March 31, 2010

Rhode Island Truck Driver Fines for Axle and Weight Restrictions

If you are a commercial truck driver, or the owner of a commercial trucking company levied with a $3000 fine for axle and weight restrictions on the Pawtucket River Bridge, you need to hire a Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal Attorney who has experience fighting these axle restriction tickets. My office has helped resolve dozens and dozens of Pawtucket River Bridge tickets at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.

There may be no more common sight for Rhode Island drivers than that of a commercial truck pulled over on Route 95 in Pawtucket for a weight and/or axle violation. It was back in 2007 with the approval of Rhode Island General Law - 31-25-30 - that weight and axle restrictions were placed on commercial trucks driving over the Pawtucket River Bridge and since that time the State of Rhode Island has levied millions... that's right... millions of dollars in fines against truckers and trucking companies. You and your company can fight back! Do not pay this ticket right away - contact your Rhode Island axle restriction attorney today for advice.

In 2007 the State imposed a 22-ton weight limit on the Pawtucket River Bridge due to excessive wear and disrepair. This effectively prohibited large commercial trucks from traversing this section of Route 95. Rhode Island General Law 31-25-30 is responsible for creating an axle restriction over the Pawtucket bridge. A first offense is charged at $3000.00 and each subsequent offense will amount to a $5000.00 fine.

Most commercial trucks are required to detour onto Route 295 or Route 146 through the northern part of Rhode Island. Nevertheless, thousands of trucks are stopped each year and penalized with stiff fines. The fines which are often thousands of dollars have made millions of dollars for the State which might add some insight as to why this "temporary" problem has not yet been corrected.

Commercial truckers driving through Rhode Island should look to avoid Pawtucket at all costs, but if you find yourself stuck with one of these heavy fines, you can call my office right away for help. Furthermore, if the ticket is issued to an out of state trucking company, my office is able to appear on your behalf at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal to avoid the need of coming to Rhode Island for a hearing.

If you are a commercial trucker facing large fines, whether received on the Pawtucket River Bridge, or not, contact my office right away for help in resolving your fines. In most cases we can have the matter dismissed or have the fine heavily reduced.

March 29, 2010

Attorney Joseph Lamy Opens New Satellite Office in Boston

Many of you are aware that I began practicing in Boston before returning to Rhode Island to start my own practice. I continue to handle Massachusetts personal injury and entertainment law cases and have a steady number of clients in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth.

Clients in the past have expressed concern that my office is "all the way" in Providence, so I am very happy to announce that I now have a new satellite office in Boston for purposes of meetings, consultations, etc. The new satellite office is located on Federal Street in downtown Boston. This will be a much more convenient meeting place for many of my Massachusetts clients.

Nevertheless, all phone calls, mail and correspondence should continue to be directed to my Providence office.

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March 28, 2010

BMI, ASCAP and now Soundexchange

I came across an important article in the Tennessean which pointed out the importance of registering with an organization that collects royalties for digital music, such as With the emerging popularity of online radio and programs such as Pandora, it is absolutely imperative to have proper registration with a company entrusted to collect online royalties.

The difference between online play and traditional radio play, is that terrestrial radio is not required to pay royalties to musicians and artists who appear on a particular recording. Groups like BMI and ASCAP only collect and disperse royalties to copyright holders and publishers.

Recording artists sensing the dawn of a new musical venue were quick to ensure that they would be paid for online and digital play of their recordings. So while the bass player from a 1960's protest song may not have received royalties in twenty years, he may now find that the same song is now worth several thousand dollars in online royalties.

Many recording artists, however, have failed to register with and are potentially losing thousands of dollars. This particular article suggests that there is over $50 million dollars in unpaid royalties. Despite the best efforts of researchers and investigators it is often impossible to recover all the musicians who played a part on a particular track meaning their rightful royalty goes uncollected.

The Copyright Royalty Board has made SoundExchange the sole entity in the United States to collect and distribute digital performance royalties on behalf of featured recording artists, master rights owners (like record labels), and independent artists who record and own their masters.

