Now that the warm spring weather is here to stay (hopefully), it’s time to turn our attention to safety on the playground. Hundreds of thousands of children visit the emergency room for playground injuries every year. While most are mere bumps and bruises, some injuries result in severe trauma that can take months to recover from– sometimes more. 
To help spread awareness of how to keep children safe this season, the National Program for Playground Safety (N.P.P.S.) founded National Playground Safety Week. From April 25 to April 29, this safety campaign helps families spread awareness in their communities to keep kids safe and teaches simple safety precautions to prevent harm at home and in public play spaces.

Playground Injury Stats

Brainline reports that 200,000 children visit emergency rooms across the country annually for playground-related injuries. Tragically, at least 15 of these incidents result in fatal consequences. 

Falls are the most common cause of playground injuries, resulting in 79% of hospital visits and 90% of injuries classified as severe. Most playground injuries occur in public playgrounds and parks, constituting 76% of hospital visits recorded.

When most parents think of playground injuries, we remember some scratches, bruises, and the occasional head bump that interrupted our play. Unfortunately, playground-related injuries can be life-threatening and debilitating, particularly as playground designs continue to evolve. Frequent injuries reported include: 

How to Keep Kids Safe

Most injuries can be prevented, and you should take precautionary steps to keep kids safe on the playground.

SafeKids offers the following tips for keeping children safe when playing outdoors to help keep kids out of the emergency room this season: 

For more safety tips on preventing playground injuries this spring, check out more of SafeKids’ Playground Safety Tips here.

Participating in National Playground Safety Week

You can do plenty of things to help prevent playground injuries in your neighborhood this season. Safe At Play, an organization improving playground safety, suggests starting with the following: 

There are endless ways to help protect children in Connecticut. For more ideas, visit Safe At Play for existing events and resources.

Jacobs & Wallace Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you love is injured in an accident, you need an experienced law firm to represent you. Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, has decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut’s injured victims. Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.

Most car owners have received one or more postcard-sized mailings that notify us of a safety recall on our vehicle. Sometimes we forget to address them, while other times, we put them off until a more convenient time. But safety experts are urging vehicle owners never to ignore vehicle safety recalls, no matter how minor. You never know when one of these defects could result in a disaster on the road.

Millions of Vehicles Remain Unrepaired

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) found that a shocking number of vehicle safety recalls are ignored every year. In 2015, 54 million vehicle safety recalls were issued across the country. More than 25% of these recalls were never addressed or repaired, leaving potentially 12 million defective vehicles on the road– and this is just one year of recalls!

Manufacturers issue vehicle safety recalls for several reasons. When defects or malfunctions pose a safety risk, the manufacturer is responsible for letting car owners know how and where they can take care of the problem. 

What Do Vehicle Safety Recalls Include?

Vehicle safety recalls can address any part not working correctly or a manufacturing error that does not meet federal safety standards. Recalls can affect braking systems, airbags, headlights, engines, etc. No part of a vehicle is immune to damage or malfunctioning errors. 
Safety defects often go undetected until an accident or tragedy occurs. In the case of the exploding Takata airbag recall, several people lost their lives and were injured before a safety recall was issued. Even minor safety effects can lead to other parts of a vehicle malfunctioning or a motor vehicle accident under the right conditions.

What to Do with Vehicle Safety Recall

Federal regulations require car manufacturers to issue vehicle safety recalls by first-class mail within 60 days when there is a safety risk of lack of compliance with vehicle safety standards. These recalls must include: 

Recall repairs are often free, and while they may take time out of your schedule, maintaining your vehicle can save lives.

Repair Your Vehicle

After receiving your safety recall notification, the first step is to schedule the repair. Follow the provided information on your recall notification for repair locations. While you can go to your local repair shop, you may be able to take advantage of the free repair and could be charged for the parts and labor.

Replacement Vehicle

There are certain occasions when a defect cannot be repaired, and a replacement vehicle will be required. Replacing your vehicle is the manufacturer's financial responsibility, not yours. In these instances, follow all manufacturer instructions for trading in your car.

Refund Vehicle

Suppose a driver does not want to replace the vehicle or has experienced multiple safety issues with the current car. In that case, a refund policy may be available for the owner's purchase price.

