How The Auto Industry Changed America’s Roads

Dashboard of an antique carThough it seems hard to believe in 2017, there once was a time when you found more people walking than driving – particularly in Connecticut’s cities. Trolley service was also a part of urban life – moving thousands efficiently every day.

Enter the Ford Motor Company and the Model T in 1908. Suddenly the automobile became a central part of American life – and changed the way we lived forever.

It’s interesting to note that for many Americans living in cities in the U.S., the arrival of the automobile was unwelcome. Streets, once the domain of pedestrians and an occasional trolley car, increasingly became the domain of the motorcar.

And with an increase in motorcar traffic came an ever steeper rise in accidents involving cars and pedestrians.

In the first four years after World War I, more Americans died in automobile accidents than had been killed during battle in Europe.

In the early years of the automobile, there were no crosswalks and few if any street signs – and few if any laws governing the use of cars. In that period, drivers were not even required to be licensed.

By the end of the 1920s, more than 200,000 Americans had been killed by automobiles. Most of the fatalities involved pedestrians in cities…the majority of those killed were children.

The crisis actually grew so grave that Herbert Hoover launched the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety as Commerce Secretary under President Coolidge.   Organizations interested in the topic of road safety were invited to attend, with the mission to establish standardized traffic regulations for the nation.

Sadly, the conference’s biggest players were all representatives of the auto industry.   As a result, the group’s recommendations prioritized private motor vehicles over all other transit modes.

Does this story have a familiar ring?

Continue reading “How The Auto Industry Changed America’s Roads” »

Is Sexual Abuse Occurring at Schools in Your Town?

Young girl looking helpless and sadMuch has been written about the epidemic of student-on-student sexual abuse on college campuses in America. It’s a problem in Connecticut as well.

Did you know it also threatens thousands of children in elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S.?

The Associated Press (AP) just completed a lengthy investigation into the problem and their findings are disturbing.

They found approximately 17,000 official reports of sexual abuse over a four year period and believe that number is just the tip of the iceberg. They discovered that sexual abuse occurs anywhere students are left unsupervised including bathrooms, hallways, locker rooms and school buses – with victims and offenders as young as five or six.

Are there warning signs schools and parents can use to identify possible problems?

Continue reading “Is Sexual Abuse Occurring at Schools in Your Town?” »

The Seven Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Elderly woman looking out window of nursing home

Do you have an elderly family member currently living in a nursing home?

Finding a facility that will care for them as you would is always a challenge. Facility sales staff often paint the rosiest of pictures. But does their version of life in a facility match reality?

Often it does not.

Continue reading “The Seven Signs of Nursing Home Neglect” »

Dangerous Times to be a Pedestrian in Connecticut

As we previously reported – traffic deaths are now rising for the first time in over 50 years.

Equally alarming – pedestrian deaths have risen by 25% in just the last five years.

You read that correctly… 25%. And 2016 saw the largest jump in pedestrian deaths year-over-year ever – 33% in Connecticut alone.

And up to 50% of all child pedestrian deaths involve teens.

So, what’s going on?

Continue reading “Dangerous Times to be a Pedestrian in Connecticut” »

Four Critical Things to Remember if You Are Hurt in an Accident of Any Kind

Four Critical Things to Remember if You Are Hurt in an Accident of Any KindAnyone who’s ever been injured in an accident knows the challenges that follow. First, there’s the need for proper medical care and questions about if and how soon you can return to work or normal activity. And then there are financial and legal matters to consider, such as who pays the medical bills and whether a lawyer is needed to help protect your rights?

If you’re ever injured in an accident through no fault of your own, here are four critical things to remember: Continue reading “Four Critical Things to Remember if You Are Hurt in an Accident of Any Kind” »

More Consumer Protections Under Assault

New law could strip consumers of their rights for protectionThe U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would strip states like Connecticut of their ability to best protect their citizens through patient safety liability laws.

Called H.R. 1215, this pending Act would severely limit the ability of Connecticut families to hold health care and medical providers accountable in the event they injure or kill their patients.

