This RI law injury legal article series sets forth the basic foundations of negligence, compensation and personal injury law in Rhode Island. Hopefully, these frequently asked questions and answers will answer basic questions concerning Rhode Island personal injury law. This is part 1 of a 5 part series
No fault Insurance and compensation in RI?
Does Rhode Island have no fault injury compensation? No. Rhode Island is a fault based state. The one exception is workers compensation which is no fault. However, compensation is very limited and only for employees injured during the scope of employment. Rhode Island has not adopted personal injury protection (pip) no fault benefits similar to other states such as Massachusetts. information
Is Rhode Island a fault based negligence state for car, motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents?
Yes. In RI an injured victim must establish that an alleged tortfeasor was negligent and such negligence caused the plaintiff damages. The personal injury claimant must also establish that the alleged negligent party or corporation owed the injured victim a duty of due care.
what happens is if an injured victim was partially at fault for an accident in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island has adopted pure comparative fault. This means that an injured victims compensation as a result of an accident is reduced based on his or her percentage of fault.
(For example, a victim of a fatal car accident who ran a red light while texting and driving could still receive compensation from a car motorist who was excessively speeding and failed to get their brakes inspected despite obvious signs of mechanical failure. It is possible that the texting driver who is determined to be 98 percent at fault could get 2 percent of their damages from the other negligent party.
Some states such as Massachusetts have modified comparative fault. This means that if an injured victim is more than 50 percent at fault for a crash or slip and fall then they get no compensation for their injuries from the alleged tortfeasor.
What is a subsequent remedial measure and can they be used to establish negligence in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island is the only state in the country which allows evidence of subsequent remedial measures solely to prove liability in a premises liability or other negligence causes of action. http://www.ripersonalinjurylaw.com/ri-allow-subsequent-remedial-measures-prove-liability/
Why do the other states prohibit subsequent remedial measures to establish liability? In, Raymond v. Raymond Corp., 938 F. 2d 1518 – Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit set forth the rationale for the majority position by stating that rule 407 “is based on the policy of encouraging potential defendants to remedy hazardous conditions without fear that their actions will be used as evidence against them. Gauthier v. AMF, Inc., 788 F.2d 634, 637 amended, 805 F.2d 337 (9th Cir.1986). A non defendant will not be inhibited from taking remedial measures if such actions are allowed into evidence against a defendant. Causey v. Zinke (In re Aircrash in Bali, Indonesia), 871 F.2d 812, 816-17 (9th Cir.), cert. denied [___ U.S. ___], 110 S.Ct. 277 [107 L.Ed.2d 258] (1989). Raymond v. Raymond Corp., 938 F. 2d 1518 – Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit 1991” Does Rhode Island follow the every dog has one free bight rule? What is the statute of limitations in Rhode Island?
What duty / responsibility does a landowner owe to guests in Rhode Island?
“Under our law, a landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of individuals reasonably expected to be on its premises. A landowner has the duty to use reasonable care to keep and maintain the premises in a safe condition, and to protect those individuals reasonably expected to be on the premises against the risk to be apprehended from the dangerous condition existing on the premises…. In order to find that the landowner, the defendant here, is liable to the plaintiff, you must find that the landowner knew, or should have known of a dangerous condition on the premises, and failed to exercise due care to remove the dangerous condition [within a] reasonable time [after] having discovered the condition. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4073850479520887368&q=premises+liability+accident+injury&hl=en&as_sdt=4,40&as_ylo=2004