Notify New Owners

When you sell a car to someone else other than a dealership, notify the new owner of any recall notifications you receive. Contact the manufacturer to report a new owner to avoid future recall notices.

Don’t Assume Your Car is Safe

If you have never received a safety recall for your vehicle, don’t assume there have not been any. Mistakes with mail carriers and manufacturing mailing lists happen all the time. It’s possible that your vehicle could have a history of recalls that you are entirely unaware of. 
Ensure your vehicle is registered with the manufacturer to receive safety recall mailings. For more information on safety recalls, look up your vehicle using the Safety Issues & Recalls tool by N.H.T.S.A. to find all present and past recalls. 

Jacobs & Wallace Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need an experienced law firm to represent you. Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, has decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut’s injured victims. Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across Connecticut are back in full swing. With close to 32 million Americans claiming Irish heritage and a two-year hiatus on some festivities, there are bound to be more celebrations than ever. 

Unfortunately, preventable injuries skyrocket on and around St. Patrick's Day every year. Whether you’re going to a local parade, pub crawl, or hosting a celebration at home, there are several steps you can take to prevent holiday-related accidents and to keep your loved ones safe. 

Know the Most Common St. Patrick's Day Risks 

St. Patrick's Day injuries occur due to the same risk factors every year– most involving increased alcohol consumption. Educating yourself on the risks on the days leading up to the holiday can help you prevent accidents and injuries before they occur. 

Increased Drunk Driving Accidents 

St. Patrick’s Day is the fourth most popular drinking holiday of the year, meaning the number of drunk drivers on the road skyrockets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.)  reports that 280 people were killed in drunk driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day between 2015-2019; 57 of these fatalities occurred in 2019 alone. 

When comparing these tragic incidents, the N.H.T.S.A. identified the hours between midnight and 5:59 a.m. as the most deadly time to drive. In fact, more than 63 percent of all St. Patrick's Day traffic accidents occurring during this period involved a drunk driver. 

Pedestrian Deaths Increase

When drunk driving increases in populated areas, so does the number of pedestrian accidents. On a holiday based in bars and restaurants like St. Patrick's Day, where patrons are often hopping from place to place, the risk of accidents increases even further. 

Pedestrians who are also impaired put themselves at a higher risk for accidents than sober ones. In 2019, at least 32 percent of all pedestrian deaths over St. Patrick’s Day involved pedestrians with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08. Alcohol impairs your judgment and visibility, making it harder for pedestrians to cross and navigate city roads safely. 

Alcohol Poisoning and Premise Accidents

Just because you stay home to celebrate the holiday does not mean you are immune to accidents. Binge drinking increases immensely on St. Patrick's Day. SCRAM Systems reports that over 56 percent of Americans plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, millions who plan to do so with alcoholic beverages. Binge drinking is often a goal during this holiday, leading to both short and long-term consequences, including: 

Sadly, dozens of people die every year taking unnecessary risks on St. Patrick’s Day. Impaired individuals under the influence lack the perspective sober individuals have regarding risk-taking. Parties hosted at homes can provide a false sense of security that leads to life-threatening injuries. 

How to Stay Safe This  St. Patrick’s Day 

We want nothing more than Connecticut residents to enjoy a safe and healthy St. Patrick’s Day. Here are a few steps you can take before and during your celebration to stay safe:

Are you looking for St. Patrick's Day festivities in Connecticut? Check out these fantastic local celebrations and events. 

Jacobs & Wallace Connecticut Accident Attorneys

​​If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need an experienced law firm to protect your rights. At Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut residents injured in negligent acts. Call us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.

Hundreds of millions of Americans post on social media every day, sharing all sorts of bits from their personal and work life. While it can be highly validating to rally online support, posting about your injuries can severely hurt your case if you have an open personal injury or workers’ compensation claim

Social media is not the place to show pictures of the accident you were involved in or the ongoing details with friends and family. It’s also not the place to post videos of the conditions that led to your injuries or conversations with possible liable parties. 

Providing information on your injury claim on social media platforms can not only hurt your chances of securing the compensation you deserve, but may result in the dismissal of your claim altogether. In the worst cases, sharing or removing social media content can result in criminal charges filed against you. Before posting anything on social media, read the risks below to protect your injury case.

