Wrongful death is a legal concept describing civil liability when a death occurs through negligence or intention of others. This legal concept is different than manslaughter or murder which are criminal offenses. In the event of a deadly accident then you need to immediately contact a Rhode Island wrongful death attorney. For individuals or entities to be financially liable in a lawsuit or claim involving wrongful death in Rhode Island, it must be shown they had a duty of care to the individual who died. If your loved one, spouse or child died in a RI accident, contact a Rhode Island wrongful death attorney.
Rhode Island Fatal Accident Lawyer
In addition, that duty of care had to have been breached, such as a failure to act as any reasonable individual would. It also must be shown how the breach directly or indirectly caused injuries that resulted in death. The most common types of wrongful death claims in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations involve:
- Passenger vehicle accidents in Providence, Pawtucket, Warwick and Cranston
- Motorcycle crashes in RI
- Commercial truck accidents
- Truck accident
- Pedestrian accident
- bicycle accidents
- Drunk driving
- car accident
- Gunshot wounds
- Coronavirus fatalities
- Public transportation accidents including train or bus collisions
- Medical malpractice
- Medication errors like prescribing or selling the wrong prescription drug
- Defective products including unsafe foods
- Bad pharmaceutical drugs
- Premises liability
- slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accident
- Construction injuries
- Mesothelioma lawsuit
Vehicle Accident Wrongful Deaths in Rhode Island
More than 30,000 individuals lose their lives in vehicle accidents every year and countless others face years of extensive recovery from serious injuries. Most Rhode Island car accidents are caused by speeding, distracted driving, reckless behavior, automobile defects, construction activity, road repair and drunk driving. If a loved one was killed in a tragic fatal crash then you need to contact a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney.
Some of the most catastrophic accidents in RI involve large commercial vehicles that result in wrongful death lawsuits. In many instances, a claim for compensation is filed against the trucker and trucking company citing various acts of negligence including:
- Improper truck maintenance,
- Mechanical defect,
- Defective tire,
- Aggressive driving,
- Operating the large commercial vehicle in adverse weather conditions,
- Improperly loaded cargo or overweight loads,
- Driving while distracted, intoxicated or on drugs.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death
While most medical professionals are good at their jobs, there are numerous incidences where medical malpractice occurs because the doctor, nurse or other health care giver failed to follow proper protocols and procedures or cut corners that took the lives of their patients. The most common medical malpractice wrongful death cases in Rhode Island involve:
- Childbirth injuries
- Wrong diagnosis, misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis
- Improper or delayed treatment
- Surgical error
- Pharmaceutical mistake
- Defective medical device
- Lack of obtaining an informed consent
Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney
Many product manufacturers follow government agency protocols when designing, manufacturing and distributing their products to ensure public safety. However, anytime a product fails and causes death, manufacturers can be held civilly liable to the victim’s surviving family members. Common defective products involved in wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Vehicles with defective components, parts or design
- Toxic food products
- Dangerous toys and childcare products
- Bad pharmaceuticals
Workplace Fatalities in Rhode Island
Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of every employee while on the job. Companies are required to follow the rules and regulations set forth by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration). Common examples of wrongful death claims involving a workplace incident include:
- Mesothelioma and asbestos exposure
- Tow boat and barge accidents
- Manufacturing accident
- Railroad worker injury
- Construction site accident
- Commercial vehicle collision
- Public transportation accident
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is crucial to surviving family members who rely on financial settlements to recover medical expenses, funeral bills and lost income. While obtaining financial recompense does not bring a loved one back, it does provide a sense of justice while easing the financial burden on survivors.
Hiring a RI fatal accident lawyer
If you are a surviving family member who meets the criteria for filing a legal wrongful death claim, it is essential to hire a reputable RI wrongful death lawyer with experience of achieving successful outcomes. This is because these types of cases are legally complex to litigate and there are different requirements and statutes to file a RI wrongful death lawsuit. Reputable Providence personal injury law firms that handle RI wrongful death claims typically provide a complementary consultation with a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney to evaluate the merits of the case. Usually, these cases are handled on contingency so no upfront fees are required.