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March 21, 2010

NY Public Defender Tells Defendant to Plead Guilty to a Felony for a Crime that Wasn't a Felony

The New York Times has a fascinating story that raises some serious questions about the criminal system in this Country and the overall lack of justice that it produces.

Let me begin by saying, as I have in previous blog posts, that I have nothing but respect for the public defender's office. They are some of the most talented criminal defense lawyers in the state. The problem, of course, is that they are severely overly worked and underfunded. The result is that a public defender simply can not afford the time and resources that may be required for any individual case. The anger should not be directed at the public defender's office, but at a State that gives prosecutors a budget ten to twenty times that of the public defender's office. It makes you wonder what our goal really is regarding prosecution.

That said... back to the story. Kimberly Hurell-Harring was never in trouble. She had a tough life of poverty and single motherhood at a young age. Nevertheless, she worked hard, often two jobs at a time to support her children. Her husband, was an inmate in the New York prison system serving eight years. In 2007, at her husband's urging, Kimberly attempted to sneak some marijuana to her husband during a meeting at the jail. It was only 3/4 of an ounce. She was caught, arrested, and charged with smuggling dangerous contraband into a jail. The judge set bail at 10,000 guaranteeing that a woman of her means would go to jail.

Kimberly sat in jail aware that her crime should never have been considered a felony. Other inmates at the jail warned her about public defenders. One told her that you get what you pay for = nothing!

Kimberly was a nervous wreck awaiting sentencing. She tried to call her lawyer often but was always told that he was unavailable. The New York State Defender's Association was working on similar cases before the New York Supreme Court arguing that marijuana is not dangerous contraband and should be charged as a misdemeanor, not a felony. The Association called Kimberly's public defender to tell them that the Supreme Court was going to hear the case. He was not impressed. Soon thereafter, despite the call from the association, the public defender encouraged Kimberly to plead guilty to the felony charges. She was sent to jail.

In the aftermath, Kimberly lost her job and was separated from her children for several months. She and her children had to move to run down housing and survive on food stamps.

Working pro-bono a team of private lawyers went to work on an appeal and aggressively attacked the weaknesses of the case. The end result, the New York Court of Appeals agreed that Kimberly should never have been charged with a felony.

This case, like many others, also raises serious questions about prosecutorial ethics. What is the goal of our criminal system? Is the intent to put as many people in jail for as long as possible? Or is the intent to seek justice and hand out punishment that fits the crime. Too often the answer lies in the former. Why would the prosecutor consistently jump to the highest possible charge for these offenses rather than treat them reasonably as a misdemeanor? Why would they not reduce the charges knowing that the Supreme Court was about to consider the issue?

What are the lessons to be learned from a story like this.... Criminal defendants should know that the AG's office is not on their side. A person arrested for a felony or misdemeanor should also know that only a private attorney can invest the time and resources that are necessary to obtain the best result for your case. Do not let yourself become a victim of a system that does not care about you and which was not designed to protect the innocent.

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March 17, 2010

Motorcycle Accidents and Injury Compensation

We are a few short weeks from motorcycle season in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and it is impossible to avoid discussing the dangers of motorcycle riding. Motorcycle accidents are on the rise and because bikers are unprotected, the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are often incredibly serious. Motorcycle accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries, scarring, fractures, other permanent disabilities, and even death.

Motorcyclists are universally considered the highest risk motoring group accounting for 14% of all fatal traffic accidents. The Department of Transportation reported 96,000 injuries and over 5,000 crash deaths involving motorcycles. Of these reported injuries and deaths, the highest percentage occurred in head on collisions between motorcyles and vehicles.

Because of the severity of motorcycle accidents, it is imperative that you hire an attorney to represent your case. For one, liability determinations are often more complicated when a motorcycle is involved. An experienced motorcycle lawyer knows how to gather the necessary evidence and present it to the insurance company to prove liability against the other driver. Second, an experienced motorcycle attorney is necessary to help negotiate a fair settlement for your serious and potentially permanent injuries. The more serious the injury, the more difficult it often becomes to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company. You need an attorney who understands the full value of your case and is willing to go all the way to trial if necessary to obtain all of the money that you deserve.

