Articles Posted in Brain Injury

file0001091226410-300x170Bicycles are gaining popularity, especially in urban areas like Providence. With the recent arrival of the city’s first bike-share program, JUMP Bikes, city residents and visitors are now offered an environmentally friendly, heart-healthy, and affordable way to navigate Providence to explore for fun or commute to work or school. The bicycle accident injury lawyers at Tapalian Law see bike accident clients on a regular basis who have been hit by a car and suffer from slight to life-threatening personal injury. As with all modes of transportation, there’s always some negative with the positive. Cycling is great for the atmosphere and our bodies but is also accompanied by the risk of serious personal injury, most frequently from cars or trucks. Getting “doored” is a frequent occurrence to bicyclists.  A “dooring” is a type of collision where a cyclist is struck by a vehicle door that was opened without checking the side view mirror for approaching bicyclists.  Motorcyclists can also fall victim to door related accidents. Due to the lack of physical protection, bicyclists and motorcyclists can suffer significant bodily harm when involved in an accident. 

Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

At the time of a “dooring” bicycle crash, you may feel shock as well as a rush of adrenaline and injuries may not be instantly visible. You might feel bumped or bruised, but are able to get up and walk away. It is imperative to seek immediate medical attention, no matter how you feel. Inner injuries, like internal bleeding, can go undetected and without proper medical treatment can turn fatal. Bicyclists can suffer from traumatic brain injuries, especially if not wearing a proper safety helmet. Broken bones, lacerations, chipped teeth, serious bruising, road rash, and spinal cord injuries can all happen during a bike accident. If a person on a bicycle gets hits by a door, the impact might throw them into oncoming traffic causing them to get hit by a passing vehicle. Cyclists may also see a car door opening upon approach and swerve into moving traffic to avoid getting hit by the door. In 2016, a Cambridge, Massachusetts bicyclist died when a motorist opened their car door, causing the woman to veer into traffic where she was struck and killed by a truck. In a recent Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog, Tapalian Law explained the “Dutch Reach”, a habit that motorists can adapt when exiting a vehicle to prevent and avoid “dooring” accidents.

71-DSC_7273-300x240Bicyclists abound around Providence. With the launch of the city’s first bike-share program, more bikes are appearing on the streets of Rhode Island’s capital. It’s a great boost for rider’s health and a plus for the environment. It will take automobiles awhile to get used to sharing the road with more bicyclists, and both drivers and cyclists alike will need to heed extra caution. The personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law in Providence see severe injuries occur to bicyclists when they collide with a vehicle. We know that bicycles are no match for a car or truck. Bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries to the brain, broken bones, abrasions, lacerations, and fatalities. Bike accidents transpire more frequently in urban areas like Providence so with the upsurge in bicycles in the city a corresponding spike in bike-related personal injury may take place. Statistics clearly show that cyclists are much more likely to be injured or killed by a car than by anything else on the road.

“Dooring”: Car Door Related Accidents in Providence

A “dooring” is a type of traffic collision where a cyclist rides into a car door or is struck by a car door that was opened without checking the side view mirror for cyclists. Dooring is unfortunately a very common occurrence among cyclists and one that personal injury lawyer David Tapalian sees frequently. It is not only scary, but can be deadly. A car driver doesn’t normally intend to open their car door to hurt a cyclist, but the results can be tragic nonetheless regardless of intention. The opened door may hit the cyclist causing them to crash head-on or if the bicyclist is able to see the door opening quickly, they may swerve into traffic to avoid the open door, thereby crashing into a moving vehicle or falling off their bike. Either way, the outcome can cause detrimental injuries to the bicyclist and to other cars, passengers, or pedestrians, on the road. 

