Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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After a short reprieve, electric scooter rentals returned to Providence at the end of the year, following the city’s approval to allow e-scooter rental companies Spin and VeoRide, a combined total of 600 scooters. As the prevalence of electric scooters has increased in cities like Providence RI, so have the scooter injuries in these cities. As personal injury lawyers in Providence, at Tapalian Law we have seen scooter accidents result in serious injury when a rider collides with a car or truck, especially if the victim is not wearing a safety helmet.

As the availability of electric scooter rental programs increased, rentals nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018. Emergency room physicians across the U.S. saw a corresponding uptick in the number of patients suffering injuries as the result of a scooter accident, and scooter injuries jumped an alarming 82%. This sharp increase in e-scooter trauma was reported in a recent study by the University of California, San Francisco. Unlike car accidents, data on scooter injuries is still in its relative infancy. However, other studies have reported similar, striking results, as shown in our Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog.

An easy, low-cost transportation option, e-scooter rentals can certainly be a useful tool to get around the city. However, as Providence personal injury lawyers we can’t stress enough how imperative it is that operators, especially novice users who are particularly prone to getting hurt, wear a safety helmet and take the time to familiarize themselves with the operation of the vehicle and its rules for use to prevent injury. Providence’s E-Scooter Share Program, as well as the individual rental company websites, provides information on proper use.

bike ridersHaving personally seen the crucial, life-saving consequences of wearing a helmet while riding a bike, Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian cannot underestimate the importance of this simple, yet essential, safety measure. At Tapalian Law, we have a number of bike accident clients who wouldn’t be here today if not for the critical decision they made to put on a bike helmet. Wearing a helmet is the single, most effective way for a bike rider to reduce their risk of suffering a serious, and sometimes fatal, head injury in a bicycle accident.

A number of states, including Rhode Island, require mandatory helmets for particular age groups, but there are no statewide laws that require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets. The National Transportation Safety Board wants to change that. The NTSB issued a recommendation this week “that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, require that all persons wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.”  The question remains- should RI require all bicyclists to wear a helmet?

What Do We Know About Helmet Safety?

bike laneThe City of Providence’s decision to remove a recently installed bike lane on Eaton Street has cyclists in Rhode Island up in arms. Providence’s first two-way bike lane, newly completed in early September of this year at a cost of over $63,000, will be dismantled amid concerns and complaints by local residents, for an additional cost of $64,000.  Rhode Island bicyclists may have good reason to be upset. The majority of bike accidents occur in urban areas and as bicycle accident lawyers, we know one of the best ways to ensure safety for bicyclists is to have designated, safe cycling lanes. Clearly identified and designated bike lanes are essential to ensure safety for vulnerable cyclists and were included in the City’s “Great Streets Initiative” which proposed 60 mikes of bike lanes, including the new lane on Eaton Street.

When Bikes & Cars Collide

When a bicycle and motor vehicle collide, as expected it’s the person on the bike who bears the brunt of the impact and suffers serious injuries, which are sometimes fatal. Across the U.S., 783 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2017. Despite what many Rhode Islanders feel is a step in the wrong direction with the removal of the Eaton Street bike lane, many cities including Providence are developing plans to make bicycle and pedestrian travel safer in urban areas. Bicycle traffic will increase with these safety initiatives while drivers of cars are more distracted than ever; this makes it more important than ever to have access to an experienced Providence bicycle accident attorney if you are injured. Municipalities across Rhode Island are encouraging more bicycle traffic and designated bike lanes are becoming clearly marked throughout the state making it apparent that bicycles are welcome.  Cities and towns will need to do more to make bicycling safer for everyone throughout Rhode Island.

spine xrayAs a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer, Attorney David Tapalian is aware that a spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating types of injury one can encounter in a car accident.  An acute injury to the spinal cord can leave a person without function, movement, or sensation in their body and primarily confined to a wheelchair.  The leading causes of spinal cord injuries in Rhode Island are motor vehicle accidents and injuries due to trauma, such as a serious fall or sports-related injury. A spinal cord injury due to a car accident can affect multiple neurological systems throughout the body and partial paralysis of certain organs and limbs is not uncommon. The psychological impact due to such injuries can be equally devastating.

