bike ridersHaving personally seen the crucial, life-saving consequences of wearing a helmet while riding a bike, Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian cannot underestimate the importance of this simple, yet essential, safety measure. At Tapalian Law, we have a number of bike accident clients who wouldn’t be here today if not for the critical decision they made to put on a bike helmet. Wearing a helmet is the single, most effective way for a bike rider to reduce their risk of suffering a serious, and sometimes fatal, head injury in a bicycle accident.

A number of states, including Rhode Island, require mandatory helmets for particular age groups, but there are no statewide laws that require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets. The National Transportation Safety Board wants to change that. The NTSB issued a recommendation this week “that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, require that all persons wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.”  The question remains- should RI require all bicyclists to wear a helmet?

What Do We Know About Helmet Safety?

bike laneThe City of Providence’s decision to remove a recently installed bike lane on Eaton Street has cyclists in Rhode Island up in arms. Providence’s first two-way bike lane, newly completed in early September of this year at a cost of over $63,000, will be dismantled amid concerns and complaints by local residents, for an additional cost of $64,000.  Rhode Island bicyclists may have good reason to be upset. The majority of bike accidents occur in urban areas and as bicycle accident lawyers, we know one of the best ways to ensure safety for bicyclists is to have designated, safe cycling lanes. Clearly identified and designated bike lanes are essential to ensure safety for vulnerable cyclists and were included in the City’s “Great Streets Initiative” which proposed 60 mikes of bike lanes, including the new lane on Eaton Street.

When Bikes & Cars Collide

When a bicycle and motor vehicle collide, as expected it’s the person on the bike who bears the brunt of the impact and suffers serious injuries, which are sometimes fatal. Across the U.S., 783 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2017. Despite what many Rhode Islanders feel is a step in the wrong direction with the removal of the Eaton Street bike lane, many cities including Providence are developing plans to make bicycle and pedestrian travel safer in urban areas. Bicycle traffic will increase with these safety initiatives while drivers of cars are more distracted than ever; this makes it more important than ever to have access to an experienced Providence bicycle accident attorney if you are injured. Municipalities across Rhode Island are encouraging more bicycle traffic and designated bike lanes are becoming clearly marked throughout the state making it apparent that bicycles are welcome.  Cities and towns will need to do more to make bicycling safer for everyone throughout Rhode Island.

car dashboardBuying a new car today requires a lot of research, not just to review safety scores and dependability, but to choose from the myriad of safety options and technology that are available. A number of safety features now come standard when purchasing a new vehicle, such as back-up cameras required in all new vehicles effective May 2018, but other options will bump up the sticker price quite a bit.  While some auto buyers won’t mind the price jump if they feel they are getting the most advanced safety and technology features out there, other buyers will be deterred by the costly options. We explained how a number of these features work in a two-part Tapalian Law Rhode Island Accident Lawyer blog, Driver Assistance Technologies- Sorting Through the Options Part 1 and Part 2.

With all of the cutting-edge safety technologies available, some critics still think not enough is being done to keep drivers and pedestrians safe from car accidents. The goal should be “fewer, not smarter, cars”, reports opinion writer Allison Arieff in a recent New York Times article, because despite all of the latest cutting-edge features available in today’s new vehicles, far too many fatal car accidents and serious injuries are still happening.

Increase in Pedestrian Deaths

spine xrayAs a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer, Attorney David Tapalian is aware that a spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating types of injury one can encounter in a car accident.  An acute injury to the spinal cord can leave a person without function, movement, or sensation in their body and primarily confined to a wheelchair.  The leading causes of spinal cord injuries in Rhode Island are motor vehicle accidents and injuries due to trauma, such as a serious fall or sports-related injury. A spinal cord injury due to a car accident can affect multiple neurological systems throughout the body and partial paralysis of certain organs and limbs is not uncommon. The psychological impact due to such injuries can be equally devastating.

