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.


Head-on Collision Statistics

December 8, 2015

Head-on collisions are considered the most dangerous as these types of crashes are often fatal. A head-on crash typically occurs when one driver crosses a center lane or median and crashes into an approaching vehicle. According to Wikipedia, in 2005, head-on crashes accounted for only two percent of all accidents. However, these crashes accounted for 10 percent of all fatal accidents.

Head-on Collision Statistics

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reveal that 75 percent of these accidents between 1997 and 1999 occur on rural roads. These accidents also primarily occur on undivided two-lane roads. About 83 percent of head-on accidents occurred on rural, undivided roadways. Data indicates that only about 4.2 percent of all head-on crashes occurred when one driver was trying to pass another.

Some other common causes of head-on accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts include:
• Tire blowout
• Driving under the influence
• Loss of vehicle control
• Drowsy driving
• Distracted driving

Further information from FARS indicates that about 1.9 percent of head-on crashes occurred in construction zones.  Between 1998 and 2008, the number of head-on accidents has dropped significantly. This is likely due to a number of different factors, such as the installation of more road medians and an increase in distracted driving penalties.

Unfortunately, there is not much data on head-on accidents as a result of wrong-way drivers. In 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a study on these accidents and reported that about three percent of all auto accidents are wrong-way accidents. These accidents are typically head-on collisions that occur on highways, which means they are often fatal.

Some new measures have been put into place to prevent such accidents though, including additional signage, road markers and even lights that communicate to drivers that they are entering the wrong way.

Injuries in a Head-on Accident in RI or MA
As previously noted, head-on crashes are fatal collisions in Boston Massachusetts and in Providence RI can led to life-threatening injuries. Some common injuries in these types of collisions include:
• Head trauma
• Broken bones
• Spinal cord injury/paralysis
• Facial/dental damage
As these injuries may be life changing, victims in Rhode Island and Mass.will often experience mounting medical bills, lost wages due to an inability to work and mental anguish.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a head-on accident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. The best RI personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and can help you determine your best legal options.


RI Construction Accident Attorney | Construction Accident Statistics

December 3, 2015

As per the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) there are more fatalities in construction work than any other occupation in the country. In 2014, there were 4,679 on the job fatalities, and 874 of those who died were construction workers. That comes out to one of every five work fatalities being in the construction industry in 2014. Of those 874 deaths, 349 occurred in falls. Of the top 10 OSHA standard violations most often cited in 2014, three of them addressed the potential for falls. Those were:

  • Fall protection
  • Inadequate or improper scaffolding
  • Ladder dangers

Where people fell from
According to the Center for Construction Work and Training, construction workers who fall from roofs comprise about 39 percent of all construction industry falls. Scaffold falls come in a close second at about 33 percent. Falls from ladders of less than 10 feet make up approximately 27 percent of all ladder falls. Falls from ladders of less than 25 feet consist of about 12 percent of all ladder falls.

The most dangerous construction jobs
The construction industry has three of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States. Those consist of:

  • Roofers
  • Iron and steel workers
  • Laborers

Workers’ compensation in RI and third party liability 

The general rule is that if a worker is injured or killed during the course of their employment, workers’ compensation is the sole and exclusive remedy for the worker or their family. The problem is that workers’ compensation benefits don’t cover all of the damages. An exception to the general rule arises when the worker is injured or killed by the negligence of somebody else who isn’t a co-employee. For example, a roofer can get knocked off of a roof by a crane that’s owned and operated by somebody else. In those cases, a direct lawsuit is permitted against the individual or company who caused the accident. That’s known as a third party liability case, and it’s the preferable case because broader damages can be sought and possibly awarded.

Given the number of people working on a construction project  in Rhode Island and the severe injuries or fatalities that can occur on those projects, construction accident litigation in providence Superior Court is highly complex. We recognize the severe hardships that a serious injury or death can have on a family. If you were injured in a workplace accident or mishap then you need to retain a top experienced, skilled and successful construction accident litigators. Contact a Rhode Island construction accident lawyer, RI construction accident attorney or a RI personal injury attorney for a free consultation and case evaluation on any construction accident injury or fatality. A RI construction accident attorney or a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation 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.


