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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney
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Rhode Island Wrongful Death Attorney

On average in Rhode Island, every week somebody dies in a car accident. A sudden, unexpected loss such as this most often throws a family into turmoil. Whether the person killed was the family’s breadwinner, homemaker, or a beloved child or parent, families find themselves faced with immediate financial costs for medical, funeral and burial expenses, along with uncertainty about how they will carry on for the future. These financial difficulties occur at a time of severe stress and grief, when families are least able to deal with these added pressures.

Rhode Island law allows to the executor or administrator of the estate to pursue a claim against the negligent driver or other party responsible for causing the death, and to recover compensation for the benefit of surviving family members. These claims, known as wrongful death claims, can be difficult to prove and complete successfully. The Rhode Island wrongful death attorneys at Robert E. Craven & Associates are skilled and experienced in such matters and can help you get the compensation you need and deserve after the loss of a loved one.

How wrongful death claims operate in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Death by Wrongful Act statute allows a claim for any wrongful act, neglect or default that causes a death, when that act or negligence would otherwise have supported a personal injury claim had the person only been injured and not been killed. The wrongful death law, therefore, covers injuries caused by car accidents, vicious dog attacks, a serious slip and fall on hazardous premises that proves fatal, and similar situations.

Initially, the responsibility for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Rhode Island falls on the executor or administrator of the estate. If there is no executor or administrator for the estate, or if that person fails to file a wrongful death action within six months of the date of the death, then surviving family members are authorized to file a lawsuit themselves. A surviving spouse and children are the primary family members who can bring a lawsuit and receive any compensation recovered, but if there are no surviving spouse or children, then other heirs at law may sue and recover compensation.

What types of compensation may be recovered in Rhode Island wrongful death claims?

The Rhode Island Death by Wrongful Act statute lists the different types of compensation which may be recovered in a wrongful death claim. These include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Hospital, medical and other expenses which were incurred
  • Diminution of earning power from the time of the accident until the time of death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of society and companionship of a parent or child
  • Loss of consortium of a spouse
  • Prospective income or earnings over the deceased’s life expectancy had the untimely death not occurred, including the value of homemaker services

Punitive damages may also be recovered if they would otherwise be recoverable under a personal injury claim. This includes when the person who caused the death acted intentionally, maliciously or in bad faith, or if the conduct was considered reckless.

Advice and Representation in Rhode Island Wrongful Death Matters

Collecting money damages after a wrongful death not only provides much-needed compensation for family members now and into the future but also provides a sense of justice and accountability that often helps grieving families find closure and helps them move on with their lives. If you have lost a loved one to a Rhode Island car accident or other matter involving negligence or reckless misconduct, call Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 to discuss a possible wrongful death claim.

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