there were no drugs in the box.  The waitress then hired an atttorney and commenced suit.

This case has yet to be decided but one might think that the widows and orphans rule might come into play in this case.  The probing questions are should the waitress have brought the cash to the police; and should all of the money be returned to her?  What do you think?

Richard P. Hastings is a CT attorney at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state.  A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: “The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims”; “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut” and “The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents.”  He has also co-authored the best selling book “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know and Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late!” He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.

CT Supreme Court Orders New Trial in Medical Malpractice Case: Doctor’s Expert’s Inflammatory Statements Denied Plaintiffs’ a Fair Trial

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

This week the Connecticut Supreme Court, in the case of Pin v. Kramer, agreed with the decision of the CT Appellate Court and ordered a new trial in a medical malpractice case. The reason for ordering a new trial is the result of the prejudicial remarks made by the defendant doctor’s medical expert who testified at trial that medical malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of health care by forcing doctors to practice defensive medicine and increase medical malpractice  insurance premiums from the proliferation of medical malpractice claims in CT.

The plaintiffs sued the defendants alleging negligence in the physician’s surgical treatment of a spinal tumor suffered by the plaintiff. The plaintiffs contended that, because of the doctor’s negligence, the plaintiff was required to undergo two additional spinal surgeries which caused him to suffer from unnecessary pain, emotional distress and increased physical limitations and risk of future back problems.

At trial, a major claim of malpractice was whether the standard of care required the surgeon to order additional radiological tests, such as X rays, CT scans or MRI scans, prior to performing the first surgery, in order to determine whether the tumor had changed since it was first detected.

The defendants’ medical expert, Todd Albert, an orthopedic surgeon, testified that ‘‘the standard of care did not require additional radiology tests,’’ but then ‘‘explained why he would have ordered such tests had he been the treating physician. Dr. Albert explained: “Well, a few reasons. One, I am with residents, fellows, and medical students all the time. So, we are ordering a lot of tests on everything so they have the opportunity to read them. And you could say, oh, that’s wasteful, but that is part of being at a teaching institution. One. It is for teaching purposes as much as anything, for they have one more chance to look at just one more—they have another dot in their exposure.”

‘The second reason is much different than in this part of the country and this state. I live in the worst malpractice community in the world. And . . . we practice a lot of defensive medicine. So, we order way more tests than are necessary to protect ourselves. And that’s just a fact. And so we get acclimated to practicing like that.”

The plaintiffs, thereafter requested a mistrial. The trial court denied the plaintiffs’ request. Thereafter the jury returned a verdict for the doctor and the appeals followed.

The CT Appellate Court concluded that the trial court’s ‘‘failure to issue a curative instruction in the face of Albert’s inflammatory and prejudicial testimony was an abuse of discretion that likely influenced the jury’s deliberations. Although the improper statements by Albert were not pervasive, they introduced a highly controversial and legally improper issue into the case.” The CT Supreme Court agreed stating  “We conclude that the plaintiffs were harmed and were deprived of their right to a fair trial.”

A new trial was then ordered. What do you think about the expert’s comments and the CT Supreme Court’s decision ordering a new trial?

Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state.  A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: “The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims”; “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut” and “The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents.”  He has also co-authored the best selling book “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know and Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late!” He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.

Teen Deaths Related to Prescription Drug Abuse Skyrocket: How You Can Help to Prevent a Leading Cause of Teen Accidents and Deaths

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a rather alarming statistic this week regarding teen deaths. The incidents of teen fatalities related to poisonings among 15 to 19 year olds increased more than 90% between 2000 and 2009. The CDC’s report states that this is a result of our country’s epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Although many teens might otherwise shy away from illegal street drugs, more and more teens are turning to prescription drugs and over the counter medicines to get high. These drugs include pain killers that might be prescribed after a person undergoes surgery, depressants that are taken for sleep aid, depression or anxiety or stimulants such as those used for ADHD. The over the counter medicines include cough medicine and
cold remedies. Narcotic pain killers like Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet or Lortab, including the generics such as methadone and hydrocodone are highly addictive and are very dangerous.

Sadly, each day 2,500 students from 12 to 17 abuse a pain relieving drug for the first time. In fact, prescription medicine is the second most abused drug other than marijuana. Most teenagers obtain these prescription meds by stealing them from their parent’s medicine cabinets and even share them with friends or sell them at school.  So one easy way that parents can help reduce incidents of prescription medication abuse is to
make sure that all old, unused prescription medication, especially the pain medication we receive after surgery is properly disposed of so they are not available to children who might otherwise experiment with them.

