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.

DSC05698-B-300x225Most everyone has seen the mug shot of Tiger Woods after his recent arrest for DUI in Jupiter, Florida. Upon hearing of his arrest for driving under the influence, or DUI, many automatically assumed he was under the influence of alcohol and driving drunk. After all, it was reported his speech was slurred, he failed basic roadside sobriety tests, and he was falling asleep at the wheel. All classic signs of alcohol impaired driving, and all too recognizable by the auto accident lawyers at Tapalian Law, as signs of a dangerous and impaired driver. While a crime often used to charge drunk drivers, DUI, or driving while impaired (DWI) includes not just driving under the influence of alcohol, but can also be impairment from other drugs, both recreational and prescription drugs, or a combination of any of these substances. The impairment by the substance, or combination of substances, brings the driver to a level rendering them incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely. In the case of Tiger Woods, it appears he was not using alcohol, but was influenced by several medications, reportedly including Vicodin (an opioid pain reliever), Torix (an anti-inflammatory), and another sleeping medication. Due to a recent back surgery Woods had undergone, these types of medications would not be uncommon after a major surgery.

DUI Involving Prescription Drugs a Growing Problem in America

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of drivers involved in fatal auto crashes testing positive for drugs has doubled in the past 10 years. Illicit drugs are included in these figures but the lesser known drugs involved in these crashes are prescription medications, over the counter drugs, and supplements. Often times accidental overdoses occur as many patients do not comprehend the impact that mixing prescription drugs with other drugs, even as seemingly simple as allergy medication, or alcohol, can have on them. In fact, it is reported that nearly half of men and two-thirds of woman over the age of 65, are taking five or more medications at once. Sometimes a patient may forget that they took a medication already, and take it again, resulting in an overdose with impairing effects. It’s not always possible to predict the outcome that a combination of drugs, both prescription and non-prescription, will have on a person. The situation is even more difficult to predict when a patient is taking multiple drugs, prescribed by multiple doctors.

laAs summer in Rhode Island nears, so does lawn mowing season. It’s a good choice to have kids and teens helping with the household chores, but think twice before assigning them to the task of mowing the lawn. Lawnmower accidents and injuries are more common than you may think, and can be quite traumatic. In fact, it is advised that youngsters are not involved with lawn mowing until they are of a certain age and maturity. The Providence personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law want to share with you the devastating impact lawnmower injuries can have on children and adults, and share with you some practical tips for keeping kids safe from these mostly preventable injuries.

AAP Recommendations for Appropriate Age to Use a Lawnmower

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons agree that children under the age of 16 do not use a ride on mower and that kids under the age of 12 should not use either a push mower or a ride on mower. Children and teenagers do not yet have the maturity and focus to operate these pieces of heavy machinery. They often lack the ability to properly anticipate issues and can be easily distracted from a task, being more likely to result in an injury. It is advised that parents don’t allow a child to ride as a passenger on ride-on mowers and to not use a lawnmower for joy rides for children. It is recommended that children under the age of 6 are kept indoors while mowing. Not only can injuries occur due to the lawnmower itself, but young children playing outdoors during mowing can also be hurt by sticks or rocks that are spit out by a lawnmower.

file0001704977235-300x225Rhode Island has taken a big step toward protecting young children. The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently passed legislation to require young children under the age of two, or weighing less than 30 pounds, to ride in rear-facing car seats in vehicles. The bill will now move onto the Rhode Island Senate, where it is supported by the Senate President, as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), AAA, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Lifespan, and the RI State Police. With these substantial supporters, it is hopeful the bill will pass and go a long way in helping to protect Rhode Island’s youngest. At Tapalian Law, personal injury attorney David Tapalian feels strongly about supporting legislation that can protect victims from vehicle accident injuries, especially the youngest ones who rely on us to keep them safe. Car accident injuries can be especially damaging to children’s small bodies making it even more important to take every safety measure possible to keep them protected.

