Rhode Island car accident attorney, David Slepkow, provides this detailed analysis of the personal injury claims process in Rhode Island. This article addresses RI injury law and case screening as well as pertinent issues that injury lawyers deal with on a day to day basis. If you covet a top dollar settlement for your motor vehicle injury claims, contact one of the best car accident attorneys in RI.
Finding the best car accident lawyer in RI
Case screening is perhaps one of the most important functions of a top Rhode Island personal injury attorney. The best personal injury lawyers in Rhode Island will be diligent in their initial client interviews. Some car accident attorneys will have the injured victim fill out a questionnaire.
Injury attorneys will ask all pertinent questions to their prospective injury client. The tort law attorney will seek to get as much information concerning the liability claim as possible.
The Rhode Island personal injury attorney will request the names and addresses of all eyewitnesses to the accident or crash. The lawyer will also want the names and addresses of all doctors, medical providers, surgeons, psychiatrists, chiropractors and physicians. The construction accident attorney or pedestrian accident lawyer will seek a very detailed description of the accident as well as the pain and suffering of the victim and medical treatment.
Knowing the injury law in Rhode Island
Rhode Island law has several key provisions that differ in many respect from other states. Here are some interesting components of Rhode Island law:
- Comparative negligence: “§ 9-20-4 Comparative negligence. – In all actions hereafter brought for personal injuries, or where personal injuries have resulted in death, or for injury to property, the fact that the person injured, or the owner of the property or person having control over the property, may not have been in the exercise of due care shall not bar a recovery, but damages shall be diminished by the finder of fact in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person injured, or the owner of the property or the person having control over the property.”
- Extra-contractual liability in Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Supreme Court determined that if an insurance company rejects a written demand, within the policy limits, and the injured victim is awarded a judgment for more than the policy limits, then the insurance company is liable to pay the entire judgment including interest! See also, Insurance Company refuses settlement
- RI wrongful death law pertaining to who receives the proceeds of a settlement or judgment as a result of a fatal car, truck or motorcycle accident: “…the amount recovered in every action under this chapter one-half (1/2) shall go to the husband or widow, and one-half (1/2) shall go to the children of the deceased, and if there are no children, the whole shall go to the husband or widow, and, if there is no husband or widow, to the next of kin, in the proportion provided by law in relation to the distribution of personal property left by persons dying intestate” RI General Law 10-7-2
Funding the Providence Superior Court cause of action
It is crucial that all injured victim’s select an auto crash lawyer in RI who can properly fund the auto litigation, truck crash claim or slip and fall/ premises liability cause of action. Be careful retaining a new lawyer a few days out of law school! Although these Providence injury attorneys have the same law degree as a seasoned, experience negligence solicitor, they often are too green to navigate the complex world of negligence litigation in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. This is not even accounting for the lack of resources to take the insurance company to the proverbial mat.
A personal injury case could cost thousand of dollars and perhaps tens of thousand of dollar to litigate successfully. You certainly do not want a new lawyer deciding to pay his electric and car payment over taking an essential deposition of key fact witness or an expert witness such as an accident re-constructionist.
Insurance coverage research is crucial
Many clients underestimate the importance of insurance coverage research and investigation. The injury lawyer in RI must investigate all applicable insurance coverage which may provide compensation for the injured victim as a result of the automobile, truck, bicycle or motorcycle collision. In some cases, coverage could be arguable depending on the interpretation of the insurance policy. There could be many coverage issues that the negligence lawyer must litigate in Providence Superior Court.
Investigate applicable uninsured motorist coverage
When there is an uninsured motorist or a hit and run scofflaw, the best injury lawyer must investigate applicable uninsured motorist coverage. Many motorists, in this day and age, only have the state mandated minimums. If the injured victim has medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages in excess of the policy limits of the tortfeasor than the Providence personal injury attorneys must consider the possibility of an uninsured motorist claim. A RI personal injury attorney who is also a Providence uninsured / under-insured motorist claims lawyer will help the victim pursue compensation against their own insurance carrier.
34,439 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States
“There were 34,439 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2016 in which 37,461 deaths occurred. This resulted in 11.6 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.16 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 4.0 in the District of Columbia to 23.1 in Mississippi. The death rate per 100 million miles traveled ranged from 0.66 in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island to 1.88 in South Carolina.” Insurance Institute for highway safety
Stacking insurance policies in RI
“Stacking” in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations means that a seriously injured car, premises or other vehicular accident injury victim can receive compensation from a combination of applicable insurance policies. In other words, if a negligent motor vehicle operator with 50k policy liability limit rear ends a pickup truck motorist and the pickup truck driver has 50k in medical bills as well as lost wages, traumatic brain injury and pain and suffering then the injured motorist can collect the $25,000 policy from the tortfeasor in addition to his own $100,000 under-insured motorist policy for a total of $125,000.
Stacking could also mean a person who owns multiple vehicle or is an insured on multiple vehicles adding together all applicable UM and UIM policies as the maximum recovery available.