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Rhode Island Personal Injury and Accident Law- 2 of 4

Rhode Island Personal Injury and Accident LawThis post is part 2 of 4 of RI Injury Attorney, David Slepkow’s comprehensive guide to RI negligence law in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Also see, Part 1 of 4 – “Rhode Island Negligence, Personal Injury and Car Accident Laws”, Part3 of 4 ,  4 of 4

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Rhode Island

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice and surgical malpractice is three years in RI. In some very limited circumstances, the statute of limitations can be extended (tolled) for three years from the date a person knew or should have known of the negligence.

Physical Symptoms required to sustain Intentional or Negligent Infliction  of Emotional Distress cause of Action

“Rhode Island law clearly requires evidence of relevant, physical symptomatology, albeit under a relaxed standard to support an emotional injury claim. See id; see also Grieco ex rel. Doe v. Napolitano, 813 A.2d 994 (R.I. 2003) (physical manifestations must be sufficient to support an emotional injury claim).” PERROTTI v GONICBERG Providence Superior Court decision

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Distracted Driving Law | car accident

The  Traffic Tribunal sustained the Trial Judges decision that an alleged texting whiled driving motorist was reading a text message (SMS message) which is clearly prohibited by the texting while driving statute. The tribunal reasoned that “The legislature’s intent when drafting and enacting section 31-22-30 (b) was to prohibit inattentive driving caused by composing, reading, or sending text messages. SeePartington, 681 A.2d at 260.” Id.  STATE OF RHODE ISLAND v JASON KILSEY C.A. No. T13-0056 : 13001519371

“ (b) No person shall use a wireless handset to compose, read or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle on any public street or public highway within the state of Rhode Island.”

“ (8) “Wireless Handset” means a portable electronic or computing device, including cellular telephones and digital personal assistants (PDAs), capable of transmitting data in the form of a text message.”

“”Text Message”, also referred to as short messaging service (SMS) means the process by which users send, read, or receive messages on a wireless handset, including but not limited to, text messages, instant messages, electronic messages or e-mails, in order to communicate with any person or device.”

Duty to remove ice and snow in RI:

The RI Supreme Court sitting in Providence adopted the “Connecticut rule” when the Highest tribunal stated “…landlord or business invitor owes a duty to a tenant or business invitee to use reasonable care to see that the common areas are kept reasonably safe from the dangers created by an accumulation of snow and ice which is attributed to purely natural causes.”  BERARDIS v. LOUANGXAY et al 969 A.2d 1288 (2009) However, the Rhode Island Supreme  Court stated “The landlord or invitor, however, must be afforded a reasonable time after the storm has ceased to remove the accumulation. ”Id.

 Duties of Businesses to Customers and Invitees

The Supreme Court of Rhode Island located in providence set forth the applicable standard of care when the Highest Tribunal in RI Stated: that business owners  had a duty “to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises * * * includ[ing] an obligation to protect against the risks of a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.” Kurczy v. St. Joseph Veterans Association, Inc., 820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I.2003) (quoting Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744, 752 (R.I. 2000)); accord Mead v. Papa Razzi Restaurant, 840 A.2d 1103, 1107 (R.I.2004)…Although a business invitor is not a guarantor of the safety of those who might be expected on the property, a duty remains to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for prospective business invitees.” Terry v. Central Auto Radiators, Inc., 732 A.2d 713, 716(R.I.1999).

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 12 percent interest in RI

Under Rhode island law, the Court automatically adds 12 percent prejudgment interest on all negligence verdicts. This law essentially punishes insurance companies from delaying and denting legitimate injury claims.

§ 9-21-10 Interest in civil actions. – (a) In any civil action in which a verdict is rendered or a decision made for pecuniary damages, there shall be added by the clerk of the court to the amount of damages interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum thereon from the date the cause of action accrued, which shall be included in the judgment entered therein. Post-judgment interest shall be calculated at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum and accrue on both the principal amount of the judgment and the prejudgment interest entered therein. This section shall not apply until entry of judgment or to any contractual obligation where interest is already provided.

In Febuary 2014, Several lawmakers in Rhode island proposed a new law  to lower interest on prejudgment awards to six (6) percent.

###“ (e) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of eighty-five dollars ($85.00), or a license suspension for up to thirty (30) days, or both; for a second conviction shall be subject to a fine of one hundred dollars ($100), or a license suspension for up to three (3) months, or both; and for a third or subsequent conviction a person shall be subject to a fine of one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125), or a license suspension for up to six (6) months, or both. All violations arising out of this section shall be heard in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal”

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