Car Accident Law in Rhode Island by a Personal Injury Attorney

May 31, 2014

RI Car Accident Law1) Rhode Island is a pure comparative Fault state. This means that even if someone is more than 50 percent at fault for a Rhode Island Car Accident they can still seek compensation for their injuries. In other words, if a motorist is 99 percent liable for an auto crash they can obtain 1 percent of their damages, pain and suffering, medical bills and disability.

2.) Rhode Island does not have no fault PIP benefits for their insurance policy holders. RI is a “fault” car accident state.

3.) Only the statutory beneficiaries of a decedent killed in a fatal automobile accident can seek benefits. This recovery is not an asset of the deceased person’s estate. The executor or administrator of the dead person’s estate must file the wrongful death lawsuit in Providence, Kent, Newport or Washington Superior Court using a RI wrongful death lawyer.

4.) The Statute of Limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Rhode Island as a result of a motor vehicle collision is 3 years from the date of the automobile crash.

5.) Rhode Island law requires that all motor vehicles are covered with minimum liability coverage. Motorists are not required to obtain uninsured or underinsured motorist protection. However, under RI Law a motorist must waive uninsured and underinsured coverage in writing on a yearly basis or they automatically have minimum coverage.

6.) Under RI Statutes a person can be guilty of speeding even if they have not exceeded the designated speed limit see: § 31-14-3 Conditions requiring reduced speed. – http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-14/31-14-3.HTM

“a) The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of § 31-14-1, drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions and in the presence of emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights as provided in § 31-24-31, tow trucks, transporter trucks, and roadside assistance vehicles displaying flashing amber lights while assisting a disabled motor vehicle. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.”

7.) Distracted driving in Rhode Island: Texting while driving is illegal in Rhode Island. Also reading a text message is prohibited in RI while driving a car. § 31-22-30 Text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.” “Text Message”, also referred to as short messaging service (SMS) means the process by which users send, read, or receive messages on a wireless handset, including but not limited to, text messages, instant messages, electronic messages or e-mails, in order to communicate with any person or device.”

8) The operator of a motor vehicle who causes a rear end SUV, motorcycle, truck or car crash is nearly always at fault for the accident pursuant to RI common law.

9) Rhode Island has criminal laws to prevent hit and run accidents causing personal injury.§ 31-26-1 Duty to stop in accidents resulting in personal injury. “The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury to, serious bodily injury to, or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible, but shall then immediately return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of § 31-26-3. A stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-26/31-26-1.HTM

10.) It is illegal to Hit and run after a car wreck which only causes property or vehicle damage.” Here is the duty to stop law in RI: § 31-26-2 Duty to stop in accidents resulting in damage to vehicle. The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible, but shall immediately return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of § 31-26-3. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-26/31-26-2.HTM

11.) Are Rhode Island Personal injury Attorneys and Providence Car accident Lawyers limited to the amount of attorney’s fees they can receive as a result of a settlement or judgment for damages in favor of their personal injury and negligence clients?

No. However, nearly all RI auto accident attorneys and Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyers charge 33 percent of the gross recovery received by the motor vehicle accident victim.

12.)A motorist who smashes into or hits an unattended vehicle causing property damages must take appropriate action under RI law. “The driver of any vehicle which collides with another vehicle which is unattended and damage results to either vehicle shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in or upon the unattended vehicle a notice written in the English language giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances of the collision, and shall immediately give notice of the accident to a nearby office of local or state police” § 31-26-4 Duty on collision with unattended vehicle. – http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-26/31-26-4.HTM

13. http://www.rhodeislandcriminallawlawyer.com/hit-run-death-resulting/ The RI law for leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality (death resulting) states that “Any person charged with the commission of this offense shall upon conviction be imprisoned for not more than ten (10) years and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle…”

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.


Crucial Issues a RI Injury Attorney Must consider in a Truck Accident Claim

May 29, 2014

Rhode Island Truck Accident ClaimsIn order to prevail in your RI or MA trucking accident case, your personal injury attorney needs to have a firm understanding of the engineering involved in a truck crash. Of course, your injury lawyer does not need an engineering degree, but must have enough of a baseline to be able to understand and analyze all the engineering reports and documentation.