“Distracted drivers were involved in the deaths of 520 nonoccupants during 2014. It is unknown how many of these nonoccupants were potentially distracted as well…In 2014, about 71 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes were male as compared to 73 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes. Additionally, 56 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were driving in the daytime (between 6 a.m. and 5:59 p.m.) as compared to 53 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes.” National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2016, April). Distracted driving 2014 (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 260). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
I believe that I have been wronged by another individual or entity, what should I do next?
You should contact an attorney promptly. One reason is that you will not run the risk of having your claim barred by the statute of limitations. Also, your recollection of the events is crucial and as time goes by your memory may fade.
How do I commence a civil lawsuit in Rhode Island utilizing a RI wrongful death lawyer?
A civil lawsuit is commenced when a plaintiff serves a Complaint and a Summons upon the defendant. The complaint is the legal document that sets forth the alleged misconduct by the defendant. The summons is the legal document that directs the defendant to appear before the court.
What should I do if I am served with a Summons and Complaint in a Rhode Island lawsuit?
You should seek the advice of a Rhode Island attorney immediately. As the summons instructs, you only have twenty (20) days in which to respond to the Complaint. If the 20 days period passes, the defendant will be in default and lose the case. The response to the Complaint is called an Answer. This legal document sets forth the defendant’s defenses and counterclaims against the plaintiff.
How much will it cost to hire a Rhode Island wrongful death attorney?
Every lawyer is free to set his own billing method. There are many different types of billing methods. Most RI wrongful death lawyers offer a contingent fee, where you only pay the Providence wrongful death attorney if you win the case. Usually the attorney will determine which method is best by the type of litigation in question. Slepkow, Slepkow & Associates never charges any fee in a personal injury case unless successful.
How long before the lawsuit will be finished?
After the pleadings (Complaint and Answer) have been served, there is a discovery process. This is the period when the parties obtain all of the facts of the case. The length of this process depends on the complexity of the case. The overwhelming majority of cases are settled long before trial.
Traffic deaths have fallen by almost 25 percent in the last 10 years, and motor vehicle accident injuries have been reduced too. According to the most recent ascertainable statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was a slight increase of .01 percent in 2014 from 2013. What’s startling though is that for the first half of 2015, the death estimate has increased by 8.1 percent from 2014. This represents a significant spike from previous years.
Fatal car accident
Although the 2015 numbers are estimates and subject to change, 2014 was the safest year for drivers and occupants of motor vehicles since the NHTSA began collecting motor vehicle fatality data in 1975. Although bicyclist deaths also declined for the first half of 2015, pedestrian deaths increased by 3.1 percent.
The NHTSA is at the forefront of efforts to reduce roadway fatalities. It’s now focusing on behavioral issues to further reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries. Those issues include but aren’t limited to:
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Seat belt usage
- Child car seats
Other efforts will be made to protect those who are more vulnerable on or near the road like motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Some behavioral factors seem to never change though like drunk driving, seat belt and motorcycle helmet use.
drunk driving deadly fatal motor vehicle crash
In 2014, drunk driving was attributable to 9,967 or one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities that year. Almost half of all fatalities involved drivers or passengers who weren’t wearing seat belts. States with strong helmet laws had significantly fewer motorcycle fatalities. Distracted and drowsy drivers were responsible for about 13 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.
There is recourse for those who lost family members in motor vehicle collisions, but monetary compensation won’t replace the loss of a life. All states have laws that govern wrongful deaths, and of course, lawsuits can be filed by or for those who were injured but survived crashes. Damages in these cases can include but aren’t limited to:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Any permanent disability
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Funeral and burial expenses in death cases
There are time limitations in Rhode Island within which any action seeking compensation for wrongful death or injuries must be filed. If a municipal entity was involved, those time limitations can be significantly shortened. A knowledgeable and experienced RI personal injury attorney will be familiar with those filing deadlines.