Next Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 10am to 2pm, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled its fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This provides all of us with an opportunity who have accumulated unwanted prescription medicines to safely dispose of those
drugs.  The last DEA sponsored event collected almost 200 tons of unwanted or expired medications. The total collected in the three prior events amounted to almost 500 tons of medicines.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart stated “The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the past three Take-Back Day events speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs.” To find out the
nearest law enforcement office taking part in the program please visit the Collection Site Locator.          

This very important, and obviously much needed service, could give new meaning to Spring Cleaning and could help to prevent a serious injury or death. Please take the time to participate in this very worthwhile event as our greatest responsibilty as parents is to help ensure our children’s safety.

Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state.  A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: “The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims”; “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut” and “The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents.”  He has also co-authored the best selling book “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know and Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late!” He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.

When Teen Driving Accidents Hit Home: Getting the Call that Your Teen Has Been in a Car Accident

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

Coincidentally, I had just concluded my meeting with a CT DMV official in Wethersfield about the production of the new Teen Safe Driver video when I received a call from my son, a high school senior.  “Dad, I’ve been involved in an accident.”  “Zach” I said “are you alright?” “My neck really hurts and I think the car is totaled but it wasn’t my fault!”

I then begin one of the longest rides back from Wethersfield that I have ever experienced.  I begin to think of the potentially life altering effects this could have on his very young life.  These thoughts flooded into my mind as I prepared myself for the worst.

I arrive at the Danbury Hospital emergency room and begin to get the news when I meet my son and wife.  He is stretched out in the hallway on a gurney, a brace around his neck, in excruciating pain.  Evidently, while leaving the high school at the end of the day, the traffic in front of him slowed down and as he slowed down as well, he was hit from behind at full speed by a 16 year old who was evidently using his cell phone and did not even apply the brakes.  Zach was then catapulted into the car in front of him.  He showed us the pictures of the car and it was crushed in on both the rear and the front. We later find out that the other driver became distracted while handling his phone.

As we waited for him to have a CT scan, the recurring thought going through my mind was: “what if.”  Although I was just working on the new Teen Driver video, all of this became so much more real.  Teen driving accidents are the number one cause of teen deaths and serious injuries.  The video was literally playing out in my mind.

So what is the message and the lesson to be learned?  As parents, we have an obligation to really impress upon our kids the fact that driving a motor vehicle is a very serious undertaking that can result in dire consequences if not done properly.

Parents, please review the rules with your teens.  Impress upon them the very real dangers in not following these rules.  Establish consequences for violations of these rules and constantly reinforce and monitor these rules and their compliance with them.

One of the best ways to have this dialogue and establish these hard and fast rules is to download the CT DMV Parent/Teen Driver Agreement that our Safe Teen Driver Committee just completed.  It can be found at http://www.ct.gov/dmv/lib/dmv/parent_teen_agreement.pdf.

This incident really underscores what is important in life and how things can change in an instant.  It has reminded us of how grateful we are for family and health.  I hope we as parents can be actively involved in our teens’ driving development to help prevent these needless accidents and we hope the other young man, who was involved this accident, is well and has learned a valuable lesson.

When The Conn. Supreme Court Overrules Itself: Deciding Cases Based Upon Stare Decisis or on Changing Social Norms

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

The CT Supreme Court just decided the case of Arrowood Indemnity Company v. Pendleton King, et al, which resulted from a minor operating his parents’ ATV whereby he seriously injured another child he was towing behind the motorized vehicle. This appeal involved issues of the construction of an insurance contract, claims of negligent entrustment and an insured’s responsibility to provide notice of a claim.

In this case, the Kings’ 14 year-old son was towing another boy, McEntee, behind the ATV when the boy being towed fell, sustaining a serious head injury that resulted in hospitalization and a temporary coma. Following the accident, the McEntee and King families would socialize together and the McEntee family never indicated that they intended to bring an action related to their son’s injury.

More than one year after the accident, the Kings received a letter from the McEntees’ lawyer indicating that they were filing a claim. The Kings, for the first time, notified their insurance agent of the claim. The notice provision in the Kings’ policy stated “in the case of an accident or occurrence,” the insured has the duty to “give written notice to us or our agent as soon as practical…”

The Kings’ insurance company, after a lawsuit was started, filed a special defense alleging that it was not provided with timely notice of the claim and due to such violation on the part of the Kings, the insurance carrier had no duty to afford coverage. The Kings argued that no notice was required prior to their receiving a letter from the McEntees’ lawyer because subsequent to the accident, they had socialized with the child and his family and their interactions did not create the impression that a lawsuit would be instituted.