Social Risk Factors Affecting Your Injury Claim 

We’ve all seen those viral videos exposing others for negligent behaviors: on the road, at work, in public settings, or even at a private residence. But no one ever talks about what happens when these videos are intercepted during a personal injury case. Posting information on social media concerning your accident can expose your case to the wrong audience: the defense. 

Not only can your posts hurt your claim, but your online presence and activity as a whole can have a significant impact. It's important to know exactly what type of social media actions you should avoid when you file a claim to prevent complications. 

Social Posts Are Evidence

The content you choose to post on social media platforms can affect the validity of your case, whether it’s directly related to your injury or not. Any information you provide on your online accounts is evidence that can (and probably will) be used against you in a claim. 

Social media can provide insight into your personality, habits, intentions, behaviors, and more. Try to keep your life as private as possible if you have an ongoing claim. Avoid posts that provide details on your injury, parties involved in your accident, the location of your accident, and your recovery progress. Posting content about your daily activities can put you at risk of being challenged regarding your injuries' severity. 

Privacy Settings

If your accounts are public, that means anyone who needs information on your whereabouts and status has access to it. Change your social media account settings to private to keep your information among those who support you. Note: this action does not guarantee your information is inaccessible to the defense. Still, it can provide at least one layer of protection from defendants and insurance companies looking for easy excuses not to pay out benefits.

Accepting New Friend Requests

When you do make your social media accounts private, be very mindful of the subsequent friend requests that come through. Some defendants will create fake accounts to try and gain perspective on your injuries from your content. Play it safe and never friend anyone you do not personally know and trust. 

Deleting Content Can Hurt You 

Deleting content on social media that you believe could harm your chances of a successful claim may not be as helpful as you think. Do not delete any content from your pages if you have an active personal injury case. The National Law Review considers removing online content as spoliation– the act of altering or destroying evidence relevant to a legal claim. This action may result in criminal charges depending on your case and the type/amount of content you remove. 

Be Careful With Comments 

Commenting on other social media accounts can be just as damaging to your case as the content you post on your personal pages. If you have an ongoing personal injury claim, try to limit your comments, particularly on political platforms and controversial social topics. These are easy ways for the defense to use your words on hot-topic issues to diminish your character and claim. 

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney

Navigating the waters of appropriate action on social media can be confusing, especially with hundreds of new platforms going up every year. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney on your case can help you avoid the pitfalls that often result in lost compensation. Your attorney will advise you on what steps you should be taking concerning your social media presence, specific to your case before you have the chance to jeopardize it accidentally. 

Connecticut Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need an experienced law firm to protect your rights. At Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut residents injured in negligent acts. Call our experienced team of personal injury attorneys today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.

A terrifying bridge collapse in Pennsylvania on Jan. 28 left ten people injured and seven wrecked vehicles amid the fallen rubble. Sources reported that the Fern Hollow Bridge, connecting Forbes Avenue to Frick Park in Pittsburgh, experienced a structural failure unprecedented for a bridge only 52-years-old. 

Unfortunately, many bridges across Connecticut are not as safe as we’d like to believe. There are hundreds of structurally deficient bridges crossed by millions of vehicles every day. Staying updated on bridge safety in your community is the first step to advocating for safer infrastructure, particularly when these tragedies lead to serious and life-threatening injuries. 

Why The Fern Hollow Bridge Collapsed 

Since the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse, several engineers and safety investigators have come forward with concerns regarding its long-standing history of poor maintenance. Investigations show that the Fern Hollow Bridge was last inspected in September and received poor structural marks; however, no maintenance was performed or scheduled before the collapse. 

The National Transportation Safety Board's initial evaluation states that the collapse may have originated from structural deficiencies on the deck. Officials reported that due to how the bridge caved in through the center, it appears the deck may have entirely separated from the abutment. 

Because the Fern Hollow Bridge failed during the winter months, engineering experts believe that cracks in the structure allowing for water and salt to corrode support elements may have contributed to the deck failure. Officials reported it would be at least 18-months before final determinations on the bridge collapse can be made. 

What is fairly certain about this horrific event is that a 50-year-old bridge should not have collapsed, especially when it was inspected only four months prior. Infrastructure experts have stated that if the bridge had been properly maintained, it should have lasted 70 to 80 years. 

