June 2011 Archives

June 27, 2011

What is a "Friendly Lawsuit?"

Tomorrow morning I will be at Providence Superior Court for a hearing on a so-called "friendly lawsuit". It occurred to me as I prepare for the hearing that many people may have heard of a friendly lawsuit, or been told that they will be part of a friendly suit, and may not know what it is all about.

Even though it sounds like an oxymoron, a friendly lawsuit occurs when the parties have agreed to terms but want Court approval of the Agreement. In the area of personal injury, in which I practice, and where friendly suits are not uncommon, they are filed because the plaintiff is a minor and the settlement is over $10,000. Under Rhode Island law, a settlement over ten thousand dollars for a minor child must be approved by a Judge after the Guardian Ad Litem has drafted a report and confirmed that the settlement is in the best interest of the child.

The purpose of this extra step is so that an impartial third party will look at the interests of the child to ensure that the settlement is fair for the plaintiff who is unable to make his or her own decision. Since a minor can not enter into a contract legally, a friendly suit, will also make the signed Release binding on the minor. Otherwise, a minor plaintiff can bring a personal injury lawsuit after his or her 18th birthday.

If your child was seriously injured in any kind of personal injury action and negotiations have begun for settlement, you may begin to discuss the need to file a friendly lawsuit. If you are working without the help of a personal injury lawyer, I would advise contacting one to help you through this tricky additional step.

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June 23, 2011

Attorney Joseph Lamy Secures Dismissal of Cocaine Possession Charge

This morning in Rhode Island District Court, criminal defense attorney Joseph Lamy successfully obtained a dismissal of felony cocaine possession charges. In Rhode Island, cocaine is classified as a schedule I drug and possession charges come with very serious penalties. According to the statute, a non drug-addicted person caught with possession of a schedule I drug is facing up to a life sentence and fines of up to $500,000!

If you have been arrested on drug possession charges, contact our office right away for a free initial consultation. The earlier I enter the case, the better your chances of a positive outcome.

June 20, 2011

Drowning Risk is High for Kids in Portable Pools

Portable pools, ranging from small plastic wading pools to relatively large constructions that hold 3-4 feet of water are increasing in popularity because they are easy to assemble and are a cheap alternative to formal pool systems. A new study, however, suggests that these portable pools may be very dangerous to young children. According to the study, in the last several years there has been 244 serious incidents involving portable pools, with 209 of those cases resulting in death by drowning. 94% of the victims were children under the age of 5, and most injuries occurred at the child's home.

The reason for this high risk of danger is unclear but there may be many factors:

  • Portable or temporary pools do not have the same protective and/or safety equipment that formal pools have;
  • parents are less likely to be in the pool with the child when and if a problem occurs;
  • some parents may wrongfully assume that the pool is too small to pose a risk;

Drowning can occur in a flash and so suddenly that even monitored children are at risk. It is imperative to constantly monitor children in a pool and if the child is particularly small, to always be within arm reach so that you can save the child immediately.

All pools, above ground, in-ground, or portable are a serious danger to children and parents and supervising adults must act with extreme caution to prevent catastrophe.

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June 14, 2011

Rhode Island May Implement Further Restrictions on Cell Phone Use While Driving

A new bill is being considered that would make it illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to use a cell phone AT ALL while operating a motor vehicle. Recently, Rhode Island joined several other States including Massachusetts in banning texting while driving, but this bill would prohibit any use of a cell phone for those under 21. Currently, any driver under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.

The sponsor of the bill, Frank Lombardo III, suggested that he would like to see all cell phone use banned at any age, but recognizes that this is a practical first step. Ample evidence suggests that cell phone use can be as dangerous as drunk driving and is a leading cause of car accidents.

Young drivers, particularly those under 21, have a much higher propensity for accidents without additional distractions. According to the CDC, "per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash." Motor vehicle accidents are also the leading cause of death for this age group. These statistics support the Senator's contention that further restrictions on cell phone use may save lives.

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June 7, 2011

Your Rhode Island and Massachusetts Boating Accident Lawyer

In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the boating and water sport season is upon us and it is important for you to understand your rights if you were injured on board a boat or other watercraft. Accidents or injuries on board cruise ships, private boats, ferries, or even water skis, are injuries in which you may be able to collect personal injury damages including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The Center for Disease Control reports that in 2009 there were 4,730 boating accidents resulting in 3,358 injuries and 736 deaths. Among the fatalities, it was discovered that 84% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.

The most common types of boating accidents are:

The injuries following a boating accident can be quite serious including fractures, burns, head injuries, or at worst, drowning. Similar to auto accidents, most boating accidents are caused by operator inattention or recklessness, operator inexperience, and operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, the Center for Disease Control reports that 1 in 5 boating fatalities are related to alcohol use.

Most watercraft are insured, but boat accident litigation can become quite complex so it is important to speak with an attorney who has experience in representing those injured while a passenger on a boat.

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June 1, 2011

Attorney Joseph Lamy is Your Local Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents are becoming increasingly common as more and more rigs are on the roads delivering goods. With the growing number of tractor trailer and big rig accidents, more attorneys are offering to assist clients in this area. TV commercials and the Yellow Pages are full of so-called national truck accident firms looking to help the people of Rhode Island or Massachusetts. There is no need to hire a national firm that will most likely refer the case to another attorney that you do not know. If you have been injured in a tractor trailer accident, contact our office. We have the experience and strategy to handle truck accident cases.

Because tractor trailers and other commercial trucks are so much heavier than personal vehicles, the severity of the accident and injuries are usually very high. Injuries can often include broken bones, scars, head injuries, burns, and even death. The combination of large insurance policies and severe injuries makes truck accident cases very complex. Commercial truck accident cases require an attentive and aggressive attorney who is prepared to litigate the case to ensure full value for your injuries.

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