Rhode Island Personal injury Attorney | Road Rage Accidents

November 14, 2015

While many traffic collisions are caused by honest mistakes made by a negligent driver, some accident victims suffer serious injuries or death through road rage. By definition, road rage is angry or aggressive behavior of a driver sharing the roadway with others. These behaviors might involve verbal insults, rude gestures or deliberately operating the vehicle in a threatening or unsafe manner or a threat to cause bodily injury.

Unfortunately, road rage often results in collisions, assaults and altercations that injure or kill others. Many types of aggressive driving that could be classified as “road rage” involve:

• Failing to yield the right-of-way to others
• Making an illegal pass
• Suddenly accelerating or decelerating when driving close to other motorists
• Tailgating
• Yelling at other motorists
• Driving at an excessive speed well beyond the speed limit
• Passing another vehicle on the inside
• Total disregard of traffic signals
• Persistently honking the horn
• Cutting other motorists off
• Intentionally slamming on the vehicle’s brakes when another automobile is driving too close behind
• Weaving in and out of lanes of traffic
• Speeding through a stop sign or red light

Every one of these behaviors in Rhode island and Massachusetts is considered to be inherently dangerous to others sharing the roadway. When the rage involves two or more motorists in RI or MA driving aggressively, the results are often catastrophic.

If you were injured as a result of a RI car, motor vehicle or truck accident then contact a Rhode Island personal injury attorney. If injured in a MA motor vehicle, tractor trailer or car wreck then contact a Massachusetts Personal Injury lawyer.

Road Rage Is a Serious Problem in Rhode Island and Massachusetts

Statistics maintained by the National Safety Council indicate that more than 13,000 collisions occur each year in the United States by road rage where other drivers travel too fast for traffic conditions, adverse weather and other factors that could lead to an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is a serious problem because:

• Two thirds of all traffic fatalities are the direct result of aggressive driving.
• More than one third of road rage incidences also involve a firearm.
• Within the last seven years, more than 200 murders and more than 12,000 injuries were directly attributed to aggressive driving and road rage.
• Male drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 are most likely to engage in road rage activities.
• More than 50 percent of all motorists who receive some type of aggressive behavior from other drivers involve rude gestures, horn honking or tailgating respond aggressively.

The Consequences of Road Rage in Mass and Providence, RI

More than half of all automobile accidents in the United States are directly caused by aggressive behavior from others behind the wheel. In many incidents, the result of aggressive driving causes serious injuries or fatalities. There are significant consequences to road rage to everyone on the road including the driver. Some of these consequences involve:

• Aggressive driving typically causes the motorist to lose full control of the vehicle.
• Aggressive driving usually makes it impossible to swerve or move out of the way to avoid a head-on or direct collision.
• Accidents caused by aggressive driving frequently happen at high speeds, creating catastrophic force.

Do You Drive Aggressively?

Many motorists  in Boston and Providence are guilty of road rage even if they think their driving behavior is not aggressive. So how do you determine if you are driving aggressively? You might be guilty of road rage if you:

• Routinely drive over the posted speed limit or attempt to speed through a yellow light in an effort to avoid a red light because you are late for an appointment.
• Honk your horn often.
• Flash your high beams or tailgate another driver when you think they are driving too slow.
• Use obscene gestures or communicate in an angry tone to other motorists.
• Use your smart phone frequently when driving.
• Driving while distracted.
• Failing to check the vehicle’s blind spots before changing lanes to ensure you are not cutting another driver off.
• Keeping your vehicle’s high beams on when traffic is approaching.

To maximize safety and reduce the potential risk of being involved in a  RI car accident, it is essential to avoid engaging in any type of aggressive confrontation with others. It is essential to note that any motorists exhibiting signs of road rage will likely never restrain or retreat from their antagonistic behavior. The only way to protect yourself and others in the vehicle is to allow the aggressive driver ample space to pass, stop, move over or move on.

