Articles Posted in Slip & Falls

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.

snowy-mailbox-300x169The most common reason for emergency room visits? Slip and fall accidents. Over a million visitors frequent the ER each year as a result of a slip, trip, or fall. The Providence personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law know just how serious a personal injury that results from a slip and fall accident can be.  Winter snow and ice make for more frequent, and dangerous, slip and fall injuries specifically to us in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts area. But not everyone can stay inside and cozy up in a snowstorm. A number of occupations must continue to work despite poor weather including police officers, firefighters, and medical personnel. We also count on postal workers for important home and business mail and package deliveries. Postal employees who deliver mail are particularly vulnerable to the threat of slip and fall accidents caused by snow and icy conditions. If you have been injured at work or at home in a slip, trip, or fall in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, contact Providence personal injury attorney David Tapalian to see if you are eligible to seek compensation for your injuries. Visit our Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog for ways to prevent slip and fall incidents and steps to take after a slip and fall accident.

USPS Asks Customers for Help to Prevent Slip & Fall Injuries

Due to an abundance of postal delivery employees who suffer from slip and fall accidents each winter, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is asking customers for help during the wintry weather. The USPS asks customers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and other areas hit hard by winter conditions to keep walkways, sidewalks, and areas around mailboxes clear of snow and ice to help prevent a fall. Customers are requested to shovel, sand, and ice their walkways, sidewalks, and surrounding mailbox area, as necessary to assist deliveries made on foot. If your mail is delivered by a mail truck, customers are asked to clear enough snow from around the mailbox to allow the mail truck safe delivery access. Postal delivery employees don’t want to inconvenience customers by skipping a delivery, however if conditions are not clear or safe to deliver on foot or by mail truck, the workers are instructed to skip the delivery and hold onto the mail or packages until safety conditions improve.

a0b7bf6eb8febc2d57f7769bd6b44b66-1-300x260Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common types of injury and account for over 1 million ER visits each year in the U.S.  Though most falls are minor and result in a bump or bruise, 1 in 5 falls causes a serious injury like a broken bone or head injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Falls are the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for all ages and the number one cause for those ages 65 and older. Slips, trips, and falls can happen at home, at work, at the grocery store, or simply walking down the street. Slip and fall accidents can be particularly serious to the elderly. Falls are also mostly preventable. Rhode Island property and business owners alike are obligated to maintain safe conditions for those who are expected to come upon their property and make repairs in a timely manner. As individuals, we must hold ourselves accountable by being aware of our surroundings and avoiding unnecessary distractions that can result in a fall, like looking down at a cell phone while walking. In light of June being National Safety Month, the Providence slip and fall lawyers at Tapalian Law would like to share with you some tips to eliminate common tripping hazards and reduce injuries from a slip and fall.

Distracted Walking

Cell phones have made it easy for us to stay in contact with work, friends, and family 24/7 but they are also a major cause of slip and fall accidents. Falls are frequently the consequence of inattention or a distraction, like looking down to use a cell phone. This is known as distracted walking. Like distracted driving, distracted walking can cause injury, both minor and severe. Looking down at a cell phone while walking can cause a crash into another person, a trip down a flight of stairs, a fall off a sidewalk, or worse. Distracted walking can cause a person to unknowingly walk into traffic or take a serious fall, resulting in severe injuries or a fatality.  If you must use a cell phone while walking, stop in a safe spot out of the way of other pedestrians and vehicles to make your call or send your text to avoid an injury due to distracted walking.

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_1595_20060522-200x300An Alabama jury recently awarded $7.5 million to an Army veteran after breaking his hip at a Walmart store. The incident took place in 2015 when the retired sergeant was shopping in an Alabama Walmart and his foot got stuck in the side of a wooden pallet under a watermelon display. This led him to fall and shatter his hip, an injury that permanently changed his life, according to his injury attorney. His lawyer filed a premises liability lawsuit arguing that Walmart neglected to keep its premises reasonably safe thereby resulting in his client’s life-altering injuries. Walmart was sued for negligence and wantonness and lost but said it plans to appeal the $7.5 million decision. At Tapalian Law, our Providence personal injury law firm has helped clients seek compensation for accidents and injuries they have incurred on another person’s, or businesses’, property.

What is Premises Liability?

Legally speaking, premises liability holds property owners and residents liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. This could be a homeowner’s or business owner’s property. When someone comes onto your property, they have a “reasonable expectation” of not getting injured. Just as drivers are required to operate their motor vehicle with a “duty of care” to avoid injuring others in a car accident, many states including Rhode Island require property owners to exercise “reasonable care” in maintaining their property for those who may come upon the property such as an invited guest or delivery person. At a business such as a restaurant, owners expect patrons on their property to conduct business and therefore need to keep the property in proper, safe, working condition. If an owner breaches this duty of care, they may be held liable for the injuries that occurred on their property, such as a slip and fall, that took place due to the owner’s failure to fix a dangerous condition on the property that they knew about, or should have known about. The slip and fall attorney’s at Tapalian Law have helped clients who have been hurt in a premises liability accident in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

wet-floor-3-300x225It’s not often that we take the time to look down when we’re walking down the sidewalk, in a parking lot, or into our local big box store. After all, Rhode Islanders are busy people, why would we bother looking at the ground when we’ve got so much to do? Well, you may re-think this next time you’re headed out to the store. A recent report by CNA, an insurance and risk management services provider for businesses and professionals worldwide, revealed that half of all flooring they surveyed at test sites does not meet the minimum threshold for adequate friction. Simply put, the flooring being used in many places of business is not as safe and slip-proof as it should be. Ironically, most large businesses have fall prevention programs in place to combat slip and fall accidents and prevent injuries in their businesses, such as maintenance staff to mop up spills quickly, but often fail to address the actual flooring surface selection. The personal injury attorneys at Providence-based Tapalian Law have helped clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who have been hurt in a slip and fall accident.

