Surviving statutorily allowed family members and/ or the spouse of a deceased individual can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit when their loved one has died through negligence caused by another. However, in Rhode Island, only the executor or administrator of an estate can file for wrongful death against a tortfeasor.
Rhode Island wrongful death attorney
The settlement or judgment as a result of the fatal car, truck, motorcycle or premises liability death is not an asset of the estate and is paid pursuant to RI law. Qualifying immediate family members can include spouses, parents and children of the deceased. A wrongful death cause of action could result from hundreds of different types of mishaps and accidents including, RI car accidents, truck crashes, slip and fall, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, bike collisions, bicycle accidents as well as product liability.
Elements of the wrongful death Case
To be successful at winning a wrongful death lawsuit in Rhode Island, the surviving family members through the RI wrongful death attorney representing the executor or administrator of the estate will need to prove certain elements. These include:
• The death of the loved one is the direct result of action or inaction by the defendant, in part or in whole.
• The death of the loved one can be directly correlated to the negligent action of the defendant.
Because the lawsuit is claiming negligence by the defendant or defendants in the case, negligence must be proven according to legal standards. A negligent action is defined as failing to use reasonable care for the situation. As an example, causing an accident while texting or talking on the phone can be deemed negligent. Additionally, surgeons making medical errors causing the patient’s death can be deemed negligent, according to the law.
Proving negligence is required to be successful in winning a wrongful death lawsuit in Rhode Island. The family members need to establish exactly how the defendant’s actions were careless or intentional. In addition in Rhode Island and Providence plantations, a direct link must be established between the death of the loved one and the negligence of the defendant.
Often times this is a complex process, and one that requires a comprehensive understanding of Rhode Island tort law to prove the case. A skilled Rhode Island wrongful death attorney will build the case based on strong evidence and testimony of expert witnesses to pull the elements of a basic RI wrongful death claim together.
Usually, wrongful death lawsuits in Rhode Island are filed as a way to recover damages, and hold those legally responsible accountable for their negligence. Often times, family members seek compensation for their grief, pain and suffering, along with recompense to cover a variety of expenses including:
• Immediate costs involved with the death including funeral, burial and medical bills
• Loss of the decedent’s future earnings and capacity to generate retirement income
• Loss of future benefits including medical coverage and pension
• Loss of care, companionship, consortium and protection
• General damages
• Pain, mental anguish and suffering endured by survivors
Wrongful death and punitive damages in RI
In some situations in Rhode Island, punitive damages are awarded to surviving members as a way to punish the defendant, in an effort to minimize the chance of repeating the negligence to others. Often times, punitive damages are handed down when the wrongdoing of the defendant was malicious, intentional, or indicated a total disregard for the sake or well-being of another.
Hiring a skilled RI personal injury attorney that specializes in Rhode Island wrongful death is surest way to find out when the family members have a claim worth pursuing. Most Rhode Island wrongful death lawyers and Providence car accident attorneys offer a free initial consultation and work on contingency. This means no upfront fees will be required, and payment will be taken from the proceeds awarded at trial, or from an out-of-court settlement.
Fatal motor vehicle crash
“There were 29,989 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2014 in which 32,675 deaths occurred. This resulted in 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.08 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 3.5 in the District of Columbia to 25.7 in Wyoming. The death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled ranged from 0.57 in Massachusetts to 1.65 in South Carolina. 1” Insurance Institute for Highway safety, Highway Loss Data Institute , General statistics “Crashes took 32,675 lives in the U.S. in 2014.”References 1 Federal Highway Administration. 2015. Highway statistics, 2014. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation. 2 Subramanian, R. 2002. Transitioning to multiple imputation — a new method to impute missing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) values in FARS. Report no. DOT HS-809-403. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 3 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2015. Seat belt use in 2014 — use rates in the states and territories. Report no. DOT HS-812-149. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.