Articles Posted in Car Accident

photo_116073_20180730-300x187If you’re a driver in Rhode Island you’ve probably heard by now that Progressive Insurance Company agreed to repay approximately $2 million to current and former Rhode Island customers.  Why? Over a period of five years, Progressive Insurance Company improperly charged some Rhode Island drivers for their car insurance policies.  The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation and Progressive Insurance entered into a consent agreement in February 2019 which amounted to money being reimbursed to potentially 4096 Rhode Island policyholders that were affected.  In addition to the reimbursement, Progressive agreed to pay a fine of $10,000.  As personal injury attorneys in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Tapalian Law works with large insurance companies on a daily basis negotiating on behalf of injured car accident victims. The negotiation process is a constant back and forth battle to get fair compensation for our clients who have truly suffered harm in a car accident caused by one of these big insurance companies insured. The insurance companies want to compensate those injured in a car crash as little as possible to protect their bottom line. For Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, it’s a reminder of how unfair a fight it is for an individual to go up against a powerful company on their own and how important it is to have an experienced car accident attorney like David Tapalian on your side to make the fight a fair one.

Progressive Not the First Auto Insurer to Pay Out to Rhode Island Drivers

To a large, national company like Progressive Insurance, $2 million is a drop in the bucket.  But to the consumer, some who struggle to make ends meet each month, the refund will be a welcome reprieve. Progressive is not the first insurance company to pay out to Rhode Island drivers. As reported by WPRI in 2018, Esurance Property and Casualty Insurance Company agreed to pay $223,963.40 to 279 Rhode Island policy holders as a refund for surcharges made in error on the part of Esurance. Auto insurance companies that advertise heavily frequently enter into consent agreements and usually do not admit liability and keep the fine out of the public eye.

photo_113343_20170924-300x200In light of the recent sudden, and unfortunate, death of actor Luke Perry of Beverly Hills 90210 and Riverdale fame, strokes and their causes are receiving renewed attention.  There are many causes for a stroke and although most are unrelated to auto accidents, as personal injury attorneys in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, we are often asked the question- can a car accident cause a stroke?  A stroke can, in fact, be a result of a car accident under certain circumstances, such as severe whiplash resulting from a crash.  Even a modest impact in a collision can result in whiplash significant enough to cause an arterial dissection.   An arterial dissection  takes place when the lining of an artery tears and separates from the vessel wall.  This may occur from excessive trauma in the neck area.  Experiencing serious whiplash can result in a blood clot forming at the tear site and once this tear occurs, it can travel to the brain to block the flow of blood to the brain tissue.  Though arterial dissection’s do not account for a high number of strokes, they can still cause considerable difficulties after a trauma. Aside from an arterial dissection, significant head trauma occurring from a wreck can result in a stroke taking place in the weeks or months following an injury.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation if You Suffer a Stroke Due to a Car Accident

If you suffer a stroke caused by a car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you may experience substantial lifelong damages. If you are unable to recover to your pre-stroke abilities, you may be rewarded extensive compensatory damages. The experienced RI and MA car accident lawyers at Tapalian Law know how to present your damages in order to seek maximum compensation on your behalf for your losses. Car accidents causing a stroke can have a significant monetary value and the insurance companies know this. Aggressive insurance companies will fight hard to prove your stroke was not a result of the injuries caused by their insured so they aren’t responsible. This is why you need a top-rated Rhode Island car accident attorney like David Tapalian on your side to fight for your legal rights. Following is a list of some of the damages your injury lawyer may present on your behalf after you suffer a stroke resulting from a car crash in RI or MA:

car-insurance-300x199When it comes to buying auto insurance, many risk factors contribute when setting rates. Common factors considered are age, gender, location, type of vehicle, and driving record, to name a few. Massachusetts car accident lawyers know auto accident statistics show male drivers get in more accidents than female drivers, and therefore females typically have lower premiums due to being less of a risk factor to the insurance company. But for Massachusetts drivers, this is not the case. Although an individual’s driving record and car accident history carry heavy weight in determining Massachusetts car insurance premiums, gender is no longer a risk factor for Massachusetts drivers buying auto insurance. This may mean higher insurance bills for female drivers, who no longer benefit from what typically equates to a lower rate based on their gender, and perhaps lower premiums for males. Whether or not drivers agree with this modification, the Seekonk, Massachusetts car accident attorneys at Tapalian Law know how extremely important, and valuable, good auto insurance is when you get hurt in a car accident.

