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.

photo_37571_20150421-200x300In an awful tragedy, a 15-month-old little girl was bitten by a dog and died this weekend in Las Vegas.  After being transported to the hospital, the toddler later succumbed to injuries inflicted by a rottweiler owned by a family friend. Incidentally, Las Vegas is located within Clark County, one of the four counties in the U.S. with the highest rate of fatal dog mauling’s.  Although rottweilers and pit bulls seem to be the breeds most often heard of in the news, as Rhode Island dog bite lawyers, Tapalian Law has seen dog bite injuries that happen by even the most seemingly docile family dogs. No one is safe from a dog bite.

All Breeds of Dog Can Bite

Pit bulls and rottweilers are typically the breeds that get a bad rap. Although statistics show that these two breeds account for over 76% of dog bite fatalities during the period of 2005-2017 (with pit bulls making up 65.6.5%, rottweilers 10.4%), any breed of dog can inflict damage. What makes the bite of a pit bull so significant is not the frequency of biting, but the severe damage it causes when it bites. The breed tends to have a “hold and shake” bite style that can result in acute bone and muscle damage, permanent and disfiguring injuries, and sometimes death. As dog bite attorneys in Rhode Island, we have seen clients left with permanent scarring and disfigurement of their face and body by a number of different types of dogs, even small breeds. Severe dog bites to the face can be especially distressing when they leave a permanent reminder, like a scar, a person must see in the mirror every day. When a dog inflicts a serious injury on a young child who has not yet finished growing, future surgeries are typically necessary to accommodate changes to the scar or disfigurement as the child’s body grows and changes.

Texting-Driving-Female-3-300x225Texting while driving has been illegal in Rhode Island for many years now and less than a year ago the state banned the use of hand-held devices while driving. But as we all know; it still continues and we see first-hand the detrimental effects of car accidents caused by cell phone use and distracted driving every day as personal injury lawyers in Providence. In an effort to promote the severity of distracted driving, Rhode Island State Police stopped 813 vehicles during a highway safety campaign last week issuing 93 warnings or citations to drivers for using cell phones for texting or making phone calls while operating a vehicle. Tapalian Law feels strongly about promoting the dangers of texting and cell phone use while driving since April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, but also throughout the year in an effort to keep Rhode Island motorists safe on the road. The number of people hurt or killed in distracted driving crashes each day in the U.S., at least nine fatalities and 100 injured, speak for themselves about the severity of this preventable problem in Rhode Island and across the country.

What is the Fine for Texting & Driving in Rhode Island?

The State Police emphasize the dangers of distracted driving, especially texting and using a hand-held cell phone while driving, and fines are assessed in hopes of deterring negligent drivers in Rhode Island and preventing car accidents. Drivers using a cell phone while operating a vehicle in Rhode Island can be fined up to $100 and those texting while driving can be fined up to $100 along with a possible 30-day license suspension. Use of earphones, headsets, headphones, or similar devices while driving or riding a bike may lead to a fine of up to $85. The fines may seem hefty to some, but are a small price to pay to prevent a car crash and avoid potential serious injury and death.

photo_119204_20190212-300x200A recent state Supreme Court decision upheld a ruling declaring the City of East Providence is not liable for a teenager’s bicycle crash injuries that occurred in a city park. The incident, which took place in 2010, involved a teen who suffered a broken arm in a bike accident in Rumford’s Glenlyon Park. Then 17-year-old, Austin Yattaw, suffered a double compound fracture to his left arm after being thrown from his bike while riding down a grassy slope on the side of a stairway at the park. The front tire of his bike wedged in between a crack in the retaining wall below causing him to be thrown from the bike resulting in injury. In 2013, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Yattaw alleging the City of East Providence was negligent in maintaining the park and was responsible for his injuries. The city is protected by the state’s Recreational Use statute. As Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, we are familiar with this term, but most people aren’t familiar with this state law and how it protects certain Rhode Island land owners.

What is Rhode Island’s Recreational Use Statute?

The purpose of the state’s Recreational Use statute is to “encourage owners of land to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting their liability to persons entering thereon for those purposes”, as stated in Rhode Island General Laws, Chapter 32-6 Public Use of Private Lands – Liability Limitations. By allowing use of the land for recreational purposes, either directly or indirectly without charge, the landowner is essentially not liable and does not extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose. The land owner does not assume responsibility for, or incur liability for, any injury to a person caused by an act of omission on the part of that person, nor does the land owner owe a “duty of care” to that same person.

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.

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.

photo_27694_20130907-300x200Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for Rhode Island teenagers aged 15-17 and the leading cause of fatality and injury for adolescents nationwide. Over the year’s vehicle safety has improved tremendously, but teenage drivers have not. In fact, the first year with a license is the most dangerous period in a driver’s life, according to AAA. The Providence personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law focus on helping the victims of auto accident injuries and often the accidents resulting in fatalities or serious injury involve teenage drivers. We know from experience, and statistics show, that new teen drivers have a high likelihood of experiencing a crash or “close call” as newly licensed motor vehicle operators. Newly licensed teen drivers are also four times more likely to engage in risky road behaviors like sudden acceleration, abrupt braking, and hard turns.  Couple the impulsiveness and inexperience of adolescence with a near-constant need for technology, and a recipe for disaster is created for teen drivers in Providence, Rhode Island and beyond.

Lack of Judgement Common Culprit in Teen Crashes

Crash investigations commonly show the cause of teenage car crashes is not a lack of skill, but a lack of judgement. Responsible driving requires good judgement, a solid attention span, the ability to juggle and prioritize multiple functions, and shrewd decision-making skills. Biologically speaking, these are not yet a concrete part of the skillsets of most still-maturing teenagers. However, with gained experience teenage drivers can learn to be safer. As a RI accident injury lawyer, Attorney David Tapalian witnesses the huge impact distracted driving has on car accidents. Rhode Island law prohibits hand-held cell phone use while driving. The cell phone law is even more specific pertaining to new drivers under the age of 18.  In the Ocean State, vehicle operators under age 18 are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices. Despite the illegality, motor vehicle lawyers know from first-hand knowledge, adults and teenagers alike still text and chat on a cell phone while driving, as mentioned in our Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog. According to a survey by AAA, almost 70% of teenage drivers admit to talking on a cell phone and over half admit to reading a text message while operating a vehicle in the past 30 days.  Almost all adolescent drivers admit to keeping their cell phone turned on while driving a car.

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.

Contact Information