Straw v. Fair – Vicarious Liability in Car Accident Lawsuits

The family of a 6-year-old boy killed in a tragic rear-end auto accident in 2012 has been awarded $32 million in compensation from the employer of the speeding driver who rear-ended his father’s car.

However, the company’s defense lawyer has expressed the intention to file an appeal of that verdict, meaning it will be some time before the family ever sees that money. And of course, it’s not really about the money, which is never going to bring back their beloved child.

At The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, our Hartford injury attorneys recognize that employers must be held accountable for the actions of reckless drivers. In so doing, we fight to ensure companies will be more cautious in hiring drivers, in properly training them and in adequately supervising them. This reduces the likelihood of future accidents – so that the next family doesn’t have to cope with such a devastating loss.

Connecticut law allows employers to be held either vicariously liable or directly negligent. Direct negligence would include actions like improper supervision, negligent hiring, negligent training, negligent retention and more. However, when companies are held vicariously liable for the actions of their drivers, it is not necessary to prove they were actually negligent, only that they employed someone who was negligent and that employee was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the incident.

In this case, the employee/ driver was reportedly speeding in the defendant company’s pickup truck while on-the-job when he struck plaintiff’s vehicle.

Minutes earlier, plaintiff’s front hood had popped open while he was driving with his wife and two young sons. He was forced to pull over to put the hood back into its proper position. He turned his hazard lights on while he stepped out to put the hood down. As he did so, he noticed a pickup truck approaching. It was not slowing down. At some point, he realized it was not going to stop.

It would later be revealed the driver was distracted while picking up several items that had fallen onto the floor. The driver slammed into the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle.

The impact of the crash resulted in serious injuries to the driver, his wife and their 4-year-old son. Their 6-year-old son, meanwhile, was killed in the crash.

The driver would later plead guilty in criminal court to vehicular homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of speeding. He had been traveling 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. The plea deal into which he entered in that case – for which he served two years in prison – resulted in an automatic finding in the civil case that he was negligent in causing the crash. That meant the only question for the court to consider was whether the pickup truck driver’s employer was directly or vicariously negligent for the boy’s death.

Ultimately, jurors found the employer directly liable for negligent entrustment. Specifically, the company entrusted the driver with that vehicle, despite the fact his driving record included prior citations for driving under the influence and company policy precluded employees with DUIs from operating company vehicles.

After this finding, the issue of damages was raised. Jurors ultimately decided the company should be responsible to cover the full $32 million.

Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Read more about car accidents by clicking here.

Kozlov v. AWG – Tractor-Trailer Crash and Contributory Negligence

In any Connecticut personal injury lawsuit, a claimant’s own negligence in contributing to the injury won’t bar recovery for personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property, per Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-572h.

However, this contributory negligence statute only extends so far. Connecticut follows what is called the modified comparative fault rule, with a 51 percent bar. What this means is that plaintiffs who share some part of the blame can still collect damages from others, so long as their own fault does not exceed 50 percent – or more than that of defendant(s). If they are 50 percent or less at fault, damages may be reduced by their own degree of fault.

So for example: A plaintiff deemed 25 percent at fault will in theory be able to recover 75 percent in damages. Additionally, damages may be reallocated to the other defendants if plaintiff is unable to collect from one or more co-defendants.

At The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, our Hartford injury attorneys recognize that these complex matters of law require meticulous research, careful planning and strong arguments.

In the case of Kozlov v. AWG, recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, a tractor-trailer accident case, the issue of contributory negligence was central.

According to court records, plaintiffs were employees of a trucking company who were injured when a tractor-trailer, driven by an employee of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) collided with their own tractor-trailer on a rural interstate in Nebraska. The AWG employee was killed in the crash.

Plaintiffs, driver and his passenger in the other tractor-trailer, filed personal injury lawsuits against AWG and the estate of deceased driver. Lawsuits against decedent driver’s estate were settled prior to trial so that only cases pending against AWG proceeded.

At trial, jurors found that both plaintiffs and AWG met their proof burdens. Plaintiff driver was found 84 percent at-fault. Passenger was found 8 percent at-fault and AWG was found 8 percent at-fault. Because the comparative fault law in Nebraska (which follows a model of modified comparative fault with a 50 percent bar) is similar to that in Connecticut, and because plaintiffs’ negligence was either equal or greater than defendant’s negligence, they were barred from recovery.

