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Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney | RI Fatal Accident Lawyer

Tractor Trailer / 18 Wheeler and Semi-Truck Accidents in Rhode Island

RI wrongful death lawyer

Only a select few RI Personal Injury Lawyers have experience litigating wrongful death cases in RI. Therefore, finding one of the best wrongful death lawyers in providence* can be difficult. However, the loved ones of the person who died in the accident must find an experienced and competent Providence RI Wrongful Death Attorney. A  Rhode Island wrongful death attorney will help you get the compensation you are entitled to and thejustice you deserve.

A fatal accident case in RI is never just a wrongful death case.The fatality may have been caused by an accident or type of negligence such as a car crash, vehicular collision, motorcycle accident, van collision, pedestrian mishap, medical malpractice or fatal bus wreck. Therefore it is crucial that the Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney you retain  have both experience in litigating tragic deadly accident cases and experience handling the particular type of accident or negligence that you are seeking representation.  I have set forth the basics of fatality claims pursuant to Rhode Island law below:

The basics of tragic RI Wrongful Death Claims

wrongful death cases in Rhode Island cannot be pursued directly by the spouse (husband or wife) or children of the deceased. Instead of the next of kin or widow of the deceased filing a lawsuit to seek damages as a result of a tragedy, the fatal truck, motorcycle or car accident claim must be pursued by the executor or administrator of the estate of the person who died in the crash. The proceeds of the automobile death claim will be distributed by the executor to the statutory beneficiaries of the estate but will not be an asset of the estate. (Editor’s note: usually the executor of the person who was killed must retain a RI personal injury attorney with experience in wrongful death litigation.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE10/10-7/10-7-2.HTM

Who is entitled to be compensated in Rhode Island from funds received as a result of a Wrongful Death Trucking or Auto accident claim?

“(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;”  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE10/10-7/10-7-2.HTM

There is a three year Statute of Limitations for death by Wrongful Act in Rhode Island. Normally, missing the applicable time period under a  SOL will be an absolute bar to any claim for damages as a result of a RI car accident. However, in extreme or unusual circumstances, this statute of limitations can be extended.

“With respect to any death caused by any wrongful act, neglect or default which is not known at the time of death, the action shall be commenced within three (3) years of the time that the wrongful act, neglect or default is discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have been discovered.” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE10/10-7/10-7-2.HTM

If a person or entity is found responsible for a wrongful death pursuant to RI General law 10-7 is there minimum compensation available from the negligent tortfeasor?

“Whenever any person or corporation is found liable under §§ 10-7-1 – 10-7-4 he or she or it shall be liable in damages in the sum of not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000).”  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE10/10-7/10-7-2.HTM This law makes a lot of common sense since it would be a slap in the face to the victim’s child or widow to learn that a jury did not value the deceased life at least two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Are Punitive damages a possibility as a result of a wrongful death? If yes, what types of deadly crashes warrant an award of punitive damages?   “§ 10-7-7.1   Punitive damages.

In an action commenced under § 10-7-5, recovery may be had for punitive damages if such damages would have been recoverable had the decedent survived” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/title10/10-7/10-7-7.1.HTM

Punitive damages law in RI | Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney

Pursuant to RI law, the Plaintiff must jump through a number of hoops in order to be awarded punitive damages. The following types of cases  may warrant an award of punitive damages: drunk or drugged driving, assault, reckless conduct, drowsy driving, firing a gun, sexual assault, drag racing, car stunts etc.

In order for a defendant to be liable for punitive damages in RI, The Plaintiff must establish “that the defendant acted willfully and with malice or in bad faith. Izep v. Winoker, 589 A.2d 824 (R.I. 1991); Morin v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., 478 A.2d 964, 967 (R.I. 1984). To establish a claim for punitive damages, the plaintiff must allege and prove that the defendant acted with the intent to cause harm. Wilson Auto Enterprises, Inc. v. Mobil Oil Corp., 778 F. Supp. 101, 107 (D.R.I. 1991). The courts have characterized punitive damages as an extraordinary sanction which should be awarded with great caution and within narrow limits.” D’Amato v. Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank, 772 F. Supp. 1322, 1324 (D.R.I. 1991).  Quot from :CAROL A. LESSARD : : VS. : C.A. No. KC 10-0369 : KENT COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL : AND RAYMOND J. MIS, D.O.,

Can Punitive Punitive Damages be covered by Insurance in Rhode Island?

