Personal Injury Law in Rhode Island

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in Rhode Island? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in Rhode Island can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in Rhode Island relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Rhode Island

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in Rhode Island 

Falls are frequently recorded as the most common injury-causing incident. A Rhode Island Injury Prevention Report cites 48,392 emergency department visits and 3,607 hospitalizations due to unintentional fall injuries in the state from 2011-2015. Individuals ages 65 and over appear disproportionately higher in these figures compared to younger individuals. Rhode Island motor vehicle crash injury rates tend to be less than the national average, and accounted for about 10 percent of total state emergency room visits and hospitalizations from 2008-2010.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Rhode Island

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in Rhode Island

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

The filing fee in Rhode Island is relatively expensive at $402, one of the highest in the country. If you can show inability to pay, however, a magistrate judge may grant you exemption from this fee. This is referred to as “in Forma Pauperis” (IFP), literally “in the form of a pauper” in latin.

Rhode Island Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

While no settlement amount can be guaranteed, an experienced legal team will help craft a settlement amount that reflects the circumstances of your injuries. The average annual cost of Rhode Island hospitalizations for unintentional injuries such as poisonings, falls, and motor vehicle crashes alone is over $100 million according to the state’s Department of Health. Adding the cost of long term medical treatment combined with physical, mental, and emotional drawbacks often justifies a settlement amount far larger than the cost of initial medical treatment.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court. In order to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in RI, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in Rhode Island

If your Rhode Island personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rarely awarded and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific. 

Unlike other states, Rhode Island does not have damage caps for medical malpractice cases. Though in cases involving wrongful death, punitive damages can not be recovered.

Statute of Limitations in Rhode Island Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

Generally, if you were to file a case four years after sustaining an injury, your right to file would not be protected and likely denied by the court. This is because typically only have three years after the discovery of your injury to take action in Rhode Island.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced Rhode Island Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in Rhode Island against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across Rhode Island state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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