Plaintiffs appealed that ruling, but the federal appellate court affirmed.

In its review, the Eighth Circuit noted plaintiff driver had responded to a print advertisement that specifically requested Russian drivers with little to no trucking experience. He was subsequently hired to drive from New York to California. Because he was not experienced, his passenger, who had more experience, was assigned to drive with him for the cross-country trip. According to company policy, the less experienced driver was not to operate the truck at night and the more experienced driver was not to be in the sleeper berth while the inexperienced driver was behind the wheel. Plaintiff passenger was told by his boss to “keep an eye on” the new hire and to provide on-the-job training.

The accident in question happened around 1 a.m. Plaintiff passenger was asleep in the sleeper berth while the new driver was operating the truck. Decedent driver rear-ended the tractor-trailer driven by the new trucker. The impact of the crash caused the rear truck to burst into flames, killing the driver. Both occupants of the other truck were hurt.

There was no indication at the crash site of braking, skid marks or any type of evasive maneuvers, which revealed the driver in the rear didn’t try to stop, turn or change lanes.

Investigators with the state highway patrol determined this was a high-speed crash, which meant either decedent driver was traveling very fast or the new driver was traveling very slowly or both. What they would later learn was that the new driver was traveling just 13.5 mph immediately before the crash. The other truck, meanwhile, was traveling at least 70 mph.

Plaintiff was initially charged with vehicular manslaughter and furnishing false information to law enforcement. He was acquitted of the first charge but later convicted of the second. That information, which was allowed to be heard by jurors in the civil case, did not help plaintiffs’ credibility or cause.

All three drivers (including the estate of decedent) would have been eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, assuming they were considered employees and not independent contractors. But these personal injury lawsuits would have allowed for additional recover.

Decedent’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the other two drivers and their employer, and those drivers filed personal injury lawsuits against decedent’s estate and his employer. All claims were resolved prior to trial except the case between the survivors and decedent’s employer.

At trial, jurors determined the driver had suffered $320,000 in damages and he passenger $842,000 in damages. However, none of that could be collected because of their contributory negligence.

The federal appeals court concluded the trial court did not err or abuse discretion in its jury instructions, calculation of non-economic damages, allowing certain expert opinion into evidence or by excluding evidence of decedent driver’s failing health prior to the crash.

Click here to read more about tractor-trailer accidents.

Hartford Motorists Can Reduce Summer Collision Risks

Throughout Hartford, New Britain, Norwich, Manchester, New Haven and surrounding areas, motorists need to be aware that the impending arrival of summer brings new driving challenges. A personal injury lawyer knows that countless serious and potentially fatal car accidents occur during the summer months. There are many factors that tend to make summer a dangerous time for motorists. skyline-from-skyscraper-1444568-m

Why is the Summer High Risk for Driving?

The Mirror summarized 10 of the big risk factors that drivers face during the summer months that increase the chances of motor vehicle accidents. These include:

  • An increase in the number of bicycle riders on the roads. Drivers often do not know how to be safe around bike riders. Drivers need to ensure they leave plenty of space around bike lanes, especially when passing bicycle riders.
  • An increase in motorcyclists on the roads. Warm weather means more bikers on motorcycles. Motorcycle accidents are most likely to cause serious injury or death to the motorcycle rider. However, a motorcycle that hits the side of a car and causes a 40 MPH change in speed has an 85 percent chance of causing death to someone in the passenger car.
  • Rain after a dry spell. If there is no rain over a period of three weeks, the risk of a fatal crash is 10 percent higher when the rain arrives. The risk of a crash is lowest when it rains steadily, rather than when it rains rarely. This is because dust, diesel and oil can start to linger on a road without rain. When it finally does rain, those substances can take days to wash away- and the road will be slick in the meantime. The first rain in a while also comes as a surprise to drivers who may have grown used to dry conditions.
  • An increase in teen motorists. There is a one in five chance a teen driver will become involved in a collision within the first six months of having a new license. More teens are driving during the break from school, so there’s thus more chance of these inexperienced motorist causing crashes.
  • An increase in child pedestrians. Kids tend to be outside playing more often in the summer, so there’s a great chance of them getting hit by a car. Around 85 percent of pedestrian deaths involve motor vehicle accidents with drivers traveling between 30 and 40 miles an hour.
  • An increase in vacationers. Tourists visiting an area often don’t know where they are going and are distracted by a GPS, map, or even sightseeing. This increases the chance these motorists will cause accidents.
  • An increase in tractors. Farmers often move equipment during the summer, and tractors sometimes ends up on busy roads.
  • An increase in vegetation. A greener world and faster growing plants means impaired visibility.
  • More mobile deer. Deer tend to move around from their breeding locations during spring and the early months of summer.
  • An increase in motor vehicle breakdowns. Drivers on the road during the heat, especially taking long road trips, have a greater chance of their car breaking down. This could be dangerous when the car is on the road.