While motorcycle accidents may be inevitable, it is imperative that riders do everything they can do to prevent serious injury. Wear helmets, obey the rules of the road, and keep an eye out for drivers. Motorcycle riders have to drive defensively because drivers of automobiles are not accustomed to keeping an eye out for motorcycle riders.

If and when an accident occurs, it is imperative that you not delay in contacting an experienced motorcycle lawyer.

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March 14, 2010

Some Mistakes to Avoid Following an Auto Accident

An auto accident can be a traumatic experience especially if you have been injured as a result. You may find yourself confused, upset, or nervous about what is going to happen next. Such conditions might lead to mistakes. Here are some common mistakes that might occur following an car accident, and how to avoid them.

Regarding the Insurance Company
- You are obligated by contract to comply with your insurance company. This means reporting the claim in a timely fashion and giving a recorded statement if requested. You are not, however, obliged to cooperate with the opposing insurance company. The other driver's company will be looking for you to give a recorded statement, as well, hoping that you say something damaging.

Damaging Statements to Avoid -
1) Never admit that it is your fault. You may very well have caused the accident, but there is no need to admit fault. Liability is a complex determination that can be made only after all of the evidence and circumstances are considered - do not make the insurance company's job easier by accepting liability. Furthermore, you may accept fault for an accident that really was not your fault.

2) Don't state that you are not injured - Many injuries, particularly muscle injuries such as those sustained after whiplash, take time to manifest. Sometimes a whiplash victim will not experience any pain until 2-3 days after the accident occurred.

3) Avoid Opinions - If you do speak with the insurance company, avoid making statements based on opinion or belief. Only state facts. If you can not remember the facts, tell the insurance company that you are not sure. If you make a statement, the insurance company will believe that it is true, even if you were not stating a fact.

What you should do following an accident - Contact an attorney. Only an experienced car accident attorney will help protect your rights. Insurance companies will offer you very little money for your injury if you do not have an attorney. Furthermore, they will act to settle the case quickly, even if you have not fully recovered.

Hiring an attorney may not be enough. You have to hire the right attorney. Unlike many personal injury attorneys, my office will go the full length, including trial, to ensure that you receive the money you properly deserve. Furthermore, I am a former insurance adjuster and I know how they evaluate claims and how to obtain the absolute maximum for your injury claim.

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March 12, 2010

Facebook and Your Personal Injury Claim

Social media is so entrenched in our everyday lives that one would wonder how we ever lived without it. Everyone is on facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube, and the like. In fact, my office has a facebook page to help inform current clients and build my client base.

If you are involved in an ongoing personal injury case, you may want to be aware of what you post in your social media accounts. There is a very good chance that insurance companies, private investigators, and defense attorneys will look into your social media accounts for damaging information. I recently heard a story from another attorney who had a client who was injured in an automobile accident. A few months after the accident, the client posted a facebook status indicating that he was sore from the gym. Needless to say, the value of his case was greatly reduced.

Any facebook status that indicates you were capable of hard work, (i.e. "painted the house today") or are playing sports (such as the example above) can have a negative effect on your case. Even vacation or "night out" pictures which show you having a good time with family or friends could be used by the defense to show that you were not really hurt.

This is just one more thing to consider when you are discussing your private life in an open forum. It is always best to wait until the case settles or reaches trial before discussing your physical condition to the public.

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March 9, 2010

Are Rhode Islanders the Worst Drivers in the Country?

According to a new GMAC Insurance report, the answer is yes. GMAC conducted testing of average americans to see if they could pass a driver's test today, and found with startling results that we would not. Teenagers endure hours of driver's education to learn obscure rules of the road in order to pass a test that they will never have to take again. According to GMAC, without the pressure of ever being tested again, we become lazy and dangerous drivers. Drivers in the Northeast, Rhode Island in particular, are the worst.

