Truck Car Rear-end Multivehicle Accident on Bridge; Auto falling into Bay

June 16, 2014

RI Rear-end Multivehicle AccidentThere was a very serious motor vehicle accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland in July 2013. Thankfully, this vehicular collision did not result in any fatalities or catastrophic injuries. It was a miracle that this bridge vehicle wreck was not fatal.

This motor vehicle accident post was authored by RI Personal injury Lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100.

A Chrysler car went through a tollbooth on the bridge and traffic slowed so that the Chrysler was going 4 miles an hour in the right hand lane. A Tractor Trailer truck travelling at a speed of 47 mph at the moment of the crash, slammed into the Chrysler in a rear-end collision.

The force of the collision between the truck and the Chrysler caused the Chrysler to hit a Mazda CX-5. The Chrysler then plummeted off the bridge, 27 feet into 7 feet of water. Miraculously the Chrysler driver was able to swim from her motor vehicle to be rescued and brought via ambulance to the hospital for medical treatment.

After a full and thorough investigation by the National transportation Safety Board, the NTSB determined that the crash was caused by “the failure of the truck-tractor driver to slow for traffic due to his inattention to the forward roadway while looking in his side view mirror. Contributing to the crash were the truck driver’s unfamiliarity with the area and lack of knowledge that traffic routinely slows on the eastbound span of the bridge after exiting the toll plaza and before entering the leftward curve.” https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/HAB1401.pdf

It is unclear whether any of the victims retained personal injury attorneys or car accident lawyers.

According to the NTSB, the trucker had at least 4 years of experience driving “commercial vehicles” in Hungary. He also spent a couple of weeks in Canada with an American trained semi-truck (18 wheeler) driver.” The accident trip, which began in Dedham, Massachusetts, was the truck driver’s first time driving in the United States on his own.”

Absence of mechanical issues on Tractor Trailer

“National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators also inspected the brakes on the truck-tractor and semitrailer and noted no defects. The trucker was going “47 mph at the time of the crash.”https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/HAB1401.pdf

Was there a history of collisions caused by driver error and negligence on the Bridge?

The NTSB determined that in a 10 year span previous to the crash there had been 624 motor vehicle collisions of different severity. There were three fatal accidents on the bridge and 5 people were killed in those 3 deadly mishaps. 70 percent of the motor vehicle collisions on the bridge during that 10 year period constituted rear-end crashes. Surprisingly, there are only 2 known occurrences of a vehicle falling into the Chesepaeke bay. Id.

In the exact words of the NTSB report:

“On Friday, July 19, 2013, about 8:24 p.m., a 2007 Chrysler Sebring passenger car operated by a 24-year-old female driver was traveling eastbound on US Route 50/301 near Annapolis, Maryland. The Chrysler had passed through the toll plaza to enter onto the east bound span of the William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge (Chesapeake Bay Bridge). Less than a mile past the toll plaza, after vehicles had merged from 11 toll lanes into two travel lanes, traffic began to slow as the bridge ascended above the Chesapeake Bay and curved to the left. The Chrysler was in the right lane and had reduced speed to 4 mph due to the traffic queue ahead when it was struck from behind by a 2010 International truck-tractor and refrigerated semitrailer combination unit traveling 47 mph.1 The truck-tractor, operated by a 29-year-old male driver, collided with the left rear corner of the Chrysler, pushing it into the concrete barrier adjacent to the right lane. As the truck-tractor and the Chrysler continued forward, the front of the Chrysler collided with a 2014 Mazda CX-5 occupied by a 65-year-old male driver and his wife. During the collision sequence, the Chrysler was pushed up onto the barrier wall and then rode along the top of it, before falling approximately 27 feet into the Chesapeake Bay. The Chrysler came to rest between two bridge piers to the south of the eastbound span, in approximately 7 feet of water. The Mazda rotated counter-clockwise and came to rest near the left front corner of the truck-tractor in the middle of the two travel lanes.”

Did truck driver fatigue or sleepy (tired) driving appear to be an issue in this crash?

NO.

The Federal Motor Carrier safety Administration reported in a different report that, “Driver fatigue may be due to a lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities, or a combination of other factors.” http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/outreach/education/driverTips/Driver-fatigue.htm

If you were injured in an accident in RI or MA then contact Rhode Island and Massachusetts Personal Injury lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100.