Focus Moves to Driving Behavior to Determine Car Insurance Rates

Lawmakers and regulators have long been pushing to put more focus on driving behaviors and safe driving records when setting car insurance rates, rather than criteria like gender, that seem less related to risk. Aside from teenage drivers, a category where statistics show year after year male teenagers consistently get in more car accidents than their female counterparts, on a national level gender does not play that big of a role in the price difference for car insurance after the teen and young adult years. Car accident attorneys in Massachusetts continue to see a large number of auto accidents resulting in personal injury caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding. Lately, insurance companies have become stricter about penalizing reckless driving habits.  Negligent driving habits like distracted driving, including use of a hand-held cell phone to talk or text while operating a motor vehicle, are increasing car insurance premiums at a higher rate. For example, a ticket for distracted driving bumped up insurance premiums by nearly 20 percent in 2018, compared to a barely 2 percent increase in premium three years earlier.  Factors that increase car insurance premiums even greater than distracted driving are speeding tickets and being arrested for driving under the influence, DUI or DWI. Putting gender aside, car insurance rates have increased across the country says Alyssa Connolly, Director of Market Research for Zebra, an online search engine allowing consumers to price-compare car insurance policies, stating “it’s the highest its ever been nationally. Rates are up this year for 83 percent of Americans.” The average car insurance premium in the U.S. is at $1,470, up 23 percent from 2011. A recent post on the Tapalian Law Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog, showed that right over the Massachusetts border, Rhode Island drivers pay the fourth highest car insurance premiums in the U.S.

photo_116565_20180829-300x157Car insurance is an expensive purchase, particularly for Rhode Island drivers. If you own a vehicle, it’s inevitable. Ranked #4 in a 2018 car insurance rate comparison by state, Rhode Island has the fourth highest car insurance premiums in the Nation. With an average yearly premium of $1,852, it’s helpful to know how the price is determined when making such a significant purchase.  At Tapalian Law, we truly know the importance of having suitable car insurance coverage, as we explored in a recent Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog. But why are car insurance premiums in Rhode Island 36% above the national average? Little Rhody may be the smallest state, but we are well populated and pack a lot of drivers into such a small area. Providence personal injury lawyers know that more drivers on the road will almost inevitably lead to more crashes. More accidents lead to more insurance claims, hereby bumping up car insurance rates. Whether you are looking to insure a new teenage driver or shopping around for new car insurance for yourself, its good to know what to expect when price shopping car insurance in Rhode Island.

How are Car Insurance Rates Determined?

Auto insurance premiums vary from state to state and from company to company but there are a multitude of similarities among them.  Vehicle insurance providers determine your premium based on a number of risk factors. Some of these risk factors you can control, some you cannot.

car insurance onlineOnline shopping is a huge time saver. It’s the place most of us go to research and price compare purchases from baby strollers to computers to refrigerators. Information is quick, easily accessible, and the research and purchase can be done right from home in your pajamas. So how about buying auto insurance online? Commercials advertise free, online insurance quotes all the time. How difficult can it be to buy car insurance online? As Providence auto accident lawyers, we deal with insurance companies every single day, but we understand for most people wading through the fine details of car insurance, deductibles, and legal jargon can be a frustrating ordeal. The ease of being able to comparison-shop and obtain auto insurance online sounds appealing.  Tapalian Law knows that Rhode Islanders are involved in thousands of traffic accidents each year resulting in serious injuries and fatalities and proper insurance protection is a must. So, whether you live in Newport or work in Providence, quality car insurance is not just a smart decision, it’s also the law in Rhode Island.

Why is it Difficult to Purchase Car Insurance Online?

The percentage of American households who shopped online for car insurance hit a record high last year. However, only a quarter of those drivers actually made the purchase online, according to a J.D. Power survey. Car insurance is an extremely important purchase and not one to be taken lightly, as anyone who has been hurt in a car accident knows well.  Consumers are doing their due diligence and researching the variety of car insurance options online, but why aren’t they making the final acquisition online?  There are a few explanations but the general consensus says shopping for car insurance online can be a frustrating experience.

Texting-Driving-Female-2-300x225It sounds dramatic, but yes, two seconds can be the difference between life and death. Taking your eyes off the road for only 2 seconds has been shown to double the odds of a car crash. In 2016, an estimated 3,450 people were killed in the U.S. in crashes linked to distracted driving. As Providence personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows that car accidents caused by distracted driving can result in serious injuries or fatalities, yet are completely preventable. We see it every day on the streets and highways of Rhode Island- drivers performing another task like texting, adjusting the music, putting on makeup- behind the wheel. We multi-task on a daily basis at home, work, and school, but the truth is our brain cannot perform multiple tasks as well as it can when focused on one at a time. The result can be inattentional blindness, a lack of attention not associated with any vision defects. For example, a truck driver busy composing a text may miss a stop sign even though the sign is in plain view. The outcome may be a crash with another vehicle or a pedestrian. When 2 seconds can cause a death or serious personal injury, multi-tasking shouldn’t even be an option.

Negligent Driving in Rhode Island

Using a hand-held cell phone while operating a moving vehicle is illegal in Rhode Island. Hands-free devices are allowed per the June 2018 law, and while helpful do not necessarily equate to safe driving. Our brains are simply incapable of expertly performing two thinking tasks at the same time- like operating a vehicle and talking to a friend on the phone, even using a hands-free device. As Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows that inattention to the road can easily result in a collision with a vehicle, bicyclist, pedestrian, or a stationary object like a parked car. Laws, common sense and distracted driving campaigns are important, but not always heeded. Drivers still struggle to avoid the temptation to text, check emails, and use social media when on the road. We must continue to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and also find solutions to lessen it with the aid of auto manufacturers and help from technology features.