In deciding this issue, the CT Supreme Court did something very unusual in that it overruled itself. One of the legal doctrines by which court decisions are rendered is that of stare decisis. In Latin, this means ‘to stand by decided matters’. In other words, under common law, courts in the same jurisdiction would adhere to the precedents of earlier cases. For stare decisis to be effective, each state’s highest court must decide the law of a precedent-setting case that then becomes the law of that state.

The U.S. Supreme Court and each states’ highest court (i.e. the Supreme Court in CT and the Court of Appeals in NY) act as the precedent setting courts deciding cases that become the law of each particular state.

Prior to March 27, 2012, the law in the State of Connecticut as it related to late notice of a claim under an insurance policy was set forth in Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. v. Murphy, 206 Conn 417, which held that if notice was untimely, as it was determined to be in Arrowood, a decision had to be made to determine if the insurer was prejudiced by the late notice, which burden was on the insured to disprove prejudice in order for the insurer to be obligated to provide coverage.

In Arrowood, the CT Supreme Court held that an insurer must prove prejudice to disclaim its obligation to provide coverage based upon untimely notice and, in so holding, overruled Aetna v. Murphy to the extent it allocated the burden to the insured to disprove prejudice. We now conclude, stated the Court, that this reasoning, while legally tenable, is not as consistent with the principles we articulated herein.

The interesting thing about this case is that our Supreme Court overruled a decision made by our Supreme Court that was decided less than 24 years ago and now appears to be in conformity with a majority of other jurisdictions.

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Controversial Healthcare ‘Case of the Century’ Beginning Monday

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

OU.S. Supreme Court To Hear Controversial Healthcare ‘Case of the Century’ Beginning Monday

n Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in what some legal pundits are calling the case of the century when the Justices are asked to determine the constitutionality of The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. The primary issue in this case is the determination of how federalism should work. The decision in this case might very well be the most controversial since Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954 which held that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal, which paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.

The main issue is that pursuant to the U.S. Constitution the federal government’s powers in enacting laws is limited to the categories delineated under the Constitution and any laws not provided
for in this list are deemed to be unconstitutional. So the question presented is where in the Constitution does it provide for the enactment of the President’s health care reform law? The Obama administration argues that the power comes from the Commerce Clause, which provides that “The Congress shall have the power…to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states…”

The Court that will decide this case is a first ever amalgamation of jurists for a number of reasons. There are six male and three female justices. Six are Roman Catholic and three are Jewish. There is one African American, one Latina and two Italian Americans. Five Justices were appointed by Republican Presidents and four by Democratic Presidents.

How significant of a case is this? Historically, in the early nineteenth century the Court did not review written briefs but relied entirely upon oral arguments which would typically last two or three days. In 1849, oral arguments were limited to two hours per side, which was reduced to one hour per side in 1925 and in 1970 was limited to thirty minutes per side.

The notable exceptions to these time limitations, post 1970, were U.S. v. Nixon, which allotted three hours,  the Pentagon Papers case of NY Times v. U.S., which was a two hour argument heard on a Saturday due to the exigent nature of the case and Bush v. Gore which was ninety minutes.

The longest cases argued before the Court in the recent past include the 1966 cases of Miranda v. Arizona that established the now famous Miranda warnings, which lasted six hours and South Carolina v. Katzenbach which upheld the Voting Rights Act and lasted seven hours.

The U.S. Supreme Court considers this case to be so significant that it has allotted six hours, featuring six different lawyers, to be argued over three days, which will make it the longest Supreme Court oral argument in almost half a century.

As an aside, the longest argued case in modern times appears to be the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education I, which lasted eight and a half hours in 1952, which was reargued in 1953 at over six and a half hours, and Brown v. Board of Education II, argued in 1955 covering the span of approximately thirteen hours and fifteen minutes.

The Court should render a decision by June so it will be interesting to read the reasoning of the Court. A number of prognosticators are predicting a 5-4 decision. The only thing that remains less clear is whether it will be to uphold the statute, strike down the statute or strike it down it part and uphold the balance.