Current Rhode Island Child Car Seat Law

If this bill passes, Rhode Island would join California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Oklahama, in making rear facing car seats a requirement for kids under two. It has long been recommended by safety experts to keep small children in rear facing car seats as long as possible, but by making it a requirement, Rhode Islanders will now be required to follow this advice or face fines. Current RI Child Car Seat Belt Law requires the following for children:

file1771342660673-300x200Riding a bike is a great way to get in shape, enjoy the fresh air, and spend time with family and friends. However, did you know that bicycles are associated with more injuries than skateboards, trampolines, playgrounds, and swimming pools combined? May is National Bike Safety Month, a time to celebrate the pleasures and benefits of cycling but also a good time to remind ourselves and the children we love about bike safety. Whether you ride your bike to commute to work, or for pure recreation, personal injury attorney David Tapalian of Tapalian Law in Providence wants to remind you to stay alert and take precautions to protect yourself from bike injuries. As a car accident law firm focused on vehicle accidents and their ensuing personal injuries, we feel it’s our responsibility to share some bicycle safety tips to help keep you and the ones you love safe. Rhode Island is home to many bike-friendly communities but with over 80 million bike riders sharing the road with millions of motor vehicles, taking safety precautions cannot be emphasized enough.

Risks of Bicycling

Unless you are riding on a designated bike path, most likely you are sharing the road with cars and trucks. A bike accident can happen anywhere, but injuries from a bike accident more often take place when automobiles are involved. Drivers need to be aware they are sharing the road with not just other cars, but also the more vulnerable bicyclists. The most important point to remember when getting on a bicycle is to wear a proper safety helmet. Many states, including Rhode Island, require them. When involved in a crash or collision, the foremost part of the body to go forward is usually the head. Without a helmet for protection, the results can be fatal. Statistics estimate that cyclists wearing a helmet reduced their risk of head injury by 60% and risk of brain injury by 58%. Wearing a properly fitting helmet is an extremely important safeguard to protect against brain injuries, which are the most common cause of bike related deaths. Clearly, it is well worth the few moments it takes to strap a helmet on yourself and your children. Compare the weight of a vehicle with that of a bike. There is no comparison. When a bike collides with an automobile, severe bodily injury and/or head trauma can occur as well as broken bones, traumatic wounds, and other types of injuries. According to a report by the National Safety Council (NSC), about 1,000 fatalities resulted from bicyclists colliding with automobiles in 2014.

file0001137628004-225x300Every year, thousands of children are seriously injured or killed in backover accidents, where a driver backs up their vehicle and doesn’t see the child. On average, there are 232 deaths and 13,000 injuries due to backovers every year. Beginning next May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require mandatory backup cameras on all new model vehicles. The finalized requirement has been in the works for many years after much deliberation. This is reassuring to many including the car accident attorneys at Tapalian Law as we hear too often of backover accidents, which occur when a driver backs over another person without noticing- usually in a driveway or parking lot. Being smaller in stature, children are all too often the victims of these tragic accidents. In over 70% of these incidents, a parent or close relative is the driver of the vehicle. With this new regulation going into effect, it should make great strides in preventing injury and death in these types of accidents.

Children Most Common Victims in Backover Accidents

Kidsandcars.org, an organization that brings awareness to child and auto related tragedies, reports that 50 children are backed over every week in the United States because a driver could not see them. Children under age five are the most at risk and the most common age of those hurt or killed in backover incidents is one year old. These numbers are astounding and tragic. Over 60% of the backovers involve a truck, SUV, or van. Just this past weekend a toddler in Bristol, Connecticut was killed when the child’s father was moving a vehicle in the driveway. A Providence toddler was killed in 2014 when a neighbor unknowingly backed over the child while backing out of her driveway. The following month, a Barrington woman was killed when a young family member accidentally accelerated while backing up in the driveway.