Structurally Deficient Bridges in Connecticut 

Structurally Deficient Bridges in Connecticut

According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (A.R.T.B.A.), there are more than 47,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States; 231 are located in Connecticut. 

As defined by the Federal Highway Administration, a structurally deficient bridge includes any bridge with at least one key support element in poor or failing condition. These support features include the deck, superstructure, and/or substructure or culverts. While some bridges only have one component in poor condition, others receive failing marks on all. 

What’s scarier than a dangerous bridge: a dangerous bridge traveled on by hundreds of thousands of cars every day. The image below lists the 10 Most Traveled Structurally Deficient Bridges in Connecticut, and 20% of these are located in Fairfield County: 

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Most of the above structures are on main roads and highways, but local bridges in Connecticut can be just as dangerous. An article by Yankee Institute reported that nearly half of the structurally deficient bridges in the state are local bridges owned and maintained by municipalities. While the Connecticut Department of Transportation may inspect the bridges, it is up to local governments to schedule repairs and maintenance to prevent collapses– sadly, so many of them do not. 

Jacobs & Wallace Connecticut Accident Attorneys 

Jacobs & Wallace Connecticut Accident Attorneys 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need an experienced law firm to protect your rights. At Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut residents injured in negligent acts. Call us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.

This winter season has been quite challenging for drivers in Connecticut. In 2022, we have already faced several storms that have severely impacted Connecticut roads with significant snow, ice, frozen rain and slush.

*According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, each year, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet. Over 1,300 people are killed, and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on treacherous winter roads annually.

Do you believe you are worthy of driving in winter conditions? Take our quiz and find out!

Winter is quite possibly the most dangerous season of the year. Ice and snow cause sidewalks and roads to become slick, increasing the risk of serious accidents. Indoor floors can also become slippery when winter weather is tracked inside, particularly inside entryways and outside elevator doors. 

Safety must be a top priority for all Connecticut residents to prevent injuries from winter hazards this season. No matter how you choose to travel, here are some safety tips to keep in mind. 

Winter Car Accidents 

Car accidents notoriously increase in the winter months. According to the Federal Highway Administration, at least 24 percent of car accidents nationwide result from winter weather-related factors. Among these accidents, more than 1,300 result in fatalities and over 116,800 in various injuries. 

Roads become even more dangerous during periods of active precipitation. At least 15 percent of all winter weather-related car accidents occur during active sleet or snowfall. These accidents result in nearly 76,000 injuries and 900 fatalities every year.  

Types of Winter Weather 

Several types of winter weather can increase a driver's risk of an accident. The National Weather Service provides the following classifications to help drivers understand each one and prepare accordingly: 

Common Causes of Winter Car Accidents 

When sudden snowstorms blow in, winter weather-related car accidents can happen quickly, sometimes without warning. Connecticut drivers should be aware of three common causes of winter car accidents to help prevent accidents this season. 

Slippery Roads

Cold temperatures cause all types of precipitation on the road to freeze. It only takes minutes for icy patches to accumulate. These conditions make it difficult for tires to gain traction and for drivers to control their vehicles when they start to slide. Rear-end collisions, sideswipes, and accidents at intersections are common types of car accidents resulting from slippery road conditions. 

Black ice is an especially dangerous road condition that leads to thousands of accidents every winter. These practically thin sheets of ice are almost impossible to detect, especially when driving at night. Black ice results in vehicles spinning out of control suddenly, often leading to catastrophic injuries and multi-vehicle accidents. 

Drivers must continuously operate their vehicles with care when winter weather strikes. To start, AAA suggests keeping your speeds low and leaving plenty of space between cars. Stay in your lane and plan ahead for entering and exiting off highways. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, don’t take a chance on the road. Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, winter storms make it impossible to navigate roads safely. 

Do not panic if a winter storm hits while you are already driving. AAA recommends the following: 

Poor Visibility 

Active winter precipitation, such as sleet and snow can significantly reduce a driver’s visibility. The term ‘whiteout’ refers to heavy periods of snow where drivers can see nothing in front of them but flakes and white haze. Different types of winter storms provide various levels of visibility, but all can lead to accidents when drivers cannot see the road in front of them. 