“There is quite a bit of political support for authorities to construct median barriers on the Newport Bridge in Newport Rhode Island. This increased pressure comes after three fatal accidents in approximately 48 months on the bridge.

Channel 10 reported “There is little room for error driving over the Newport Pell Bridge. One small mishap becomes a serious if not deadly accident.” http://www.turnto10.com/story/24298894/accident-stops-traffic-on-newport-pell-bridge” http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2014/01/fatal-bridge-accident/

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.


Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney – Car accidents in RI

June 15, 2014

RI Car AccidentsThere are dozens of different types of automobile accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (Mass.) ranging from a standard rear end car crash causing a whiplash injury or a fractured bone to a single vehicle fatal rollover accident. If you were injured in a RI car accident, it is crucial that you immediately retain a Rhode Island Personal injury Attorney.

East Providence Car Accident Lawyer, David Slepkow, 401-437-1100 can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. David is a partner at Slepkow Slepkow & Associates, Inc. which was established in 1932.

A good Providence Personal Injury lawyer will investigate the crash, explain your legal rights and seek compensation for your injuries, lost wages, disability and pain and suffering. A motorist injured in a RI Car accident may be entitled to various types of compensation including:

-Medical bill reimbursement, hospital bill reimbursement, prescription expenses etc.
-Pain and suffering damages.
-Loss of consortium by spouse.
-Lost wages, lost financial opportunities
-Psychological injuries
-Permanent and partial disability payments
-Scarring, disfigurement etc.

Rear end motor vehicle collisions
A rear end accident is the most common type of vehicular collision in Rhode Island Massachusetts (MA). In a rear end motor vehicle crash in Rhode Island, liability for the mishap is usually not in dispute. Even if the accident was a rear end crash, you will still need a Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney to help you get top dollar compensation for your injuries.

Some rear end bus, van or semi-truck accidents are multi vehicle crashes in which one at fault motorist tortfeasor motor vehicle slams into an auto and then another automobile rams the back of the offending motor vehicle. These multi-vehicular wrecks tend to occur in the winter during snowstorms or sleet when the road , street or highway is slippery, icy or wet.

According to Wikipedia “A rear-end collision (often called simply rear-end or in the UK a shunt) is a traffic accident wherein a vehicle (usually an automobile or a truck) crashes into the vehicle in front of it. Common factors that contribute to rear-end collisions include by driver inattention or distraction, tailgating, panic stops, and reduced traction due to weather or worn pavement.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rear-end_collision

Many rear end accidents are caused by distracted driving such as texting while driving, cell phone / mobile phone or GPS usage, eating and driving and web surfing and driving. Other rear end tractor trailer or car crashes result from a combination of icy, slick or wet road and drivers not operating their motor vehicles properly considering the weather conditions.

Other rear end collisions in Cranston, Warwick, Woonsocket or Pawtucket RI are caused by drivers speeding, texting while driving, sending or reading a text message, reckless driving, drunk driving, stoned or impaired operation of an automobile or even drowsy, sleepy (tired) operation of a motor vehicle or motorcycle.

Near Automatic Liability for Rear end mishaps in Rhode Island
“Under Rhode Island law, “[w]hen a case includes a claim or defense resulting from a rear-end collision between vehicles, a prima facie case of negligence against the driver of the car in the rear is established * * *.” Maglioli v. J.P. Noonan Transportation, Inc., 869 A.2d 71, 75 (R.I. 2005). http://www.ripersonalinjurylaw.com/car-accident-injury-law-1/

Sadly, if an automobile hits a bicycle, bike or motorcycle from behind, the wreck could be fatal necessitating a RI wrongful death cause of action filed by a Rhode Island wrongful death lawyer. These deadly car, truck, bike or motorcycle accident claims need to be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate using a RI wrongful death lawyer seeking compensation for the statutory beneficiaries.