Sources:

http://bit.ly/1HySpRW
http://www.nhtsa.gov/Aggressive


Car Accidents in RI and MA Involving Texting While Driving

November 5, 2015

In a world where many seem to be continually using their phones while driving, it is becoming more common for car accidents in Rhode island and Massachusetts to result from failure to pay attention. In any Providence or Boston car accident where you suspect the other driver may have been texting while driving, it is important to take certain actions to protect your rights and improve your chances of holding the other driver responsible. If you have been involved in this type of Rhode Island accident, an experienced RI car accident attorney or Massachusetts personal injury lawyer is essential to provide legal advice and assist you through the complicated lawsuit process.

What should you do if involved in a texting while driving accident? If you are involved in an accident and you see signs that the other driver had been texting, there are some things you should do.

First, contact the police. The police will investigate the accident, collect information from the scene, and document important information. An officer typically will collect statements from those involved in the accident and those who witnessed the collision. Sometimes, eyewitness statements may be able to establish that the other driver was texting, or the driver may even admit to texting.

Second, seek out medical attention. If you suffer any injuries, request immediate medical attention. Not only is this essential for your recuperation, the medical professionals will be able to provide testimony and medical records for a potential lawsuit against the other driver. If you continue to suffer aches and pains after the initial treatment, make sure to continue to seek followup treatment.

Third, document everything. Keep detailed records of everything related to the accident. The lawsuit process often takes a long time, so it is important to write down your recollection of the incident and have available the contact information for anyone who could be a witness in court. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and your injuries. Video and audio record anything pertinent to the situation.

Fourth, contact an experienced Rhode island automobile crash attorney. A RI motor vehicle collision attorney with experience representing those injured in car accidents will know what is needed to file a successful claim. In a texting while driving case, a Providence car accident attorney will know how to subpoena cell phone records to establish that the other driver was in fact texting. The lawsuit process is subject to rules and procedures, with which an attorney will know how to comply. Do not hesitate to contact a RI injury attorney if you are injured.


RI Broadside Crash Lawyer , T-Bone Accident Attorneys in Rhode Island

October 16, 2015

Nothing can be more terrifying to a person than an automobile accident. One of the most serious car accidents in Rhode Island causing serious and catastrophic injuries is that of being hit broadside, also known as a T-bone accident.

Automobile accidents are not new. History claims a steam-powered vehicle accident was recorded in 1771 in France, where it crashed into a tree, during a test run. The first American single-cylinder gasoline automobile accident occurred in 1891. The first person killed by a car in the United States was recorded in September 1899. From these early recordings to modern day there have been accidents involving motor vehicles.

From a legal standpoint, there are a number of things to be considered when a client comes in with complaints regarding a right-angle collision or T-bone accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. In today’s world, in addition to determining who is at fault, it is important to consider the amount of insurance available to cover your medical bills and pain and suffering from the auto collision.

In addition, the type of installed airbags should be considered. Very few of today’s modern vehicles have side-impact airbags, which are designed to protect the driver from a T-bone collision. Even vehicles with this type of airbag cannot protect the individual if there are a series of collisions after the initial impact. Their protection ability also is involved when there are sudden speed changes or multiple collisions before motion ceases.

Multiple T-bone accidents occur because of failure to yield right of way, a sudden turn in front of an oncoming car and failing to obey traffic signals. It is important, when interviewing a client, to determine exactly what happened and who was at fault. Naturally, such a person is concerned about replacing their car and often has medical bills and injuries causing loss of income. However, in any case, it often pays to do some research regarding the history of the vehicle and see if the company involved has a series of complaints regarding its construction, airbags or reliability.

