The Answers You Need for the Questions You’re Forced to Ask

One of the worst aspects of pursuing a case—whether you’re fighting for injury compensation or trying to settle a divorce—is not knowing what to expect. Before you get yourself knee deep in the details of your case allow us to answer some of your questions first. We’ll help you be more fully prepared and more confident as you move forward.

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  • Can I get workers’ comp for a pre-existing condition that was aggravated at work?

    It is not uncommon for a worker with a pre-existing injury to be reinjured due to an incident on the job. When this happens, Rhode Island laws allow employees to collect workers’ compensation for a pre-existing injury that has been accelerated or aggravated by workplace conditions. However, these claims tend to be more complicated than others because it may be difficult to separate the previous condition from the current injury. Workers' comp for a pre-existing condition

    Pre-Existing Injuries That May Qualify for Workers’ Comp

    Insurance companies that provide workers’ compensation benefits will not want to cover an injury if the employer is not liable. For this reason, the insurer may deny coverage if there is more than one cause of injury, forcing the employee to prove that an injury is work-related in order to receive benefits.

    Rhode Island workers’ compensation laws allow employees to recover benefits for prior injuries in the following cases:

    • An aggravated injury to an impaired part of the body. If you previously suffered a back injury, ankle sprain, broken bone, or other injury before employment, workers’ compensation will not cover treatment for that injury. However, if the injury was made worse as a result your current employment, you may be able to collect benefits to treat the aggravation.
    • A re-injury. If you injured a part of your body and collected benefits for that injury through your current employer and then re-injure the same part of your body, the second injury is still covered by workers’ compensation. You should be covered for the full amount of your new medical costs, but your previous awards may be used when calculating the financial amount you receive.
    • Illnesses and diseases. Some employees are more at risk of certain illnesses from environmental hazards such as employees with severe allergies. Employees may have a claim for workers’ compensation if workplace hazards caused a flare-up of symptoms or made the extent of the condition worse.

    If you are unable to work because of an injury on the job, the attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can examine the details of your case, answer your questions, and help you through your next steps. To speak with a member of our team, simply fill out the online contact form on this page, or give us a call.

     

  • How much does a truck accident lawyer cost?

    Victims of semi-truck accidents are often hesitant to hire an attorney, assuming that any damages they receive will be lost to the law firm’s legal fees. However, personal injury attorneys who represent truck crash clients typically offer no-win, no-fee guarantees, also known as a contingency arrangement. This allows clients to get the help they need without paying legal expenses up front, and they don’t pay if the lawyer doesn’t win. You can afford a truck accident attorney

    Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer on a Contingency Basis

    Our attorneys believe that victims should not be forced to bear the burden of an accident that was not their fault simply because they cannot afford a lawyer. That is why we do not charge hourly rates to work on personal injury cases. We do not charge for our services until your case is resolved—and if you don't win or settle the case, you will not owe us any fees for representing you.

    Our injury attorneys can work with you to make your legal fees affordable by offering:

    • Free consultations. Our lawyers always begin truck accident cases with a free initial consultation, for a number of reasons. First, it gives clients an opportunity to get their questions answered without taking on additional costs. Second, we are able to evaluate the facts to identify any potential problems before we agree to take the case. Third, it gives both parties a chance to see if they can work together.
    • Advancing court costs. A legal claim may require filing fees, investigations, outside expert testimony, securing medical records and police reports, and other expenses. Our attorneys understand that injury victims may not have the resources to pay for the ongoing costs of a case, so we pay for all court-related costs up front and are reimbursed when your case is over.
    • Fees paid after recovery. If your case is successful, our law firm is paid with a portion of your total award or settlement.

    The attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you get payment for your medical bills and lost income after an accident. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

     

  • Do I need a lawyer to handle my truck accident case?

    If you are injured in a crash with a semi-truck, you will most likely be contacted by a representative from the trucking company’s insurance company. The insurance agent may sound apologetic and helpful, encouraging you to accept a quick settlement check. However, once you accept payment, you cannot ask for any more compensation—and you are likely to be underpaid for your suffering without an attorney at your side. Hiring a truck accident attorney

    The Value of Speaking to an Attorney After a Truck Accident

    It’s important to avoid a fast settlement because it’s often difficult to tell the extent of your injuries immediately after a crash. How you feel in the days following may be vastly different from how you will feel in a month, and your injuries may not be fully healed a year after the accident. You should never settle your case until you know the full extent of your injuries.