These are just a few of many reasons why the summer is a time when you need to be especially careful to drive safely and watch out for hazards that could cause you to become involved in a collision.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury area. 

How Hartford Drivers Can Avoid Accidents While Driving in Fog

Throughout Hartford, New Britain, Norwich, Manchester, New Haven and surrounding areas, warm spring weather means that weather conditions are more likely to be foggy. Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions that drivers encounter on the road. misty-marsh-1435227-m

A personal injury lawyer knows that the risk of an auto accident is as much as doubled when the fog rolls in. Drivers need to know how to be safe behind the wheel, even in these bad weather conditions. A careless or negligent driver who makes unsafe choices when it is foggy out could be held responsible for causing a motor vehicle crash that hurts or even kills other motorists.

How to Stay Safe When Driving in Fog

Smart Motorist warns that fog is statistically the most dangerous of all weather conditions. The best thing to do is to avoid driving until the fog has lifted. If, however, you are on the road and need to get through the fog, there are a few things that you can do to try to avoid becoming involved in an accident. Drivers who encounter fog should:

  • Put on headlights, but not high beams. High beams can have an adverse impact on frontward visibility because of the reflection of the light on the fog. Although regular low light headlights can also make it a little harder to see in front of you sometimes, you still need to put them on when it is foggy out because otherwise oncoming motorist will not see your vehicle.
  • Keep your eyes trained on the right line on the road. This is called the fog line and it helps you to stay on course in your lane. Do not focus on the center line, or you could end up moving into oncoming traffic inadvertently.
  • Use fog lights, if you have them. Some European cars are equipped with rear-fog lights that can help to significantly increase the visibility of the vehicle and avoid a rear-end crash.
  • Never stop on the road. If you stop on the road, other drivers are not going to be able to see you and there’s a very strong chance of a rear-end accident. If you decide you cannot continue driving in the fog, pull completely off onto the shoulder of the road in order to avoid getting hit.
  • Slow down and stay focused on the speedometer. Driving at a slow pace for weather conditions is important to trying to reduce the dangers of fog. Some research suggests that drivers who become accustomed to the fog will begin to increase their speed when driving, sometimes without even realizing it. You need to keep an eye on how fast you are actually going.

Past research has suggested that a driver’s speed perceptions are affected by fog, prompting motorists to go too fast and increasing crash risks. A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health, however, suggests that the reality is that fog does affect speed perception but that motorists mostly tend to slow down as a result and not speed up. The discrepancy could come from the fact that past studies on fog adjusted overall contrast to simulate fog, which is more akin to driving with a foggy windshield rather than in actual real-world fog conditions.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury area. 

A Closer Look at Hartford Rear-End Accidents

Throughout New Haven, New Britain, Norwich Manchester and the Waterbury-area, motor vehicle accidents occur frequently. There are different types of motor vehicle collisions including front impact or head on crashes; side impact crashes and rear-end crashes. A rear-end accident lawyer knows that collisions in which a following vehicle strikes a lead vehicle in the rear are one of the most common collision types. whiplash_blog_image

In fact, according to the College of Engineering, around 33 percent of all U.S. car accidents are rear-end crashes. This type of collision is the most commonly occurring accident at intersections that have traffic signals, and these rear-end crashes account for 11.8 percent of deaths in multi-vehicle accidents and countless car accident injuries each year.

Because rear-end crashes are both common and dangerous, understanding the causes of these types of collisions is very important. The College of Engineering has published an in-depth study looking at some of the reasons why rear-end accidents happen.

Rear-End Accident Risk Factors 

The College of Engineering Study took a look at three primary factors that can impact the risk of becoming involved in a rear-end accident. The study looked at the impact of driver characteristics; vehicle characteristics; and road characteristics.

