1443542216ra0rr-300x189On the same day, yet in separate incidents, two fatalities occurred in auto accidents in Falmouth, MA.  An early evening crash on Route 28 near the Route 151 off-ramp killed a Falmouth man on Sunday, February 20th. Traveling southbound, the man’s car veered off the road into the woods, hitting several trees in its path.

Earlier that morning, fire and rescue divers recovered the body of a 21-year-old man from Grafton, MA, whose vehicle was found submerged in water. This fatal crash occurred at the intersection of Central Avenue and Menauhant Road, two roads that lead to the ocean. Where these roads end, drivers must make a stop and turn either left or right. Located about 100 feet ahead is the ocean. Possibly missing this stop sign, and speed, are potential factors being investigated in this recent tragedy.  As a car accident lawyer helping victims in Falmouth and throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Attorney David Tapalian has great empathy for those affected by these heartbreaking deaths and the sad impact they have on the Cape Cod town.

Past History of Accidents at Same Intersection

m_Toast_-_Cheers_-_Drinking_-_Liquor_-_Hand_Raising_Glass_-_On_Parchment-300x182In 2019, 44% of motor vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island were attributed to drunk driving, according to the NHTSA. Further, over 10,000 drunk driving related fatalities occurred in the U.S. the same year. Clearly, this is a huge concern for drivers in Rhode Island and all over the country. As a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Attorney David Tapalian sees the dangerous outcomes when an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel. For over 20 years, David has been helping people hurt in drunk driving car accidents in RI, MA, and FL, and knows the severe injuries and senseless deaths that occur to innocent victims all too often.

In an effort to prevent or limit these tragic crashes, the huge infrastructure bill passed by Congress includes a mandate, discussed in a recent Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog, requiring all new motor vehicles to come equipped with advanced technology to thwart impaired driving. By monitoring a drivers’ blood alcohol level (BAC), the technology would determine if the driver is impaired or not and potentially prevent their ability to operate the vehicle.

How the Technology Works

uber-image-2-300x169On April 30, 2021, Will Good, a 30-year-old restaurant cook in Boston, hailed an Uber for a late-night ride home from work to his home in Somerville. No one could have predicted how life-changing this ride would be. During the commute, the driver of the Uber vehicle swerved and crashed into a parked car, the impact causing Mr. Good to hit his head on the passenger headrest and slump onto the backseat, unable to move.  Following a two month stay at Massachusetts General Hospital and an additional two months at Spaulding Rehabilitation, the Boston car accident ultimately left Good paralyzed as a quadriplegic.

As a personal injury lawyer helping victims throughout RI and MA, Attorney David Tapalian knows how critical injuries to the neck and head can be and unfortunately, many have tragic or life-altering outcomes.  A music lover who enjoyed his job cooking at Uni, a Japanese restaurant, Will Good is now confined to a wheelchair with around the clock nursing care requiring two caretakers alternating day and evening shifts.

A lawsuit filed by attorneys on behalf of Mr. Good this past Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges Uber was negligent in hiring the driver responsible for the crash and, based on the driver’s past history, knowingly put others in harm’s way. With a questionable driving record dating back to 1996 showing multiple moving violations, crashes, at least 20 citations, and a state-imposed driver retraining, there is hardly a doubt that the Uber driver was a potential danger to others on the road.

m_Silhouette-hands-handcuffs-freedom-300x249Governor Charlie Baker continues his push to crack down on drugged driving laws in Massachusetts. Baker’s legislation attempts to close many of the loopholes that allow motorists, such as the driver that killed State Trooper Thomas Cardy, to go free of penalty for driving under the influence of certain drugs and causing injury or death. Baker’s proposal, originally filed in 2019, has been refiled and named after Cardy, who was killed in 2016 during a traffic stop by a medical marijuana patient who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but acquitted of driving under the influence of cannabis. As a personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for over 20 years, Attorney David Tapalian sees a tragic number of car accidents caused by drivers impaired by alcohol and other substances.  While breathalyzers provide reliable blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, accurately measuring the level of other substances, like marijuana, in a driver’s body proves to be more difficult, and controversial.

