Category: Legal Strategies

Proving A Connecticut Public Sidewalk Defect Case

If you have been injured as a result of a public defective sidewalk in Connecticut, you have a statutory legal claim for money damages.  However, the law does not make it easy for the injured person to be successful.  This is due primarily to the law’s requirement that the injured person must prove that he or she was free from any negligence in causing the injuries.  In other words, even if the injured person is only 1% negligent for causing her injuries, the injured person loses the case. This legal requirement is vastly different from cases involving a private defective sidewalk.  In a private defective sidewalk case, the defendant must prove that the injured person was negligent and even if negligence is proven, the injured person still recovers compensation provided that her negligence does not exceed 50%. 

So, how do we prove that an injured person was free from negligence in a public defective sidewalk case? Since each case is fact specific, everything about the injured person’s behavior leading up to the fall must be examined, everything about the defect must be examined, and everything about the surrounding circumstances at the time of the incident must be examined.  Hopefully through the investigation into these three areas, a strong case can be developed.  Here is what to look for and hopefully find.

As for the person’s behavior leading up to the fall, the following will be helpful: proper footwear, proper clothing, no texting, no talking on the cell phone, no eating, no drinking a beverage, walking a normal or customary pace, and that while walking the person would look ahead, look down, look right and look left.

As for the defect, the following will be helpful: defect is the same color as the surrounding sidewalk, the defect covers a large enough area of the sidewalk that it would be difficult to walk around it, the grade of the sidewalk, and the location of the sidewalk (i.e. around a tree, next to a cross walk. on a major thoroughfare).

As for the surrounding circumstances, the following will be helpful: the pedestrians sight line as she walks towards the defect is impaired (impaired by a tree, the grade of the sidewalk, by other defects); the lighting; leaves or vegetation hiding some or all of the defect; the defect located near a street or driveway thus the pedestrian would be looking for cars rather than down at her feet; pedestrians or bicyclists approaching the pedestrian; a dog barking at the pedestrian or running towards the pedestrian; and a vehicle driving by that honks the horn, or has a siren on.

By establishing even a few of the items listed above, the injured person can effectively prove that she was free from negligence.  If you have been injured a public sidewalk defect case, contact our attorneys today at 1-860-667-0839 to discuss the legal viability of your claim.

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Law Firm Secures $100,000 for Car Accident Client

Attorney James Sabatini recently secured a $100,000.00 settlement for his client who was injured in a motor vehicle collision.  The collision happened in Connecticut approximately one year before the settlement was obtained.  The case was filed in state superior court.  The case settled soon after the client was deposed.  The client’s performance in his deposition had a positive effect on obtaining the settlement figure.  In advance of the client’s deposition, Attorney Sabatini spent significant time with his client in preparing him for the deposition.  It is absolutely critical that a client be thoroughly prepared for the deposition.  The preparation includes the following; (1) going over the basic rules to follow during the course of the deposition; (2) reviewing all medical records to ensure that the client’s testimony is consistent with the medical records; (3) reviewing the police report and answers to interrogatories; (4) going through a mock deposition where the attorney asks the questions that are expected to be asked by the insurance defense lawyer.  The preparation ensures that the deposition will go well for the client which in turn increases the chances the case will settle for maximum value or that if there is a trial, the client’s deposition testimony will not be used against him.

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Connecticut Car Accident Settlement With Little Visible Property Damage

Attorney James Sabatini has reached another settlement for his client involved in a car accident that left little visible property damage.  Cases involving little visible property damage are challenging.  The lack of visible property damage provides the defense lawyer with a simple and easy argument- if there is no significant property damage, how can there be a real injury?  There are multiple ways in which to counter such an argument.  One, while there may be little visible property damage, has there been an inspection of the vehicle behind the bumper cover.  In many instances, the damage from the collision is covered by the bumper guard. Two, did anyone hear a noise caused by the impact? If the answer is yes, then the impact was significant enough to cause a noise. Three, did the impact cause the body of the occupant of the vehicle to be moved. If yes, then the impact was significant and real. Four, was the defendant surprised by the lack of damage to his car. If yes, then the impact was significant. Five, did the injured person have any prior injuries/accidents or subsequent injuries/accidents involving the same body part claimed to be injured in the present collision. If the answer is no, it is a powerful argument that through a process of elimination, only the subject collision could have caused the injuries. Six, do you have a credible doctor supporting the person’s claim of injury? If you do  not, the chances of success are seriously if utterly damaged.  These are some but not all of the items used to take a case that is perceived to be weak by the insurance company and transform itin to a case of strength resulting either in a strong settlement or well positioned for a successful outcome at trial.

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Client Retains Sabatini & Associates For Torn Rotator Cuff Injury Caused By Defective Stairs

Sabatini & Associates, LLC has been retained by a client who sustained a torn rotator cuff injury as a result of defective stairs.  The injury requires surgery.  The incident took place at the client’s place of work at a building owned by her employer. The building was maintained by a management company.  Consequently, not only does she have a workers’ compensation claim, but she also has a negligence claim against the property management company. 

This case is another example of why a person who suffers an injury at work should consult our attorneys.  In many instances, the person is under the impression that since the injury happened at work the only legal claim is a workers’ compensation claim.  This is not always the case.  In fact, in many instances there is a negligence claim against a third party.  Such a claim is extremely important because the claim can fully compensate the person for her injuries.  Workers’ compensation provides limited compensation. For example, workers compensation does not provide compensation for physical pain and suffering.

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Fully Disclose That Prior Injury

Sitting in the doctor’s examination room for the first time following a car accident, your attention will be focused, understandably so, on the injuries from the car accident.  However, make sure when the doctor asks you about your prior medical history that you tell the doctor about any prior problem to the same or similar body part that is now injured from the car accident.  For example, if you are complaining of left knee pain following the car accident and five years earlier you suffered from a left knee problem, make sure you disclose that information to the doctor.  By disclosing the information, the doctor will include the information in his treatment records and more importantly the doctor will be able to determine what injuries were caused by the car accident, what pre-existing conditions may have been aggravated by the car accident, and what conditions may be unrelated to the car accident.  If you do not disclose the information, you will face two large problems in your personal injury claim.  Problem one – the defense attorney for the insurance company will paint you as a liar.  The insurance lawyer’s argument will be that you intentionally failed to disclose the information to your doctor because you wanted the doctor to connect all your health problems to the car accident so you could get more money.  Problem two – your doctor may have to change his opinions about what injuries were caused by the car accident after he already committed to certain opinions in his medical records.  So avoid all of this by fully disclosing any prior injury or condition.  If you do forget to tell your doctor about the prior condition or injury, as soon as you remember the prior history, contact the doctor and disclose the information.  When it comes time to settle or go to trial on your car accident you will be happy that you made the full disclosure.

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