Many of the road characteristics that lead to crashes are fairly obvious. If the roads are wet or slippery, if visibility is reduced, or if the weather is bad, then there is more of a chance of a rear-end accident. If the road is poorly lit, the crash risk goes up. If there is a lot of traffic and drivers are forced to travel more closely together, then there is a greater chance of a rear-end accident happening.

When it comes to vehicle characteristics, however, the results are more surprising. While you might assume motorists would be more concerned about getting into a crash with a larger vehicle, it turns out that rear drivers are more likely to follow very closely behind large vehicles than they are to leave minimal following distance between themselves and a smaller lead car.  When a lead vehicle is large and it is more difficult for the rear driver to see above, around, below or through it, the rear car is more likely to follow close behind. Passenger cars, in general, leave less space between their vehicle and a light truck than between their car and another passenger car.

Finally, when it comes to driver characteristics, men were more likely than women to be the striking vehicle that hits the lead car in rear-end crashes. Older drivers were more likely to be in a vehicle that was hit from behind and younger drivers were more likely to be in the striking vehicle. Older drivers generally have slower reaction times and aren’t as quick to make decisions, especially when they have two or more choices at an intersection. Younger motorists, on the other hand, were less likely to pay attention and more likely to be aggressive.

Drivers need to understand how these risk factors affect rear-end crashes so they make safe choices to try to avoid motor vehicle accidents.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area

Connecticut Crash-Prevention Efforts Leave Room for Improvement

The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety has released its 2015 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. Motorists in New Haven, New Britain, Norwich Manchester and the Waterbury-area should be aware of what this report says so they can make informed choices about driving risks. The report evaluates how well each of the states in the U.S. have done in terms of passing recommended safety laws designed to reduce motor vehicle accident risks.car_crash

Personal injury lawyers know that Connecticut is missing some important regulations, but that drivers can voluntarily make the choice to avoid risky driving practices and reduce auto accident risks on state roads and highways.

Connecticut Could Improve Its Traffic Safety Rules

Connecticut has passed eight out of the 15 laws that the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety recommend states have. This has earned the state a “Yellow” rating. There are three different rating levels assigned in the report. Red means that the state has a dangerous lack of effective regulations to reduce collisions. Nine states have received a rating of red. Green means that the state has made significant advancements towards implanting safety legislation that is recommended to protect the public. Ten states have a Green rating. Finally, 31 states – including Connecticut – have received a Yellow rating. Yellow means that the state has made moderately positive progress towards adopting the laws that can make road conditions safe.

The laws that Connecticut is missing include:

  • An all-rider motorcycle helmet law mandating helmets every time someone is on a motorcycle.
  • A primary enforcement law mandating rear passengers wear seat belts. Under current laws, people can be ticketed for drivers in the rear not wearing a seat belt only if there is some other reason besides the seat belt violation for pulling the driver over.
  • A law requiring that child booster seats be used until a child reaches the age of seven.
  • A six month waiting period between when a teen gets a learner’s permit and the time the teen moves to a license.
  • Better restrictions on nighttime driving for new teen drivers.
  • An open container law imposing restrictions on open bottles of alcohol.
  • A child endangerment law.

Although wearing a helmet, rear seat belts, booster seats and teen driving restrictions are not yet the law, this does not mean that motorists can’t make the smart and safe choice anyway. Parents should consider restricting their teens permission to drive at night and should make sure their teen waits a sufficient amount of time (and gets a sufficient amount of practice) before getting a license. Parents should also keep children in booster seats in cars and avoid driving drunk or engaging in any unsafe driving practices with a child in the vehicle.  Motorcycle riders should also make the choice to wear helmets when on the road.

There were 276 traffic accident fatalities in Connecticut in 2013. Perhaps if motorists make a commitment to safety and if the state moves forward with more traffic accident prevention laws, the death toll could drop in the future.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area.


Exercise Equipment Can Cause Hartford Injuries

Throughout New Britain, Hartford, Norwich, Manchester and surrounding areas, people are making New Year’s resolutions. For many, the start of 2015 is a time when you can begin achieving your goals of getting into better shape and becoming more physically fit. There are many health benefits associated with starting a new exercise routine, but a personal injury lawyer knows that there are also risks as well.

Serious injuries can occur when a person begins exercising and doesn’t know how to stay safe. Sometimes, however, injuries are not the fault of the person who is working out. Injuries can occur when exercise equipment has a malfunction or defect. Injuries can also occur when gym facilities fail to live up to their duty to patrons to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe way. In situations where an exercise injury is the fault of a machine manufacturer or gym operator, victims harmed by the incident should take legal action to obtain compensation for losses.

