urbanbike2-200x300A bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle late Monday in East Providence while riding on Willett Avenue close to midnight. The driver of the vehicle stopped after the crash and the East Providence police are investigating the details of the accident. Just this past June, a vehicle struck a 36-year-old cyclist while biking in Coventry and he sustained serious injuries. The man later died at Rhode Island Hospital due to his injuries. Biking can be a fun and relaxing pastime to see the beautiful views of Rhode Island or a convenient way to get to and from work. Unfortunately, sharing the road with cars, trucks, and SUV’s, and sometimes distracted drivers, can turn out to be a dangerous venture. East Providence bike accident lawyer David Tapalian is prepared to assist you if you have been hurt in a bike accident where you have incurred injuries and/or sustained damages due to a vehicle collision.

Bicycle Related Injuries & Deaths in Rhode Island

According to this data, Rhode Island seems to be one of the safer states to ride. In 2014, just two states, Rhode Island and Vermont, experienced zero bicycle fatalities. California and Florida top the list of states with the most bicyclist fatalities. About a third of biking injuries are caused when a vehicle crashes with a bicycle. Other common sources of bike injuries are falling, roads or walkways in disrepair, and rider error or negligence, among others. For tips on safer bike riding, visit these previous Tapalian Law blogs on bike safety tips here and here. If you have been hurt in a bike collision, a Rhode Island bike accident attorney can help you sort through the myriad of details to take care of after an accident and help get you on the road to recovery.

file0001178309337-300x200A four-year-old Texas boy died just a week ago after being mauled by his family’s dogs. The young boy’s mother left him in an enclosed trampoline with four dogs in the backyard. While the child was alone, the animals- three German shepherd-mixes and one pit bull- attacked and killed him. A neighbor found the little boy dead in the backyard, having been mauled to death. The four dogs were euthanized the same day as the deadly dog bite attack. According to neighbors, the family had at least 10 dogs, mostly aggressive breeds. The remainder of the dogs have been removed from the home. This young child’s death is a tragedy, and this dog bite fatality preventable, according to the dog bite attorneys at the Providence, RI personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law. Attorney David Tapalian is a dog bite lawyer well versed in Massachusetts dog bite laws and Rhode Island dog bite laws. Read our previous blog on differences between the RI Dog Bite Laws and MA Dog Bite Laws. Read on to find out statistics on dog bite fatalities and ways to protect yourself and your family from dog attacks.

2016 U.S. Dog Bite Statistics

In 2016, there were 31 fatalities in the United States due to dog attacks. Although the pit bull breed accounts for about 6% of the U.S. dog population, the breed is responsible for 71% (22) of these deaths, according to 2016 dog bite statistics. Rottweilers are listed as the second most lethal dog breed. Pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 77% of dog bite fatalities in the U.S. for 2016. Over the 12 year period of 2005 to 2016, both breeds of dog accounted for about 76% of all dog bite deaths in the United States. Of the 2016 deaths, almost half involved family dogs. Data shows that 42% of the casualties were to children under the age of 9, the youngest being a 3-day-old baby boy. The personal injury leading to these tragic deaths may include severe bite and perforation injuries to the head, neck, and throat, brain injury, and puncture wounds on other parts of the body.

So far, 29 children have died in hot-car fatalities in 2017 alone, and the year is only half over. Just this past week, two infants in Phoenix, Arizona died of heatstroke after being left in hot cars by their parents. It can take only minutes on a hot day for a car to reach dangerous temperatures inside and turn deadly for a baby or young child. Though death from heat stroke is not as prevalent here in Rhode Island as it is in some other parts of the United States, it is still a serious concern especially in the hot summer months, and one that the Senate is trying to address. The lawyers at the Providence personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law, would like to share with you some information about the proposed hot-car law and some tips on how to help prevent injury or death from heatstroke in children due to being left in a hot vehicle.

What is the Proposed HOT CARS Law?

Introduced by Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, the HOT CARS (Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats) Act of 2017 would require that vehicles are equipped with an alarm to alert the driver that there is a passenger remaining in the back seat after the car is turned off. Current technology allows our automobiles to alert us when lights are left on or keys are left in the vehicle after we exit. These particular alerts are not life-threatening but a similar alert for a child left in the car could certainly be life-saving and prevent injury or death to a young child. Similar legislation has been introduced in the past and backed by safety organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and AAA, however the regulations were never passed.

