Child Injuries Caused by Motorists Failure to Stop for School Bus

A recent video posted by ABC World News shows the gross negligence and recklessness of drivers as they pass school buses unloading children. While the video is national in scope, Connecticut statistics for infractions issued for failure to stop for a school bus show that our State has a similar problem.

Connecticut General Statute 14-279 requires that any motor vehicle shall immediately stop not less than 10 feet in front of or behind a school bus displaying flashing red lights on any highway, private road, parking area or school grounds. Authorized emergency vehicles are also required to stop. It should be noted that the statute only requires the bus to display flashing red lights, and does not require use of the STOP sign commonly found on the sides of buses.

In 2011, there were 582 ticketed offenses for passing an unloading school bus. Between 2007 and 2011 there were a total of 3,107 ticketed offenses. Those are the numbers JUST for Connecticut. That’s 3,107 potentially life threatening injuries to children.

When the law was first being enacted in 1985, the Executive Director of the Connecticut School Transportation Association at that time, Robin Leeds, called the passing of unloading school buses “the most serious problem in school transportation”. She noted that back then “all our fatalities occur here” and “our most severe injuries as well”.

The fine for passing a school bus unloading children is $450 per occurrence. However, the main risk is that of injuring a child. When injury is caused to another in the process of breaking a law, that action is considered negligence per se. Therefore, drivers passing a school bus that injure a child shall be liable for the injuries to that child without having to prove negligence; negligence will be assumed by the court.

Between football injuries and bullying, many parents spend a lot of time worrying about how safe their children are at school. However, there seems to be just as much if not more risk in getting the children to and from school safely. If your child is injured in an accident while getting on or off of a school bus remember one thing: it was not an accident, it was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. You should seek the help of experienced personal injury attorneys, especially those with experience handling child injury matters. At G&G Law, LLC our attorneys work together to combine their experiences in personal injury matters and their experience in representing the welfare and interests of children, to seek proper compensation for injured children and their parents.

The ABC World News Video can be seen HERE.

Town of Bethel Approves 71 Home Toll Brothers Development Named “Bethel Crossings”

Driving past the Bethel Police Station, one quickly notices that work has recently begun on a new development on Maple Avenue and Maple Avenue Extension. The development, named “Bethel Crossings”, shall consist of 71 two store single family homes on 2.6 acres.

Toll Brothers, a real estate development company with offices in Newtown, was able to obtain town approval with multiple stipulations from the Planning & Zoning and Inland Wetlands commissions.

Toll Brothers shall set aside 6 acres for open space, and the developments drainage plan is to help the surrounding area control flooding.

A New Times article regarding the approved development can be found here.

After Obergefell: Tax Implications for Same-Sex Couples

By: Thomas S. Groth, Esq

[NOTE: I am a Connecticut Lawyer who is authorized to practice in front of the IRS and admitted to US Tax Court and US District Court in Connecticut, but I am not YOUR lawyer. This post contains general information only and should not be relied upon for your particular situation. You should speak to your own attorney, or call me with any questions. Opinions are my own, not necessarily the Firm’s.]

Photo Credit: My good friends, Kevin and Jack on their honeymoon.

Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Now what?

You’ve probably heard already about the Supreme Court ruling last week, in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. So what does this mean for same-sex couples? Keep reading to find out.

Read more

What Loan Changes Trigger the Mandatory 3 Day Closing Review?

While the new Closing Disclosure rules set out by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) have been delayed until October 1st, the question of whether the new closing procedures will delay their closing is still an issue for many new home buyers. The answer to the this question will heavily depend on whether the new 3 day review period is triggered by changes in the home buyer’s loan package.

Under the new real estate Closing Disclosures for residential properties, a Federally mandated 3 day review is necessary for “material changes” in the loan underlying that purchase. The CFPB claims that Only THREE changes require a new 3-day review:

  1. The APR (annual percentage rate) increases by more than 1/8 of a percent for fixed-rate loans or 1/4 of a percent for adjustable loans;
  2. A prepayment penalty is added, making it expensive to refinance or sell; or
  3. The basic loan product changes, such as a switch from fixed rate to adjustable interest rate or to a loan with interest-only payments.

The logic behind requiring a mandatory review for such material changes seems obvious. These changes will have an effect on the monthly payments and other important considerations when taking on the burden of a home loan as the borrower. The Borrower, or home buyer, will therefore need counsel from their attorney as to the consequences of these material changes in their loan structure.

Other changes, while effecting the Closing Disclosure, will have to be shown on the Closing Disclosure Form, but are not considered of a sufficiently material nature by the CFPB to necessitate a 3 day review. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Unexpected discoveries on a walk-through such as a broken refrigerator or a missing stove, even if they require seller credits to the buyer.
  • Most changes to payments made at closing, including the amount of the real estate commission, taxes and utilities proration, and the amount paid into escrow.
  • Typos found at the closing table.

Home buyers serviced by competent loan officer and mortgage underwriters, and represented by experienced real estate attorneys, can rest assured that their closing will run as smooth as possible under the current Federal guidelines.