According to the Insurance Journal: “There is no statute on this subject in Rhode Island but this issue has been addressed by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Superintendent Torti said. In evaluating a claim for recovery of punitive damages from an insurer, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has acknowledged in the case of Allen v. Simmons, 522 A.2d 541 (R.I. 1987) a split between jurisdictions but concluded that the sounder approach bars the wrongdoer from shifting the punitive damages to the insurer, Superintendent Torti said.”

Here is a nice Multi State overview of the Insurability of Punitive damages:  https://www.travelers.com/business-insurance/specialized-industries/excess-casualty/docs/punitivedamages.pdf

If your loved one was killed as a result of the negligence of a third party, corporation then it is crucial that you immediately retain a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Lawyer to get proper legal representation. The attorney may need to open an estate for the deceased person and pursue wrongful death litigation in Providence Superior Court.

Some of the more common wrongful death causes of action are set forth below:

Tractor Trailer / 18 Wheeler and Semi-Truck Accidents

Sadly, many big rig accidents with cars and pedestrians in Rhode Island are fatal. According to legalinfo.com “A trucking accident occurs when large trailers (10,000+ lbs.) collide with other vehicles or pedestrians. Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision.” http://www.legalinfo.com/content/truck-accidents/truck-accident-statistics.html

IN Tom v. SB INC., Dist. Court, D. New Mexico 2013 The New Mexico Court issued an important Trucking crash expert testimony decision.  The Court state: “Mr. Feder may present his opinion of the sequence of events leading up to the accident based upon a scenario where the decedent stopped beyond the stop sign. He may further testify about the possibility that the decedent stopped his vehicle while he was attempting to make a left-hand turn across Mr. Ruff’s lane, and about the impact of that decision on Mr. Ruff’s potential recourses of turning right or maintaining his lane. Mr. Feder may not, however, testify that veering left was the only “reasonable” evasive maneuver. Assuming its relevance, he may give an opinion that, based upon pertinent studies, veering left was a natural reaction in this circumstance.”

Medical Malpractice/ Surgical Malpractice

“Although most of those claims are dropped or dismissed, the new survey from the AMA shows that most physicians will be sued for malpractice at some point in their careers. This works out to an average of 95 medical malpractice lawsuits having been filed for every 100 physicians now in practice, according to the association.”  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HealthCare/malpractice-lawsuits-doctors-common-ama/story?id=1133214

Fatal Construction related Accidents

There are hundreds of types of construction related injury and death claims that occur in Rhode Island. These Rhode Island Construction Accidents range from crane accidents to slip and falls. Some of the most common types of construction accidents and death causes of action result from scaffold accidents, falls, crane accidents, front loader accidents, backhoe mishaps, ladder accidents, electrocution, falls and being struck by falling objects.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health administration (OSHA), “Out of 3,945* worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2012, 775 or 19.6% were in construction. The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for nearly three out of five (56%) construction worker deaths in 2012*, BLS reports. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 435 workers’ lives in America every year”.  https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

If you were injured in a construction accident in Rhode Island then it is crucial that you immediately retain a RI Construction accident Lawyer who is also a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney.

Motor Vehicle & Car / Automobile Crashes

Car accidents, bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents in Rhode Island are often caused by speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy/sleepy driving, reckless driving and violating vehicular road ordinances. There are hundreds of different types of vehicular accidents including your standard rear-ender and T-bone accidents at intersections. In this day and age, there are hundreds of auto accidents caused by distracted driving and texting while driving. If you are injured in a car accident in RI then you should immediately contact a Rhode Island car accident Attorney.

Multi-car accidents can be caused by icy or slippery roads in which one car is unable to stop as a result of the road conditions leading to a chain reaction of rear-enders.

