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Key Provisions in RI Wrongful Death Law by a Rhode Island Attorney

Below you will find the key facets of RI Wrongful Death Law. This article was authored by East Providence Attorney David Slepkow 401-437-1100. If your loved one or a family member was a victim of a fatal automobile accident, truck crash, pedestrian accident, slip and fall or fatal collison then contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / RI Wrongful Death Attorney.

RI wrongful death law | RI Wrongful Death Attorney

How are wrongful death  pecuniary damages determined under RI Law? Determine the gross income over the decedents life expectancy and bring the amount to present value minus personal expenses the decedent would have spent on himself. If the person who was killed in the accident was a homemaker then the beneficiary may collect the fair value of the homemakers service. § 10-7-1.1  Pecuniary damages – How determined.

Who may recover for loss of consortium as a result of a fatal car, truck, motorcycle or other deadly crash in RI?

The decedent’s spouse is entitled to recover damages as a result of a fatal Rhode Island truck crash or deadly providence bicycle or  premises liability accident causing a person to be killed. “…minors may recover damages against the person for the loss of parental society and companionship….the parent or parents of the minor may recover damages against the person for the loss of the minor’s society and companionship.”

What is the Wrongful death law in RI which makes a deadly crash claims actionable ?

§ 10-7-1  Liability for damages for causing death. – Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the person who, or the corporation which, would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to a felony.  § 10-7-1  Liability for damages for causing death. –

Who may pursue a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Cause of action using a RI Personal injury Attorney as a result of a fatal Rhode Island car accident or other  deadly negligence cause of action?

The executor or administrator of an estate may bring a cause of action on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate. A spouse, brother, sister, sibling, aunt , uncle, cousin, son, daughter or child may not bring a direct action in Providence Superior Court as a result of a fatal car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian or construction accident.

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How are damages split between the beneficiaries of the estate in a RI wrongful death lawsuit as a result of a result of a motor vehicle accident?

“…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…” 

What is the statute of Limitations for a wrongful death in RI?

The case must be filed within three years of the accident. However do not wait too long before you retain a Providence Personal Injury Lawyer 

Are wrongful death cases an asset of the estate of the deceased person?

No.  Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 10-7-10 damages go to the beneficiaries and are not assets of the estate. Therefore they are no able to be revored by the creditors of the estate.

Are Punitive damages possible in a wrongful death case?

Yes. Punitive damages are more likely to be awarded in the following types of  cases involving reckless conduct such as:

  • fatal drunk driving crash
  • sleepy or drowsy driving accident
  • texting and driving,
  • distracted driving,
  • web surfing and driving,
  • cell phone use and driving,
  •  reckless driving,
  • excessive speeding,
  • drag racing,
  • driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
  • criminal
  • reckless conduct.

What types of accidents most often are fatal in Rhode Island?

  • Trucking accidents (Big Rig, Tractor Trailer, 18 wheeler,  Semi Truck)
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Motorcycle and Bike accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents


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