The study concluded that 1 in 11 drivers, or roughly 18 million people, would fail a driver test if it were given to them today.

The report identifies pedestrians as a group particularly harmed by our inept driving. Roughly 1 in 3 drivers would not stop for a pedestrian in the road even if they are in a crosswalk or at a yellow light. This might explain why pedestrian accidents constitute the second largest category of auto accident related deaths in the US. 43% of all pedestrian injuries and 22% of fatal injuries to pedestrians occur in collisions with motor vehicles at intersections. In addition, many pedestrians are killed on sidewalks, median strips and traffic islands.

Another problem is the growing rise of texting while driving, which while illegal in Rhode Island, is almost impossible to police. Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving and is causing an increase in the number of auto accidents and accident related injuries.

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March 5, 2010

Concern over Avandia Liability Grows

Financial giant, UBS is weighing the potential costs of GlaxoSmithKline Avandia drug in light of the growing concern of its dangers. Over 13,000 lawsuits have already been filed concerning the diabetes drug and Glaxo's expected liability ranges from $1-$6 billion dollars.

Avandia has had a long and sordid history yet despite well supported claims that the drug greatly increases the risk for heart attack, it remains on the market.

Just one week ago, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee was highly critical of the drug in a recent report. The report criticized Glaxo's handling of heart risk associated with the drug, Avandia, claiming that Glaxo minimized safety risks and withheld vital date from the FDA. Avandia is linked with 83,000 heart attacks in a little over eight years. The FDA added a warning about heart attacks to the prescription drug in 2007.

A group of Harvard researchers recently offered a study of 26,375 diabetes patients between the years of 2000 and 2006. They found that diabetes patients taking Avandia had twice as much risk for heart attack as patients taking other diabetes medications. Twice as much! And for those that fear such numbers might be skewed, consider that Glaxo sponsored its own study which showed that Avandia users had a 35-41% heightened risk for heart attack.

This is compelling evidence that Avandia does increase the risk of heart attack. Some early liability trials against Glaxo are set for July.

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March 1, 2010

Problems for Toyota Go From Bad to Worse

I have written about the ongoing debacle at Toyota Motor Corp. regarding their accelerator problems and numerous product liability lawsuits, and I have received a lot of calls from people who feel they have been victimized by a defective Toyota vehicle.


The more I investigate the situation, the more incredible it becomes. Toyota apparently was well aware of their problems, hid the evidence, and chose to ignore the problems. This may go down in history as a classic example of corporate greed overtaking public safety...not unlike the Ford Pinto, the tobacco industry, or asbestos manufacturers.

As product liability cases are launched across the country, attorneys have discovered that Toyota withheld potentially damaging information in previous lawsuits. The so-called "Book of Knowledge" was uncovered under subpoena by the House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform. According to Committee chair, Edolphus Towns, Toyota conducted a "systematic disregard for the law" and routinely violated "court discovery orders in litigation."

Among the information uncovered, Toyota has been concerned about the unintended acceleration problems as far back as 2005 and conducted numerous meetings and safety assessments. Toyota would often enter into negotiations during these early product liability lawsuits rather than disclose damaging evidence in discovery. These early plaintiffs would walk away satisfied that they were able to settle the case, but future victims were left in the dark regarding the dangers of these Toyota vehicles. The Committee has already placed the death toll from "runaway toyotas" at 39 (12 more than the afformentioned Pinto disaster).

One of the most interesting stories (at least to me) to develop from the recent discoveries at Toyota, involves a Minnesota man, Koua Fong Lee, who was convicted of vehicular manslaughter after an accident he caused killed a family of three. Mr. Lee defended from the onset that he was unable to stop his car or avoid the crash, but the Minnesota jury did not believe his testimony and he was subsequently convicted and sent to prison. In light of recent information, his case will be reviewed. I certainly hope for Mr. Lee that justice will prevail if he truly was not at fault for this accident.

