Rhode Island Injury Lawyer Blog

Pfizer today announced that it is recalling two kinds of oral contraception because some of the packages had the pills in the wrong order. Obviously, while attempting to avoid unwanted pregnancy it is absolutely imperative that the person take the proper dose at the right time. Because the packages were filled with the wrong dose at the incorrect time, the drug may prove ineffective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. It is possible that some women have unwillingly become pregnant.

The effected medicines are Lo/Ovral-28 or generic norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol pills. Any woman currently taken these medications should contact their ob/gyn immediately and contact the pharmacy that filled the prescription so that the recalled drugs may be replaced. If you became pregnant while taking these recalled drugs, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. If it can be established that the unwanted pregnancy was caused by the negligence of Pfizer you may be entitled to significant compensation.

It has been a tough couple of months for birth control drugs. Yaz, in particular, has been hit with hundreds of lawsuits claiming that it causes dangerous bloodclots and also results in other unwanted and dangerous side effects. In addition, the FDA has indicated that its dosage may be too low to adequately prevent unwanted pregnancy.

A comprehensive thirty year examination of dog maulings and fatal dog attacks has shown an exponential increase in attacks. The study focused primarily on pitbulls who are notorious for the frequency and severity of their bites and attacks. The facts and numbers are indisputable.

During the first ten years of the study there was a total of 103 reported pit bull attacks in the United States. Fast forward to 2002 in which there were 86 attacks in that year alone (almost as much as an entire decade in the 80’s). Ten years later, in the our most recent year of 2011 there was a total of 295 attacks, roughly three times as many dog attacks as there were only ten years earlier. Amazingly, 26% of all attacks during this thirty year study occurred in the last two years alone! 41% of all disfigurements caused by pitbull attack occurred in the last four years of the study.

Consistent with other reports on dog bites and maulings, the majority of these attacks occur to children. Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of all animal attacks, again confirmed in this report, occur to children. In 2011, 102 children were attacked and/or maimed by a pit bull.

ATV accidents often lead to catastrophic injury or even death, and a recent settlement from a case in Pennsylvania highlights the danger of ATV accidents. A 19 year old college student was killed when an ATV driven by another young man, allegedly intoxicated, flipped over ejecting both operator and passenger. The passengers injuries were fatal. The family has now settled their lawsuit for 2.7 million dollars.

Unfortunately, this case was only one of the nearly 1000 people who die each year from ATV accidents. Another 150,000 people are seen, on average, each year at emergency rooms from ATV related accidents.

If you are injured in an ATV accident, you should know that there may very well be coverage for your personal injuries. ATVs are often independently insured or may be covered by homeowners insurance. With coverage you are entitled to past and future medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In this case, it appears that the family successfully went after several homeowners who had supplied the underage driver of the ATV with alcohol which led to the fatal accident.

The sexist cliche is that women are worse drivers than men. Female drivers have been fodder for stand-up comedians and bumper stickers for many years, but an online insurance survey has shown that men are far worse drivers than women and cause more accidents and more serious auto accidents than women.

This study has revealed that more than 80 percent of all fatal auto accidents are caused by men and that more men die in motor vehicle accidents than women. Statistics from a recent calendar year show that men were involved in approximately 6.1 million car accidents while women in the same calendar year were involved in 4.4 million car crashes. According to these numbers, women are 27 percent less likely to be involved in an auto accident.

It is not only in the number of accidents in which men look worse than women. Men lead almost every category of poor driving including speeding tickets and other violations such as failure to yield and men outnumber women in the number of DUIs by a factor of 3 to 1.

Truck accidents, in particular, truck rollover accidents are among the most serious vehicular accidents on the road and often result in serious personal injury or wrongful death. Truck rollover can occur to both commercial vehicles and private use vehicles. In some circumstances they can also result in a product liability case if the tire and/or truck was negligently designed.

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Commercial Truck Rollover Cases

Commerical tractor trailers are all over the road at all times of the day. They can be incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons. For one, tractor trailers are often carrying loads in excess of 50,000 pounds. This tremendous weight makes the vehicle difficult to maneuver or take evasive action if necessary. The stopping time and turning time of a long 18-wheeler carrying a ton of weight is very long. If the truck driver makes too hasty a motion in the vehicle it can cause all or part of the tractor trailer to capsize or rollover causing a potentially very serious accident.

Commercial truck rollovers may also occur because the driver is too tired to safely operate his vehicle, yet stays on the road in an effort to meet a deadline or finish a job on time. Commercial truck drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel causing them to jackknife or run off the road. All too often, other drivers on the road are unable to avoid collision with these incredibly large vehicles.

Truck Rollovers in Personal Use Vehicles

SUVs and other non-commercial trucks have also had a long history of rollovers in accidents. While newer model SUVs and crossovers have a more stable weight balance and are less likely to rollover, the danger of a rollover remains, particularly in older SUVs. SUVs are trucks and can not be driven like a car. They are much heavier, possess different weight distributions, and may be “top heavy” when compared to other automobiles. Quick lane changes, sudden movements or slamming on the brakes may cause an SUV to rollover. When rollover occurs, the injuries to the driver and passengers are likely to be much more serious than in an ordinary motor vehicle accident.