Typically, treatment options are few and far between. However, there is hope on the horizon in Rhode Island for spinal cord injuries as a local team researches novel possibilities. Injury Attorney Tapalian’s alma mater, Brown University, and the Carney Institute for Brain Science, have teamed up in an effort to find innovative treatments for significant spinal cord injuries.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury? 

slip & fall signageA recent change to the law in Rhode Island will make slip and fall cases easier for injured plaintiffs to recover. Prior to the passage of this 2019 law, insurance companies would use the argument of an “open and obvious” danger, as a total bar to the plaintiff’s recovery. With the new slip and fall law in Rhode Island, passed on July 15, 2019, this barrier to recovery on a slip and fall accident in Rhode Island, is forever removed. For instance, prior to this law a landlord that had an “open and obvious” defect due to its size or location, such as a violation of the state’s building code, may have been able to claim the person injured on their property was negligent due to the “open and obvious” nature of the danger. Many Rhode Island personal injury attorneys are in support of the new law, while others feel it will create issues such as compromising the court’s ability to resolve cases in a timely manner and generate pressure on landlords.

How Changes Will Affect the Rhode Island Slip & Fall Law

Prior to the enactment of the new law, insurance companies were able to keep plaintiff’s slip and fall cases away from the jury. Landlords and their insurance companies would be able to skirt any responsibility for your injury, if they could convince a judge that the danger was open and obvious. That is, defense counsel would file a motion to dismiss your case with an argument that plaintiff should have been aware of the danger, since it was an open and obvious defect.  With the removal of this barrier to slip and fall cases in Rhode Island, more claims will now be able to proceed to a jury for their findings of defendant’s negligence.

providence car accidentProvidence Car Accident Lawyer David Tapalian recently recovered $85,000 for a Tapalian Law client involved in a rear-end collision accident where the impact caused significant damage to the client’s GMC Sierra pickup truck. Our client, a local resident, was stopped in traffic on Allens Avenue in Providence, RI when he had the unfortunate luck to be struck from behind by another vehicle with substantial force enough to bend the metal rear bumper downwards.

The crash resulted in damage to both vehicles, as noted on the police report, and the victim consulted with Tapalian Law shortly after the accident.  Despite the significant bumper damage, we knew immediately upon reviewing the pictures of the damaged truck, that the defendant’s insurance company would argue that the impact was not considerable enough to cause physical damage to the plaintiff, our client.  If the insurance company can argue that an impact was not sizable, they then argue that there is no causation to our client’s injuries when it comes time to settle the car accident claim.  However, we knew from the accident reconstruction experts that our personal injury firm in Rhode Island deals with, that this was a significant rear-end hit.

Although our client complained of pain at the scene of the crash, he did not want to be transported by rescue to receive medical assistance.  As a car accident attorney in Providence, David Tapalian always urges clients to seek immediate medical care after an auto accident, regardless of how you feel at the time. As expected, the day following the vehicle crash our client was experiencing pain and visited an urgent care center with reports of pain in the lower back, radiating down the left leg, as well as tingling and shooting pain down his left arm.  As recommended by the urgent care physician, our client tried a significant course of physical therapy.  Even with the physical therapy, his symptoms remained.  He then treated with a pain specialist with his chief complaint being lower back pain.  Our client articulated that the pain occurred after the accident and his Rhode Island physician administered two sets of therapeutic and diagnostic right lumbar facet medial branch blocks. Our client then treated with a different modality of treatment, namely chiropractic care.  Even upon discharge from all medical care, he had residual pain and his health was not returned to pre-accident status.

coventry-car-accident-PIC-300x169Attorney David Tapalian, a Coventry car accident lawyer, recently obtained a $50,000 full policy limit settlement award for a young woman injured in a horrific auto accident in Coventry. The teenager was struck at a high speed by a drunk driver and was very fortunate to survive the crash. The impaired driver, and at fault party, only had $50,000 in policy limits and only after much fighting with Allstate Insurance and finally filing a civil action, was Tapalian Law able to obtain the full policy limits for this terrible impact.