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February 25, 2010

La oficina legal de Joseph Lamy está aquí para ayudar a las víctimas hispanohablantes de accidentes automovilísticos y otras lesiones corporales

El abogado Joseph Lamy está aquí para ayudar a las víctimas de accidentes u otro daño corporal dentro de nuestras comunidades Latinas en Providence, Pawtucket, Fall River, Woonsocket, Central Falls y otras áreas a sus alrededores. En mi oficina se habla Español y podemos asistirle con todo el proceso, de principio a fin.

Soy un abogado licenciado para ejercer en Rhode Island y Massachussets. Mi especialidad son los casos de daño corporal, incluyendo: accidentes de auto, accidentes de camión, accidentes de motocicleta, lesiones causadas por resbalón y caída, muerte por negligencia, negligencia médica y la responsabilidad civil del fabricante. Soy un abogado muy atento y agresivo y manejo todos los casos personalmente, de principio a fin. Antes de graduarme de la escuela de Leyes de Boston College, trabajé para una compañía de seguros nacional como mediador de reclamos por lesión. Sé exactamente como las aseguradoras evalúan esos reclamos y sé como obtener la mayor cantidad de dinero disponible para su reclamo de lesión corporal.

Me enorgullezco en ofrecer un excelente servicio al cliente. Contesto todas las llamadas telefónicas y correos electrónicos que recibo dentro de veinticuatro horas. Me aseguraré que usted entienda todos sus derechos y opciones antes de decidir si llegar a un acuerdo en el caso. Aunque mi oficina se encuentra en el centro de Providence, siempre estoy dispuesto para una consulta a domicilio o para visitar a una víctima en el hospital.

Aunque mi portal en Internet esté escrito en Inglés, tengo una página que resume mis servicios legales en Español.

Si usted, un amigo o un familiar ha sido herido en un accidente de auto, de camión o de motocicleta, o debido a un resbalón y una caída, y está buscando un abogado para daños corporales que trabaje con talento y efectividad, llame de inmediato a mi oficina para recibir una consulta gratis.

February 22, 2010

Obtaining Damages Beyond Worker's Compensation

Anyone who has been seriously injured at work may have a love/hate relationship with the Worker's Compensation system. The benefit to the system is that anyone injured at work can be compensated for lost wages and medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Even if you caused your own injuries, you are covered under worker's compensation. The drawback... victims injured at work can not sue their employer and can not collect damages for pain and suffering. Even if your employer did something negligent or put you in a dangerous situation, you can not sue for pain and suffering.

That said, I think it is important that people realize the many instances in which damages can be obtained for pain and suffering even if you were injured while at work.

As you can see, you are not limited to the constructs of the worker's compensation system just because you are entitled to worker's comp or were injured at work. If you were injured in a car accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, construction accident, or other similar accident while working, it may still be possible to collect damages from the at-fault third party. The above list contains only common examples and is not a complete list. It is important to speak with an attorney right away to understand your rights regarding worker's compensation and damages against at-fault third parties.

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February 18, 2010

Attorney Joseph Lamy Begins Practice in Social Security Disability

I am very excited to say that my office can now assist mentally and physically incapacitated persons looking to secure social security disability (SSDI) benefits. This area of practice is closely related to personal injury law, however, I have waited to begin working in the field of social security disability until now.

The reason for the delay is because I wanted to be certain that I could give to my social security disability clients the same level of expertise and service that I provide to my personal injury clients. To that end, I have spent a great deal of time talking to other attorneys and professionals involved in social security, some of whom used to work in the local social security office, to learn the ins and outs of this practice. I understand the process intimately and know exactly why cases are either rejected or approved. I also understand how to obtain the highest amount of benefits that are available to you.

The Social Security office is overwhelmed by requests and often reject your initial application. In order to be eligible for social security disability benefits (the short version), you must have a doctor's diagnosis of disability that will leave you unable to perform any work for a period of at least twelve consecutive months. There is much more detailed information about social security disability benefits and qualification on my website.