Drugged Driving Bill in MA

The aim of Governor Baker’s drugged driving bill is to close gaps in the current laws that can allow motorists impaired by drugs such as cannabis, prescription medications, and other drugs, to be held unaccountable for these offenses. The proposal seeks to expand the 12-step drug recognition expert (DRE) training for police officers to identify whether a person is impaired and if so, by what substances. The DRE process includes specialized observations of the motorist as well as measurements of heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. The bill would also subject suspected drivers to a blood test for THC (the primary active ingredient in marijuana) and require Massachusetts courts to recognize the DRE trained police officers as experts. 

d1e62beb9ca912ae944207879b08c173-2-300x237A South Carolina woman recently won a monumental lawsuit against Walmart alleging negligence on the part of the retail store. Originally filed in 2017, the lawsuit stemmed from an injury that took place in June 2015. While shopping at a Walmart store, the claimant, April Jones, stepped on a rusty nail left on the floor next to some pallets. The nail punctured her shoe and became lodged in her foot. Despite seeking medical treatment, infection followed resulting in the amputation of her toe. Subsequently, the infection spread to Jones’ entire right foot, ultimately resulting in the amputation of her right leg just above the knee. Ms. Jones was awarded $10 million in damages for her medical expenses. As a personal injury lawyer for over two decades, Attorney David Tapalian expertly handles premises liability claims throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

What Responsibility Does a Store Have to its Customers?

In all states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, owners of property must make a reasonable effort to maintain their property to ensure the safety of visitors. A property owner, such as a retail store, is responsible for inspecting the condition of the property on a regular basis, making timely maintenance repairs and making every effort necessary to ensure a safe environment. If the owner fails to do so and is someone is injured on the property, the owner may be held liable for the person’s damages if found negligent.

m_FRS101825-200x300Each year in the U.S., about 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents, according to the NHTSA. In an effort to put a dent in this startling number of completely preventable deaths, Congress is making a push with an anti-drunk driving provision for new cars in its infrastructure bill. The proposed legislation, if passed, will require automakers to include technology that detects and stops drunk drivers in motor vehicles by as early as 2026. As a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts for over two decades, Attorney David Tapalian has seen the devastation families suffer when a loved one is injured or killed by a drunk driver.

How Can Vehicle Technology Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents?

With an infinite number of safety options available in today’s newest vehicles, from sensors and cameras that detect pedestrians to approaching cars in a motorist’s blind spot, it seems logical that some type of anti-drunk driving technology would be an addition to the large menu of options. Yet, the critical question remains of exactly how to prevent drunk driving crashes with the latest in technology. The proposed bill isn’t exact, but calls for something that will “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired”. Studies will need to be conducted involving various alcohol detection systems before recommendations are provided to auto manufacturers.  Infrared cameras are one example, and are currently being utilized by car manufacturers like GM and Nissan. The camera looks for signs of a lack of driver alertness, such as drowsiness or impairment, and if identified, warns the driver and if need be, takes further action. Another idea tested by Volvo involves alcohol sensors that detect a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the air inside the vehicle. Ultimately, the Department of Transportation will have to make the final call as to what is the best solution to put a damper on intoxicated drivers.

Night-Illumination-2-300x225You’ve finally purchased that new car. You negotiated a fair price and got the color you wanted. As you drive it off the lot, another car comes speeding along and slams into you from behind. Have you heard this story before? As injury lawyers serving MA and RI, we’ve heard it more than a few times. If you’re fortunate enough to avoid serious injury, your next concern is likely worrying about the money you just lost in a matter of seconds.

How Much Value Does a Car Lose After an Accident?

Currently, if your vehicle is damaged in an auto accident in Massachusetts by another driver who is at-fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your vehicle repairs. That’s well and good to get you back on the road, but what happens when you decide to sell that car in the future? When it comes to resale, you’re likely going to get less money for that same car because it’s been involved in a crash.

9a90a86c2ae2d5864366b3108eeff17a-300x200Recently completed, a two-way protected bike lane on South Water Street is facing both wide support as well as opposition from local residents, businesses, and city officials.  Part of Providence’s Great Street Initiative, which proposed adding 60 miles of bike lanes, the new bike lane debuted this fall with an aim of making the city streets safer and more environmentally friendly. The majority of bike accidents take place in urban areas, and as a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Attorney David Tapalian understands the danger bicyclists and pedestrians face when sharing the road with cars, trucks, and SUV’s. A bike is no match for a heavy motor vehicle and a collision between the two will all too often result in severe injury, or death, for the bicyclist.