    There are many ways an attorney can benefit your truck accident case even before a lawsuit is filed. An attorney can: 

    • Determine whether a settlement is fair. Victims typically have no experience negotiating accident compensation, but insurers have years of experience devaluing claims. An offer that seems fair to you could actually be far less than what you are entitled to. A truck accident attorney has familiarity with the types of injuries a wreck can cause, as well as the types of treatment you may need and the future income you may lose due to a disability.
    • Prevent you from making simple mistakes. An insurance adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement or sign a medical records release in order to proceed with your claim. Many victims assume this is a necessary formality and don’t realize how these may be used as evidence against them. We can ensure that the trucking company has only the information it needs to process the claim, protecting your privacy and your injury case.
    • Protect your whole recovery. Rhode Island operates under a pure comparative fault system, meaning your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of your liability. If the trucking company can prove that you were partly to blame for the crash, its insurance company can pay much less in damages. Our legal team can ensure that the trucking company does not unfairly influence the determination of liability, allowing you to recover the full amount of your damages.

    The attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you get payment for your medical bills and lost income after an accident, and we do not charge for our services until your case is resolved. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

     

  • Does Rhode Island have laws to prevent drugged driving?

    It is illegal in every state to drive while under the influence of a mind-altering substance, but Rhode Island has specific statutes prohibiting drugged driving. While state law prohibits drivers from using any controlled substance, instances of drugged driving continue to rise nationwide. Driving on drugs

    Drugs and Impaired Driving

    A survey published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2015 found that over 22% of drivers stopped by police on weekends tested positive for some type of drug, compared to just 8.3% of drivers who tested positive for alcohol.

    It’s not only illegal drugs that have the ability to impair drivers. Many different types of drugs can alter a driver’s competence behind the wheel. Here is important information about driving while using any type of drug:

    • Illegal narcotics. Methamphetamines, cocaine, and other stimulants can cause drivers to become aggressive or reckless, while opioids and tranquilizers can cause such extreme drowsiness that a driver may fall asleep behind the wheel.
    • Marijuana. If an officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence of marijuana, the officer can compel the driver to provide a blood or urine sample for lab testing. If the chemical test reveals any detectable level of marijuana, the driver will be subject to a marijuana DUI and face a $500 fine, driver’s license suspension for up to 18 months, 20 to 60 hours of community service, and up to one year of jail time.
    • Prescription medications. Drugs prescribed to treat pain, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, insomnia, diabetes, heart problems, and other conditions can have a variety of side effects that may impact the ability to drive.
    • Over-the-counter drugs. People often continue to work with head colds or allergies that they are treating with over-the-counter remedies. However, many of these medications can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, or cognitive problems.

    If you were in an accident with a drugged driver, the attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you get payment for your medical bills and lost income—and we do not charge for our services until your case is resolved. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

     

  • What are the residency requirements when filing for divorce in RI?

    Many people believe they must file for divorce in the state where they were married. While this is not true, there are location and time requirements that apply to every couple filing for divorce. If these requirements are not met, the divorce case may be dismissed. RI residency requirements for divorce

    RI Residency Requirements for Divorcing Spouses

    Under Rhode Island law, no complaint for divorce will be granted unless the petitioner has lived in Rhode Island for a period of one year before filing. After residency is established, the divorce must be filed in the county in which the filing petitioner resides.

    If you have not lived in Rhode Island for at least one year, you have a few options:

    • Have your spouse file. If you are on good terms with your spouse and your spouse has been living in Rhode Island longer than you have, he may meet the necessary residency requirements and can file the paperwork instead.
    • File in another state. Each state creates its own period of residency for divorce proceedings. If you and your spouse have recently moved from a different state, you may qualify for divorce under that state’s laws.
    • Wait. If neither you nor your spouse have lived in Rhode Island for at least one year and do not qualify for divorce in another state, you will have to wait until residency has been established before a complaint can be filed. However, you may begin the process of filling out your documents and paperwork while you are waiting through a period of residency.

    At Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum, we take each family law case seriously and work hard to achieve each client's goals. We understand that a fair divorce settlement includes sufficient resources and time with your children, and our attorneys can advise you on your next steps and help you make choices that can protect your future. Please get in touch with our legal team today via our online contact form.

     

  • What happens to my workers’ comp benefits if my insurance provider goes bankrupt?

