Articles Posted in Truck Accident

commercial-truck-300x200A common question personal injury lawyers receive is: What can I expect when it comes to a settlement for my commercial vehicle accident? The answer is probably not what you want to hear, but it’s necessary and truthful: It varies depending on a variety of factors, just like with car accidents and many other types of personal injury law. The complexity of trying to get the commercial vehicle accident settlement you deserve for your specific case is exactly why you need to have top-notch legal representation on your side. Below, our Providence personal injury attorneys will go through a brief overview of the basics of commercial vehicle accident settlements in Rhode Island, how the amounts are determined, and some things you can expect when going through the process.

What Is Considered a Commercial Vehicle?

First, let’s establish the definition of a commercial vehicle before delving into the more complicated legal stuff. A commercial vehicle generally refers to automobiles like delivery vans, semi-trucks, taxis, buses, and other vehicles that are employed for business. Since these types of vehicles tend to be larger and heavier than other cars and trucks on the road, when accidents do occur, injuries and damages tend to be more severe compared to accidents that only involve regular passenger cars.

1853552-2-300x273It may go without saying, but when a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian, in the majority of cases, the pedestrian is going to be the loser in this battle. When the vehicle involved in the collision is an SUV, the stakes are even higher and the risk and severity of the injuries suffered by the unprotected victim are typically much worse. As a Rhode Island personal injury attorney, David Tapalian has seen serious and often life-threatening injuries occur when a person on foot is hit by a moving vehicle. Frequently, the extent of the injuries the person suffers, and their risk of death, corelates to the size of the SUV or truck.  A study last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) backed up this assumption when it looked at which vehicles were more dangerous in pedestrian car accidents and reported that sports utility vehicles were found to kill and injure pedestrians more frequently than other types of cars. 

IIHS Study Findings

Considering that SUVs make up almost 50% of motor vehicle sales in the U.S. each year and are projected to continually rise, and sedans make up less than a quarter of sales, the study findings are daunting.  The primary difference between getting hit by a smaller vehicle versus a sports utility vehicle occurs when a collision takes place at an intermediate speed. For example:

photo_71959_20160725-1-300x250There’s more bad news for the chronically sleep deprived. Not only are they perpetually tired but also more at risk for causing a car accident. According to a AAA study, drivers functioning on less than 4 hours of sleep have crash risks similar to those of an intoxicated driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .12. (Rhode Island law defines a BAC of .08 or higher as driving while intoxicated (DWI)). So, an exhausted truck driver who skimped on sleep in order to reach their destination on-time may be just as much of a danger as a drunk driver on the road! The Providence, RI car accident injury lawyers at Tapalian Law know it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of an auto accident and this is especially true for car crashes caused by a sleep-deprived driver. We do know that truck drivers are particularly vulnerable to driving while tired due to long, and often monotonous, hours on the road. Recall the much publicized 2014 crash that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another passenger in his vehicle. The truck driver who hit Morgan’s vehicle had been awake an estimated 28 hours before the collision took place and driver fatigue was cited as one cause of the deadly crash.

AAA Sleep Deprivation Study: Poor Sleep Alters Brain Function

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a review of data from 6,800 car accidents for the period of 2005-2007 to study the effects of sleep deprivation on driving. Only the data from drivers determined to be culpable (whose errors, actions, or lack of actions, led to the crash), were used.  Accidents involving external factors, like brake failure or poor infrastructure, were not factored into the report. The goal of the review was to “quantify” the correlation between hours of sleep and crash risk. The study found that

less than 7 hours of sleep increases a driver’s risk of a crash

Effective Monday, June 11th, tractor trailer trucks passing through Rhode Island will now be charged a toll when passing through two points on Route 95. The new tolls, located at Exit 2 near the Hopkinton and Richmond border and Exit 5 in Exeter, cost $3.25 and $3.50 respectively. Rhode Islanders may see this as a good way to create funds for fixing the oft-complained about roads, bridges, and highways in the state, especially since Rhode Island has the worst bridges of any state in the nation. But many truck drivers don’t agree and are preparing for eb0110f3db0f0937b346451ffcb7d14c-300x200a legal battle. Their argument? Truckers claim that tolling only tractor-trailer trucks is illegal.

Purpose of the New Rhode Island Truck Toll

The new tractor-trailer tolls are part of the Rhodeworks legislation that became law in February 2016 as a way to rebuild Rhode Island’s infrastructure. The purpose of the truck tolls in particular is to collect revenue to rebuild ailing bridges, followed by other transportation projects. Rhode Island ranks 50, last in the nation, in overall condition of its bridges. It is said that 22% of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient. Rhode Island is counting on millions in revenue from the toll- an estimated 7.2 million a year, as estimated by state officials. Within the next year or two, 11 or 12 more toll locations are projected to go up around Rhode Island. Governor Gina Raimondo says the additional revenue, and subsequent investment in infrastructure, will be a positive for the state leading to safer roads as well as employing thousands of construction workers. The original toll project was slated to unfold in March. However, it was delayed to continue further testing of the electronic tolling systems. These steel tower systems use sensors to charge the tractor-trailers, which often have an EZ-Pass. The tolls do not require the trucks to stop or otherwise slow down.

