Injured victim’s premises liability claim against town tossed out on technicality

January 30, 2016

When the people who make the laws are trying to protect themselves from liability, it is certainly a recipe for injustice and draconian law. This played out in front of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in the case of Maria Carbone v. John Ward, in his capacity as Finance Director for the Town of Lincoln et al.

The injured victim, Maria Carbone, alleged that she was injured on the Town of Lincoln property when “the street collapsed under her, causing her to fall into a large sink hole. She was asserting that she sustained serious personal injury due to this incident and faulted defendants for failure to properly maintain said area, resulting in a hazardous condition which injured Ms. Carbone.” Id.

Maria sent out two notices, an original notice and an amended notice, to the Town of Lincoln regarding her premises liability claims in an ill fated attempt to comply with Rhode Island’s draconian notice requirements to cities and towns.

The RI Supreme Court sitting in the Capital City of Providence determined that the injured claimant’s notice to the town of Lincoln was statutory insufficient. The Top Court in RI, therefore, blew up the cause of action by affirming the Providence Superior Court’s decision in favor of the Town of Lincoln*, Rhode Island.

This decision was a technical one to say the least because the injured victim’s claims were not heard on the merits of whether the town was in fact negligent and whether such negligence caused the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries in the  RI premises liability claim.

The moral of the story is that if you are injured on city or town property in Rhode Island you are legally required to send proper notice of the claim within 60 days and such notice must be in strict compliance with Rhode Island General Law Section 45-15-9 as well as the Supreme Court case law interpreting that statute.


Rhode Island law concerning notice of injury to town

Section 45-15-9 provides in relevant part:“(a) A person so injured or damaged shall, within sixty (60) days,give to the town by law obliged to keep the highway, causeway, or bridge in repair, notice of the time, place, and cause of the injury or damage; and if the town does not make just and due satisfaction, within the time prescribed by § 45-15-5, the person shall, within three (3) years after the date of the injury or damage, commence his or her action against the town treasurer for the recovery of damages, and not thereafter.” https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SupremeCourt/Opinions/11-276.pdf

“The General Assembly has allowed an injured person to recover for damages arising from a municipality‟s failure to keep its sidewalks in a safe condition.2 General Laws 1956§ 24-5-1. Section 45-15-8 sets forth a mechanism through which injured citizens may recover for their losses in cases in which the injury could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care. 3 However, a citizen may recover only in accordance with a strict statutory scheme that requires sufficient notice of the place of injury and an adequate description of the defect that caused the injury.“It is well settled that compliance with these statutory requirements is a condition precedent that must be satisfied for a plaintiff to maintain a suit against the municipality.” Prout, 996 A.2d at 1142 (citing Marshall v. City of Providence, 633 A.2d 1360, 1361 (R.I. 1993) (mem.) (reasoning that giving a municipality statutorily adequate notice is a condition precedent to a civil action and said condition may not be waived)).4 Indeed, “failure to provide proper notice is fatal to a suit brought under § 45-15-9.” Prout, 996 A.2d at 1142. This requirement on the part of the General Assembly may result in harsh consequences and preclude the resolution of a valid claim in our courts See § 45-15-9.” https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SupremeCourt/Opinions/11-276.pdf

Ruling by the RI Supreme Court:

“Furthermore, even if plaintiff correctly had described the streets as perpendicular, the notice nevertheless fails to meet the “reasonably sufficient” standard articulated by this Court because it fails to specify on which of the four corners of that cross-section of streets the injury was and omits any description of how close to the corner, or how far from Winter Street, the injury occurred. Because the description provided in the notice excluded the actual area where the injury occurred, we agree with the trial justice that “[p]laintiff‟s notice did not fix the location in a [reasonably] sufficient manner.” The statute clearly and unambiguously requires that the notice of claim must be specific, therefore the notice in the case at bar must be deemed insufficient. See § 45-15-9; Prout, 996 A.2d at 1143. Id.

