Under Rhode Island’s fault-based insurance system, accident victims have a legal right to seek recovery from the person or party who caused their injuries. However, securing a fair settlement is not always easy. Even if you have what appears to be an open-and-shut case, the other driver’s insurance company could refuse to negotiate in good faith. That’s why it’s important to obtain legal representation for damages.
Deciding if You Need a Rhode Island Car Crash Lawyer
You do not need an attorney to file a personal injury claim in Rhode Island. However, trying to negotiate your own settlement with a car insurance company can often present huge challenges. While state law requires that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier compensate the victim for damages, insurance companies are still for-profit enterprises. Paying a significant settlement is rarely in the company’s best interests. Hiring an attorney is your best chance of receiving fair compensation.
Reasons You Might Need an Attorney
- If you were admitted to a hospital
- If you’ve lost income by being out of work
- The at-fault party is denying responsibility for the accident
- If you believe you may be out of work for a long time
- If you believe your injuries may require future surgeries
The Dangers of Negotiating Your Own Settlement
Since serious injuries often demand serious compensation, insurance companies may try to protect their profitability through negotiations. To ensure their continued profitability, insurance companies regularly try to devalue claimants’ compensation, so it’s important not to try to settle your claim on your own. A personal injury attorney knows how to fight the tactics insurance companies use to deny, devalue, and delay a claim.
Tactics Used by Insurance Companies
- Blame the accident on you, saying your own negligence caused or contributed to the crash
- Use your words against you, misconstruing an apology or explanation as an admission of guilt
- Argue over your damages, telling the court that your physician recommended “medically unnecessary” treatment
In a worst-case scenario, the insurance company could refuse to negotiate, ignoring your calls and hoping that you will eventually accept their lowball offer.
An Attorney Improves Your Chances of Obtaining Compensation
There are many ways an attorney can help you receive a fair car accident settlement or win a lawsuit if the case is taken to court. An attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support to help a car crash victim secure financial compensation. Here are some important ways an attorney can assist you.
Investigate the Accident
Even if you have evidence proving the other driver’s fault, you must still be prepared to establish the following elements of every personal injury claim:
- The other driver owed you a legal duty of care.
- The other driver breached their duty by acting negligently.
- The other driver’s negligence caused your injuries.
- Your injuries can be compensated.
Your attorney will help you prove these elements by starting an investigation of your crash and collecting the necessary evidence—evidence that shows the other driver was liable for the crash that caused you harm, emotional damage, and financial loss.
Assess Your Damages
Rhode Island courts typically award two types of damages in car crash claims: economic and non-economic. Your attorney understands each type and will evaluate your accident based on the evidence, your medical records, and legal precedent. These will be used to assess the totality of your damages to determine fair compensation for your injuries.
- Economic damages. Economic damages compensate tangible financial losses, such as medical expenses and physical rehabilitation fees.
- Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages compensate comparatively intangible losses, including disfigurement and emotional pain and suffering.
- Your existing medical expenses
- Your future care needs
- Physical rehabilitation
- Reconstructive surgery
- Lost income from work
- Lost vacation days or paid time off (PTO)
- Diminished earning potential
- Wrongful death
Advocate in Your Best Interests
Recovering from a serious Rhode Island car accident takes time. Collecting evidence, negotiating a settlement, and preparing to take a claim to court can be time-consuming and physically exhausting. A Rhode Island personal injury attorney can advocate on your behalf, letting you prioritize your recovery while we negotiate your recovery.
Have You Been Injured in a Rhode Island Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick, and all areas of Rhode Island.