More importantly, the best truck accident lawyers in Rhode Island and Mass. know how to spot the pertinent issues and ask the correct questions to the accident reconstruction expert or the engineers involved in the tractor trailer accident litigation.
Almost immediately after a Rhode Island truck Crash or Massachusetts (MA) tractor trailer collision, your attorneys will need to take action. The RI Personal injury lawyer may need to immediately retain an engineer or accident re-constructionist to evaluate the damaged truck as well as all motor vehicles and motorcycles involved in the wreck. The engineer will need to evaluate and measure skid marks as well as evaluate the scene of the truck-car crash.

In order to get the best settlement or judgment in a big rig or 18 wheeler accident cause of action, a lawyer must have a firm understanding of federal, state and local regulations pertaining to trucking collisions. Even a strong knowledge of the regs may not be enough because an understanding of trucking industry practices and norms is also crucial.

It will give you an added advantage if your negligence lawyer understands the mentality of the trucking companies and their safety departments. There may be issues concerning driver qualifications and trucker training. There may be issues concerning drowsy / sleepy driving, distracted driving / texting and driving or a multitude of other issues that need to be explored properly.

Here are some of the most important issues involved in a Truck accident in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations or in Massachusetts (MA)

-Identify Defendants and Insurance coverage
-What are the internal safety rules and practices of the trucking company and were they followed in this incident?
-Retaining qualified trucking experts
-Was the trucker properly trained and supervised?
-Drugs, alcohol / drunk driving and impaired driving issues
-The special considerations in left hand turn truck collisions
-Was the Driver properly qualified?
-Was the accident caused by shifting merchandise or improperly secured cargo
-Drowsy/ sleepy/ Fatigued motorist or tired driving issues
-Special Considerations in Side Swipe Accidents, T-bone collisions, rear end accidents, Blind spot caused collisions and lane change crashes
-Determining proper damages, lost wages, pain and suffering and disability
-Hours of service violations, Log audit issues
-Special considerations in Rhode Island Wrongful death cases as a result of fatal / deadly truck mishap.

If someone is killed in a tractor trailer or pickup truck accident in Rhode Island then it is important that the spouse, child, family member or loved one retains a wrongful death attorney in RI.

FMCSA Hours of Service http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

49 CFR Parts 300-399 http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/b/5/3

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.


Police Chase Motorcycle & Biker killed by a Pickup Truck Turning Left

May 24, 2014

RI Police Chase AccidentsPolice in Missouri were pursuing a 2008 yellow Suzuki 600 motorcycle driven by a motorcyclist who was evading the police recklessly. The bike was going in a westerly direction when a 1994 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup Truck was turning left. The trucker unknowingly pulled into the path of the offending motorcyclist. Sadly, the biker paid for his transgressions with his life as he was killed in the motor vehicle wreck. The truck sustained heavy damage and the motorcycle was also destroyed.

Witnesses to the motorcycle crash reported “flying debris”, sirens and a confusing situation.

There was some information in a yet to be confirmed report that the motorcycle operator attempted to ram a police cruiser prior to the law enforcement pursuit. The report did not indicate why the cyclist was evading the cops or whether the motorcycle operator had an extensive criminal record or was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.

According to the Semissourian.com, “At the crash scene, a helmet and a pair of shoes were scattered; pieces of a yellow motorcycle shell could be seen nearby as emergency personnel investigated. A green truck was extensively damaged, with a tire lying a few feet away, apparently knocked loose by the impact.” http://www.semissourian.com/story/2084919.html

Thankfully, no innocent pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists were killed in this fatal motorcycle collision.

The issue of whether police should chase criminals is a significant issue in Rhode Island, Massachusetts (MA) and across the United States. These reckless and high speed pursuits often unreasonably put pedestrians, car drivers, truckers and cyclists at risk for serious injury or even wrongful death.