SUV Rollover and Product Liability Claims

If you were injured in an SUV rollover, like any other auto accident, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation through your auto insurance or the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. In addition, however, if it appears that the SUV had a negligent design causing an unnecessary rollover of the vehicle, you may also have a product liability claim. Product liability cases regarding SUV design have included: improper seatbelt design, failure of airbag to deploy, insufficient strength and design to the roof causing roof collapse, tire blowouts, poor stability design, poorly designed stability systems and ineffective braking systems among others.

If the SUV rollover was not caused exclusively by driver error, there may be a product liability case in addition to damages recovered from the auto insurance policies.

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The overwhelming majority of posts on this blog concern personal injuries and related questions. It has occurred to me that a lot of people may have questions about the other half of a car accident claim, namely, the damage to your vehicle. Unlike many personal injury attorneys, if you were hurt in a car crash, my office will assist you with the property damage portion of your claim for free. Many attorneys do not want to get involved with the property damage portion of your claim and tell you that they will only represent you for the personal injury. In my opinion, that is doing only half the job and leaving far too much work on the shoulders of the client.

That said, what are your rights regarding the repair and/or valuation of your vehicle? Let’s talk about the two most common scenarios: If your car is a total loss or if it is repairable.

IF YOUR CAR IS A TOTAL LOSS

Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph Lamy has secured another great result for a criminal defendant. In just this past month we have successfully secured the dismissal of assault charges, two DUI cases, marijuana possession and this week we have obtained a fantastic result in a very serious case. My client was charged with two counts of third degree sexual assault (statutory rape) and there was a very large age gap between my client and the alleged victim which makes a statutory rape case that much more difficult. According to RIGL 11-37-6, a person is guilty of third degree sexual assault if:

he or she is over the age of eighteen (18) years and engaged in sexual penetration with another person over the age of fourteen (14) years and under the age of consent, sixteen (16) years of age.

My office worked this case for over a year, filing nearly a dozen motions, aggressively tackling discovery and working relentlessly with the prosecutor towards a positive outcome. We were ready for trial to begin this Monday but were able to avoid it because the prosecution made a fantastic offer to avoid trial. One count of third degree sexual assault was dismissed and my client plead nolo contendre to an amended charge of misdemeanor simple assault.

This morning in Kent County Courthouse, criminal defense attorney Joseph Lamy secured the dismissal of assault charges based on the defense that the accused was legally entitled to come to the aid of another person in danger.

The canon of law surrounding “self-defense” to assault or violent crime charges is large. It is abundantly clear that a person is entitled to use reasonable self-defense if he or she believes that they are under imminent physical harm. There is case law that supports an extension of this self-defense rule to a third party intervenor.

In the case at hand, my client witnessed one person strike another smaller person during a dispute. My client was behind the attacker and when the attacker motioned to strike the other person for a second time, my client brought him down to the ground. The police felt that excessive force may have been used and because the “victim” wanted to press charges, my client was arrested for simple assault. We argued from the onset that my client was intervening for the protection of someone in danger of imminent harm. Today we were successful and had the assault charges dismissed.

Today marks the single most heavily trafficked day of the year. Highways will be jammed with family members making, sometimes long, treks to visit each other for the Holiday. It is a weekend in which our office receives a lot of calls for auto accidents. Don’t let it detract from the Holiday but be careful out there because the sheer volume of cars increases the likelihood of car accidents, minor or serious.

If you live in a State other than Rhode Island or Massachusetts and are involved in a car crash or slip and fall while visiting family in these States, you should know that you will need to hire a local attorney licensed in Rhode Island and/or Massachusetts. The State in which the accident occurred holds the applicable law and is the State in which a lawsuit, if necessary, would need to be filed. You will not be able to return to your home State and hire a lawyer unless they are also licensed in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. My office has represented many long distance clients who happened to be injured while visiting Rhode Island or Massachusetts, and the process is not difficult. With email, fax, Skype and other applications, my office can represent you as if you lived 1 mile away rather than 1000.

Business aside, I want to wish everyone reading this post, including past and future clients, a happy and safe Holiday.

One of my favorite shows on TV is AMC’s Mad Men. It is brilliant in every way. One element of the show, however, is shocking to those of us born of a more recent generation and that is the frequency and severity of the sexual harassment to which the women are subjected. Obviously, we have come a long way in this area and no one would recognize the type of office that mad men depicts. We have not, however, resolved the problem of sexual harassment at work. There is a reason that all major companies require employees to participate in “workplace sensitivity” and other human resource trainings to prevent sexual harassment.

It does still happen, and more often then we may think. A great deal of sexual harassment cases are never discussed because the victim is afraid to come forward for fear that she will not be believed or that she may be fired, etc.

Both State and Federal law prohibits sexual harassment. Unlawful sexual harassment is often defined as: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, under any of the following conditions: (a) submission to the sexual conduct is made a condition of employment, either expressly or impliedly, (b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions (i.e. loss of a job promotion opportunity) affecting that individual, or (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or (d) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.