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Providence Personal Injury and Social Security Disability Law Blog

Alcohol a common factor in boating accidents

Spending time out on the water is a way of life for many Rhode Island residents, and doing so can be a great way to kick back, relax and escape from your day-to-day responsibilities. A laid-back excursion with friends and family can quickly turn deadly, however, if others out on the waterways fail to behave responsibly. At Karns Law Group, we understand that alcohol is frequently a factor in today’s boating accidents, and we have helped many people who suffered injury on the water because of someone else’s actions pursue appropriate recourse.

According to the American Boating Association, alcohol is a factor in more than 30 percent of today’s boating accidents, and the number of alcohol-involved boat accidents occurring in the nation each year is on the rise. However, despite playing a role in so many accidents, injuries and fatalities, the problem persists. Some believe that this may be due in part to the longstanding – and highly dangerous – notion that drinking and boating go together, a view sometimes glamorized by depictions of the “yachting” lifestyles of society’s upper echelon on TV and in the movies.

How seriously do drivers take safety?

Whether you routinely drive Rhode Island's busy streets during morning rush hour or on the weekends, the chances are high that you will witness a car accident - and maybe more than one - during a lifetime of travel. 

In 2017, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey to learn more about drivers' attitudes toward safety. What they found may surprise you: 

New law aims at curtailing distracted driving

Rhode Island readers know distracted driving is a significant problem in the state and across the country. More drivers than ever before have smartphones, and many of them use their phones to text, call and use social media while driving. In order to curtail the problem of distracted driving, state lawmakers have passed a new measure to reduce distracted driving.

With this new law, drivers can face consequences for simply having their phones in their hands. Law enforcement can pull a driver over for holding their phones up to their ears or in front of their faces. The purpose of this new law is to hopefully reduce the number of distracted driving accidents and the number of people injured by this reckless behavior.

The invisible danger in marinas and around your boat

The weather is perfect for a weekend trip to the lake, and you and your family are anxious to load up the boat and head out to the cabin. At the Karns Law Group, we want our fellow Rhode Island residents to have a fun and safe summer, and we realize that water safety is a serious issue during the warmer months.

You may have safety covered when it comes to teaching your kids to swim and never to get in a boat without a life jacket. However, you might not know about one hazard that the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association calls the invisible drowning risk. Water in marinas, lakes and near your boat can become electrified when current is leaking from a power source, which can pose a deadly hazard to you and your family members.

When domestic violence turns deadly - hidden risks for women

Domestic violence is a fairly common term, and Rhode Island news broadcasters often mention the dangers of abusive homes for spouses and children. Sometimes simple disagreements can escalate into violence quickly when those involved are especially tired, stressed or frustrated with life. 

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is doing its part to prevent abuse in homes, and one aspect of the strategy is publishing statistics. In 2016, the coalition provided numbers, stating that every year in Rhode Island, authorities in the state make more than 5,000 arrests related to domestic violence. 

Which conditions qualify for disability claims?

Your social security claim in Rhode Island might be denied outright if you do not have a qualifying condition. However, the definition may be less strict than you think when it comes to which impairments qualify for the disability programs offered through the Social Security Administration.

New medical conditions are constantly being investigated and discovered, so your impairment may not be on the official list. If this is the case, it is probably even more important that you supply as much evidence as possible. Evidence could include:

  • Medical imaging
  • Laboratory tests
  • Physician's appraisals
  • Complete medical history

Why is a subdural hematoma so dangerous?

Rhode Island car and boat accidents often lead to severe head injuries due to the massive forces involved in vehicle transport. Of these injuries, subdural hematoma is one of the most serious. If you or a loved one were to suffer such an injury, here are a few things you might want to know.

One important consideration is how difficult it is to diagnose brain injuries if you are not well trained in the medical specialty. Therefore, it is usually best not to assume any injury or lack thereof. In the event you should be in an accident, it would be advisable to give all medical professionals involved a full account of the events leading up to the injury. Furthermore, you should probably keep a complete record of any procedures or examinations involved in the process for future reference.

Spinal cord injuries require costly adjustment

Among the most frightening injuries to suffer is a spinal cord injury. From the first moments, such an injury can fill you will anxiety, uncertainty and fear of what your future may hold. Even if you do not suffer paralysis from a spinal cord injury, the damage can severely reduce your mobility and leave you with a lifetime of pain and struggle.

Whether your injury occurred as the result of a traffic accident, a slip-and-fall or a work-related injury, you likely have many questions and concerns as you move through the process of recovery toward whatever your new reality may look like.

Training a generation of safer boaters

Many Rhode Island residents spend a significant amount of their recreation time in or around the state's many waterways. This leads to rivers and bays that have a tendency to become congested, and therefore dangerous. Safety training is one of the most effective tools one might use to protect oneself and any fellow boaters from the risks posed by crowded water. 

The state now requires young people to obtain boating licenses. According to the Department of Environmental Management, everyone born in or after 1986 must complete an educational course on boating safety. Additionally, the DEM requires that all people take the courses if they intend to use jet skis or other qualifying personal watercraft, regardless of the rider's age. 

What is the true cost of a brain injury?

Courts in Rhode Island tend to take brain injuries and head trauma seriously, but sometimes even the heavy weight that courts assign to these issues do not serve the victims adequately. As you probably know, head injuries have some of the most lasting effects on victims.

One of the primary concerns facing a head injury victim is making sure that any compensation or damages the courts awarded are adequate for the intended treatments. For example, you might find a defendant offering an amount that is only adequate for stabilization while the prosecution would ask for enough money to give the victim a chance of a full recovery.

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