Coshocton_Fair_2011_008-300x214As all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use continues to gain in popularity in the United States, so do the amount of injuries and deaths due to ATV-related incidents. ATV’s are heavy, and fast, pieces of machinery, up to 600 lbs and 75 MPH respectively. Although the vehicle is required to be registered, in the State of Rhode Island the only age requirements are that you must be at least 12 years old to operate an ATV and those ages 12-16 must be accompanied by an adult. Although these vehicles may be similar to driving an automobile or motorcycle for an adult for whom driving is second nature, it is not so for children. Personal injury attorney David Tapalian is familiar with the trauma that can be caused by a crash. His Providence based personal injury law firm handles personal injury cases all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Adults are severely injured in ATV crashes of course, but when a young rider is involved, the injuries are often even worse than an auto accident. Since 1982, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 5,000 deaths have been related to ATV injuries in the United States, with an estimated 25 percent of severe injuries and deaths occurring to those under age 16.

Most ATV Injuries Are Preventable

The most common causes of injuries for children riding ATV’s are vehicle rollover, ejection from the vehicle, and colliding with a stationary object, such as a tree. With proper training and precautions, like wearing a safety helmet, most of these pediatric injuries and deaths are preventable. It is crucial that both adults and children are trained properly to ride these vehicles. Sadly, they are often not. Because young riders are inexperienced, they are less likely to understand the seriousness of operating such a heavy vehicle and therefore have more risky driving behavior. The high rate of injury and death for youngsters operating ATV’s is also due to a lack of safety equipment.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently released its annual count of postal workers involved in a dog attack. The USPS says in 2016, there were 6,755 dog attacks on their employees while carrying out work duties. That number is not good news for mail carriers, especially since the 20joey43-300x20116 number is higher than the number of dog attacks in 2015 by 200.  David Tapalian is a Providence personal injury lawyer who helps those who have been bitten by a dog or received injuries in a dog attack. While it may sound cliche, “the dog bit the mail carrier”, the effects of a dog bite or dog attack can be devastating to the victim and their family.  Tapalian Law helps those suffering from a dog attack get the compensation they deserve for damages, including medical bills, hospital bills, time lost at work, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.

Dog Bites Can Result in Serious Injury & Disease

Dog bites can leave a person with serious wounds that result in disfiguring scars. Scarring can cause loss of mobility as well as disfigurements that may require plastic surgery, possibly even multiple surgeries over a period of time depending on the extent of the scars. A Providence personal injury attorney can assist you in determining the extent of your injuries and the compensation you may be entitled to, including the need for future surgeries. Dog bite wounds, however minor or major, can also lead to infection requiring additional medical care and medication. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 1 in 5 dog bites get infected. Some of the many diseases that can be contracted through a dog bite include rabies, MRSA, staph infection, pasteurella, and tetanus. In addition, dogs may jump on a person knocking them to the ground, resulting in other types of injuries like head trauma, broken bones, and other bodily damage. This can be especially detrimental to the elderly.

Three young woman from West Warwick are the victims of a fatal car accident in Pawtucket. The deadly crash occurred on Walcott Street last Thursday. The driver of the vehicle, 21-year-old Jahighway accidentmes Belanger of Pawtucket, is believed to have been speeding prior to losing control of his vehicle. The car crashed into a utility pole killing two of the young woman instantly, the third later died at Rhode Island Hospital. The driver and another front-seat passenger incurred minor injuries. At this time, it is unknown if the victim’s families have hired a lawyer to file a wrongful death case against the driver.

Pawtucket Police Describe Crash Scene as “Devastating”

When the vehicle hit the utility pole, the impact tore the back seat from the front seat. None of the young ladies in the back seat were wearing a seatbelt and all were ejected from the vehicle. The front seat passenger, who is an accident witness, was wearing a seatbelt and survived the wreck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that of the over 35,000 people killed in car crashes in 2015, 48% were not wearing a seatbelt.

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