Typically, treatment options are few and far between. However, there is hope on the horizon in Rhode Island for spinal cord injuries as a local team researches novel possibilities. Injury Attorney Tapalian’s alma mater, Brown University, and the Carney Institute for Brain Science, have teamed up in an effort to find innovative treatments for significant spinal cord injuries.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury? 

slip & fall signageA recent change to the law in Rhode Island will make slip and fall cases easier for injured plaintiffs to recover. Prior to the passage of this 2019 law, insurance companies would use the argument of an “open and obvious” danger, as a total bar to the plaintiff’s recovery. With the new slip and fall law in Rhode Island, passed on July 15, 2019, this barrier to recovery on a slip and fall accident in Rhode Island, is forever removed. For instance, prior to this law a landlord that had an “open and obvious” defect due to its size or location, such as a violation of the state’s building code, may have been able to claim the person injured on their property was negligent due to the “open and obvious” nature of the danger. Many Rhode Island personal injury attorneys are in support of the new law, while others feel it will create issues such as compromising the court’s ability to resolve cases in a timely manner and generate pressure on landlords.

How Changes Will Affect the Rhode Island Slip & Fall Law

Prior to the enactment of the new law, insurance companies were able to keep plaintiff’s slip and fall cases away from the jury. Landlords and their insurance companies would be able to skirt any responsibility for your injury, if they could convince a judge that the danger was open and obvious. That is, defense counsel would file a motion to dismiss your case with an argument that plaintiff should have been aware of the danger, since it was an open and obvious defect.  With the removal of this barrier to slip and fall cases in Rhode Island, more claims will now be able to proceed to a jury for their findings of defendant’s negligence.

providence car accidentProvidence Car Accident Lawyer David Tapalian recently recovered $85,000 for a Tapalian Law client involved in a rear-end collision accident where the impact caused significant damage to the client’s GMC Sierra pickup truck. Our client, a local resident, was stopped in traffic on Allens Avenue in Providence, RI when he had the unfortunate luck to be struck from behind by another vehicle with substantial force enough to bend the metal rear bumper downwards.

The crash resulted in damage to both vehicles, as noted on the police report, and the victim consulted with Tapalian Law shortly after the accident.  Despite the significant bumper damage, we knew immediately upon reviewing the pictures of the damaged truck, that the defendant’s insurance company would argue that the impact was not considerable enough to cause physical damage to the plaintiff, our client.  If the insurance company can argue that an impact was not sizable, they then argue that there is no causation to our client’s injuries when it comes time to settle the car accident claim.  However, we knew from the accident reconstruction experts that our personal injury firm in Rhode Island deals with, that this was a significant rear-end hit.

Although our client complained of pain at the scene of the crash, he did not want to be transported by rescue to receive medical assistance.  As a car accident attorney in Providence, David Tapalian always urges clients to seek immediate medical care after an auto accident, regardless of how you feel at the time. As expected, the day following the vehicle crash our client was experiencing pain and visited an urgent care center with reports of pain in the lower back, radiating down the left leg, as well as tingling and shooting pain down his left arm.  As recommended by the urgent care physician, our client tried a significant course of physical therapy.  Even with the physical therapy, his symptoms remained.  He then treated with a pain specialist with his chief complaint being lower back pain.  Our client articulated that the pain occurred after the accident and his Rhode Island physician administered two sets of therapeutic and diagnostic right lumbar facet medial branch blocks. Our client then treated with a different modality of treatment, namely chiropractic care.  Even upon discharge from all medical care, he had residual pain and his health was not returned to pre-accident status.

cropped-300x225Tapalian Law is pleased to announce a $205,000 award in a recent settlement for a North Providence, RI car accident client. Our client was awarded the compensation for injuries sustained in a rear-end collision that took place on Douglas Avenue. The settlement was proudly accomplished by our dedicated North Providence car accident lawyers. Attorney David Tapalian and his personal injury team worked diligently on the claim to pursue maximum monetary recovery for the injured man. For over 20 years, Tapalian Law has helped victims of car accidents in North Providence, and all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts, seek just compensation for their injuries and get back on the road to recovery.

The crash occurred when our client was stopped on Douglas Avenue facing northbound and his car was struck from behind by another vehicle, operated by the defendant.  The resulting impact of the rear-end crash pushed our client’s car into the vehicle in front of him. Though this impact was forceful enough to cause significant personal injury, the insurance company argued otherwise.

