Articles Posted in Brain Injury

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.

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.

The most common cause of injury seen in emergency rooms in the United States, falls can occur at any age. Though many falls are harmless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. It is estimated that around 7.9 million emergency room visits a year are due to falls. Injuries caused by a fall can be detrimental to anyone, especially the elderly. And once a fall does occur, even if it does not cause an injury, it can cause a fear of falling. This fear may result in one changing their daily routine or cutting down on everyday activities to avoid another fall. However, when a person becomes excessively tentative and less active, they become weaker, which in turn increases their chances of falling and getting injured.

Who Is At Risk for a Fall?

Certainly, age is a big factor and the elderly are more prone to falls. Fall injuries requiring medical attention rise exponentially from age 18 on. There are many risk factors involved that affect both young and old alike.


A fall can cause a traumatic brain injury or TBI, which includes concussions. Elderly people are more susceptible to falls because the ability to balance decreases with age, and they may have more difficulty walking without assistance. For this reason, falls in nursing homes are common because of the number of elderly and incapacitated patients. However, falls in nursing homes can be prevented if the staff takes reasonable measures to ensure safety.

Basic Requirements for Resident Safety

A nursing home facility should provide a safe place for residents to move around by meeting specific guidelines to prevent falls. This includes removing tripping hazards, such as rugs and electrical cords from traffic areas, as well as keeping clutter out of hallways and other walk areas.

According to research conducted by the Atlanta National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 280,000 individuals suffer a traumatic brain injury linked to a car accident every single year. This is the second largest cause of traumatic brain injuries with 20% of all brain damage being related to a motor vehicle accident. This is just slightly behind the leading cause of fall accidents which make up 28% of traumatic brain injuries.

Whiplash And Brain Injuries Go Together

When compared with the number of hospitalizations, however, brain damage associated with traffic accidents makes up a greater proportion of these cases. One of the leading causes for a traumatic brain injury in a car accident is whiplash. This is because when your head is suddenly moved forward and then back in a vehicle crash where your car comes to a stop, your brain will also move. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you could be dealing with severe injuries. A traumatic brain injury induced by a motor vehicle accident may form the basis of a personal injury claim. Individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury may not even realize that they have suffered one until hours or days later.

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