“Lincoln is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 21,105 at the 2010 census. Lincoln is located in northeastern Rhode Island, north of Providence.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln,_Rhode_Island Lincoln is near Pawtucket, Attleboro MA and Woonsocket.

If you were injured in a slip and fall or premises liability accident in RI or MA then you should contact a Rhode Island slip and fall lawyer or a Massachusetts premises liability attorney. A RI personal injury lawyer or a MA personal injury attorney will help you get the compensation that you deserve.

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.


Seeking Compensation from Defective Stairways and Stair Collapse Accidents

July 29, 2015

Stair and Stairways Accidents CompensationSuffering an injury caused by a defective stairway accident in Rhode Island can leave permanent physical, emotional and mental scars. These RI accidents can occur from faulty stair treads, broken handrails or a stair collapse caused by a poor design or shoddy construction.

Stairway accidents in Rhode island are extremely common and are often the result of improper design or maintenance. Statistics maintained by the U.S. National Safety Council indicate that nearly nine million individuals in the nation visit emergency rooms every year suffering from an injury caused by slipping and falling, including from accidents occurring on stairways. The most common stairway hazards involve:

• A lack of structural stairway integrity
• Construction that violates local and national building codes
• Design flaw
• Uneven surfaces
• Overused or overcrowded stairs
• Stair step constructed outside the minimum or maximum height and depth as set by accepted variance standards
• Defective handrails
• Handrails installed at the wrong height or built with low-quality materials
• Stairs built with inferior building materials
• Defective or worn stair surfaces
• A lack of inspections
• A lack of quality physical attributes of the stairway and its surrounding environment
• Improper repairs
• Rusted metal or rotting wood
• Slippery stair step surfaces caused by spilt liquids, rain, ice and accumulated snow
• Maintenance issue

Common Stairway Accident Injuries in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

The injuries caused by a stairway defect or collapse vary by accident from mild harm to death. The most common stairway accident injuries involve:

• Broken arms or legs
• Skull fractures
• Facial lacerations or bruising
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
• Pelvic fractures
• Broken nose or teeth
• Spinal cord injury including quadriplegia or paraplegia
• Permanent disfigurement
• Soft tissue injury
• Serious eye wound causing blindness
• Wrongful death

A devastating fall down a defective stairway in Rhode Island can easily lead to a fatality, especially when stairwell debris and the impact of the accident crushes the body, causing brain damage or extensive internal bleeding. In these cases, surviving family members acting through the executor of the estate of the deceased will bring civil action often referred to as a wrongful death cause of action against all parties at fault including the property owner or those in charge of the property.

A Claim for Premises Liability in Providence Superior Court

Owners, site managers and others in charge of the premises in RI are legally responsible for ensuring the well-being and safety of all visitors and employees on the property. This duty of care extends to providing structurally sound stairways and steps. Any breach of this responsibility is considered negligence and can hold those at fault financially accountable for the injuries and deaths that occur as a direct result of an accident.

Victims and surviving family members can file premises liability lawsuits in Rhode Island Superior Courts and claims for compensation against all parties at fault, which could include:

• Property Owners – Owners of the property can be held legally liable if they knew, or should have reasonably expected, that the stairway, stair step or stairwell was unstable and took no action to repair the problem or warn others.

• Landlords – Property owners that rent or lease the premises might be legally liable if the tenant informs the landlord of a hazardous unsafe stairwell and no action is taken to remedy it.

• Business Owners – Companies that own or lease building structures with defective or broken stairways may be liable for any injury resulting from the problem on the business grounds.

• Tenants and Occupiers – Any individual or business renting or occupying a structure has a legal duty to report a defective staircase or hazardous condition on the property. Any failure to report the problem might hold the tenant partially responsible for any other individual’s injury.

Stair collapse and defective stairway accidents in Rhode Island often leave victims with immense financial issues including medical expenses, missed income from time away from work and the loss of the ability to work in the future.