T-Bone accidents in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
“Broadside collisions, known as right-angle collisions or T-bone collisions in the United States and Canada, are where the side of one vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of another vehicle, forming the “T”. Vehicle damage and occupant injury are more likely to be severe, but severity varies based on the part of the vehicle that is struck, safety features present, the speeds of both vehicles, and vehicle weight and construction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_collision

According to medicinet, Whiplash “Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck, most commonly from motor vehicle accidents.” http://www.medicinenet.com/whiplash/article.htm

Fractured or broken bone
According to Farber Law Group, “People who suffer fractures in car accidents often require surgery and when there are multiple fractures, which is often the case; the victim may require reconstructive surgery involving hardware to secure the bones.” http://www.hgfarber.com/lawyer-attorney-1883718.html
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

“Closed head injuries result from a blow to the head as occurs, for example in a car accident when the head strikes the windshield or dashboard. These injuries cause two types of brain damage:”
“Primary brain damage, which is damage that is complete at the time of impact, may include:
• skull fracture: breaking of the bony skull
• contusions/bruises: often occur right under the location of impact or at points where the force of the blow has driven the brain against the bony ridges inside the skull
• hematomas/blood clots: occur between the skull and the brain or inside the brain itself
• lacerations: tearing of the frontal (front) and temporal (on the side) lobes or blood vessels of the brain (the force of the blow causes the brain to rotate across the hard ridges of the skull, causing the tears)
• nerve damage (diffuse axonal injury): arises from a cutting, or shearing, force from the blow that damages nerve cells in the brain’s connecting nerve fibers’”
– See more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/tbi/#sthash.GAhqL9bj.dpuf” http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/tbi/

Speeding:
“Under the laws in the Ocean State, a person could be speeding even if they are driving speeds under the designated speed limits. A motorist must take into account icy highways, slick roads, black ice, police officers exposed on the side of the road pulling over a motorist as well as rain and make sure that their speed is reasonable under the circumstances. (§ 31-14-1 Reasonable and prudent speeds.)’ http://ricaraccidentlawyers.com/car-accident/

Distracted Driving:
According to the State of Rhode Island’s website, “Attorney General Kilmartin who sponsored the state’s landmark legislation in 2009 banning texting while driving in Rhode Island reminds us that by “sharing the sobering consequences of texting while driving to young drivers, we hope to change young drivers’ attitudes about the subject and encourage the public to put away cell phones while behind the wheel.”” http://www.riag.ri.gov/texting/itcanwait.php/

Drunk Driving:
According to the National Highway Safety Board, “Due to these efforts, the number of lives lost annually in alcohol-impaired-driver-related crashes declined 53 percent, from 21,113 in 1982 to 9,878 in 2011; and the percentage of highway fatalities resulting from alcohol-involved crashes is down from 48 percent in 1982 to about 31 percent today.” http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2013/SR1301.pdf

The Providence Journal reported, “PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The state Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling that cleared a Tiverton man of a drunken-driving charge in neighboring Little Compton.” http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140325-r.i.-supreme-court-reverses-ruling-in-little-compton-dui-case.ece

Mechanical failure:
Some motor vehicle, truck and motorcycle accidents are caused by mechanical failure such as: worn down tires, inoperable lights, improper tire inflation or defective brakes.

• According to Chicago Persona injury Lawyer Dave Abels, “Brake Failure – Brakes are one of the most important safety features of a car and require more maintenance than many other parts yet too often get ignored by the owner of the vehicle. Brakes should be in working order on a new car yet as miles accumulate and as wearing occurs, brakes, brake pads, and brake shoes may need to be replaced. Failing to properly replace these parts or installing brakes that do not properly function can lead to a braking failure which in turn can cause a serious collision.“ http://phoenixinjury.daveabels.com/mechanical-failures.html

“Mechanical failures are a factor in 12% to 13% of all auto accidents, according to all of the statistics I could find on the subject. In most cases, the mechanical failures can be attributed to normal wear or a lack of proper vehicle maintenance, not poor design or manufacturing defects (though there have been plenty of examples of the latter over the years).” http://www.aa1car.com/library/auto_accident.htm

Road Conditions:
http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2010/12/riaccidents-caused-by-road-construction/

Drowsy or Sleepy Driving:
“Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper, who pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges Wednesday, lived in Georgia, but his job was based in Delaware, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said. A criminal complaint alleges that the 35-year-old Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours before the accident when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the turnpike and plowed into Morgan’s limo.” http://www.newser.com/article/e9974c6b015349acb5e1be3d715e0b94/ntsb-looking-at-role-drivers-work-commute-played-in-fatal-accident-that-injured-tracy-morgan.html

Reckless driving:
The Providence and Pawtucket police department had a very chaotic night on March 2nd, 2014. There were numerous incidents which occurred in the morning which prompted the Providence Journal to state “Mayhem at 3 a.m.” These incidents involved drunk driving, stabbings, automobile accidents, assaults and other incidents. ““http://ricaraccidentlawyers.com/reckless-driving-drunk/

If you were injured in A RI Car Accident, Please contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney or a RI Car Accident Lawyer.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.