e65b5845610276e0e4ebe18ba15aa1bf-300x200Following the tragic death of a 6-year-old boy this summer on the East Bay Bike Path in Bristol, RI, avid bicyclists and concerned locals alike are asking- is it safe to ride a bike in Rhode Island? It’s a particularly perplexing question for parents of young children.  Kids are encouraged to get outside in the fresh air and exercise but at what risk? We proudly teach our children to ride a bike, ensure their helmet is properly strapped on, and explain the basics of road safety. But when a child is hit by a car and killed in a seemingly safe place to ride, the East Bay Bike Path, it’s natural we are going to have apprehensions. As Providence personal injury attorneys, Tapalian Law knows not only the enjoyment cycling can bring, but also the detrimental effects of a bicycling accident. Bicyclists injured in a RI bike accident can suffer brain trauma, head injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, severe cuts and bruising, even death. While cycling can certainly be a great competitive sport or leisure activity, it can also be dangerous. As Rhode Island bike accident injury lawyers, we see catastrophic injuries and fatalities result when a bicycle collides with a vehicle. 

What is Rhode Island Doing to Make Bicycling Safer?

The Providence Journal recently asked bicycling advocates whether they think the biking systems in Rhode Island are safe for children and the responses were mixed. Much depends on where the child lives, goes to school, and whether the traffic in that area moves at slower speeds. Overgrown trees and bushes are a huge issue for bicyclists at crossings, making it difficult for bike riders and vehicle drivers alike to see each other. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza cites that children can, in fact, safely ride in the city and that efforts are made to plan the city around people, not cars. He added that a city bicycling advisory council provides input into bike safety as new projects are developed throughout Providence. Bicycle crossings have been installed by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) at various busy intersections and “Sharrows”, symbols painted on the road with the symbol of a cyclist with arrows, were installed to remind drivers to share the road with bicyclists. After the death of the young boy in Bristol, RIDOT vowed to review every spot where dedicated bike paths cross roads. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) is responsible for maintenance issues along the bike path and Rhode Islanders are encouraged to contact them with maintenance concerns like shrubbery overgrowth.

scooter-300x231Providence residents were in for a surprise this summer when in mid-July, dozens of electric scooters showed up on the streets of Providence unannounced. With the newfound popularity of electric scooters to navigate cities like San Francisco, it was just a matter of time before the vehicles hit the streets of Providence. Bird, the California company responsible for bringing the scooters to Providence, say they want to offer affordable, environmentally friendly vehicle options to communities.  The easily accessible vehicles, available through an app for $1 plus .15/minute, were a novelty with many interested in trying them if not just for the curiosity factor. But, just as quickly as they appeared and local residents got used to seeing them around, the scooters disappeared just a few weeks later due to a lack of regulation by the city. Bird says they plan to return to Rhode Island as soon as they comply with new regulations set forth by the city.

Inexperienced Drivers Often Cause Accidents Resulting in Personal Injury

While many view rental scooters as a welcome and environmentally friendly addition to cities, others have some concerns. Cities where rentals are currently offered have seen a spike in emergency injuries to riders, as well as pedestrians. The main cause for the injuries is inexperienced scooter operators. As personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows with inexperience comes an increased risk of injury. Just as new teenage drivers have a higher accident rate than more experienced drivers, the same is likely to occur with scooter riders. The Cedars-Sinai Emergency Department in Los Angeles states they have seen a “definite increase” in patients seeking medical treatment for head, wrist, elbow, and hip injuries related to scooter usage. Older patients are especially vulnerable to these injuries. Although Bird recommends riders wear a proper safety helmet, many riders are not heeding the recommendation. Nor are they wearing additional protective gear such as knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards. And it’s not only riders that are getting hurt. Pedestrians are getting injured as they try to avoid getting hit by reckless scooter drivers navigating sidewalks.  In addition, operators of the scooters are often wearing earbuds which can make them oblivious to traffic and pedestrians around them, adding to the potential for injury. As Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law can see the concerns pedestrians and car and truck drivers in Providence have about inexperienced scooters joining the traffic flow and the potential for accidents and injuries.