Victim suffering serious injuries in a stair collapse or from a defective stairway usually have the right to seek financial recompense under the state’s tort liability laws. However, these cases are complex and often require the experience of a reputable Rhode Island personal injury attorney to litigate. Having a RI negligence lawyer can ensure that the victim receives adequate recompense for their injuries, disabilities and suffering caused by the negligent action of those in charge of the property.


Most Common Beach and Ocean Related Accidents in RI and MA

June 21, 2015

RI and MA Common Beach AccidentsSoaking up sunrays and smelling the scent of salty water is equally enjoyable to feeling sand squished between your toes at the beach. A relaxing weekend at the ocean in Rhode island and Massachusetts can instantly turn catastrophic when an angry sea creature, rogue wave, bad weather or poor decision causes serious injuries or death. Below, are the most common beach and ocean related accidents that injure and kill Americans every year. They include:

• #1. Drowning and Near-Drowning – The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and WHO (World Health Organization) indicate that nearly 380,000 individuals lose their lives to drowning worldwide every year. In addition, millions more are involved in a near drowning because they did not know how to swim or were not wearing effective flotation equipment.

• #2. Attacks by Sharks and Other Sea Life – While an attack by a shark does not happen often, being injured by sea life is a common occurrence. This includes attacks by jellyfish, stingrays and wild sea mammals.

• #3. Shore Break Injuries – Shore breaks are a natural ocean condition where a wave breaks along the shoreline. Many times, in dangerous seas, these conditions are both hazardous and unpredictable. In many incidences, they produce spinal cord injuries and neck injury to swimmers, body surfers and those walking along the shoreline who lose their balance.

• #4. High Tide Injury – Tides can produce a serious threat to swimmers and beachgoers in an area that becomes blocked when the tide rises unexpectedly. Walkers can be cut off from access to the beach in dangerous areas that can quickly overcome the individual when engulfed with rising waters, creating a hazardous condition where drowning or near-drowning can occur.

• #5. Injuries by Lightning – Thunderstorms with lightning in RI and MA can quickly and unexpectedly approach the shoreline or ocean surface, leaving beachgoers, boaters, surfers and swimmers in harm’s way. Being struck by lightning can kill or seriously maim victims.

• #6. Rip Current Injuries – Four out of every five rescues at sea involve rip currents and riptides. The mechanical action of a rip current can quickly tire swimmers beyond their capacity to fight fatigue, which ultimately leads most swimmers to their death. Rip currents usually pull swimmers out to sea before the wave breaks and pushes the swimmer either sideways or up onto the shore.

• #7. Large Surf Accident – Surfers enjoying the thrill and excitement of riding a large wave in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations or Massachusetts (Mass). However, large surf typically create serious safety hazards, even to the strongest surfers with years of experience. This includes those on body boards and surfboards swimming in areas that are not protected by lifeguards.

• #8. Shallow Water Diving – Many of the hazards underwater in Rhode island and Massachusetts in the ocean remain out of view of a swimmer diving in shallow waters. Swimmers can prevent serious injury, broken neck or death by never diving when entering the ocean.

• #9. In Shore Hole Accident – Many accidents occur at an in-shore hole where the bottom of the ocean near the shoreline is significantly deeper than all the area surrounding it. These types of accidents often involve drowning or near-drowning when the victim unexpectedly steps off into a deep hole while walking in the ocean.

• #10. Heat Related Emergency – Not only can beachgoers, boaters, swimmers and surfers suffer serious sunburns while outdoors, many experience unexpected heatstroke or other heat-related emergency. Brain trauma, internal organ damage and death are often caused by heat exhaustion, dehydration and long-term exposure to the sun’s heat. These types of emergencies can be avoided by drinking lots of fluids and minimizing activity levels because the body can easily lose more water at a faster rate than under typical conditions.