If you have been denied social security disability benefits, contact my office right away and we can begin working on the appeal process to obtain the benefits that you deserve.

February 15, 2010

Mesothelioma and Asbestosis Litigation

Mesothelioma and Asbestosis are both very serious conditions which can only be caused by direct contact with asbestos. Thousands of people are diagnosed every year with mesothelioma or asbestosis due to exposure to asbestos sometimes decades earlier.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a protective lining over most of our organs. The most common site for this cancer to develop is in the lungs or abdominal cavity. Unlike other lung cancers, mesothelioma does not have any relation to smoking, but smoking does increase the risk of asbestos related cancers. A doctor may suspect mesothelioma and then confirm with a tissue biopsy.

Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. Victims exposed to asbestos were unaware that they were breathing in very small fibers of asbestos. These fibers become trapped in the lungs and can not be expelled. The body will attack these foreign fibers in the body, but in so doing cause substantial damage to the lungs. Over time this condition leads to asbestosis.

Both of these serious and rare diseases are caused by direct contact with asbestos. Asbestos is an insulation material widely used throughout the early to mid 20th century. Rhode Island has suffered a sizable number of such cases because of the heavy use of asbestos at the shipyards of Electric Boat.

In early asbestos litigation it became clear that manufacturers of the material were aware of the dangers and chose to ignore safety over profits, not unlike cigarette companies. When it became clear that their negligence was going to cost thousands and thousands of lives, asbestos companies set up trusts with billions of dollars to help compensate the victims of mesothelioma and asbestosis.

My office in conjunction with other asbestos litigators can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you have been diagnosed with one of these terrible diseases. It is critical to act quickly following this diagnosis. We need to conduct a thorough investigation of where and when you were exposed to asbestos so that we can identify the proper companies that may be liable for damages.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with either mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact our office right away for a free consultation.

February 13, 2010

Hiring an Attorney for Your Auto, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident

Deciding which attorney or law firm will represent you for your personal injuries sustained in an auto, truck, or motorcycle accident is a huge decision. You should conduct research (the internet has made this incredibly easy) and even talk to a few attorneys before deciding who is best to handle your case. Regardless of which attorney or law firm you decide to hire for your personal injury, it is in your best interest to hire someone to represent you.

Years ago, before law school, I worked as an injury adjuster for a national insurance company. I can say with experience that insurance companies do not want you to hire an attorney because they know the settlement for a car or truck accident without an attorney will be much lower than if you hire an attorney. That is not to say that ALL insurance companies are evil corporations looking to rob and ignore injury victims (but I do believe that may be the mission statement for at least a few insurance companies!)

There is a series of television commercials in this state for a well-known law firm (I refrain from stating their name since their advertising budget is high enough and they do not need my help) which depicts an adjuster trying to coerce an unrepresented car accident victim into singing a release only to find out that they are represented by _______ law firm. Cut to the adjuster choking on some form of food.

While these commercial spots clearly take artistic license, it is true that insurance companies would prefer that you not hire an attorney for your car or truck accident. That is because insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they do this best by withholding money from injured victims. But if you really want the insurance company and adjuster to choke on their sandwich, you need to hire the right attorney.

Attorneys across the country attend seminars and buy books regarding the inner workings of insurance companies and how they evaluate auto or truck accident cases. I, on the other hand, was on the other side and know exactly what an insurance company will do to try an find flaws in your case and how they will ultimately evaluate your injury. This knowledge is essential to helping you obtain the best possible settlement for your car or truck accident injury.

A few things to consider and take away from this post:

  • It is in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you for injuries sutained in a car or truck accident

  • insurance companies know who the best attorneys are, so it is imperative that you perform some research and hire an attorney with a great reputation

  • if your injury is a minor one that required only minimal or no treatment, you might be able to work directly with the insurance company

Once you have chosen to hire an attorney for your car or truck accidednt, I have written an additional post which should help you understand the settlement process.

Continue reading "Hiring an Attorney for Your Auto, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident" »