Drunk Driving, Reckless Driving,  Stoned & Drugged Driving Death Resulting

Driving while Intoxicated (DUI & DWI) is a major cause of car accident fatalities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. “In 2010 Rhode Island had 64 fatal car crashes, which resulted in 66 fatalities, 38% of which involved a drunk driver. The total traffic-related fatality rate for Rhode Island was 6.27 fatalities per 100,000 people which was very low for 2010.” http://vehicle-fatalities.findthedata.org/l/40/Rhode-Island

Motorcycle and Bike Accidents | Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney

According to the center for Disease Control (CDC) “In 2008, motor vehicle crash-related deaths involving cars and light trucks reached an all-time low in the United States. At the same time, however, motorcyclist deaths reached an all-time high, more than doubling between 1999 and 2008.A recent CDC study found that “Between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and an estimated 1,222,000 persons were treated in a U.S. emergency department (ED) for a non-fatal motorcycle-related injury.” http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsmotorcyclesafety/index.html

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Bicycle Accidents:

In 2011, 677 pedal cyclists were killed and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedal cyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities (Table 1), and made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.For the purpose of this Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, bicyclists and other cyclists include riders of two-wheel nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals. Throughout the remainder of this fact sheet the term pedal cyclist will be used to identify these cyclists.” http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811743.pdf

Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accident:

According to the CDC, “In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, and another 70,000 pedestrians were injured. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 2 hours, and a pedestrian injury every 8 minutes.1 Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.2 ” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_Safety/index.html

“Pedestrians—people who travel by foot, wheelchair, stroller, or similar means—are among the most vulnerable users of the road.In the next 24 hours, on average, more than 460 people will be treated in an emergency department for traffic-related pedestrian injuries.1 In the next 2 hours, on average, one pedestrian will die from injuries in a traffic crash.2More than 4,200 pedestrians were killed in traffic deaths in 2010, and another 70,000 were injured.2 With numbers like these, it’s critical that you understand the risks and learn how to stay safe.” http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PedestrianSafety/

Distracted Driving | Texting while driving

There are hundreds of different types of distracted driving and one of the most dangerous appears to be texting while driving. Other types of distracted driving in Rhode Island include manipulating a gps, web surfing, cell/ mobile phone operation, eating while driving, watching a video while driving and many other types of distracted driving http://rhodeislandlawyer.wordpress.com/

Bus Accident | Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney

“Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2012 were reported as distraction-affected crashes. In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and an estimated additional 421,000 injured” http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812012.pdf

Boat Accidents- Sailboats and Motorboat accidents 

“What are the causes of Boating accidents in Rhode Island? -Motorboats, sailboats, jet skis or other watercraft colliding with other boats.-Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Boat Accidents.-Reckless Boat Driving, Drunk Driving (DUI) and inexperienced boat operators.”  http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2012/05/rhode-island-boat-accident-lawyer-ri-boat-accident-attorneys/

 Slip and fall and premises Liability Deaths in Rhode Island.

Premises Liability accidents are one of the most common types of accidents resulting in death. Premises Liability also includes construction accidents, negligent security, trip and fall as well as slip and fall mishaps.

The Providence Superior Court reasoned that: “Premises liability” is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary 1199 (7th ed. 1999) as “[a]landowner’s or landowner’s tort liability for conditions or activities on the premises.” Premises liability law in Rhode Island “imposes an affirmative duty upon owners and possessors of property: ‘to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises . . . includ[ing] and 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 Ass’n, Inc., 5820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I. 2003) (quoting Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744,752 (R.I. 2000))” FARAH PAUL : : VS. : C.A. NO. PC 06-0287 : STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND :PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS, alias http://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SuperiorCourt/DecisionsOrders/06-0287.pdf

 Work related Wrongful Death accidents in Rhode Island

If a person is killed while working, their estate they will be required to seek wrongful death damages against the employer in RI workers compensation Court.  In Workers Compensation court in Rhode Island, negligence is not required for the estate to be compensated for the death of an employee while in the scope of employment. However, the deceased employee can still bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Superior Court against third parties who were at fault for an accident even if an employee was in the scope of their employment.

If your loved one was killed while working then you should retain a RI workers compensation attorney.

Pursuant to RI Law 10-7-1 a wrongful death cause of action is a viable claim in Rhode Island Courts.

§ 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.

A RI wrongful death cause of action could also be a medical malpractice, product liability or motor vehicle claim. If a loved one was killed in an accident then you should immediately retain a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney. A Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney will fight to get your family justice and top dollar compensation.

Providence includes the general area and specifically East providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, Warwick, Barrington, Bristol, Warren, Johnston, East Greenwich, North providence.

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