Nearly every tragic water accident in Rhode Island (RI) and Massachusetts (MA)occurs quickly, unpredictably and without warning. These types of tragic accidents usually occur to individuals who lack effective safety knowledge including knowing how to swim in ocean waters, swimmers who swim alone, or those swimming in areas not supervised by lifeguards.

If you were injured as a result of the negligence of a third party please contact a Rhode island personal injury lawyer or a MA accident attorney.

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/tadd/
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs347/en/


RI Injury Attorney: Common Premises Liability Claims in Rhode Island

March 31, 2015

Rhode Island Common Premises LiabilityPremises liability claims in Rhode Island  are not restricted to slip and fall cases. Many involve a swimming pool drowning, ceiling collapse, or other incidents happening on private or public property.

Premises liability  in RI is a legal term referring to the individual or entity at fault when someone else is injured or killed while on their property. This type of liability in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is based on a legal concept that property owners, occupiers or managers have a responsibility to provide visitors, vendors or tenants a reasonably safe environment while on the premises. Visitors can include residents, service personnel,  guests, patrons and customers.

When Negligence Is Involved

Any time a dangerous condition or safety hazard develops on the property, individuals in charge are required to provide a warning to everyone entering the premises. This warning must be made until the hazard is repaired or remedied. If those in charge have knowledge, or should have had knowledge, of any adverse condition with the potential of causing injury or death fails or refuses to handle the issue, they may be held legally liable in the event that someone is injured or killed by the danger.

Not notifying the public or remedying the situation constitutes negligence caused by those in charge. Negligence is the underlying factor in many common non slip and fall liability claims. Any individual hurt by negligence or surviving family members of a loved one killed by the hazard as a legal right to pursue financial compensation to cover their damages from every party at fault.

Common Non slip and Fall Liability Claims in Rhode Island

Premises liability in Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket can happen on private, public, personal or commercial properties. In fact, a high majority of claims for compensation  in Rhode island and Providence Planations based on premises liability occur in residences, at restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, motels, hotels, nursing homes, dormitories, entertainment venues, sports arenas, grocery stores, nightclubs, hospitals, apartment complexes, parking structures and office buildings.

The most common non slip and fall premises liability claims  in Providence, Barrington, Bristol, Warren and East Providence may involve:

• Animal or dog bite
• Elevator accident
• Escalator accident
• Drowning
• Amusement park injury
• Assault caused by a lack of security or negligent security

Many premises liability cases  in Rhode island involve injuries or death caused by broken or malfunctioning security gates, improperly supervisor trained personnel, missing or inadequate signage and failing to warn visitors of hazards.

Building a Case for Compensation using a Rhode Island premises liability lawyer

If you have suffered serious injuries in Providence, Central Falls or East Providence, or a loved one has died from the hazard on another individual’s property, you likely have a case for compensation. To ensure you receive adequate recompense, it is important to take steps to help you build your case. These steps include:

• Receive medical attention for your injury right away.
• Document every important and not important memory you have of the event as quickly as possible.
• Document the location of the accident along with the date and time it occurred.
• Obtain contact information of every witness including names, addresses and telephone numbers.
• Document every conversation about the accident you had with others including their contact information.
• Photograph your injuries.
• Have someone photograph the scene of the accident as quickly as possible.
• Immediately report the incident and injuries to the property owner or manager.

Never sign any documentation without first consulting a  RI personal injury attorney or A Rhode Island slip and fall lawyer who specializes in nonslip and fall premises liability claims.

Hiring a Providence Negligence Lawyer who concentrates in personal injury law.

Nearly every type of accident involving premises liability generates physical, emotional and financial consequences that can disrupt family life for years. Because of that, it is essential to hire a RI accident attorney to deal with insurance carriers, claim adjusters, the court system and opposing counsel.