photo_4556_20071230-300x200It’s a terrible tragedy no parent should ever have to experience. A 6-year-old Somerset, MA boy was involved in a fatal crash while on a leisurely bike ride with his family. The family was bicycling on the East Bay bike path on July 24th, when the fatal crash occurred at the intersection of the East Bay bike path and Poppasquash Road in Bristol, RI.  A 21-year-old Connecticut driver collided with the young boy on his bicycle and some area residents are claiming poor visibility at the site may be to blame. As Rhode Island bike accident injury lawyers, at Tapalian Law we have seen catastrophic injuries and tragic fatalities result when a bicycle collides with a vehicle. The weight of a car or truck colliding with a bicycle almost always has horrific results involving severe injuries including brain trauma, serious bodily injury, and often fatalities. Over 800 lives were lost in 2015 alone in the U.S., in crashes involving a bicycle and motor vehicle, according to the NHTSA.

Town of Bristol Had Been Warned

A concerned citizen had warned the Bristol Town Administrators assistant four years ago via email about the poor visibility at the East Bay bike path and Poppasquash Road intersection where the tragic bike accident took place. The email spoke of several near crashes witnessed at the sight. With this email, Bristol was put on notice of a potentially dangerous problem. The question remains however whether even though the Town was alerted to the potential problem, did it properly address the safety issue and if so, did it continually maintain surveillance of the area to ensure its safety continued. The Town said at that time they worked to address the issue at the location by sending the Department of Transportation (DOT) to perform landscaping to improve visibility. Some nearby residents feel further safety measures need to be taken such as installing flashing lights and reducing the speed limit to make the intersection safer.

photo_11054_20090517-300x225It’s summer in Rhode Island and we’ve been fortunate to have beautiful weather. Understandably so, RI motorcyclists are taking advantage of ideal riding conditions. Whether there are more motorcycles on the road due to the warm temperatures or not, we do know that motorcycle accident fatalities are up in Rhode Island this year. According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), there have been 6 fatalities involving motorcycles in the first 6 months of 2018. This is double the amount for the same period of 2017. As Providence, RI motorcycle accident lawyers, we find this increase in fatalities concerning.

Why Are RI Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Up?

Although Rhode Island State Police can’t point to a single determining factor for the increase in motorcycle accident deaths, they do say it’s not just a concern only in Rhode Island. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) the number of motorcycle accident fatalities have increased 60% over the last 20 years. Federal statistics show that motorcycle fatalities typically spike each year between June and September. In 2016, nearly half of all motorcycle deaths occurred in those four summer months. Car accident fatalities also rise during the summer months, especially during summer holidays, as we explored in a recent Tapalian Law personal injury blog. Although motorcycle fatalities have increased this year, motor vehicle related accidents have decreased from this time frame last year. There have been 27 motor vehicle accident fatalities through June 29, 2018. During the same time period in 2017, there were 39 fatalities. As Providence personal injury attorneys, we hope this downward auto accident fatality trend continues its decrease for the remainder of the summer.

photo_81528_20161009-300x225Keyless ignition is yet another big convenience added to our vehicles over the last decade or two. No longer having to fumble with a key to start up the car? Sounds great.  At Tapalian Law, RI personal injury lawyer David Tapalian is all for the latest and greatest safety technology and convenience features to make the driving experience safer and less distracting. Along with keyless ignition, the majority of newer vehicles have keyless entry, allowing us to gain entry into and start our car without every touching a key. But the truth is, this convenience can also be deadly. Lately, more attention is being brought to its potentially detrimental result- death or injury from carbon monoxide poisoning.

How is Keyless Ignition Causing Fatalities?