Wrongful Birth: Medical Malpractice or Procedural Occurrence? A Controversial Decision in a Very Rare Type of Case

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

This week, the court of public opinion weighed in on a controversial decision in a wrongful birth case, which was delivered by a Portland, OR jury that awarded the parents of a girl who was born with Down’s syndrome the sum of $2.9 million. The parents of the now 4-year-old girl originally went to their doctor to determine if their 13-week-old baby had any chromosomal problems and were told there were none.  Their daughter was later born with Down’s syndrome.

The jury found five instances of medical malpractice including a doctor’s finding that the baby had no chromosomal problems based upon the results of a test that was improperly performed and analyzed incorrectly. The parents were awarded damages in their wrongful birth lawsuit because they argued that they chose to continue with their pregnancy based upon what their doctors had advised them.  They also claimed that they would have terminated the pregnancy if they had been advised that their baby had Down’s syndrome.

Wrongful birth cases are extremely rare nationwide because, in cases such as this, prenatal testing for determining this condition are 99.7% accurate and few parents are willing to undergo the ordeal of a trial. A number of studies have shown that approximately nine out of ten women who learn they will give birth to a Down’s syndrome child will choose to terminate their pregnancy.

The parents’ medical malpractice case alleges that their doctor tested tissue samples and concluded that their baby did not have any chromosomal problems despite the fact that later tests suggested the baby did have Down’s syndrome.  Their doctors, despite the suggestions of Down’s, assured the parents that nothing was wrong.

The parents sued for $7 million, which was alleged to be the lifetime cost of care for their daughter.

The parents’ position is that they went to a doctor to have certain testing performed to allow them to make a decision as to their future plans. If medical malpractice had not been present in this case, they would have opted to terminate the pregnancy.  Due to the medical malpractice, they have a daughter who suffers from a medical condition that the physician told them she did not have, which will result in significant lifetime care costs.

This article is meant to report the facts of this case and in no way sets forth a moral judgment regarding either side of it.  This article is not intended to open this forum up to a debate on Pro Choice v. Right to Life viewpoints.

Given the foregoing caveat, what do you think?

How To Collect Money Damages When You Are Injured in Multiple Accidents: How CT Law Apportions Damages When Your Doctor Cannot

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

A person is involved in a car accident, caused by the fault of another and injures their lumbar spine. Before the injured party has concluded their medical treatment they are involved in a second car accident where another injury occurs to their lumbar spine. The physician, who treats each injury, is unable to determine which accident caused what percentage of disability to the injured party’s spine.

The issue that comes up in this fact pattern is; how does a person get compensated for a permanent injury that was the result of one or more accidents? In other words, if the total disability to the lumbar spine is 20%, who is responsible for all and/or part of that percentage when the treating orthopedic doctor cannot attribute what the percentage of permanent disability was caused by which accident.

Connecticut has an apportionment statute, C.G.S. § 52-572(h), so the question is whether a jury can be called upon to apportion damages among multiple defendants in multiple accidents that have caused the same or similar injuries to the plaintiff.

The CT Appellate Court addressed this issue in the case of Card v. State. In Card, the plaintiff was injured in three separate accidents that occurred within seven months of each other. A lawsuit was filed as to each of the three defendants. The Plaintiff treated with the same doctor for each of
the three injuries.

At trial, the Plaintiff’s physician testified that each of the three accidents was a substantial factor in contributing to the Plaintiff’s injuries but it was impossible to determine to a reasonable degree of medical certainty how much of the total disability was attributable to each accident. The doctor ultimately testified that each of the three accidents contributed equally to the permanent disability suffered by the Plaintiff.

The verdict was appealed and the CT Appellate Court indicated that the trial court should not have allowed the doctor’s testimony into evidence because it was speculative and therefore inadmissible. However,
the Appellate Court also held that the Court should not have granted the Defendant’s motion to set aside the verdict obtained by the plaintiff in the trial court.

The Appellate Court went on to state, in analyzing our apportionment statute, 52-572(h), that in the rare case where damages cannot be
apportioned between two or more accidents, the plaintiff who can prove
causation should not be left without a remedy. One response to situations in which a jury is unable to make even a rough approximation of damages, is to apportion them equally among the various accidents.

The Card Court held that if the jury could not make even a
rough approximation, in each case, the jury must apportion the damages equally among each party whose negligent actions caused injury to the plaintiff, including settled or released persons as contemplated by the apportionment statute.

So if you receive injuries to the same or similar body
part(s), in multiple accidents, and your doctor cannot apportion the injury as to each accident, you can still receive compensation.