Multiple vehicle accidents and multi-car accident in Rhode Island can be very complicated when all of the injured parties begin filing damage claims in Providence Superior Court. While one particular driver may have initially caused the RI accident, multiple car accident liability still needs to be sorted out. Tort law governing vehicular collisions in the state where the motor vehicle collision occurred determines who is at fault. An injured party may still have been negligent to some degree. However, the final decision in a Rhode island collision concerning which driver has the highest percentage of fault in multi-car accident will be determined by a Jury in Providence Superior Court unless a settlement is reached.
Commercial Vehicles and multi-car accident.
Many times multiple vehicle accidents in Warwick, Cranston or Woonsocket are caused by commercial vehicles or semi-tractor trailer rigs that malfunction on the roadway. This situation occurs regularly when a negligent driver is following too closely. Maintaining a safe distance in congested traffic can be difficult for all driver and truckers, especially when traffic is flowing at a high rate of speed. When vehicles are traveling in close proximity, all cars are often moving in excess of the speed limit.
Because of inept insurance adjusters and penny pinching insurance companies who are emboldened to their stockholders, it is always important to have an experienced and aggressive RI car accident lawyer or Providence personal injury attorney handling your case. These Rhode Island personal injury lawyers can upend and discredit insurance carrier defenses that are intended to delay, confuse and hinder a just resolution of the cause of action. Also, your Providence injury attorney may be able to file litigation against a transportation company especially when there is documentation that the trucking or transport company was negligent regarding vehicle safety.
Comparative Negligence and multi-car accident in RI
Nearly every state uses some form of comparative negligence doctrine to determine liability for car wrecks. This can be confusing in a multiple car accident. Each driver is assigned a percentage of fault in the accident, and the amount of damages the injured parties can receive is reduced by their percentage assignment. As an example, individuals who are injured in an accident and have a comparative negligence assignment of 10% will only receive 90% of the available damages.
1) Rhode Island is a pure comparative Fault state. This means that even if someone is more than 50 percent at fault for a RI auto crash or multi-car accident they can still seek compensation for their injuries. In other words, if a motorist is 98 percent liable for an auto crash they can obtain 3 percent of their damages, pain and suffering, medical bills and disability. https://rhodeislandlawyer.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/ri-car-accident-law/
Here is the Rhode Island statute concerning comparative fault: “§ 9-20-4 Comparative negligence. – In all actions hereafter brought for personal injuries, or where personal injuries have resulted in death, or for injury to property, the fact that the person injured, or the owner of the property or person having control over the property, may not have been in the exercise of due care shall not bar a recovery, but damages shall be diminished by the finder of fact in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person injured, or the owner of the property or the person having control over the property.”
Massachusetts utilizes a “modified Comparative negligence” rule. In MA, If an injured victim is more than 50 percent at fault for a motor vehicle accident, the injured victim gets no recovery! Pursuant to Mass. Law, if an injured person is more than 50 percent at fault for the accident then the injured party is not entitled to any recovery. This also applies to the decedent’s estate in fatal wrongful death accidents such as Bike / Bicycle Accidents, motorcycle accidents, Premises liability, Truck Accidents and Motorcycle accidents.
This percentage assignment of comparative negligence is often where insurance company claims adjusters attempt to reduce negligent ratings assigned to their client, which ultimately reduces the total claim payout for the insurance company. The comparative negligence ratings are anything but an exact science, and having your own legal professional negotiating your settlement is crucial.
What is contributory negligence?
According to dictionary.com: “contributory negligence n. a doctrine of common law that if a person was injured in part due to his/her own negligence (his/her negligence “contributed” to the accident), the injured party would not be entitled to collect any damages (money) from another party who supposedly caused the accident. Under this rule, a badly injured person who was only slightly negligent could not win in court against a very negligent defendant.” Read more: http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=341#ixzz3tyrA8TCz
Thankfully, neither Rhode Island nor Massachusetts follows the contributory negligence doctrine.
Many times multiple car accidents will be the result of mechanical failure in one particular vehicle. Determination of defective equipment can be done by investigating the vehicle following an accident or by documentation that a particular vehicle component has been the cause of other accidents. This is especially true when one of the vehicles has already been subject to a recall.
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.