Slip and Fall Injuries at the Water Park

When people think of water parks, many associate them with summertime fun for the family. Yet, when you venture to these places as they open for the season, you have to consider one very possible injury: slips and falls.

According to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 15,000 slip and falls at water parks are reported each year. That’s about 40 percent of all injuries that occur at amusement parks. While many might blame the park owner or ride operator, is often not cut and dry. Rather, should you find yourself in this situation, be mindful of the following points.

How Do Slips and Falls Happen at Water Parks?

water slideWater parks are a combination of slippery surfaces, stairs and slides, all of which increase trip and slip risks when improperly maintained. However, several factors come into play:

  • Water parks are expected to follow ADA regulations concerning slippery surfaces. That is, both flat walking areas and stairs need to have non-slip, textured surfaces. When these surfaces get wet, the grip material helps prevent slip and fall injuries.
  • Not every slip occurs as a result of water. Several cleaning chemicals are needed to maintain the park and a spilled solution or mold growth from a lack of cleaning have contributed to injuries.
  • Even when dry and textured, wood decking may be behind a slip or fall injury. These structures, when laxly maintained, are known to warp and splinter, have loose nails and may collapse from rot and decay.
  • Unfortunately, water slides are not as safe as you think they are. According to a study conducted by the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs, patrons are twice as likely to get injured on a water slide as they are on go-karts, rollercoasters and rapids. One reason is that they have no restraints which, in addition to the slides’ slippery surface, increases the likelihood someone could fall out onto the ground below.

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A Word to the Wise: Be A Good Parent…Not a Good Buddy

Did you know that parents’ personal attitudes about their teenaged drivers have a large impact on the safety of these young people?

Is Your Teen a Safe Driver?

Father handing daughter car keysParents who actively set rules and boundaries, and follow up on them, have the safest teenaged drivers. Teens who say their parents are very aware of their driving and monitor it cut their risk of drinking and driving by 70%, are half as likely to speed and 30% less likely to use a cell phone while driving. The study indicates that teenagers who actually have to ask permission for the car and don’t have their own keys are half as likely to get into a crash.

According to AAA, 4,689 teenagers died in car accidents in 2016. These crashes are the leading cause of death for young people between 16 and 20 years old. Our very important message to you is that the parents who are most effective in curbing bad driving habits are those that enforce strict rules, but in a kind way. A recent study by the Pediatric Association of America indicates that highly supportive parents, who make few rules for their teen drivers, trust rather than monitor them and hold them accountable, are actually not effective at all in curbing teen driving accidents and deaths.

The facts of this study speak for themselves. If there is a teenager in your life, please review your behavior and attitudes towards their driving, especially now as we head into summer months.

Please, let’s not take our kids or their driving for granted. Kids need to know that we are watching out for them. We do this best by being highly supportive of them, establishing clear rules regarding their driving and monitoring them closely. When it comes to our kids driving, we need to be good parents, not good buddies.

How to Protect Yourself in a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle season is in full swing, which means more and more riders are cruising our Connecticut roadways. As riders ourselves, we understand the dangers of being on a bike versus in a vehicle. In the event of a crash, we are more exposed than drivers protected by the structure of a car. Even if you do everything right as a rider, it’s important to know the proper way to fall. How can you protect your body if involved in an accident?

Exploring Different Methods

There are many theories about the “right way” to position your body when falling off a motorcycle or bicycle. In any case, it is essential not to try and break the fall with your hands. If your hands hit the ground while your body is still moving, you could experience road rash as well as a broken wrist or fingers. In the event of an accident, a rider only has a couple seconds to react. A common option is to slide into your fall, but avoid a clumsy tumble where your limbs are left vulnerable.

For more experienced riders, the tuck and roll method is another way to protect your organs and limbs from serious damage. However, it is important to note what we mean by tuck and roll. Consider these points:

  • Position yourself in a controlled roll. Think of yourself as a child rolling down the big neighborhood hill. Relax your body, rather than tense up.
  • Slightly bend your elbows and place your hands over your head.

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9 Tips for Teens Driving in Summer

After school lets out for summer, your teen with a recently earned driver’s license might view the months ahead as time to practice skills behind the wheel. However, parents need to realize that this period – from Memorial through Labor Day – is also the most dangerous time for teen drivers.

Deadliest Days of Summer

teen driver holding keys out the car window Why does AAA refer to these months as the deadliest days of summer? They result in a high percentage of vehicle collisions involving teen drivers and, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they’re also the most fatal time for 15- to 20-year-olds out on the road.

Several factors influence these statistics. For one, teens with less parental supervision and more free time may go out on their own more often. This notion also overlaps with driving at night – a riskier time to be on the road.

At the same time, even with a license, teens are still inexperienced. Based on data from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, half of car crashes involving teens can be attributed to errors, such as driving too fast for road conditions and inaccurately assessing the surrounding environment.

Furthermore, teens aren’t fully aware of all driving-related dangers. Statistics show that 55 percent believe they or their peers will drink and drive, 52 percent don’t follow formal driving rules and 64 percent don’t have a written agreement with their parents about safe driving.

Thus, as a parent or guardian making sure your teen stays safe behind the wheel and gets to practice driving over the summer, make sure your teen does the following.

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Can You Work Receiving Social Security Disability?

You applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits when your condition prevented you from holding a steady job or drastically reduced your hours. Yet, you wonder if after you’ve been approved, you can continue to work – even if it’s just for a few hours a day. While disability experts recommend holding off during the application process, you might be able to continue working under the following provisions.

Under SGA

woman in a wheelchair working at a deskAs a basic rule, SSD recipients cannot continue to receive benefits while doing what’s considered “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA. As of 2017, SGA is earning at least $1,170 per month or $1,920 for blind individuals.

However, that does not mean you can’t work and make less than the SGA level per month. This depends on whether, by working, you continue to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled. Additionally, realize that your SSD payments may subtract part of your income. While the SSA excludes the first $65, half of what exceeds this amount will be deducted from your disability payment.

Furthermore, understand that if the amount you earn from working goes over the SGA level, the SSA will terminate your benefits.

Trial Work Periods

What if you eventually plan to go back into the workforce or would like to try working again? The SSA offers what’s known as a trial work period. During a nine-month timeframe, consecutive or non-consecutive, you can continue to receive your full SSD benefits, even if your earned income exceeds SGA levels. If you’re self-employed, your SGA is considered any month where you work above 80 hours or earn more than $840.

However, once you reach the nine-month mark, your benefits don’t stop right away. Rather, for a 36-month period known as extended eligibility, you can still receive SSD if your earnings go below SGA levels.

Additionally, the SSA has a five-year benefits reinstatement period. If you find that your income drops because your disability prevents you from working, your benefits will be reinstated without the SSA requiring the full application process.

Ticket to Work

What if you also want to work again, but find yourself unable to perform any duties related to past jobs? The SSA offers a vocational rehabilitation program called Ticket to Work. Different from the trial work period, Ticket to Work offers free training or schooling to eligible SSD recipients for the purpose of your return to the workforce. During the training or schooling period, the SSA may temporarily suspend its Continuing Disability Review.

Reporting Your Earnings

However you return to the workforce, the SSA requires you to keep them updated on the following:

  • Start and stop dates for any job.
  • Changes to responsibilities, pay or hours worked.
  • Whether you have any work-related expenses as the result of your disability.
  • Any monthly wages, either by telephone, mail or bringing your pay stub to the local SSA office.

Navigating the SSD application is challenging for many individuals and legal representation is almost always needed. If your initial application was rejected and you now need guidance, turn to the lawyers at Trantolo & Trantolo. To learn more, give us a call today.