A reputable personal injury law firm in Rhode Island will work effectively and diligently to investigate the scene of the accident. Their efforts can help determine the condition of the property, the on-site hazard and the neglectful actions of property owners, managers, supervisors and occupiers. By building a strong case, the Providence personal injury attorney or RI personal injury lawyers / attorneys can ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to for your losses, damages and injuries.Rhode Island Common Premises Liability


Premises Liability & Slip Fall Accidents | RI & MA

January 16, 2015

RI Premises Liability & Slip Fall AccidentsWhile most individuals think premises liability law in Rhode Island and Mass. involves only slip and fall cases, there are many types of accidents and incidences involving this type of claim. Premises liability lawsuits and claims are designed to hold the property owner, management or administrator responsible for any injury or damage that arises on the property. In fact, an owner occupying the premises is legally bound to make a reasonable effort for maintaining a safe environment for every visitor or invitee.

If you were injured in a fall accident then contact Rhode Island slip and fall attorney David Slepkow. RI slip and fall lawyer Slepkow who is also a East Providence injury attorney will help you get the compensation that you deserve for your accident.

When the owner, property manager or lessor of the property fails to maintain a safe environment for visitors, they can be found liable for premises liability or slip and fall. Common types of premises liability claims in Rhode Island (RI) and Massachusetts include:

• RI and MA Slip and fall incidents, trip and fall
• Dog and other animal bites
• Dangerous property conditions
• Uneven surfaces and potholes
• Inadequate or negligent security
• Inadequate maintenance including wet or oily floors
• Swimming pool injuries or drowning
• Injuries and damages from flooding and water leaks
• Fire, smoke, explosion and chemical exposure
• Escalator and elevator accident
• Ice and snow accident
• Assault
• Housing or building code violations
• Inadequate lighting
• Restaurant and retail store liability
• Children and property liability

Who Can File a premises liability cause of action in RI and Massachusetts?

A non trespasser visitor, customer, invitee, worker or other person on the property may have a valid premises liability claim or suit against all negligent parties responsible for the injuries or damages.

In most situations in Rhode Island and in Mass., trespassers do not have a valid claim for compensation against the property owners or occupiers. However, there are exceptions. When children trespass on the property in Rhode Island or Massachusetts because of an attraction, like a swimming pool, the property owner, administrator or manager may be responsible to exercise reasonable care to ensure no harm comes to any trespassing child.

Common Injuries in Premises accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts

While a claim for premise liability does not draw as much attention as a vehicle accident with severe injuries, people are injured just the same. Many injuries in Boston or Providence accidents that are common to premise liability lawsuits and claims involve:

• Broken and fractured bones
• Burns and electrical shocks
• Neck injury
• Spinal cord trauma
• TBIs (traumatic brain injuries)
• Concussions and contusions
• Wrongful death

Proof of Liability

In order to be successful at obtaining financial recompense in a personal liability case, the victim or their legal representative must prove that the condition existed and directly correlates to the injuries. In changing conditions, like the accumulation of ice and snow, requires proof that the condition existed, and there was reasonable time to clear the ice or snow.

Proven liability can be challenging in RI and MA, especially when multiple parties are involved. In situations where the business, land owner or manager creates a condition, such as leaving the floor slippery and wet, a RI slip and fall attorney might be able to prove liability by showing that no signage or barricade was present to keep visitors safe.

Protecting Your Legal Rights in RI and Mass.

It is essential to hire a Rhode Island personal injury attorney or Massachusetts slip and fall lawyer who specializes in premise liability laws to file a claim for recompense. This is because it is essential to protect your legal rights after the accident. A skilled MA negligence attorney can ensure that you receive adequate compensation to pay for your pain, suffering, injuries and damages. This includes recovery of medical bills and time away from work.

Personal injury law firms in Rhode island and Massachusetts that handle premise liability claims accept cases on contingency. This allows you immediate access to legal representation without the need of paying any upfront fees. However, it is essential to speak with a Boston or Providence attorney now, to ensure the claim is filed before the statute of limitations expires.