Szilagyi & Daly Hartford Insurance Defense 2021-01-21T18:43:05Z WordPress /wp-content/uploads/sites/327/2019/03/cropped-favicon-2-32x32.jpg On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Takata defective product claims expand to seat belts]]> 2020-11-20T20:58:00Z 2020-11-20T20:58:00Z The potential widespread impact The United States recall is not the only problem for the auto parts manufacturing company. The seat belt product liability recall is becoming a worldwide issue quickly as more and more vehicles are being identified as having the problematic seat belts. In addition, there may also be models in production currently that will need redesign as well. The impact could be massive. The main problem found with the seat belts is the fabric weaving in the belt design. According to the information gleaned from the study of how the belts were designed during development, the Takata Corporation actually knew that the fabric and design did not meet legal standard. The faulty design is said to have contributed to seat belts breaking when vehicles were impacted in serious accidents throwing passengers forward or ejecting them from the vehicles. This recall is also an excellent example of how minor details in an accident can result in multiple parties being identified by experienced and diligent product liability attorneys who will not accept the concept of an unexplained accident. Accident injuries often occur as the result of a failure by automotive parts manufacturers to provide truly safe products due to a lack of proper testing or even covering up the fact that the product does not comply with established safety standards. This means that most accidents will now be evaluated by Connecticut accident injury attorneys for potential defective seat belt design and effectiveness.]]> On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[17th fatality linked to Takata airbag]]> 2020-10-26T21:22:08Z 2020-10-26T21:22:08Z product recall in U.S. automotive history. A total of 56 million airbags are part of the recall effort of the manufacturer. The car involved in the latest fatality involving the Takata airbag is one of seven Honda models manufactured in the early 2000s that include the defective airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that about 50% percent of the airbags will fail when deployed. When a failure happens, the airbags rupture and send shrapnel throughout the car. The deaths involved with the airbag are not limited to Honda or the United States. Almost 30 people have died as a result of Takata airbag malfunctions worldwide. Other countries that have experienced fatalities after crashes involving the airbags include Australia and Malaysia. Two U.S. deaths involving the airbags involved Ford vehicles. Another Arizona Honda driver in a car equipped with the Takata airbag lost their life in the summer of 2018. Honda agreed to an $85 million settlement in August 2020 in acknowledgment of the fact the company possessed knowledge of the dangers involving the defective airbags before the recall. Takata filed bankruptcy after the U.S. government fined the company $1 billion to go along with several lawsuits filed against the auto supplier. Other suppliers have stepped forward with replacements for the defective airbags. At this time, the defective airbags are still in use by one in three of the vehicles originally equipped with them. Companies are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell and manufacture are safe to use before the product ever reaches the hand of a consumer. Companies that fail at fulfilling this responsibility may be held liable for any injuries or hardships experienced by users of the products. Individuals who have suffered injury or loss due to a product they purchased may be able to find the relief they deserve through a consultation with an attorney.]]> On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Why a business might need liquor liability protection]]> 2020-10-01T19:57:32Z 2020-10-01T18:42:34Z If your Connecticut business has a liquor license, it may be a good idea to obtain liquor liability insurance. A liquor liability insurance policy may help to cover the cost of attorney's fees and costs of any damages caused by an intoxicated individual. In some states, you may need to obtain such a policy as a condition of obtaining a liquor license.

Types of businesses that could need extra coverage

Generally speaking, a bar, restaurant or grocery store that sells or serves alcohol could benefit from having a liquor liability insurance policy. It is important to note that this type of insurance is different from host liquor liability coverage. A host liquor liability policy can often be included as part of a general liability policy and is designed for individuals or companies hosting a single event.

You can take proactive steps to reduce your liability

It is generally a good idea to provide training to anyone who may be serving or selling alcohol. Doing so may help individuals spot signs of impairment and prevent them from serving a person who may already be impaired. You or your staff should also encourage patrons to drink responsibly or to call for a ride if they are too drunk to drive themselves home. However, it is important to note that it might not be realistic to assume that you'll prevent all of your patrons from driving after getting drunk in your establishment. Regardless of your efforts, if someone causes bodily injury or property damage after drinking at your bar or restaurant, you or your company can be held liable. This may be one of the most important reasons why you should obtain a liquor liability insurance policy. An insurance defense attorney may be able to come to your aid in the event that another party files a claim against you or your company. Your attorney can assess whether the claim has been properly brought in compliance with your state's law and may be able to resolve the matter outside of court in a timely manner. ]]>
On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Slip and fall claims: What small business owners should know]]> 2020-05-04T19:42:42Z 2020-05-04T18:00:28Z Business owner obligations for property they possess Business owners are expected to eliminate dangerous conditions on their properties within a reasonable period of time. These conditions can include torn carpeting, loose cables and other tripping hazards, poorly lit stairwells, loose railings and wet floors. Property owners or business tenants can also be responsible for conditions outside the building and must properly address potholes, cracks and ice on sidewalks and in parking lots.

Proving who is at fault for a slip-and-fall claim

A victim of a slip-and-fall accident must prove that:
  • A dangerous condition led to the injury
  • The owner was in possession and control of the premises and negligent in not addressing the condition
  • The victim used the property in a safe manner and had not anticipated the condition
  • The owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition for a certain period of time
Those injured on a business property where the space is being rented out may hold both the owner and the tenant (possessor) responsible. The possessor may even be the property management company in some cases. Building code violations, such as the lack of a handrail in a stairwell, may be used as proof of negligence. Business owners who are facing allegations regarding slips, trips or falls should seek legal guidance regarding their rights and responsibilities before talking to the alleged victims' lawyers.]]>
On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[3 ways for landlords to help prevent housing discrimination claims]]> 2020-04-13T20:09:09Z 2020-04-13T19:00:01Z Know how to identify protected classes Most landlords have an obligation not to discriminate against renters. For a valid housing discrimination claim, though, individuals usually must be members of a protected class. The Fair Housing Act, for example, forbids discrimination based on any of the following:
  • Race, color or national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Family status
  • Disability
Recognizing these protected classes is the first step in avoiding a housing discrimination claim. Put simply, do not base any of your decisions as a landlord on these characteristics. You must also provide proper training for your staff regarding housing protections. If they violate the rules, the liability lands on you.  State law may provide additional protected classes in addition to those under federal law.

Document your actions and rental decisions

While you cannot take adverse housing action because of a person’s protected characteristics, you do not have to rent to everyone. On the contrary, many rental rejections are perfectly valid. Here are some reasons that may be acceptable:
  • Prior evictions
  • Bad credit
  • Poor references
  • Animal ownership
To protect yourself, always document your reasons for denying housing to an individual, family or business. Your detailed records may provide you with evidence should someone file an action against you. If you are unsure, consult with an attorney.

Limit your contact with the complainant if a claim is filed

If, despite your best efforts, you have received a discrimination complaint, it is important to stop talking to the complainant. It is better to say nothing at all than to have your words used against you. Instead, contact legal counsel for assistance if a claim was filed. Better yet, learn how you can help prevent potential discrimination actions in the first place. Housing discrimination claims have the potential to be quite serious. Therefore, you should never ignore a complaint, even if it seems frivolous. You also should not panic. Remember, with a bit of effort, you may be able to minimize your legal exposure.]]>
On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Malpractice claims for architects and engineers are on the rise]]> 2020-04-01T18:51:38Z 2020-04-01T17:08:59Z disciplines with the highest claim severity included:
  • Structural engineering
  • Architecture
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Civil engineering
“There was a long stretch there where everybody was very happy,” commented a partner at the brokerage Ames & Gough, which performed the survey. “Now, for whatever reason, we are seeing some claims creeping into the market.” Ames & Gough sent out surveys to 23 professional liability insurers, out of about 40 in the market. Fifteen firms answered the survey, but they accounted for the bulk of the professional liability market share. The survey found that 80% of the carriers saw professional liability premium growth in 2019 -- half with increases of 10% or greater. Forty percent of carriers said they had seen an increase in claims, many by as much as 10%. “One trend that I am seeing is higher limit demands across the board regardless of discipline and/or complexity of the project. We are inundated daily with specific project excess limit requests,” said the Ames & Gough partner.

