Recovering Damages From a Wrongful Death

There are many reasons that a personal representative may want to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one has suffered a fatal injury. Some reasons are:


Holding the negligent party liable can help prevent a similar incident from happening in the future and give you and family members closure.


Losing a loved one can come with a financial burden. There may be expenses associated with the death that are now your responsibility. A wrongful death claim can help you recover damages and ease the burden of costs associated with the loss.

To determine a fair settlement amount for the case, there are different factors that will be considered. Under Rhode Island law, a wrongful death claim has a minimum recovery of $250,000, but damages can often be awarded in amounts over $250,000. Some damages that may be compensated for in a wrongful death claim are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of future wages and income earnings, taking into account the amount of money that the deceased would have earned during their lifetime
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased at the time of their death and the impact the death has on the living family members
  • Loss of companionship and care
  • Property damage
  • Punitive damages

To determine who is liable in the case, you will need to prove that the accident that led to the death of your family member could have been prevented, and the responsible party failed to protect your loved one by taking appropriate actions. A wrongful death can be the result of the following:

  • Automobile accident
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accident
  • Negligence at a daycare center or nursing home
  • Slip and fall

In addition, wrongful death claims can be filed against an individual, company, government agency, hospital, employer, or even sports organizations.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you want to file a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one, speak to an experienced attorney to determine if you have a case. When choosing an attorney, look for someone who has experience in personal injury cases, specifically in wrongful deaths. An attorney can help with your case by:

  • Building a strong case against the liable party by investigating and gathering necessary evidence such as photos of the scene, medical and autopsy reports, testimony from witnesses, and the death certificate that shows the cause and manner of death 
  • Determining what the case is worth and if you have a right to bring forth a claim as a personal representative
  • Handling all negotiations between parties and insurance companies
  • Filing paperwork and adhering to deadlines as required by the state
  • Representing you at trial if a settlement cannot be reached
  • Protecting your interests and rights in the case

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Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.