Funeral Procession Car Accidents & Liability Laws In Rhode Island

June 5, 2014

Funeral Procession Car Accidents in Rhode IslandFor those of you who believe that yielding to a funeral procession was merely an honorable thing done out of respect to the deceased and his or her survivors, are mistaken. The rules of the road, streets and highways pertaining to funeral processions in RI are clearly codified. These laws are enacted to show respect to the victim, maintain an orderly procession and to prevent RI Car Accidents as a result of the procession.

These laws were originally enacted in Rhode Island in 2008, perhaps because of the increased prevalence of collisions and deaths across the United States pertaining to processions.

These funeral car crashes can even be more tragic when the funeral was for a person who was killed in a tragic, fatal wrongful death car, motorcycle, truck or motor vehicle accident. The family and friends of the deceased are already grieving a fatality and preoccupied and now they have another injured friend or loved one to cause more stress at their most vulnerable moment.

It is, nonetheless, very disheartening that the Rhode Island legislature felt compelled to issue rules for automobiles not participating in the procession.

Isn’t this just common decency?

Perhaps, its a sign of the times that some people do not have common decency to respect the procession. But all it takes is a stoned or drunk jackass weaving in and out of the procession or an ill-advised motorist joining the procession merely to get to their intended destination faster, in order to ruin it for everyone.

And then there are distracted drivers who are too busy texting while driving or web surfing to realize that the grouping of automobiles on the road is in fact for a funeral.

These Rhode Island and Providence Plantations traffic and liability laws apparently are to prevent Providence motor vehicle collisions and ensure an orderly procession as well as preserve the dignity of the dead person.

In case people did not know what a “funeral procession” was, lawmakers in the Ocean state even went as far as defining a funeral procession as “…two (2) or more vehicles accompanying the body or the cremated remains of a deceased person, in the daylight hours, including a funeral lead vehicle or a funeral escort vehicle.” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-52/31-52-1.HTM

Rhode Island Law clearly gives the right of way of autos, vans and suvs in the procession even if a traffic signal or stop sign indicates otherwise with certain exceptions.

Rhode Island General Law § 31-52-4 Funeral procession right-of-way.

“Whenever the funeral escort vehicle or funeral lead vehicle in a funeral procession lawfully enters an intersection, either by reason of a traffic control device or at the direction of law enforcement personnel, the remaining vehicles in the funeral procession may continue to follow the funeral lead vehicle through the intersection despite any traffic control devices or right-of-way provisions of state or local ordinances, provided the operator of each of the person who died.

What exactly is illegal in RI?

Motorist who are not taking part in the lineup of autos may not lawfully drive through the procession or sneakily join the procession to get the benefits of the right of way.

The vehicles in the procession must also be careful to “exercises reasonable care toward any other vehicle or pedestrian on the roadway.” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-52/31-52-4.HTM

This “super’ right of way, of course, is not without exceptions. Vehicles in the procession must yield to ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles, but only if such vehicle are utilizing a siren, making noise or there is a visible symbol.

Motorist in the procession do not have a carte blanche to ignore lawful commands of police and emergency law enforcement personnel.

The negligence law in RI concerning processions provides some limitations for “liability for any death, personal injury or property damage “against the funeral director or personnel with certain stipulations.

Liability rules:

Generally the director and funeral corporation is not responsible for accidents for other vehicles operating negligently and causing accidents, within the procession, so long as all funeral procession laws are complied with.