Statistics show that in 2013 there were 30,057 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. This amounted in a vehicle crash rate of 1.11 deaths per 100,000 miles traveled and 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Annual Global Road Crash Statistics predict, “Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030”. There is no doubt that many of these traffic injuries will be caused by T-bone accidents. association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) Annual Global Road Crash Statistics http://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics


Flatbed Truck Accidents In Rhode Island and MA

August 23, 2015

RI Flatbed Truck AccidentsMany flatbed truck accidents and big rig crashes in Rhode Island are deadly, taking the lives of innocent victims who were just sharing the roadway. Most businesses rely on the efficiency of delivering their products, goods and cargo on flatbed trucks that have the added capacity to transport oversize loads over long distances. The configuration of a flatbed trailer increases its ability to carry substantially heavier weight compared to enclosed 18-wheelers.

The highways, streets and side roads of urban and rural areas are filled with flatbed tractor-trailers hauling goods across the city, state, region and nation. The exposed cargo on open flatbeds require substantially more care during the loading process in an effort to secure the load safely.

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) maintains strict regulations involving loading and transporting every type of material on a flatbed truck as well as regulating tractor trailer trucks. These regulations help increase safety to ensure that every load is balanced to avoid rollovers, jackknife accidents, driver negligence problems and failure of the breaking and steering systems. Unfortunately, many serious flatbed truck accidents still occur every year.

Common Accident Causes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (MA)

Unlike a traditional semi-truck trailer, flatbeds are designed to pull heavy loads on an open flat surface area without walls. Typically, these trucks carry cargo that is awkward, heavy or odd sized including lumber, building materials, concrete slabs and large equipment. However, if the truck and trailer are involved in a collision, crash or accident, the cargo can easily shift, move or completely fall off the flat surface.

Many times, the heavy load will become a projectile, causing subsequent collisions while crashing into oncoming traffic or others sharing the road. These MA and RI accidents are usually the result of insufficient securing of the load by personnel required to ensure its safety. In some incidences, pieces of loose cargo fall from the flatbed into surrounding vehicles, killing or maiming innocent victims.

However, not every flatbed truck accident occurs on the road in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is because loading the cargo onto a flatbed truck is just as dangerous and hazardous as transporting it. The individuals loading the truck can easily make mistakes and place the goods in a precarious position that leads to an accident when the load shifts unexpectedly.

A Duty of Care in Rhode Island and Mass.

Flatbed truckers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are obligated to provide a duty of care to every other motorists, biker, passenger and pedestrian on the roadway. Their duties to ensure safety include:

• Keep a lookout for dangerous conditions on the roadway.
• Comply with every applicable federal and state traffic law.
• Use every reasonable means required to avoid an accident.
• Follow all federal and state regulations mandated by the FMCSA.

In addition to the above duty a care, all flatbed truckers in RI and Mass. must follow CDL driving regulations and maintain full proficiency in handling the truck that include: backing up, parking, maneuvering, and maintaining the tires, lights and engine. Every trucker must also perform a pre-trip inspection of the entire vehicle and follow all hazardous material containment procedures and regulations.

Damages in Providence Superior Court or in Boston Courts

If you, or a loved one have been seriously injured in a flatbed truck accident in Rhode Island or Boston Massachusetts, you likely have the legal right to seek financial compensation from the trucking company and driver. You are likely facing a barrage of medical expenses, especially if you are unable to work because of the accident. Your injuries were not your fault and you should not be left paying the bills to recover fully. However, filing a claim and negotiating a settlement is often complex and requires the skills of a reputable Providence personal injury attorney or Boston truck accident lawyer who specializes in these types of cases.

A Rhode Island personal injury lawyer or a RI truck crash attorney working on your behalf can ensure you receive monetary recovery for all damages that include the cost of medical care, hospitalization, rehabilitation and physical therapies. Your Rhode Island flatbed truck personal injury attorney will also seek compensation for non-economic damages including recovery for your pain, suffering, mental anxiety, emotional distress and grief while holding those accountable for your injuries legally and financially responsible for their actions.

In the event that a spouse, Loved or family member was killed in a fatal semi truck, tractor trailer or 18 wheeler big rig collision then the executor of the estate needs to retain a Rhode Island wrongful death attorney or Massachusetts fatal truck crash lawyers. A deadly truck collision requires the experience and expertise of a Wrongful death attorney in RI who has litigated many fatal truck and car wreck causes of action.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCSA