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Soft tissue injuries can result from car accidents

For people in Connecticut who have been injured in a car accident, some of the most common types of injuries are related to the soft tissue. These types of injuries are differentiated from injuries to bones and cartilage; instead, they primarily effect muscles, ligaments and tendons. Sprains, strains, soreness and tears represent some of the common forms that these injuries take.

During a car accident, the people inside a vehicle can be sharply jolted around, causing soft tissue to stretch suddenly, leading to tearing and other damage. Attempts to prevent a crash like braking sharply and entering a brace position can also lead to soft tissue injuries accompanied by swelling, bleeding or pain. These common injuries do not appear on X-rays and can be more difficult to diagnose than other damage like a broken bone.

Trucking organization appeals sleep apnea ruling

Connecticut readers may be interested in learning that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is appealing the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to dismiss its sleep apnea lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It alleges that the agency implemented an illegal change to the sleep apnea screening procedures for truck drivers.

According to the OOIDA lawsuit, a 2013 Congressional statute mandated that the FMCSA use the formal rulemaking process to alter sleep apnea provisions for truck drivers. It further claims that the agency violated that statute when it included a change to sleep apnea procedures on a 2015 rule aimed at the forms medical examiners use to complete Department of Transportation physicals. The sleep apnea change was not included in the original proposal for the rule, which means it circumvented the public notice and comment periods that are typically part of the formal rulemaking process.

Mental health factors affect women's work injury rates

Both employers and employees in Connecticut should know about a new study that suggests a link between mental health factors and an increase in women's work injury rates. Though the authors of the study admit that further research will be necessary to determine why this link exists in the first place, the results are noteworthy nonetheless.

The study was conducted by the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. Researchers analyzed the injury claims filed by 314 businesses with the state's largest provider of workers' compensation insurance, Pinnacol Assurance. More than 17,000 employees were represented from industries of all types, holding everything from labor and construction positions to executive positions.

Trucking industry seeks revision of hours of service regulations

Sharing a roadway with excessively tired tractor-trailer drivers can be a frightening thought for many Connecticut drivers. Because of the weight and mass of large trucks and buses, accidents involving these vehicles can be deadly or cause serious personal injuries. Despite the risks to roadway safety posed by drowsy drivers piloting massive trucks, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is seeking to make changes to truck drivers' regulations for hours of work in order to make them more flexible.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates a 14-hour driving clock each day for truck drivers as well as a 30-minute rest break during their first 8 hours on duty. Under the proposal of the OOIDA, drivers would not be mandated to take the 30-minute break. Instead, they would be eligible to stop the 14-hour clock at any time during their shift for a voluntary rest break of up to three hours consecutively. Under the proposal, drivers would still need to take 10 hours off duty before beginning their next shift.

Collision avoidance systems shown to prevent car crashes

Many Connecticut drivers are aware that driving can be a dangerous activity, especially as drowsy and distracted drivers are found on the roadways. However, a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that collision avoidance systems like lane departure warning systems and blind spot alerts can save lives.

For the study, more than 5,000 accidents that took place over the course of 2015 were analyzed. The accidents included in the study involved situations that the lane departure and blind spot warning systems were designed to protect against. These were compared to accidents that involved vehicles with the warning alert systems installed. It was found that head-on and sideswipe accidents were 11 percent lower in vehicles that were equipped with the warning systems. Ultimately, it was estimated that more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015 if all vehicles were equipped with these two warning systems.

Spousal support could be affected by tax law changes

From property division to spousal support, financial issues have been some of the most significant factors for Connecticut couples going through a divorce. Alimony payments are already a contested issue in many divorces, leading to lengthy negotiations and even court battles. Spousal support issues could become even more complex, however, following the adoption of changes to the U.S. tax code in Dec. 2017.

While each state has an individualized approach to spousal support, there has also been a uniform federal tax approach to the finalized payments. In federal tax law, the payer of alimony has been able to deduct those payments from their income taxes. Meanwhile, the recipient of spousal support reports the income and pays taxes on it alongside their other income. However, as of Jan. 1, 2019, this situation will flip as alimony payers will no longer be eligible for a tax deduction. On the other hand, support recipients will no longer need to pay taxes on the income received.

It takes two - except when you're in a single car accident

One misconception people have about motor vehicle accidents is that "It takes two" - two or more vehicles to justify a claim.

Some drivers are embarrassed to say they were injured while sitting along in their cars - as if it makes them appear foolish.

Contempt may precede a divorce

There are a few key communication patterns that may determine if a Connecticut couple is likely to get a divorce. However, showing contempt toward a spouse may be the most likely indicator that a marriage is not going to work out. Those who show contempt toward a partner may be saying that they don't respect them or think highly of them.

Actions that display contempt for another person include mocking, teasing or name-calling. When a person doesn't have respect for his or her partner, it may be difficult to strengthen a marital bond. At some point, an individual may begin to tune a spouse out, which may make it harder to communicate. Unless a couple learns how to change the way that they communicate, it may be difficult to save the marriage and avoid a divorce.

OSHA lost safety inspectors during 2017

Connecticut workers may be disturbed to learn that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration lost 4 percent of its federal inspection force during President Trump's first year in office. OSHA inspectors visit workplaces across the country to issue citations for safety violations. They also note hazardous conditions that may lead to on-the-job accidents.

According to media reports, OSHA lost 40 inspectors through retirement, resignation and other forms of attrition last year. Those positions remained empty as of Oct. 2, 2017, and the losses left the agency with less than 1,000 total inspectors. However, the U.S. Department of Labor told media outlets that "several" new inspectors have been hired and around 25 more are being recruited.

Treating trucks with respect can prevent accidents

More than 2 million tractor-trailers travel U.S. roadways, and sharing the road with vehicles that can weigh as much as 40 tons can be unnerving for motorists in Connecticut and around the country. Collisions with large and heavy commercial vehicles tend to end badly for passenger vehicle occupants, but remaining vigilant and eschewing ill-advised maneuvers can help drivers to avoid accidents and allow them to reach their destinations unharmed.

Few passenger vehicle drivers have spent time behind the wheel of a semi-tractor trailer, and they are not used to coping with large blind spots while maintaining control of cumbersome vehicles. Maintaining proper distances is crucial when navigating around trucks that require the length of almost two football fields to brake to a halt from 55 mph, and being stuck between two tractor-trailers is a particularly unenviable position to be in when evasive action is required.

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