    Although most injured employees eventually return to work, the workers’ compensation system provides benefits that could potentially last for the rest of an employee’s life. If your benefits suddenly stop because the insurance company is no longer in business, you still have options. Talking with a workers’ compensation attorney about those options is beneficial for continuing compensation. Workers' comp when the insurer goes bankrupt

    Collecting Workers’ Comp After an Insurer Goes Bankrupt

    Employees who are receiving permanent partial disability benefits can be forced into serious physical and financial difficulties if an insurer can no longer provide benefits. If your workers' compensation benefits have been suspended due to bankruptcy, you can seek payment through:

    • A new insurance provider. According to the law, it is your employer’s responsibility to secure workers’ compensation insurance. If your old insurer has gone out of business, it is the employer’s duty to secure a new policy or self-insure, meaning the company itself would be liable for your injury payments.
    • Your employer. If your employer has allowed insurance to lapse and has not secured a new policy, employees can sue the employer directly to recover the costs of an injury. If the employer and insurer have both filed for bankruptcy, employees can seek compensation from the Uninsured Protection Fund.
    • The Uninsured Protection Fund. In March, Rhode Island lawmakers passed an amendment to the Rhode Island Uninsured Protection Fund (UPF) guaranteeing injury payments for employees of uninsured employers. The fund provides payment for disability (incapacity) and reimburses the employee for any court costs needed to pursue the case. However, the UPF does not pay for past or future medical expenses, loss of function, or disfigurement.

    The attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can answer your questions and help you through the claims process at no cost to you. To speak with a member of our team, simply fill out the online contact form on this page, or give us a call.

     

  • Who is responsible for a slip and fall on a sidewalk?

    Every year, Rhode Island residents suffer bone fractures and head injuries due to defects in sidewalks. While these injuries can be caused by loose gravel, cracked or irregular pavement, or an icy surface, they all have one thing in common: they were preventable. In most cases, the person who could have prevented the injury will be the liable party in an injury claim. Liability for slip and falls

    Parties Who May Be Liable for a Sidewalk Slip and Fall

    One of the most important concerns in a slip and fall case is the portion of the victim’s own negligence. Under Rhode Island’s comparative fault law, an injured person may be up to 99 percent at fault for an accident and still obtain damages. The damages will be reduced according to the percentage of fault, significantly affecting the amount of possible compensation.

    Your attorney can examine the facts of the case to identify whether the responsible party is a:

    • Business owner. Business owners owe a high standard of care to customers and others who are lawfully visiting the property. Part of this duty is ensuring all walkways are safe for use. If a hazard is discovered, a warning must be posted immediately, and repairs must be undertaken promptly.
    • Property owner. Many people mistakenly assume that cities are always liable for injuries on uneven sidewalks. However, homeowners and owners of non-commercial properties do have some responsibility for maintaining their sidewalks, driveways, and walkways.
    • Government entity. If the sidewalk was broken or damaged by a water main break, roots from a city-owned tree rising above the concrete, road construction, or street subsidence, a city government may be liable for damages.
    • Maintenance company. Businesses and municipalities may rely on third-party contractors to perform groundskeeping and maintenance. If these companies do not remove hazards within a reasonable period of time or fail to complete repairs properly, they may be held responsible for injuries.

    The attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you get payment for your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses after an injury—and we do not charge for our services until your case is resolved. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

     

  • Am I owed compensation if I was injured in my parked car?

    Most people assume that an accident claim involving a parked car should be easier than one involving two moving cars—simply because the owner of the parked car shouldn’t be held responsible. However, these kinds of accidents often involve liability issues, especially if the car was parked illegally. If you were injured or sustained property damage while your car was parked, you will need to act quickly to protect your right to compensation. When you're injured in your parked car

    Steps to Take If You’re Injured in Your Parked Car

    If you are able to exit the vehicle safely, you should exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver and take a picture of the driver’s license plate. If there are any witnesses, write down their names, phone numbers, and what they said regarding the crash.