Exercise Injuries Affect Thousands

According to NBC News, there are approximately 50,000 injuries sustained while exercising each year in the United States that are serious enough to send victims to emergency rooms.

One such incident made headlines recently because it involved a U.S. senator. The Los Angeles Times reported that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sustained an injury when a resistance band broke as he was exercising. The band struck him in the face and precipitated a fall. The senator also struck other exercise equipment when he was falling down. He was hospitalized with broken facial bones and with several broken ribs.

Exercise resistance bands breaking are one of the common causes of exercise injuries. However, the most dangerous workout equipment appears to be treadmills. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 575 serious injuries suffered in 2009 when people fell off a treadmill, tripped over a treadmill or tripped while working out on a treadmill.

The number of exercise injuries has increased in recent years. The Health-I -Team reports that between 2007 and 2010, there was a 45 percent increase in the number of exercise related injuries.

This increase came at a time when there were numerous recalls of defective exercise equipment. For example, 16,700 treadmills had to be recalled in 2005 because there was a risk that users would sustain an electric shock due to problems with the machines. Another 4,600 treadmills had to be recalled in 2007 due to a risk of overheating that could prompt the treadmills to start on fire. In 2008, the company that had previously recalled the overheating machines had to recall another 20,000 treadmills. This time, the problem was that the machines would unexpectedly speed up as they were being used.

Manufacturers can be held liable for exercise-related injuries any time people are using exercise machines as directed and a defect in the product causes harm. The owners of gyms are generally responsible for injuries only if they were negligent in keeping the premises reasonably safe for their patrons.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area

Hartford Drivers Shouldn’t Rely on Car Tech to Stay Safe

Drivers in Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area need to ensure they do everything possible to ensure that they make safe choices behind the wheel. Many motorists today are purchasing vehicles that have add-on safety features or optional crash protection technologies. Motorists seek out these features because they believe that this can help them to avoid becoming involved in an accident.

Technologies can make a difference in helping to prevent car accidents. However, a personal injury lawyer knows that most tech devices in vehicles are not perfect and are prone to malfunctioning or failure. While technology is a good add-on that drivers can use as one tool to help prevent accidents, a reliance on technology can be dangerous. Motorists should never assume they can substitute automated features for their own common sense or their own extra care behind the wheel.

In-Vehicle Technologies Limited Provide Limited Accident Prevention

Some of the most common add-ons that drivers believe will help them to stop crashes include blind spot detection systems and lane-keep or lane departure warning systems. The purpose of blind spot detections systems is to help drivers become aware when something is in the area to the side of their vehicle that they cannot see. The purpose of lane departure warning systems is to prevent motorists from straying outside of the lane where their vehicle belongs.

Blind spot detection systems were available as an optional add-on in around 75 percent of cars in 2014. These systems were available as a standard feature in two percent of cars. Lane departure warning systems were available in around 50 percent of vehicles in 2014.

AOL Auto reports that AAA and MIT’s AgeLab conducted a study to assess how well these common crash prevention technologies actually performed. The results showed that the technologies have much room for improvement.

Blind spot detection systems generally did not work as well when vehicles were traveling at higher speeds. These systems also were not very good at alerting drivers to the fact that a motorcycle was beside their car. The detection systems did not identify motorcycles until 26 percent later than passenger cars. By the time the system alerted the driver to the motorcycle, the motorcycle was within 14 feet of the vehicle. Since many drivers use blind spot detection systems to aid them when they are merging onto highways or when they are changing lanes on high-speed roads, it is bad news that these systems don’t work well at high speeds.

Lane departure systems also tended to malfunction when conditions were not optimal. For example, if the pavement was worn, if the driver was in a construction zone, if the roads were wet or if the weather was bad, the lane departure system often failed to function correctly.

Many different vehicles from different car makers were tested and these problems were virtually universal. Drivers need to be aware of the shortcomings of these crash protection systems and they should remember that it is ultimately their responsibility to watch the road carefully and take steps to avoid getting into a collision.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area.

Hartford DUI Prevention Focus of Public Awareness Efforts

The month of December is a great time to enjoy holiday activities throughout Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and surrounding locations. Sometimes, however, those holiday activities involve the consumption of alcohol. While having a drink or two in celebration of the festive season is not a problem, it becomes a major issue if you consume alcohol and then decide to get behind the wheel of a car.