You may be surprised to learn that some insurance companies use a computerized system to analyze photographs of the impact to vehicles.  These insurance companies use the computerized data to place a monetary value on the injured person’s claim, comparing the vehicle damage to the clients resulting injuries.  In this case, almost immediately the insurance company began their game of arguing that our client’s injuries could not be caused by the accident. Based on the relatively minor impact to his car, the insurance company claimed his injuries couldn’t be that serious. However, as an experienced North Providence car accident attorney David Tapalian knew differently and could see that liability was clear-cut in this case.

cumberland-car-accident-pic-300x225Tapalian Law is pleased to announce a $135,000 settlement by Rhode Island car accident lawyer David Tapalian and his legal team. Our client, a passenger in a vehicle traveling south on Mendon Road in Cumberland, was seriously injured in a horrific side impact accident in early 2017. The crash took place when another vehicle struck the front passenger side of the car she was riding in, resulting in a serious collision that totaled both vehicles. This particular stretch of Mendon Road is especially dangerous due to the high volume of vehicle traffic coupled with the numerous intersections that feed into the road and we’ve seen a number of collisions take place in this area of Cumberland.

The driver of the vehicle that hit our client was found to be 100% at fault for the collision. In determining liability, a passenger is very rarely ever found to have fault. Distracted, the motorist claimed he did not see the victim’s car as he pulled out of Bemus Avenue onto Mendon Road. This costly turn would have a lasting impact on our client’s life.  She reported immediate pain at the scene of the crash and was transported by ambulance to Landmark Medical Center for treatment where she reported excruciating pain throughout her body immediately following the accident. As a Cumberland car accident attorney, David Tapalian always tells clients to be proactive with seeking medical treatment. Even if you do not feel immediate pain following an accident, it is always safest to seek medical attention either via ambulance, visiting a local medical walk-in, or your family physician right away. The success of this victim’s settlement was partly due to her diligence in reporting her pain immediately.

Injured Victim Not a Candidate for Surgery

ae6420996a78ec187173ea935b782226-300x199After two years of litigation, a jury awarded $3.8 Million to 24-year-old Anthony Ellis for damages sustained in a serious motorcycle accident. The crash left the motorcycle rider with life-changing injuries. The award, $3.5 Million of which is for non-economic damages, will help the accident victim regain a sense of direction and find closure after an arduous physical recovery and contentious legal battle. As personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law, we know the severity of injuries that can result from a motorcycle crash. We help victims of motorcycle accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts recover compensation after being hit by a car and suffering life-threatening complications like head trauma, brain injuries, and broken bones. Recovery from a major collision is often painstakingly extensive for the hurt victim and a tumultuous time for the person’s family.

Insurance Company Refused Settlement for Accident Injuries

The crash took place in 2016 while Ellis was riding his motorcycle north on U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview, Florida and he was “t-boned” by the driver of a car who made a left turn in front of him. The collision threw Ellis and his motorcycle into a drainage ditch causing him severe injuries that required lengthy medical treatment. His left knee required surgical reconstruction and the bones of his left foot were dislocated and broken. The victim also broke his right finger and right toe, and pieces of gravel were removed from his right knee. For over a year the at-fault driver’s insurance company, GEICO, chose not to settle the injury claim within the parameters of its insureds’ coverage. They disputed the accident was the full fault of their insured by claiming Ellis was riding his motorcycle with the headlights off. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mr. Ellis in the Florida judicial system after his lawyers were unable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with GEICO.

file000480371600-300x217With the arrival of Spring, electric scooters abound in Providence. Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters, are still new to the downtown scene having only arrived to cities nationwide in 2018. Being in their relative infancy, e-scooters and their safety have not yet been studied extensively. As personal injury lawyers in Providence, we know that like a pedestrian or bicyclist, sharing the road with cars and trucks in such close proximity poses a huge safety risk, especially to riders not protected by a helmet.  Although the guidelines outlined in the Providence E-Scooter Pilot Program, include the need for riders to obey traffic laws and encourage riders to wear helmets, plenty of electric scooters can be seen zipping around the city driving recklessly and unfortunately, most riders are not wearing a helmet.  Marked by a rise in serious injuries to e-scooter users, especially first-time users, this safety concern was the catalyst for a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas’ Austin Public Health Department to find out why there is such a high prevalence of injuries among electric scooter operators.

What Prompted the Investigation into E-Scooter Injuries?

A considerable rise in emergency room visits for users and pedestrians prompted Austin, Texas city leaders to request an investigation by the CDC into scooter-related crashes and injuries. Seeking alternative modes of transportation in the big city, especially emission-free transportation, Austin residents took to the streets when the e-scooters arrived. Following this, emergency rooms in the area began to notice a large number of visits from electric scooter drivers with broken bones and head injuries. The ER visits included injuries both minor and major, such as a University of Texas student, a star baseball shortstop, that missed his season after he hit a pothole riding an electric scooter tearing his Achilles tendon and requiring surgery. In January 2019, Austin experienced its first scooter related death when a 21-year-old University of Texas student died a day after suffering critical injuries after his electric scooter collided with a car.

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