    After collecting names and numbers, you should take the following steps immediately:

    • Call the police. Even if you don’t believe you’ve sustained injuries in the crash, you should always call the police after an accident. Police officers can assess the damage, take contact information if you are unable to do so, and make an official report of the incident that you can refer to later.
    • Take pictures of the scene. Photos and videos of the accident scene allow you to get as much information as you can as quickly as possible. Use your smartphone to snap pictures of the damage and positioning of both cars, road conditions, and any other relevant factors. If there are surveillance cameras nearby, note their locations, so you can ask for additional video evidence.
    • File a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Rhode Island follows a fault-based system for car accident injuries, meaning the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for all injuries and damages for everyone involved in the crash. If the other driver’s insurer refuses to pay for some or all of your costs, you may need an attorney to help get compensation.
    • Contact your own insurance company. Rhode Island law requires all auto insurance providers to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. If you have purchased UM coverage, you have the potential to recover damages if the at-fault driver’s insurer refuses to pay, if the driver who struck you does not have enough insurance to cover the damage, or you were injured by a hit-and-run driver. If your insurance company is able to recover these costs from the at-fault insurance company, you may be able to argue against any rising premiums or deductible costs on your end.

    The attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you get payment for your medical bills and lost income after an accident, and we do not charge for our services until your case is resolved. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

     

  • How do I change my name after a divorce?

    Women undergoing divorce proceedings must choose whether to keep a former spouse’s last name or revert back to a maiden name. While it is up to each individual to choose the name she prefers, there are factors that can influence the decision, including the length of the marriage and whether or not there are children who share the former spouse’s surname. If you have decided to change your name, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the change permanent and legal. Changing your name after a divorce

    Going Through the Legal Name Change Process After a Divorce

    In Rhode Island, spouses can revert back to a former name as part of the divorce proceeding. It must be specifically stated in the divorce decree that you wish to change back to the name you held before marriage (the name stated on your birth certificate).

    Once you have obtained a copy of the divorce decree ordering your name change, you will need to update your:

    • Primary identification. The first step toward changing your name is to take the divorce decree and your birth certificate to your local Social Security (SS) office to obtain a new SS card. Once your SS card is updated, you may visit your local DMV office with your current RI driver’s license and proof of name change (your new SS card) and apply for a new license. Once a driver’s license in the new name has been issued, the license may be used as a primary ID to obtain a new passport.
    • Legal identification. You will need to update your name on any legal documents, including your will, deeds or trusts, and property titles. You should also update your name on your voter registration card if you plan to vote in any upcoming elections.
    • Address and account identification. It is your responsibility to update your legal name with the post office, your bank, and anywhere your name is used. You may need to submit a name change form to ensure that your taxes, car title and registration, bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts and 401K, investment accounts, mortgages, employment records, insurance policies, and medical records use your correct name. While you are changing your name on these accounts, you may want to change your beneficiary designations, so your ex-spouse does not inherit your assets if you want them to go to someone else.
    • Child’s identification. If you wish to change your children’s names along with your own, this will have to be done through the family court system. However, a minor name change petition will only be approved if both parents have given consent.

    Divorce forces people to make a lot of decisions in a short space of time, many of which will continue to affect them for years into the future. The legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you through this process. Please get in touch with us today via our online contact form.

     

  • How long do I have to be employed to be eligible for workers’ compensation?

    In Rhode Island, all workers who are classified as non-exempt employees are entitled to workers’ compensation medical and wage loss benefits. If you are covered under the law, you qualify for benefits even if you are injured on the first day of the job. However, if you’re employed under another worker classification, it may affect whether you are covered under Rhode Island Workers' Compensation laws. Workers' comp in Rhode Island

    Employees Exempt From Rhode Island Workers' Comp

    To qualify for Rhode Island workers’ compensation benefits, you don’t need to be employed for any specific length of time, be a United States citizen, or be properly documented to work in the U.S. However, you do have to qualify as a covered employee.

    Employees who may not be covered under workers’ compensation include:

    • Independent contractors or workers who are performing certain contracted tasks or do not meet the definition of an employee
    • Agriculture employees, including farmers, nursery operators, or farm laborers whose employers do not employ 25 or more farm laborers or agricultural employees for at least 13 consecutive weeks
    • Domestic service employees such as babysitters, housekeepers, or nannies
    • Any licensed real estate broker or salesperson whose payment is earned through a salary or commission (rather than payment for the number of hours worked)

    In some cases, covered employees may be told that they are exempt from workers’ compensation benefits when this is not the case. For example, large scale agricultural employees (who work for a person or company with 25 or more workers) who receive pay for growing or harvesting fruit and vegetable crops, working in orchards, harvesting lumber, participating in dairy farming, or raising livestock may be eligible for benefits. The best way to determine eligibility is to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

    If you have suffered a work injury, the legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help. Simply fill out the online contact form on this page, or call us to set up a consultation with us.