DSC_6876-300x201It may seem obvious, but if you’re going to get on a motorcycle, put on a helmet. The simple act of putting on a properly fitting helmet can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a motorcycle accident. Take the advice of the motorcycle accident lawyers at Tapalian Law – if you’re going to get on a motorcycle as a driver or passenger, wear a helmet. The best chance to protect your brain should you be involved in a critical accident, is by wearing a protective helmet. Consider the force and weight of a truck or SUV driving at top speed on the highway hitting an unprotected motorcycle rider. At least if the motorcyclist has head protection, they may stand a chance. Without head protection, the chance of death, traumatic brain injury, or other severe head trauma is much higher.

Rhode Island Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Rhode Island does not require motorcycle operators to wear a helmet. It does, however, require all passengers riding on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The exceptions to this rule are for those operators under the age of 21 as well as new operators within their first year or riding, regardless of age. Both are required to wear helmets at all times. Rhode Island requires a special license to operate a motorcycle in addition to the completion of an approved motorcycle safety course.

As Rhode Islanders, we’ve got it made in the summer. With close proximity to the Newport and Narragansett beaches, it’s no wonder tourists flock to Little Rhody this time of year. As local residents, we don’t have to drive far to cool off or find something fun to do. If lucky, we’ll get to the beach a handful of times or take a day trip to see some part of the state we’ve yet to see. Or maybe you want to escape the crowded beaches and head elsewhere. Either way, you and the family will be heading out on the road to drive to your destination. Summer is supposed to be easy and carefree, and Tapalian Law, your Providence car accident law firm, agrees. But as auto accident lawyers, it’s our duty to remind you to keep safety in mind as you are driving so you can reach your summer destination safely.

Before You Hit the Road

Before you jump in the SUV, or RV, whatever your preferred way to travel, you need to do some planning. A little advanced preparation can go a long way in preventing a car crash or a highway breakdown, and its consequences.  Even if you aren’t traveling far, car accidents commonly happen close to home, so it’s worth taking the extra measures recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Rhode Island scores another point in the fight against distracted driving. On Monday, Governor Gina Raimondo signed legislation that will outlaw the use of any hand-held “personal wireless communication device” used for talking while driving. Effective next summer, driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone will be considered illegal in Rhode Island. It will join the New England states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont, in creating the hand-held cell phone ban. As discussed in a recent Tapalian Law blog, Massachusetts is working towards joining the ban. Attorney David Tapalian is surely in agreement with other Providence car accident lawyers that this measure hopes to mark a decrease in the number of distracted driving auto accidents we see on a daily basis. Whether it be talking, texting, or using the GPS, there is no doubt using a cell phone while behind the wheel is a distraction.

New Law Is Effective June 1, 2018

The new law will fine violators up to $100. For “first time violators”, this can be suspended by showing proof of purchase of a hands-free device. Drivers will still be able to use cell phones while driving, but they must be used in a hands-free capacity. The exception to the rule is for emergency situations. Fourteen other states have a similar ban on hand-held devices while driving.

file000739321417-300x237There’s little debate as to whether talking or texting while driving is safe. Texting while driving is already banned in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as many other states, but will hand held cell phone use follow behind? It may soon, at least in Massachusetts. If passed, it would join neighboring Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York in banning the use of hand-held cellphones by motorists. This isn’t the first time the bill has been proposed in Massachusetts and although already approved by the Senate, it still has a way to go before becoming law. The auto accident attorneys at Tapalian Law agree this is a positive move on the road to reducing auto accident fatalities and injuries. Although texting while driving is already banned in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, we still see clients in our Providence, RI, and Seekonk, MA offices every day suffering from car accidents caused by distracted driving, like texting, that have caused them serious personal injury, time lost from work for doctor’s visits, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Bill Aims to Reduce Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving took nearly 3,500 lives in the United States in 2015. This bill would aim at helping to reduce deaths caused by distracted drivers, as well as car accidents resulting in other types of injuries and property damage. Currently, 46 states have banned texting while driving, and 14 states ban handheld devices. We see drivers everyday with cell phone in hand, either talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle. The bill would require the vehicle operator to pull over and be completely off the road in order to hold or touch a phone. The Mass bill would also make it illegal to access social media, video calls, or camera functions, or manually input data, such as to a GPS system, while driving. Exceptions would be made for a single swipe to activate hands-free functions or for certain emergency calls if there is no one else in the vehicle able to make the call.