photo_103920_20170708-225x300Hundreds of thousands of seniors are hurt or killed in car accidents each year. More than 200,000 drivers over the age of 65 were injured in crashes in 2016, over 3,500 were fatal. Seniors are some of the safest drivers- they are more likely to wear seat-belts, drive sober, and observe speed limits. Yet they are more likely to die in a car crash than other age groups. Behind teenage drivers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven. With the population living longer, AAA researchers have found that older drivers are now outliving the age when they can drive safely by 7-10 years.  In Rhode Island alone, 20% of drivers are over age 65. The personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law are always concerned about safe driving habits.  After all, we see clients every day, from new teenage drivers to senior citizens, who suffer from serious car accident related injuries. Our RI injury attorneys know the life-long implications car accident injuries can have on a victim. An aging person’s body is not as agile and flexible as it once was and may not heal from injuries as quickly as a younger person, further complicating the recovery process.  It may be a difficult or embarrassing topic to broach with aging parents. And that’s probably why over 80% of aging drivers never talk to a doctor or family member about it. Typically, when they do it is often too late and happens after a crash or near-collision while on the road.

Why Are Seniors More Likely to Die in Car Crashes?

Fatality rates for older drivers are 17% higher than for 25-64-year-old drivers. Seniors are more likely to die in a car crash than younger people, largely due to having more fragile bodies and underlying medical conditions that can worsen injuries and hinder recovery. But it’s not just the plain fact of old age that can impair older drivers and cause auto accidents. Many other aspects of aging can impede safe driving habits.  As personal injury accident lawyers, we see medication side effects or health circumstances frequently factor into car accidents involving older adults. Over 75% of drivers age 65 and older use one or more medication which can potentially impact their driving ability. As we age, it is common to experience vision changes, hearing loss, delayed reaction time, and mind and cognition impairment. Weaker muscles, decreased flexibility, and reduced range of motion can affect and restrict the ability to hold and turn a steering wheel and press the gas or brake. Arthritis affects half of the middle-aged population and 80% of those in their 70’s. It can cause crippling joint inflammation making the turning, flexing, and twisting needed to operate a motor vehicle and react quickly, painful or physically impossible.

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_83961_20170203-300x200Summer is here and school is out. So are the teenage drivers. From Memorial Day until back to school, thus begins the 100 deadliest days for summer driving involving teen drivers, according to AAA.com. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. Teenage drivers new to the road can be a risk every day of the year, but even more so once school is out. They are on the road more and are all too often the cause of car accidents. As auto accident injury lawyers at Tapalian Law, we know that car crashes are more frequent in general during the summer months than other times of year. Every summer day, an average of 10 people die in car crashes involving teen drivers. Nearly 2/3 of those injured in these crashes are victims other than the teen themselves. These are startling statistics and as injury lawyers, Tapalian Law urges those with teen drivers to share these facts and discuss with them the importance of using extreme caution when on the road.

Cell Phones & Passengers Main Cause of Teenage Car Accidents

Teenagers are easily distracted by the cell phones that are such an integral part of their everyday lives. Most teens spend a good deal of time each day texting or on social media. It is hard for them to imagine not having access to their phones. But it’s a well-known fact to us as Rhode Island personal injury attorneys that cell phones and driving do not mix together well. They create a recipe for distracted driving that can result in severe crashes and vehicle related fatalities. Findings by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that texting creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving while not distracted. Driver distractions, including cell phone use and texting, caused close to 60% of teen driving crashes according to dashboard camera surveys performed by Lytx DriveCam. These crashes resulted in moderate to severe accidents. About 15% of the teenagers were distracted by talking to passengers in the same vehicle, 12% were using a cell phone, and 11% were distracted by something else in the car, whether it be a radio, GPS system, eating, or drinking. The presence of other teenagers in the vehicle along with a teenage driver increases the risk of a crash resulting in personal injury. The risk increases exponentially along with the number of passengers in the car.

photo_58526_20151220-300x272At Tapalian Law, as auto accident lawyers we often use the terms UM and UIM with our clients. The average Rhode Island driver however, may find this confusing. Though two separate meanings, they are often used interchangeably and stand for Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). Unless you’ve been injured in a Rhode Island car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may not completely understand the difference between the two similar sounding coverages. After reading further, you may want take into consideration your current auto insurance coverage to ensure you do carry this type of coverage. If you don’t carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may be at financial risk in the event you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance coverage that protects you in the case of an accident with an at-fault driver who does not carry liability insurance. It is a form of protection offered along with your own auto insurance that you can elect. Rhode Island drivers are required to carry insurance. It is recommended, however not required, that RI drivers elect uninsured motorist coverage. As a conscientious driver, you may be taking a big financial risk to not elect uninsured motorist coverage. This additional protection is relatively inexpensive compared to your required liability coverage. If you are hit by an at-fault uninsured driver and experience injuries, your health insurance may cover the medical bills they are responsible for, however they would not cover co-pays, deductibles, and other expenses incurred due to the accident. This is where your uninsured motorist coverage would come in handy. If you do not carry this coverage and your personal injuries require a lengthy hospital stay and continued medical care, debt can quickly pile up and take a huge toll on the injured as well as their family. Not carrying UM is an expensive gamble to take.

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