Where Do Slip & Fall Accidents Occur the Most?

According to the CNA study of slip and fall liability claims occurring from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2016, retail and real estate businesses present the greatest potential for slip and fall accidents. Injuries occurred most often at these sites:

file371243652775-300x200The U.S. restaurant industry is a booming business, including in Rhode Island, and employs about 10% of the overall workforce. Given its large size and number of staff, it’s no surprise that workplace injuries are a common, and inevitable occurrence. Cuts, burns, and slip & falls are common injuries for those employed in restaurants. As Rhode Island personal injury attorneys, Tapalian Law has assisted many clients injured in the workplace with their workers compensation claims. Fortunately, the bulk of restaurant injuries and accidents, though common, are of low severity and only require minor medical care. However, more severe injuries can prove to be very costly, not only monetarily, but also physically and mentally, to the injured. A serious workplace injury will often include multitudes of medical bills, hospital expenses, and wages lost from time out of work.

Why Are Restaurant Employee Injuries So Prevalent?

Anyone who has worked in the Rhode Island restaurant industry knows how fast-paced it is. Whether working as a server or bartender, or in the kitchen, potential harm lurks everywhere. Common worker injuries in the kitchen are burns, especially in restaurants where food is fried. Hot fryer oil can cause second and third degree burns resulting in permanent injury needing extensive care. Not only can hot oil splash while cooking, but spilled oil is slippery and can lead to slip & falls. Slip & falls, sprains, and strains from heavy lifting of boxes or deliveries, can be quite serious and require a long rehabilitation process and physical therapy. As any restaurant employee knows, food prep is a daily task and slicing, dicing, and cutting by both kitchen staff and servers constitutes a great number of kitchen-related mishaps as well. Cuts can be minor but if deep or infected, can quickly become grave.  Although only 2 percent of restaurant workplace injuries are considered severe, according to the National Restaurant Association these cases can incur workers compensation claims of $100,000 or more. Incidentally, California has a much higher rate of serious restaurant workplace injuries than average, 31% of accidents are severe, according to a 2015 Workers Compensation Best Practices Report.

Your child is at the home of a classmate for a birthday party. During the party, you receive a phone call from the classmate’s parent- your son or daughter fell down some steps and cut their chin open and may need stitches. As you drive your upset child to the emergency room, you wonder- how did this happen? Where were the parents? What type of steps dida0b7bf6eb8febc2d57f7769bd6b44b66-300x260 your child fall on? Were they pushed by another kid? Was anyone supervising? What kind of medical treatment will be needed and how much will it cost? Will it be covered by my insurance plan? These are all valid questions and after an injury, they are all questions that you need answers to. The Providence personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law, can help you in getting answers to your questions after you, or your child, has suffered from a personal injury that incurred on the premises of another, whether it be a homeowner or business. This is known as premises liability.

Types of Premises Liability

Premises liability, a type of personal injury case, most commonly occurs as a slip & fall. A slip & fall may be due to an icy sidewalk, poor lighting, cracked sidewalk concrete, or improperly maintained steps, among other factors. Slip & falls most often occur in restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, sidewalks, driveways, and entry ways. It may be a spill left on the floor of a grocery store, or it could be a broken step leading to the entryway of a restaurant. Slip & falls, or trip & falls, can take place in a commercial setting, or a residential setting.

What started out as a fun, children’s Easter egg hunt has turned into a $112K lawsuit. An Oregon mom is suing for negligence after an allegedly overcrowded Easter egg hunt caused her to suffer serious injuries. Rachel Townsend filed a lawsuit, along with her personal injury attorney, stating that as the egg hunt began, the overcrowded field was rushed with people causing her to be pushed from behind and knocked to the ground causing her injuries. If you have experienced a similar incident where you received injuries due to the neglect of another in Rhode Island, you are urged to contact a RI personal injury law firm like Tapalian Law to find out your rights to sue for negligence.

Negligence Laws in Rhode Island

A Rhode Island lawyer might define “negligent” as “to act in a way that a similar “reasonable person” would not, resulting in another’s personal injury”. An “injury” may be physical injuries, the loss or damage of property, emotional distress, and other losses that result from the negligence. To owe someone a duty of care depends on multiple factors depending on the situation. There are also different types of negligence. For example, driver negligence, such as texting while driving, can rfile0001097532734-300x225esult in a car accident. In this particular case, the defendants were allegedly negligent by failing to provide adequate staffing to run the Easter egg hunt in a safe way. Due to the negligence of the companies, the plaintiff Townsend is suing for $100,000 in non-economic damage as well as $12,411 in medical expenses and lost wages. The injuries she incurred in the fall are a torn meniscus and partially torn ligaments in her left knee. She also suffered sprains and strains and the inability to work and carry out normal, daily activities.  Her lawsuit claims that both the venue where the egg hunt happened, as well as the event planning company who hosted the event, are negligent.

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