file0001829472598-200x300School is over and the summer job search has begun for many Rhode Island teens. Parents are thrilled if their teen secures summertime employment to keep them busy, teach them responsibility, and earn some spending money. Before they begin though, it’s important they receive proper training in order to maintain a safe environment and avoid workplace injuries. Workplace injuries can have repercussions that can be life-altering to both the victim and their families, as the personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law see firsthand. Proper on the job training for teens is crucial. Teenagers can be eager to begin working and may not understand aspects of the workplace that are unsafe, or how to remedy a dangerous work situation.

Young Workers Have a Higher Rate of Injury than Older Workers

Teens need adequate training and extra supervision particularly when they are new to a position. They must be instructed on how to wear safety gear and operate equipment if necessary for their position. Otherwise their lack of experience and maturity, combined with insufficient job training, can result in a workplace injury. The most common injuries for working teens are cuts, sprains, strains, and falls. Male teens are hurt more often on the job than female teenagers. The majority of teen workplace injuries happen to 17-year-old’s, followed by 16-year-old’s. The most popular industries for young workers are the accommodation and food service, or restaurant, industries, followed by retail positions.

Your child is at the home of a classmate for a birthday party. During the party, you receive a phone call from the classmate’s parent- your son or daughter fell down some steps and cut their chin open and may need stitches. As you drive your upset child to the emergency room, you wonder- how did this happen? Where were the parents? What type of steps dida0b7bf6eb8febc2d57f7769bd6b44b66-300x260 your child fall on? Were they pushed by another kid? Was anyone supervising? What kind of medical treatment will be needed and how much will it cost? Will it be covered by my insurance plan? These are all valid questions and after an injury, they are all questions that you need answers to. The Providence personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law, can help you in getting answers to your questions after you, or your child, has suffered from a personal injury that incurred on the premises of another, whether it be a homeowner or business. This is known as premises liability.

Types of Premises Liability

Premises liability, a type of personal injury case, most commonly occurs as a slip & fall. A slip & fall may be due to an icy sidewalk, poor lighting, cracked sidewalk concrete, or improperly maintained steps, among other factors. Slip & falls most often occur in restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, sidewalks, driveways, and entry ways. It may be a spill left on the floor of a grocery store, or it could be a broken step leading to the entryway of a restaurant. Slip & falls, or trip & falls, can take place in a commercial setting, or a residential setting.

file0001323076736-300x163A Warwick man was charged in a hit and run crash Saturday night on West Shore Road after he fled the scene after hitting a motorcyclist with his SUV. Witnesses contacted the police, and the fleeing driver, 48-year-old Brian Larkin, was located and taken into police custody. Larkin was charged with duty to stop in an accident resulting in personal injury, and DUI serious bodily injury resulting. This follows a string of recent hit and runs in Rhode Island. A 65-year-old Central Falls man was the victim of a hit and run crash in April and died of his injuries. In May, a 63-year-old woman was killed in a Johnston hit and run accident. If you are hurt in a hit and run accident, how can you recover the damages you incurred if the driver who fled the scene cannot be found? You may wonder what, if any, options do you have? If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run crash, a Providence, Rhode Island car accident lawyer can assist you in exploring your options for recourse.

Actions to Take After a Hit & Run Accident

If you have been involved in an auto accident and the other driver has left the scene of the crash, you need to act quickly. Immediately make note of the description of the other vehicle, including color, type, and make and model (if possible) and its driver. Take down as many details as you can about the crash- location, time, and in what direction the other vehicle drove away. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses, their specifics of the accident, and what type of vehicle description they provide. Contact the police immediately and file a police report. Take photos of the crash scene and the damage to your vehicle or property. Contact any businesses or homes in the area that may have video surveillance of what occurred and the vehicle that fled. All of this will assist the police in locating the hit and run driver.

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