According to the Chicago Tribune “The death of an Elk Grove Village woman whose car collided with a funeral procession this week was tragic but not surprising, according to experts who say such accidents are more common as a cherished tradition clashes with modern traffic hazards.” http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-15/news/0901140736_1_funeral-procession-accidents-experts

1 dead, 7 injured in crash involving funeral procession http://wgntv.com/2013/08/06/8-injured-in-multiple-vehicle-accident/

“David Begley is recovering emotionally and physically from an accident that happened Wednesday when he was a part of a funeral procession to pay respects to his friend H. Thomas Neal. Police said around 2:30 in the afternoon 22-year-old Katelyn Eversole collided with the SUV Begley was driving at the intersection of 68/80 and the Veteran’s Outer Loop just outside of Glasgow. Begley’s SUV flipped and as a result, 69-yaer-old Delmar Lloyd was pronounced dead at the scene.’ http://www.wbko.com/home/headlines/Man-Dies-In-Barren-County-Accident-241680191.html

Carol Struebing, 82, was killed Monday when a pickup truck that was part of a funeral procession drove through a red light and slammed into a car driven by Struebing’s sister, who remained in fair condition Wednesday. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-15/news/0901140736_1_funeral-procession-accidents-experts

“An off-duty police officer was struck by an SUV while he was escorting a funeral procession along Highway 90 on the West Side….The accident happened around 12 p.m. Wednesday on the exit/entrance ramp at South General McMullen. A San Antonio Police Department spokesperson said the 63-year-old North East ISD police officer was stopped to allow the funeral procession to pass, when an SUV exited Highway 90, crashed into the back of a white vehicle stopped for procession, and then hit the officer on the motorcycle.” http://www.foxsanantonio.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/traffic-alert-accident-highway-90-4280.shtml

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.


Rhode Island Injury Law Part 5

June 4, 2014

RI Personal Injury LawPenalties for insurance Companies not paying RI Car Accident and other negligence settlements within 30 days!

Rhode Island has harsh penalties for insurance companies who do not pay agreed upon RI Injury settlements in premises liability, motorcycle accidents and other motor vehicle accidents. If the insurance company misses the deadline they could be on the hook for punitive damages. If a negligence cause of action is settled then the Insurance company is required to send the funds within 30 days of the victim and his Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorneys sending a release of liability. RI Law 9-1-50 http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/title9/9-1/9-1-50.HTM

“Failure to make payment within thirty (30) days shall raise a presumption that failure to do so was a willful and wanton disregard for the rights of the claimant. In addition to all other remedies, the payor shall be liable to the claimant in a separate cause of action for punitive damages and interest…”

What compensation may the executor of an estate recover in a RI wrongful death claim?

-Under Rhode Island statutes, pecuniary damages can be recovered in a fatal accident case including “prospective income and earnings” for a decedent’s life expectancy reduced to present value.

-The Rhode Island Wrongful Death statute also allows valuing a decedent’s services as a homemaker.

-The value of a homemaker’s services is limited to actual replacement costs. The wrongful death attorneys are not required to put on Expert testimony to ascertain the value of a homemaker’s services.

-RI Laws allow the administrator of the estate of the person killed in the fatal crash to seek loss of consortium damages for the decedents spouse and the decedent’s child or children for loss of companionship.

-Parents may also seek a claim for their child being killed in an accident for the loss of their child’s companionship. http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2013/09/wrongful-death-law-in-ri-by-a-personal-injury-attorney/

-A wrongful death cause of action could result from any type of motor vehicle accident, car accident, medical malpractice, surgical malpractice, criminal act or deadly product liability mishap.

Federal Taxability of accident and injury settlement:
The IRS usually excludes personal injury settlements and truck accident injury compensation in Rhode Island and Across the United States, such as injuries resulting from automobile accidents and 18 wheeler trucking collisions from taxable income. http://www.lawyersource360.com/tax-attorneys/

Punitive Damages in RI

Punitive damages are only awarded by a jury in rare Injury cases when the tortfeasor’s conduct was with malice or bad faith. In order for a defendant to be liable for punitive damages in RI, The Plaintiff must establish “that the defendant acted willfully and with malice or in bad faith. Izep v. Winoker, 589 A.2d 824 (R.I. 1991); Morin v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., 478 A.2d 964, 967 (R.I. 1984). To establish a claim for punitive damages, the plaintiff must allege and prove that the defendant acted with the intent to cause harm. Wilson Auto Enterprises, Inc. v. Mobil Oil Corp., 778 F. Supp. 101, 107 (D.R.I. 1991). The courts have characterized punitive damages as an extraordinary sanction which should be awarded with great caution and within narrow limits. D’Amato v. Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank, 772 F. Supp. 1322, 1324 (D.R.I. 1991).” Quote from :CAROL A. LESSARD : VS. : C.A. No. KC 10-0369 : KENT COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL : AND RAYMOND J. MIS, D.O.,