clock-300x225This coming weekend marks the end of daylight savings time as the clocks fall back. With this change, Rhode Islanders may be driving longer at night leading to an increase in driver fatigue and road hazards resulting in a car accident. According to experts at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “any time change can exacerbate drowsiness and your body may need a few days to adjust accordingly”. Virginia Tech estimates that fatigue is the cause of close to 20 percent of automobile crashes. And sadly, this type of crash is preventable. The personal injury attorney’s at Tapalian Law in Providence specialize in helping Rhode Island residents who have been hurt in car accidents, including crashes caused by a drowsy driver.

Tips to Avoid Driver Fatigue

These tips from Virginia Tech expert Jeff Hickman may not only be helpful during the daylight savings time transition but also during the upcoming busy holiday season, another time you may be tempted to drive drowsy.


It is easy to see why so many people choose Martha’s Vineyard as a vacation destination — it is a gorgeous place to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, it is also easy to see how a driver could cause a rear-end accident because he or she is distracted by the scenery.

Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for rear-end accidents. When you add an unfamiliar location where people are busy looking at the sights outside of the car windows or busy trying to read road signs or look for landmarks to help guide them to their final destination to the other common distractions that cause accidents, rear-end accidents can be common. If you are injured in a Martha’s Vineyard accident, call our RI & MA rear-end accident attorneys at


for a free legal consultation.


Thousands of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island each year. Massachusetts and Rhode Island require drivers to carry liability insurance to protect others in the event the driver causes a motor vehicle accident. Liability insurance pays damages to victims of a car accident when a driver is responsible for the crash.

Just like all other states, Rhode Island and Massachusetts set minimum insurance requirements for all drivers.

In Rhode Island, drivers must purchase the following insurance coverage:

You’ve been in a serious car wreck. Your car is severely damaged, maybe totaled. Will your insurance company total it? Maybe you don’t mind if they do- your car was an old hand me down you used for commuting to and from work. Or wait- maybe you do mind. This was the car of your dreams you saved up so long for. After searching for months, you finally found it in the perfect color. This is your dream car and you want it back! Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily your decision to make. After a car accident, your insurance company will decide whether your vehicle is a “total loss” or worth repairing.

How “Total Loss” Is Determined in Rhode Island

Laws vary from state to state as to when a vehicle is considered a “total loss” after an accident. They also may vary between insurance companies. Rhode Island typically considers a vehicle a “total loss” when the cost to repair the vehicle is more than 75% of the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle.

Total Loss Ratio (TLR) = 

Cost of Repairs/Actual Cash Value

For example: The fair market value of your vehicle prior to the accident is $5,000. The cost of repairs is $3,900. Total Loss Ratio $3,900/$5,000 = 78%. So, it is highly likely your car will be a total loss based on Rhode Island standards. In some cases, even if the vehicle is not considered a total loss based on the TLR, the car may still not be repaired and instead totaled. This may be the case in older model vehicles that are not worth repairing or may be based on other factors used by the insurance company.

Insurance Company Will Take the Least Expensivthat-hurt-1450455-300x217e Way Out

Your insurance company doesn’t care about sentimental feelings when it comes to your vehicle. It doesn’t matter to them that this was the first car you bought with your own money or that the car was passed on to you from a beloved parent. The insurance company will appraise the vehicle and decide if it is cheaper to repair it or pay out a claim to the insured for the value of the vehicle prior to the accident. Continue reading ›


In the past, vehicles were designed to provide safety to passengers in a collision. Airbags and seat belts are examples of safety features car designers added to vehicles to help reduce the risk of serious injury and death. Today’s manufacturers and engineers are focused on preventing accidents in addition to reducing the risk of injury in an accident. Some of the latest advances in the automotive manufacturing field help save lives by providing alerts to the driver before an accident occurs. Below are four of the latest technologies you can find on new vehicle models that are focused on preventing collisions.

  1. Adaptive Headlights

Headlights have changed over the years to improve visibility. The latest trend is a design that changes directions to increase lighting around hills and curves. Adaptive headlights also adjust the intensity of light when the vehicle is in traffic to reduce glare for the driver. The benefit for drivers is that they can see road hazards sooner and be alerted to pedestrians after night.


People make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions from losing weight to improving their finances. Even though almost half of Americans admit they make New Year’s resolutions, only about eight percent of those individuals will keep their resolutions and reach their goals.

One resolution that every driver should make and keep is to become a safe driver in 2017. There are far too many motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. Thousands of people are killed and injured each month throughout the country. If every driver would resolve to break bad driving habits, we could reduce the number of tragic car accidents. Below are several New Year’s resolutions that can help you become a safer driver in 2017.

  • I Resolve to Wear My Seat Belt – 

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