Keyless entry and keyless ignition are both automotive features that allow a vehicle to be entered, or the engine started, without having to manually handle a key. If the key fob is on the person, in their hand, a pocket, or purse within the designated distance range, the key fob can transmit a radio signal therefore allowing the car door to be opened or the engine started. On the other hand, it also allows the driver to exit the vehicle with the key fob while the car is still running. Many newer model cars, especially electric or hybrid vehicles, are extremely quiet leaving us to sometimes question if the engine is even running. Because the vehicle is so quiet, it can be easy to forget to turn off the engine and leave the vehicle running. Older drivers can be especially prone to doing so. But this is where the danger of carbon monoxide lies. If said vehicle is parked inside an enclosed garage attached to a home, the carbon monoxide can build up and seep into the home silently poisoning those inside, often in their sleep. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that one cannot see, taste, or smell. When breathed in, it can displace oxygen in the blood depriving the heart, brain, and other vital organs of necessary oxygen. This can result in death. Those with carbon monoxide exposure that is not fatal may end up with other sicknesses and injuries such as headache, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, or unconsciousness, as well as brain damage. Some automotive manufacturers are facing wrongful death lawsuits or personal injury lawsuits as a result.

wet-floor-225x300Falls are the most common reason for emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. This type of accident accounts for 1 million ER visits yearly. A slip and fall can happen anyplace, in a residential setting or a commercial setting. Falls frequently take place at a grocery store, big box store, hotels, and in the work place.  A slip and fall can be caused by a neglected spill on the grocery store floor, a broken step or faulty hand-railing at a restaurant, a slippery pool deck on a cruise ship, and a myriad of other causes. None of us set out on our day expecting an accident but slip and falls are very common and one of the most frequent types of personal injury lawsuit. As Rhode Island slip and fall attorneys at Tapalian Law, we see people injured in slip and fall accidents on a regular basis. Injuries from a fall can range from a minor or severe injury and can be fatal. Slip and fall accidents can also be very expensive. Walmart was hit with a $7.5 million lawsuit from a 2015 slip and fall accident that took place in one of their Alabama stores.  If you or someone you love have been injured in a fall, slip and fall injury lawyer David Tapalian can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Common Injuries from Slip & Fall Accidents

Injuries from a slip and fall can range from very minor, a bump or bruise, but can also be quite serious or fatal. In fact, half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).  Injuries are habitually more severe in the elderly. Fractures are a very common fall injury and can be grave. Other fall related injuries are sprains, torn ligaments, head, back, neck, and shoulder injuries, brain injury, concussions, and spinal cord injuries. Falls make up 87% of fractures seen among those over the age of 65 and are the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury. Check out a previous Tapalian Law injury blog for potential slip and fall hazards and how to prevent them.

photo_90488_20170526-300x203A recent New York Times article titled, Buckle Up a Helmet to Save a Life, began “Riding a bicycle without a properly fitted helmet is simply stupid”. After seeing the aftermath and devastation one of our clients incurred after getting hit while riding his bicycle in Providence, as injury lawyers at Tapalian Law we tend to see the author’s point. A human on a bicycle is no match for a vehicle or SUV weighing between an average of 4,000-6,000 pounds. Our client was hit by an elderly woman and sustained serious injuries requiring hospitalization for over 30 days as well as a number of surgeries. Thankfully, his youth and strong determination worked to his advantage and he made a tremendous recovery. However, this was not without a robust amount of energy and effort on his part. We represented our client in his personal injury lawsuit and were able to obtain him a very comfortable settlement to compensate for the injuries he sustained in the Providence bike accident. In summary, bicycle injuries can be devastating and even life-threatening so if you are riding a bike, it is in your best interest to take any and all safety precautions you can to protect yourself from injuries.

Bicyclists & Head Injuries

As personal injury lawyers, we know that like the large majority of car accidents, bicycle accidents often take place close to home. Bicycle accidents can happen anywhere, and they do. Whether it be a leisurely bike ride down the street for exercise or high-speed training for a bike race far from home, it doesn’t matter. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute states that “All it takes is gravity – the distance to the ground- to cause a head injury”.  A low-speed fall can be just as dangerous and cause just as much trauma as a high-speed fall. Without a properly fitting bicycle helmet, one is much more likely to endure a head trauma or brain injury than is a rider with proper head protection. In fact, one startling statistic reported by New York City states that 97% of cycling deaths and 87% of serious injuries occurred to people who were not wearing helmets.

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.

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