Seem hard to believe? Continue reading “More Consumer Protections Under Assault” »

Workplace Accidents on the Rise

Workplace injuries on the rise

For decades now, workplace accidents and workplace deaths have been in decline – thanks in large part to the actions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Despite that good news, almost three million workers suffer injuries on the job in America each year – a rate of three cases per 100 full-time workers.

Now, with the recent uptick in employment numbers comes news that workplace accident rates are rising in some industries – the first such rise recorded in years.

Particularly noteworthy has been the sharp increase in construction worker injuries in the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting a jump of 27% in the number of fatal workplace injuries among those workers.

So just what are the most common workplace injuries? Continue reading “Workplace Accidents on the Rise” »

In Defense of Our Judiciary

By Michael Jainchill, Esq. (Fellow  of the American College of Trial Lawyers, member of the ABA, CBA, CTLA and Partner at RisCassi & Davis in Hartford)

In the past week, U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart of Seattle issued a nationwide restraining order blocking the travel ban put in place by President Trump.

Trump’s ban, created through an executive order, sought to block people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The President reacted to Judge Robart’s decision by tweeting “…the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Judge Robart is not a “so-called judge,” but rather a respected, conservative jurist who was appointed to the Federal Court by President George W. Bush and confirmed by a vote of 99-0 by the United States Senate in 2004. On Wednesday, he lashed out at the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming the process “too political” seemingly because the judges won’t just immediately rubber stamp his constitutionally questionable executive order.

All Americans who believe in the Constitutional safeguards incorporated by our Founding Fathers into our three co-equal branches of government ought to be appalled by the President’s attempt to bully the judiciary. The political campaign is over, and as offensive as the comments about “little Marco Rubio” or “crooked Hillary Clinton” may have been, they pale in comparison to the blatant attack on the Federal bench.  An independent judiciary free from political influence is a hallmark of our democracy and the bedrock of our freedoms. Lawyers representing the rights and interests of their clients, along with impartial and fair-minded judges deciding disputes in the courtroom, are what stands between freedom and tyranny.

In the past 24 hours, non-partisan legal organizations, the American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Board of Trial Advocates, and the American Bar Association have each spoken out strongly against President Trump’s attack on Judge Robart, condemning and calling the President’s comments “wrong”, and unequivocally stating that “nothing is more important than the impartiality and integrity of our court system”. It is important that all courts remain free of political interference. Although he never apologizes, this one demands one from the President.

Executives for Manufacturer of Fentanyl Charged With Bribery

Corporate GreedMuch has been written in these pages about corporations ignoring public health and safety for the sake of profit.

Sadly – it’s something that happens with alarming frequency.

Now Insys Therapeutics Inc., the U.S. corporation that manufactures the extremely powerful and highly addictive opioid fentanyl, is under investigation on charges that executives at the company bribed doctors in the U.S. to aggressively prescribe the drug.

Indictments have been issued to six executives at the company including the CEO, Michael Babich, and the former Executive VP of Sales, Alex Burlakoff.

The version of fentanyl in question in this case is called Subsys – a spray variant of fentanyl approved for managing severe cancer pain.

With a raging epidemic of opioid addiction sweeping the country, law enforcement officials have worked to attack the problem from multiple angles – including looking at the role big drug companies are playing in creating the problem in the first place.

The indictment alleges that Babich, 40, and four other defendants hatched a scheme to bribe physicians to push large numbers of Subsys prescriptions, often to non-cancer patients.

The bribes were frequently disguised as “marketing event” and “speaker fee.”

The indictments of the full six Insys’ executives additionally claims that Babich and others created a scheme to mislead insurers into authorizing payment for the drug, many of whom were reluctant to approve payment for Subsys for patients without cancer.

Here are a number of sad facts…

Continue reading “Executives for Manufacturer of Fentanyl Charged With Bribery” »

Pedestrian Accidents Ride Sharply on Connecticut Roads

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in CTIn just the last 30 days, eight pedestrians have been struck and killed on Connecticut roads. Five were killed in separate accidents on just one day alone.

Why the sharp increase?

Law enforcement and safety experts believe there are a number of reasons… and they parallel the reasons for the first increase in fatal car accidents in the U.S. in 50 years.

What are the leading causes? Continue reading “Pedestrian Accidents Ride Sharply on Connecticut Roads” »