A personal injury lawyer knows an increase in drunk driving-related fatalities occurs each year from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. December is one of the worst months for drunk driving accidents and fatalities, and it is also the time of year when numerous campaigns are launched to try to prevent these types of collisions.

Preventing December Drunk Driving Accidents and Fatalities

Prevention of drunk driving accidents in December is very important to keep the public safe. Every year in the United States, around 10,000 people are killed in collisions involving impaired drivers. According to True Car, there are also around 600,000 people who suffer injuries. Around three in 10 Americans will be personally involved in a crash involving an intoxicated motorist, and the cost of impaired driving accidents exceeds $51 billion annually within this country.

The holidays, especially the days surrounding Christmas and the days surrounding New Years, have a higher-than-normal percentage of deadly crashes caused by impaired motorists. Public education efforts aim to prevent this by reminding people of the danger of driving while under the influence.

Anti-drunk driving campaigns have been going on during the month of December since 1982, when President Ronald Reagan declared that December would be National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. In 2010, President Barack Obama changed the designation of this month to National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Part of the reason for the change was to also draw attention to the problem of driving while distracted.

Since 41 percent of crashes within the United States are related to impaired driving, public education efforts on preventing drunk driving crashes could make a big different in saving lives. As part of the public education efforts this December, advice is provided to individuals about how to reduce the chances of a crash happening during the course of the month.

Party hosts can play a role in reducing the chances of drunk driving crashes happening. They can do this by stopping the serving of alcoholic beverages around an hour or so before their guests will be leaving for the night. It is also a good idea for those hosting holiday parties to make sure they have drinks around that are non-alcoholic for the designated drivers and to have a plan to help guests get home in case someone at the event ends up having too much to drink.

Of course, ultimately drivers are the ones who need to stay sober to avoid holiday drunk driving crashes. Drivers are encouraged to find a designated driver who will take them home. They should do this before they start drinking so they have a plan in place, and they should also have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. If drivers take the risks seriously, hopefully they can avoid getting into accidents that hurt themselves or others.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit  Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area.

Helping Hartford Kids Avoid Getting Hurt by Toys

When a child receives a toy as a gift over the holidays, that toy should bring fun and joy. In some cases, however, the toy turns out to be dangerous. Kids throughout Hartford, New Britain, Norwich and surrounding areas could be injured or even killed by a toy that has a defect or that is simply unsafe.

A personal injury lawyer knows that parents can help to prevent serious injuries in their kids by checking for recalled toys. They should also be aware of some of the highest risk toys on the marketplace so they can make informed choices about what gifts their children should receive this holiday season.

Preventing Injuries and Fatalities Due to Toys

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has worked hard to try to help reduce the number of kids who die from toy-related injuries. The CPSC has imposed requirements that all toys undergo independent laboratory testing to make sure they do not have lead or other hazardous chemicals and components. Toys are not allowed to enter the country if they come from elsewhere and have not been properly tested.

The CPSC has touted success in reducing toy-related deaths and has indicated that the number of injuries caused by toys has largely held steady in recent decades. A 2013 report has some statistics showing the extent of the risks presented by toys. According to the report:

  • There were nine children killed by playing with toys in 2013. Seven of the nine deaths happened due to asphyxiation and 22 percent of the fatalities were the result of accidents with riding toys.
  • There were 256,700 children who were injured by toys during 2013 and who had to seek treatment at an emergency room as a result of the injuries. The face and the head area were the most likely body parts to be injured, accounting for approximately 44 percent of the visits that kids made to the emergency room.

The reality is, nine deaths are far too many and the number may actually be greater. Further, the injury rate has not necessarily held steady as the CPSC reports. As News 10 indicates, when you factor in harm to children who were operating electronic riding scooters, or kick scooters, the rates of injury are much higher.

In 1990, there were 18.9 children injured by toy-related problems out of every 10,000 children. By 2011, the injury rate had risen up to 26.9 kids injured per 10,000 children. Scooters may have been to blame for causing a 40 percent increase in the number of kids getting hurt. Over the course of 2011, a total of 195,363 children had to seek emergency room treatment due to injuries that were experienced while on a scooter.

Parents need to know about the electronic scooter dangers, as well as about risks presented by recalled toys. As the CPSC reports, a total of 30 toy recalls happened during 2014 when it was discovered that toys that had come to the market were not safe for children to be playing with.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area.