Part of Providence Great Streets Initiative

Dubbed by supporters as an “urban trail”, the two-way lane on South Water Street can be used by bicycles and other non-car modes of transportation, such as scooters. Ideally, it will allow a safer mode of transportation for, and reduce the risk of injury to, bicyclists and other pedestrians. In addition to improved safety, supporters tout health and climate benefits as well as the project’s ability to attract people to the city and improve the quality of life for residents. Having a safer option for those seeking alternative modes of transportation to work or school, as well as those seeking to use the lane for recreation or exercise will allow users to explore more environmentally friendly options.

DSC03955-C-300x225Any number of words can be considered highly subjective; for instance, “a little” or “a lot”.  Telling a child that they may have “a little” or “a lot” of ice cream may cause an argument at home, but will likely be forgotten minutes later. However, using inexact language like this in a serious medical situation can have dire consequences. As a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer experienced with medical malpractice claims, Attorney David Tapalian knows that even the smallest of details can be the difference between life and death in a critical medical situation. Doctors and surgeons perform complicated and intricate feats in the operating room on a daily basis. Yet, a seemingly minor miscommunication can result in a patient suffering severe, life-altering injuries, rather than successfully recovering from a simple, routine procedure.

Miscommunication is a significant cause of preventable “adverse events” in surgical cases and a research study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center looked at the dangers of using inexact language in the operating room. Certain words can be ambiguous and potentially lead to devastating consequences for surgery patients. Authors of the study looked through 319 minutes of medical transcripts for surgeries occurring at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and overall, the publication claims that within those surgeries there were almost 4,000 instances of imprecise language. The surgical teams used ambiguous language over 12 times per minute. In particular, with six of the different surgeries, the researchers found that medical professionals used inexact language over 130 times.

A common example cited in the study was rounding a numerical measurement that should have been stated precisely, i.e., instructions called for a cut “around” 4 centimeters, for a proposed cut of precisely 3.5 centimeters. One sentence that particularly stood out to researchers was “take this over there.” In this statement, two of the words are largely ambiguous and can be taken to mean multiple different things. The word “this” doesn’t make clear what object “this” refers to, and “there” does not explicitly state the location of “there”.  Leaving the interpretation open by using inexact, or highly subjective, language can result in a misinterpretation and potential error. If a patient suffers an injury due to a surgical error, they should seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney in Rhode Island who is experienced with medical malpractice claims.

m_sailboat_toward_verrazano_narrows_bridge-2-300x234It’s not uncommon to see drivers speeding down the highway throughout the state; an unfortunate fact that Attorney David Tapalian sees the repercussions of first-hand as a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island for over two decades.  Precariously, the speeding trend also applies to bridges, specifically the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges, as shown in a study by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Administration late this summer. Perhaps partially triggered by safety concerns and complaints of loud traffic noise by locals, the study conducted an investigation to determine how many vehicles operated according to the posted speed limits on the bridges and the results were startling. On the Pell Bridge, 70% of people were found to be driving at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit and 66% of vehicles were doing the same on the Verrazzano Bridge. For context, the speed limit for the Pell Bridge is 40mph, but the average speed people drove was 53mph. The Verrazzano Bridge speed limit is 45mph, but vehicles were travelling 59mph, on average.

Car Accidents on Bridges 

Bridges can already be a hazardous place for drivers before speeding is added into the mix. When a motorist drives across any bridge, they are placing their trust in the engineers, architects, and construction workers who designed and built the structure. Errors can result in structural failures, even a whole infrastructure collapse. If bridges aren’t regularly inspected for safety hazards, they can incur damage that, if left unrepaired, could result in a treacherous situation. For example, if two cars collide in an accident near the edge of a bridge with a missing or damaged guardrail, it’s possible for one or both vehicles to fall off the side into the water or highway below. Visibility can also be difficult on bridges without adequate lighting, making it difficult for motorists to visualize their surroundings. In addition, car accidents on bridges frequently occur at the entrance or exit ramps, especially if there is inadequate signage or a tricky merge with other vehicles.

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