The aftermath of a serious car accident can be catastrophic. While Rhode Island’s at-fault insurance system affords accident victims the right to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance carrier, obtaining compensation can present unexpected challenges.
The Elements of a Rhode Island Car Accident Claim
Even if you believe you have an open-and-shut personal injury claim, insurance companies don’t want to provide adequate compensation. If an accident victim has suffered substantial hardship, they may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain damages. To prove your case, you’ll have to demonstrate the following:
The other driver was negligent
Every Rhode Island driver has a legal duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner. When they violate this duty by driving negligently, they could be held liable for the costs of any resulting accident.
The other driver’s negligence caused your accident
You may only claim damages if the other driver’s negligence caused or contributed to your accident.
You sustained damages
You can only obtain compensation if you suffered actual injuries or losses because of the accident.
Rhode Island does not currently cap the damages that a car accident victim can obtain through a personal injury lawsuit. However, claims can be compromised by the Plantation State’s comparative negligence doctrine.
Comparative Negligence in Rhode Island Car Crashes
Rhode Island uses a comparative negligence rule when assessing car accident claims. Under this rule, the judge or the jury is entitled to apportion a percentage of fault to either of the involved drivers.
According to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 9-20-4, drivers can still obtain damages, even if their own misconduct contributed to the accident. However, if the victim is found partially responsible, their award will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Critical Evidence in Rhode Island Accident Claims
The success of an accident claim or personal injury lawsuit could be contingent on the actions you take after the accident. These important steps can help protect your right to fair compensation. Protect your legal rights by:
Rhode Island law requires that drivers report any accident that results in bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage.
Seeking immediate medical attention
You should always seek medical attention after an accident, even if you do not believe you have been seriously injured. A physician could help you identify, diagnose, and treat injuries that may not be immediately apparent.
Evidence could include photographs of your car, visible injuries, or the dangerous condition that caused your accident.
Speaking to eyewitnesses
Eyewitness testimony can be very important in a personal injury claim. If a bystander saw your accident, ask them for their full name, phone number, and other contact information.
Rhode Island Automobile Accident Damages
Depending on the circumstances of your Rhode Island car caccident, you could be entitled to damages for your past, present, and future medical expenses. However, there are other damages you may be compensated for, including:
- Physical rehabilitation
- Reconstructive surgery
- Lost income from work
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Because calculating damages can be difficult, obtain legal representation from a Warwick-area car crash attorney who can help you review your medical records and assess your future needs.
Rhode Island does not limit the damages available to most personal injury plaintiffs. However, the Plantation State has a strict statute of limitations applicable to all car crash claims. If you wait too long to file, the court could dismiss your case automatically, depriving you of your opportunity to obtain the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.