With claims up, rates are on the rise

Increasing claims will put pressure on insurance rates, and this is the first time that has happened since the Great Recession. Eighty-two percent of companies surveyed are seeking increases of 5% or less, with the remaining companies raising rates by 6% to 10%. Some professional liability carriers blame the increasing claims at least partly on “social inflation,” which is the tendency of juries to hand down larger awards than they had in the past. Some specifically pointed to litigation funding firms as a driver of those larger awards. Regardless of the precise reason for increasing claims, this is an area professional liability insurers will need to take note of. Are your PLI claims rising?]]>
On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[5 areas where the coronavirus could affect insurers]]> 2020-03-17T19:35:00Z 2020-03-17T19:35:00Z five areas where insurers could see an impact from the virus: The 2003 SARS outbreak increased business for health insurance companies as more people sought coverage, especially in Asia. A company like Prudential Plc could stand to benefit, as it did in the first nine months of 2003, when it saw a 17% increase in new business. Moreover, insurers in Asia may see some help from the government, according to a recent Moody’s note. Events insurance may see some losses as more and more events are canceled due to the virus. “The largest event taking place is the Tokyo Olympics in July 2020. Industry experts anticipate coverage of approximately $2 billion for this event,” reads a recent Fitch Ratings note. “With conferences and sporting events,” notes a Morningstar analyst, “generally, you’ve got tight windows and, if you miss them, that could be the end of it for a year or two.” Travel insurance companies could take a hit, but it’s unlikely to be a big one. Most losses caused by epidemics are excluded unless the traveler took out additional disruption coverage. However, Allianz and AXA SA, at the least, have temporarily waived that condition for certain claims. Credit insurance providers could see a potentially large impact from the coronavirus, especially if the outbreak continues for some time. Credit insurance provides coverage to companies when the firms they do business with end up failing, and that could happen if the outbreak lasts long enough. If there’s a major pandemic, reinsurance could take significant losses. However, many clients don’t have pandemic risk covered by their reinsurance policies. Munich Re notes that it has about $556 million exposed to contingency losses. However, it sees its overall risk as limited as long as the pandemic doesn’t get too bad. Overall, insurers’ greatest financial risk could come from falling markets. The coronavirus has created upheaval across the markets and could contribute to a major economic slowdown. That could have a negative effect on business volumes and profitability.]]> On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Best ways to avoid fire safety code violations]]> 2019-11-14T21:41:52Z 2019-11-14T21:27:07Z How accessible is the building for the fire department? If the fire department had to visit your building, they must be able to easily locate it and enter. Be sure:
  • Fire lanes are clear in the parking lot or in front of the building
  • The address is easy to see from the street
  • Fire hydrants, if applicable, are visible and accessible
  • You have a key storage area that firefighters can access if needed during off-hours
Are indoor fire safety features functional? The fire marshal will check several details inside the building to ensure people can easily find their way out. This includes having hallways and stairs clear, fire doors easily operated by one person and the correct type of fire extinguishers in the correct spot for maximum utility. If your building requires sprinklers, these must meet their own requirements, as well. Is your electrical equipment updated and safe? Keep all large equipment in safe working order per the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep all outlets, boxes and breaker panels covered with the correct covers or plugs to avoid random sparks starting a fire or individuals touching live wires. Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring, and do not staple power cords to walls or furniture. Having everything in and around your buildings consistently up to code and approved by the fire marshal helps to prevent a serious emergency. It also helps you defend yourself in case one of your renters or employees tries to make an alleged fire safety code claim.]]>
On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Protect your business against slip, trip and fall lawsuits]]> 2019-08-23T03:03:57Z 2019-08-23T03:03:55Z prevention of slips, trips and falls. If a customer or employee falls due to the negligence of the property owner, he or she may file a premises liability lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim. This can have drastic legal and financial consequences. Here are some ways that your business can stop slips, trips and falls from occurring. Keep walkways clean and clear Keeping walking surfaces free of hazards is an effective way to reduce the chances of injury. Common hazards include:
  • Liquid spills
  • Torn carpeting
  • Boxes
  • Open drawers
  • Wires and cords
Be diligent in keeping areas free of spills and objects so people do not slip or trip. Install and maintain proper lighting Poor lighting can contribute to slips and trips. When customers and employees cannot see clearly, they are at a higher risk of sustaining an injury. Consider illuminating steps and using spotlights. Replace and repair lighting fixtures promptly. Use signage Sometimes, it is difficult to resolve every hazard right away. Your place of business may have freshly mopped floors, uneven ground or a sudden step. Implement clear signage or reflective tape to call attention to these areas. Increasing awareness is vital to preventing premises liability accidents. Pay attention to stairways It is common for people to fall on stairways. You can prevent these accidents by installing handrails, marking the bottom and top stairs with reflective tape and keeping stairwells well lit. Use nonskid mats or rugs Certain areas are more prone to becoming slippery, such as a bathroom, entrance or breakroom. Add nonslip mats or rugs in these areas to mitigate the risk of falls. Make sure you use nonskid pads underneath to prevent the mat from slipping out.]]>
On behalf of Szilagyi & Daly <![CDATA[Guarding a small business against liability]]> 2019-04-25T02:24:23Z 2019-04-25T02:24:21Z sue a company for a fall. Fortunately, the company caught the fake fall on surveillance video, and the man received criminal charges of theft by deception and insurance fraud. Surveillance cameras are just one way to protect a company from losing everything in a lawsuit. Here are three others.
  1. Purchase adequate insurance
Forbes notes that a small business owner may need many different types of insurance, including the following:
  • General and professional liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Business owner’s insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Data breach insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Renter’s or homeowner’s insurance
  • Personal umbrella insurance
  • Personal and commercial auto insurance
  1. Protect insurance policies
Companies can lose their coverage and make it difficult to purchase new policies. An insurance company may back out if a business owner does not comply with regulations, intentionally causes harm to employees or consumers, uses company money for personal purchases or provides invalid guarantees. Another way to lose insurance is to operate as the wrong business entity, such as a sole proprietorship operating as an LLC. Insurance coverage is usually specific to business classification.
  1. Train employees
An employee who neglects to clean up spills or drives the company car while reading a text is a liability. With proper training and an employee handbook that clearly defines policies and procedures, an employer has a much better chance of avoiding employee misconduct that leads to an injury and a lawsuit.]]>