Drivers with reduced visibility cannot stop for other vehicles, pedestrians, or stationary road features such as partitions, guardrails, bridges, and street signs. It takes a car ten times longer to come to a complete stop on snowy and slippery roads. But without adequate reaction time to spot hazards ahead of time, accidents are bound to occur. 

Nighttime driving, though already hazardous, can become especially deadly when winter weather strikes. The National Safety Council reports that fatal road accidents are three times higher at night than during the day. During the winter months, these risks climb even higher. 

Slowing down is key when drivers are hit with sudden snow squalls and storms that cause snow to drift. With practically zero visibility in whiteout conditions, AAA advises that drivers exit the road as soon as safely possible. If you must pull over to the side, make sure to do so on the shoulder and not the median. Keep your emergency lights on and stay as visible as possible to other vehicles around you.

Vehicle Condition

Temperatures that drop below freezing can cause vehicle trouble almost instantly. The most common issues drivers will face in the winter include: 

Tire Maintenance

Low tire pressure is common when temperatures plummet and put tires at risk for popping. Additionally, worn-out tires will have poor traction on the road and cause vehicles to slide and drift on ice. If your tires need to be replaced, now is the time to do it. Other steps you can take to keep your tires in working condition include checking your tire pressure frequently and rotating your tires according to your manufacturer's recommendations to prevent bald spots. 

Windshield Wipers

If done incorrectly, clearing ice off of your windshield wipers can damage the blades. Damaged wipers will not clear away snow and rain effectively, further reducing visibility on the road. When winter weather is in the forecast, flip your wipers up to prevent them from freezing to the windshield. If you forget, turn on your heat to help defrost the wipers before you start to scrap to allow some of the ice holding the wiper in place to melt. If you do find your wipers are damaged, replace them immediately. 

Defroster Fans 

Defective defrosting fans can cause fog on your windshield and reduce your visibility on the road. Make sure your fans are in good working condition in both the front and back of your vehicle. 

Headlights

Headlights are essential for navigating snowy and dark roads. Lights that are too dim or covered with ice and snow will cause drivers to miss hazards. Always make sure your lights are working before you leave your home. When cleaning off your car, make sure to clear all ice and snow away to prevent your lights from appearing dull. 
For more information about driving in winter weather, visit AAA’s website for more tips.

Winter Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents

Slip, trip, and fall accidents are frequent during the winter months. Ice and snow make sidewalks treacherous to navigate on foot, and the inside of buildings become a sloppy mess when the weather is tracked indoors. Some of these accidents result in serious and disabling injuries; sadly, the worst fall injuries can have fatal consequences.  

Seasonal hazards that increase slip, trip, and fall accidents in the winter months include unplowed streets and walkways, unsalted surfaces, and wet surfaces. Injuries resulting in these hazards often include: 

Unfortunately, pedestrians cannot control the walking conditions of public streets and sidewalks. When ice and snow are present, it is up to all residents to try their best to stay safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) and Mayo Clinic recommend taking the following steps to stay safe when traveling by foot this winter:

Winter Footwear

Pedestrians should wear winter boots or other footwear specifically manufactured for walking on ice and snow. Footwear with insulation to keep feet warm and rubber soles providing traction on slippery surfaces are recommended. You can also purchase rubber treads to make your everyday shoes more adaptable to slippery conditions. 

Short Steps

It’s not always easy to spot an icy patch until your foot starts to slip. Taking small steps allows you to react quicker to slippery spots and redirect your foot before you fall. You may feel silly, but small steps could save you a lot of pain in the future. 

Go Slow

Rushing on ice and snow will only cause more falls. Never run on the ice. Plan ahead and leave early when you have somewhere to be in the winter. Take your time and pay attention to the hazards surrounding you to help prevent accidents. 

Use Assistance 

When walking up or down stairs or ramps, make sure to use available handrails to help you. If you require a walking stick, cane, or walker, the winter season is the time to use it.

Stay Inside

Don't risk it if there is no need to go anywhere during poor weather conditions. Ice and snow build up fast, and there are no guarantees that sidewalks will be clear where you are going. Stay indoors to stay safe. 

While Connecticut does not have a statewide law regarding snow removal, each municipality may adopt its own laws requiring premise owners to clear ice and snow from walking surfaces. For more information on which laws your town requires, contact your local municipality.

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