Drunk Driver Cause of Coventry Car Accident

The significant head-on collision occurred on Main Street in Coventry, Rhode Island, when the defendant crossed over the yellow line into the opposite lane of travel. The crash was clearly caused by the highly intoxicated defendant.  The responding Coventry police officer provided a very thorough description in his police narrative and took his time to be extremely detailed in describing the defendant’s impairments.  Found inside the defendant’s vehicle were numerous empty beer bottles, flasks with fluid, rum bottle with fluid, a cognac bottle with fluid and a full-size police style expandable baton. This individual was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol at the scene of the accident.

cropped-300x225Tapalian Law is pleased to announce a $205,000 award in a recent settlement for a North Providence, RI car accident client. Our client was awarded the compensation for injuries sustained in a rear-end collision that took place on Douglas Avenue. The settlement was proudly accomplished by our dedicated North Providence car accident lawyers. Attorney David Tapalian and his personal injury team worked diligently on the claim to pursue maximum monetary recovery for the injured man. For over 20 years, Tapalian Law has helped victims of car accidents in North Providence, and all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts, seek just compensation for their injuries and get back on the road to recovery.

The crash occurred when our client was stopped on Douglas Avenue facing northbound and his car was struck from behind by another vehicle, operated by the defendant.  The resulting impact of the rear-end crash pushed our client’s car into the vehicle in front of him. Though this impact was forceful enough to cause significant personal injury, the insurance company argued otherwise.

You may be surprised to learn that some insurance companies use a computerized system to analyze photographs of the impact to vehicles.  These insurance companies use the computerized data to place a monetary value on the injured person’s claim, comparing the vehicle damage to the clients resulting injuries.  In this case, almost immediately the insurance company began their game of arguing that our client’s injuries could not be caused by the accident. Based on the relatively minor impact to his car, the insurance company claimed his injuries couldn’t be that serious. However, as an experienced North Providence car accident attorney David Tapalian knew differently and could see that liability was clear-cut in this case.

cumberland-car-accident-pic-300x225Tapalian Law is pleased to announce a $135,000 settlement by Rhode Island car accident lawyer David Tapalian and his legal team. Our client, a passenger in a vehicle traveling south on Mendon Road in Cumberland, was seriously injured in a horrific side impact accident in early 2017. The crash took place when another vehicle struck the front passenger side of the car she was riding in, resulting in a serious collision that totaled both vehicles. This particular stretch of Mendon Road is especially dangerous due to the high volume of vehicle traffic coupled with the numerous intersections that feed into the road and we’ve seen a number of collisions take place in this area of Cumberland.

The driver of the vehicle that hit our client was found to be 100% at fault for the collision. In determining liability, a passenger is very rarely ever found to have fault. Distracted, the motorist claimed he did not see the victim’s car as he pulled out of Bemus Avenue onto Mendon Road. This costly turn would have a lasting impact on our client’s life.  She reported immediate pain at the scene of the crash and was transported by ambulance to Landmark Medical Center for treatment where she reported excruciating pain throughout her body immediately following the accident. As a Cumberland car accident attorney, David Tapalian always tells clients to be proactive with seeking medical treatment. Even if you do not feel immediate pain following an accident, it is always safest to seek medical attention either via ambulance, visiting a local medical walk-in, or your family physician right away. The success of this victim’s settlement was partly due to her diligence in reporting her pain immediately.

Injured Victim Not a Candidate for Surgery

American-flag-300x226As July 4th approaches, many Rhode Islanders are preparing for fireworks, barbecues, or a day at the beach.  Independence Day is all about celebrating our freedom as a country. However, our freedom comes with many responsibilities, like driving safely. With large numbers of people celebrating the holiday, distracted and impaired drivers are taking to the roads at much higher volumes and thus, car accidents are more likely than at any other time during the summer. Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney David Tapalian wants everyone to have a fun and safe holiday, and reminds you to be aware of the dangers of driving this summer holiday weekend.

Independence Day Crashes Can Be Deadly

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 565 people will be killed and 64,500 will be seriously injured in car accidents on the Fourth of July. This is almost 5 times the number of fatalities, and 6 times the number of injuries that occur on an average day. The Independence Day holiday is technically considered a four day period, which starts late on Wednesday, July 3rd and ends on Sunday, July 7th. Thus, any of the days during this period are known to be especially dangerous for drivers. Below is more information to keep you informed as we head into the holiday weekend.

Contact Information