Articles Posted in Safety

car-insurance-costs-300x187If you own a vehicle, you know that auto insurance is a costly, yet necessary, expense. Though requirements vary from state to state, every state except New Hampshire requires some type of insurance coverage in order to legally operate a vehicle. In Rhode Island, motorists are required to carry liability auto insurance with minimum coverage of $25K per person ($50K per accident) for bodily injury, and $25K per accident for property damage. However, as a Rhode Island car accident lawyer for over 20 years, David Tapalian has seen enough people hit by uninsured drivers to know that not all drivers carry the compulsory auto insurance, or they have inadequate coverage. If you’ve had the misfortune to be involved in a car accident where the driver at fault has no insurance, or purchased the bare minimum, you’ve likely seen that most times this is insufficient to cover the damages involved in a serious auto accident.

Though a significant expense, the cost of auto insurance is one that a driver needs to responsibly account for when choosing to get behind the wheel; and a reprieve on insurance premiums shouldn’t be expected anytime soon either. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data last week showing auto insurance costs are rising at the fastest rate in the past 47 years. Car insurance costs for March were 22.2% higher than they were a year ago and increased 20.6% over February, resulting in the largest gain since 1976.

Reasons Car Insurance Rates Are Increasing

motorcycle-photo-300x225The wind blowing your hair, the open road speeding past you with nothing in between you and the outside, the sheer velocity of your ride; motorcycles have long been a symbol of thrill and freedom since they were popularized. The flip side, of course, is the risk of danger and recklessness. Just as there’s nothing between you and the open road, there’s also not much between you and a severe injury when it comes to a motorcycle crash. Motorcycle accidents can have severe consequences, from significant injuries and ensuing medical bills to a jury prejudice against motorcyclists in general. That’s why it’s essential to have legal representation from a Rhode Island motorcycle accident lawyer who is experienced in navigating these types of cases. Attorney David Tapalian and the skilled personal injury team at Tapalian Law will help you and your family handle the aftermath of a motorcycle accident to make sure your rights as a motorcyclist are protected, ensure you are treated fairly, and the person responsible for your injuries is held accountable.

What Does a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Actually Do?

While the first picture that comes to mind with the word “lawyer” is “court,” an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer does much more than that- a dedicated personal injury lawyer becomes your counselor, advocate, and guide through the complicated, often daunting labyrinth known as personal injury law. A Rhode Island motorcycle accident attorney from Tapalian Law will labor to make sure that you get the optimal outcome for your motorcycle accident claim.

bicycyclist--300x240A fatal bicycle accident in Newport last week left locals of the Rhode Island city in mourning, and also upset. Kayla Watson, a 34-year-old Middletown resident, was killed while riding an electric bike to work on Admiral Kalbfus Road. Watson was fatally injured after being struck by a bucket truck at an intersection on a stretch of road notoriously known for being dangerous.  The intersection where Admiral Kalbus Road and Hillside Avenue meet has been the subject of a number of safety studies over the years which have shown a “general neglect for traffic safety laws”, including frequent speeding and running red lights. As Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, at Tapalian Law we all too often see first-hand the detrimental injuries and tragic fatalities that result when a bicyclist or pedestrian is hit by a car or truck. Losing a loved one in an accident is always devastating, particularly when the harm was caused by a careless driver and was unavoidable.

Intersection a Long-Time Traffic Hazard

Just this summer, a group of area residents voiced their concerns and requested safety improvements to the Newport City Council, RI Department of Transportation, and state and national officials in an 18-page letter. While the intersection has been a long-time traffic safety concern, residents’ uneasiness escalated when the RIDOT Pell Bridge ramp realignment project resulted in a big influx of commercial and construction vehicles being re-routed through the area. Considered part of Route 138, a larger state highway, Admiral Kalbus Road is also a residential area. Hillside Avenue is also a residential area and a main route to and from Newport’s Pell Elementary School which is of great concern to both parents and neighbors who frequently observe motorists driving with a disregard for speed limits and traffic signals.

carcrashbw-300x157More than 6 million traffic accidents were reported throughout the U.S. in 2021, according to the NHTSA.  In Rhode Island alone, 63 motorists were killed in car accidents that same year. Although fortunately not every car crash is fatal, a significant number of wrecks result in some sort of damage, injury, and potential litigation. The vehicle insurance industry estimates that the average motorist will be involved in at least four car accidents throughout their life. Moreover, younger or novice drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes compared to those who are more experienced behind the wheel. The circumstances surrounding every collision vary widely of course, but a large majority of auto accidents can be contributed to a select number of similar causes. The Rhode Island car accident lawyers at Tapalian Law explain some of the top causes of auto accidents to be aware of to help you stay safer on the road.

Top Reasons Car Accidents Happen

While there are many different reasons auto accidents happen, it’s essential to know how and why the most common ones happen so that you are able to optimize your safety while navigating the road.

m_709045-1-300x200Slip and fall accidents in the U.S. are a top driver of personal injury claims. A slip, trip, or fall may unexpectedly occur to anyone, anywhere. It may happen at your favorite corner store you’ve been visiting for years to buy snacks, or it can happen in the brand-new big box store that opened down the road. Regardless of how it occurred, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident in a store, it’s essential to speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Providence, Rhode Island to be aware of your legal rights and know what steps you should take. With over two decades of success winning compensation for clients throughout RI and MA, Attorney David Tapalian will explain how to proceed following a slip and fall accident in a store, including:

  • Your legal rights as a victim.
  • Proving negligence to claim compensation.

Chronic-pain-300x190When you suffer a painful injury, it’s normal to want the quickest solution to end the discomfort, particularly when the pain affects your quality of life or ability to work. For instance, an avid runner with a knee injury is left unable to practice the sport they love and enjoy the benefits of being physically fit. In many cases, pain from an injury can negatively affect a person’s ability to perform the qualifications required by their job and earn a living. A construction worker required to lift heavy loads will be negatively affected by a shoulder injury and unable to adequately perform their job requirements. If your ability to enjoy a certain quality of life or make enough money to support your family has been compromised due to an injury you suffered in an accident, discuss your legal options with a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer. Attorney David Tapalian will ensure your legal rights are protected and you receive the proper medical treatment needed to regain your quality of living.

When Surgery is Recommended

When receiving treatment after an injury you suffered in an accident, your doctor will recommend a plan of care. A number of factors will be accounted for when advising what medical care options are best now, and potentially in the future.  Depending on the type of injury and what body part is affected, surgery may be recommended by your physician. If the injury was a result of negligence, like an auto accident or motorcycle crash, the insurance company’s medical opinion will also be taken into consideration. The insurance company representing the at-fault party will consult with their own team of medical experts to make recommendations based on what is in the best interest of protecting the company and assessing liability. Sometimes surgery will be the most effective option, however there may also be alternative methods of care to consider, like physical therapy, although not all medical professionals will take these into consideration or discuss them with the patient.

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

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.

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.

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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