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.

ae6420996a78ec187173ea935b782226-300x199After two years of litigation, a jury awarded $3.8 Million to 24-year-old Anthony Ellis for damages sustained in a serious motorcycle accident. The crash left the motorcycle rider with life-changing injuries. The award, $3.5 Million of which is for non-economic damages, will help the accident victim regain a sense of direction and find closure after an arduous physical recovery and contentious legal battle. As personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law, we know the severity of injuries that can result from a motorcycle crash. We help victims of motorcycle accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts recover compensation after being hit by a car and suffering life-threatening complications like head trauma, brain injuries, and broken bones. Recovery from a major collision is often painstakingly extensive for the hurt victim and a tumultuous time for the person’s family.

Insurance Company Refused Settlement for Accident Injuries

The crash took place in 2016 while Ellis was riding his motorcycle north on U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview, Florida and he was “t-boned” by the driver of a car who made a left turn in front of him. The collision threw Ellis and his motorcycle into a drainage ditch causing him severe injuries that required lengthy medical treatment. His left knee required surgical reconstruction and the bones of his left foot were dislocated and broken. The victim also broke his right finger and right toe, and pieces of gravel were removed from his right knee. For over a year the at-fault driver’s insurance company, GEICO, chose not to settle the injury claim within the parameters of its insureds’ coverage. They disputed the accident was the full fault of their insured by claiming Ellis was riding his motorcycle with the headlights off. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mr. Ellis in the Florida judicial system after his lawyers were unable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with GEICO.

file000480371600-300x217With the arrival of Spring, electric scooters abound in Providence. Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters, are still new to the downtown scene having only arrived to cities nationwide in 2018. Being in their relative infancy, e-scooters and their safety have not yet been studied extensively. As personal injury lawyers in Providence, we know that like a pedestrian or bicyclist, sharing the road with cars and trucks in such close proximity poses a huge safety risk, especially to riders not protected by a helmet.  Although the guidelines outlined in the Providence E-Scooter Pilot Program, include the need for riders to obey traffic laws and encourage riders to wear helmets, plenty of electric scooters can be seen zipping around the city driving recklessly and unfortunately, most riders are not wearing a helmet.  Marked by a rise in serious injuries to e-scooter users, especially first-time users, this safety concern was the catalyst for a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas’ Austin Public Health Department to find out why there is such a high prevalence of injuries among electric scooter operators.

What Prompted the Investigation into E-Scooter Injuries?

A considerable rise in emergency room visits for users and pedestrians prompted Austin, Texas city leaders to request an investigation by the CDC into scooter-related crashes and injuries. Seeking alternative modes of transportation in the big city, especially emission-free transportation, Austin residents took to the streets when the e-scooters arrived. Following this, emergency rooms in the area began to notice a large number of visits from electric scooter drivers with broken bones and head injuries. The ER visits included injuries both minor and major, such as a University of Texas student, a star baseball shortstop, that missed his season after he hit a pothole riding an electric scooter tearing his Achilles tendon and requiring surgery. In January 2019, Austin experienced its first scooter related death when a 21-year-old University of Texas student died a day after suffering critical injuries after his electric scooter collided with a car.

photo_37571_20150421-200x300In an awful tragedy, a 15-month-old little girl was bitten by a dog and died this weekend in Las Vegas.  After being transported to the hospital, the toddler later succumbed to injuries inflicted by a rottweiler owned by a family friend. Incidentally, Las Vegas is located within Clark County, one of the four counties in the U.S. with the highest rate of fatal dog mauling’s.  Although rottweilers and pit bulls seem to be the breeds most often heard of in the news, as Rhode Island dog bite lawyers, Tapalian Law has seen dog bite injuries that happen by even the most seemingly docile family dogs. No one is safe from a dog bite.

All Breeds of Dog Can Bite

Pit bulls and rottweilers are typically the breeds that get a bad rap. Although statistics show that these two breeds account for over 76% of dog bite fatalities during the period of 2005-2017 (with pit bulls making up 65.6.5%, rottweilers 10.4%), any breed of dog can inflict damage. What makes the bite of a pit bull so significant is not the frequency of biting, but the severe damage it causes when it bites. The breed tends to have a “hold and shake” bite style that can result in acute bone and muscle damage, permanent and disfiguring injuries, and sometimes death. As dog bite attorneys in Rhode Island, we have seen clients left with permanent scarring and disfigurement of their face and body by a number of different types of dogs, even small breeds. Severe dog bites to the face can be especially distressing when they leave a permanent reminder, like a scar, a person must see in the mirror every day. When a dog inflicts a serious injury on a young child who has not yet finished growing, future surgeries are typically necessary to accommodate changes to the scar or disfigurement as the child’s body grows and changes.

Texting-Driving-Female-3-300x225Texting while driving has been illegal in Rhode Island for many years now and less than a year ago the state banned the use of hand-held devices while driving. But as we all know; it still continues and we see first-hand the detrimental effects of car accidents caused by cell phone use and distracted driving every day as personal injury lawyers in Providence. In an effort to promote the severity of distracted driving, Rhode Island State Police stopped 813 vehicles during a highway safety campaign last week issuing 93 warnings or citations to drivers for using cell phones for texting or making phone calls while operating a vehicle. Tapalian Law feels strongly about promoting the dangers of texting and cell phone use while driving since April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, but also throughout the year in an effort to keep Rhode Island motorists safe on the road. The number of people hurt or killed in distracted driving crashes each day in the U.S., at least nine fatalities and 100 injured, speak for themselves about the severity of this preventable problem in Rhode Island and across the country.

What is the Fine for Texting & Driving in Rhode Island?

The State Police emphasize the dangers of distracted driving, especially texting and using a hand-held cell phone while driving, and fines are assessed in hopes of deterring negligent drivers in Rhode Island and preventing car accidents. Drivers using a cell phone while operating a vehicle in Rhode Island can be fined up to $100 and those texting while driving can be fined up to $100 along with a possible 30-day license suspension. Use of earphones, headsets, headphones, or similar devices while driving or riding a bike may lead to a fine of up to $85. The fines may seem hefty to some, but are a small price to pay to prevent a car crash and avoid potential serious injury and death.

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