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Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law

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Rhode Island Personal Injury Law

If you have been unexpectedly injured due to someone else’s negligence, it can be a daunting task to get the help you need. Medical care can be expensive, making it hard to get the proper care you need. From potential treatments like surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and other appointments and procedures, the costs can add up quickly. Not to mention the money you lose by taking time off of work to get these treatments, and the pain and suffering you have to live with as you heal.

If you’ve been injured in the state of Rhode Island and someone else caused the damage, they may be responsible for paying the cost of your medical bills and additional costs you have incurred. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person who hurt you, the court could demand they pay you compensation for your injuries.

Each state has its own rules for filing a personal injury suit. For victims of personal injury accidents in Providence, Newport, or Cranston, it’s important to follow the guidelines for Rhode Island.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is a claim you file with the court to determine if someone else owes you money for causing you a physical or mental injury. In Rhode Island, the cause could be purposeful or accidental and still serve as sufficient grounds to have your case heard.

Intentional Personal Harm

An intentional injury case tried in a civil court is an attempt to help you collect compensation from the person who hurt you. This is different from a criminal case. It is possible for you to sue a person in civil court for an intentional assault or battery, and the prosecuting authority could also try the case as a crime in the criminal court.

In many legal cases, the “intent” to commit battery isn’t just the intent to inflict harm, it’s the intent to touch someone at all. Someone who hits you, whether as a playful joke or an act of violence, could be found liable for battery either way, and a civil court could require them to pay you for the harm they caused.

Accidental Personal Harm

Even if someone hurts you accidentally, they could still be responsible for the cost of your care. Some of the most common types of accidental injuries are the result of negligence or recklessness, such as:

  • Car accidents caused by a distracted driver
  • Medical malpractice caused by a medical professional
  • Slip-and-falls caused by a spill on a storeroom floor

The key negligence is that the accident could have been easily prevented if the injurer used more care. In the car example, a driver who stops watching the road to text and then hits another car could have prevented that collision if they were watching the road, which is a reasonable and expected level of care when someone is behind the wheel.

Some accidental injuries can happen even with the appropriate care, but under certain circumstances the injurer could still be financially responsible for the damages. These are cases of strict liability, such as

  • Dog bites, even if the dog’s handler had the pup on a leash
  • Product defects, if a manufacturer accidentally produces a defective product that hurts a consumer
  • Abnormally dangerous activities, even if proper safety measures were taken

How Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Rhode Island?

Once you’ve determined that someone else’s actions may be at fault for your injury, you’ll need to consider if your case and the amount of compensation you’re seeking can be pursued under Rhode Island law.

Under Rhode Island’s statute of limitation deadlines, you usually only have three years from the time of your injury until you file. If you wait too long, the court is likely to refuse your case and you could be left with nothing.

Because Rhode Island is what’s known as a “pure comparative negligence” state, the amount of money you’re able to collect from a personal injury case could be limited if you were also negligent at the time of the accident. If you were speeding through a stop light and someone hit you because they were running a red light, the court could decide that your speed was 20 percent responsible for the accident. In that case, you’ll likely only recover 80 percent of the damages you want.

It doesn’t matter who was more at fault, however. If you were both considered a least 1 percent at fault, you can still collect money from the other party. So if the accident was 90 percent your fault, you can still sue for the remaining 10 percent. Just be aware that the other person can probably sue you for the damage they sustained in the accident as well.

Working with a personal injury attorney could help you better understand the laws so you can build the strongest case possible for your circumstances. With the right legal knowledge, you will be in a better position to get the best possible outcome based on your claim.

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