In a staggeringly shocking report “real police, Law enforcement Resource” reported that “In this 9 year period, the data showed that there were 2654 fatal crashes involving 3965 vehicles of which there were 3146 fatalities. Of these, 1088 were to people not in the fleeing vehicle. This means, 1088 innocent people, or 3rd parties died as a result of these pursuits.” http://www.realpolice.net/articles/police-pursuits/police-pursuits-and-the-risks.html

Over 30 percent of people who died as a result of police pursuits were innocent civilians “(30.1%) were occupants of vehicles uninvolved in the police pursuit, http://www.realpolice.net/articles/police-pursuits/police-pursuits-and-the-risks.html

According to an important report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and an estimated 1,222,000 persons were treated in a U.S. emergency department (ED) for a non-fatal motorcycle-related injury.” http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsmotorcyclesafety/index.html

In an unrelated incident in Massachusetts “In 2011, 23-year-old Matthew Denice was dragged to death by a drunk-driving illegal alien from Ecuador. Nicolas Guaman, with a blood alcohol level at 3x the legal limit, ran a stop sign, crashed into Denice’s motorcycle and dragged the young man for a quarter mile as bystanders banged on Guaman’s truck to make him stop.” http://www.vdare.com/posts/drunk-driving-illegal-alien-guilty-of-manslaughter-in-massachusetts-dragging-death-of-matthew-denice

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, truck accident, car crash or motorcycle accident in Rhode Island (RI) or Mass. please contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury attorney or a RI Wrongful Death Lawyer. www.ricaraccidentlawyers.com

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.


Drunk Driver Loses Legs and Kills his Girlfriend Fleeing Police at 100+MPH

May 20, 2014

Rhode Island Drunk Driver Car AccidentsIn a sad case, a Massachusetts man who now lives in Fall River MA, plead no contest in Providence Rhode Island Superior Court to drunk driving (dui) death resulting and driving to endanger death resulting. His girlfriend who was a passenger in his motor vehicle was killed as a result of the fiery fatal RI car collision.

The CDC reports: “Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.1 The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

The car crash occurred as a result of Brandon G. Borge fleeing from police at speeds over 100 miles per hour. He was speeding on Route 2 through Warwick into Cranston Rhode Island. Thankfully, no one else died or was seriously injured as a result of this reckless drunk driving automobile wreck.

The criminal drunk driver could not reach a plea agreement with the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation’s attorney generals office. As a result, he agreed to what is known as a capped plea which insures he will get nothing worse then the sentence proposed by the attorney general. (10 years to serve at the aci) However, the judge could impose a sentence less than the 10 years to serve proposed by the AG as a result of the deadly RI auto accident.

According to the Providence journal, the defendant drunk driver and the deceased victim previously resided together in Attleboro, Mass.
He will be sentenced by a Providence RI Superior Court Judge in July as a result of the fatal RI Car Accident.

it is unclear whether the victim’s estate has retained a RI Personal injury lawyer or a Rhode island wrongful death attorney to pursue a rhode Island wrongful death cause of Action

It appears that the Impaired Driver’s RI Criminal Defense Lawyer will seek leniency as a result of the drunk driver being seriously injured and disabled as a result of the crash.

“•In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

“A wrongful death lawsuit in Rhode Island is a civil action based on tort law. A wrongful death cause of action could be pursued as a result of any tort or accident including medical malpractice, product liability, truck collision, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, car crashes or any type of mishap.” http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2013/09/wrongful-death-law-in-ri-by-a-personal-injury-attorney/

“In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.These alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 32 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.” http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811385.pdf

Read the article here: http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140506-man-pleads-no-contest-to-dui-death-resulting-and-driving-to-endanger.ece

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.


Rhode Island and MA T-Bone Car Accident Personal Injury Attorney

May 4, 2014

Rhode Island Side CollisionA Rhode Island or Massachusetts T-bone car, truck or motorcycle crash frequently occurs at an intersection. A “T-bone” accident is a slang term for a broadside or side collision.

There are hundreds of different causes of side impact motor vehicle and truck collisions in RI and Mass. These include:

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING Distracted Accidents are often caused by a distracted motorist negligently texting while driving or utilizing a gps or mobile phone. “The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011” http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html

– A negligent car motorist failing to realize that there is a stop sign or red light at an intersection. (meaning his motor vehicle does not have the right of way.)

– A drunk, stoned or drugged driver who is too intoxicated to properly operate a motor vehicle

– A speeding driver who does not have enough time to apply his brakes causing him to careen into another vehicle at an intersection.

– A motor vehicle or auto operator who makes a judgment error and enters into an intersection at the end of a yellow light and therefore runs a red light.

– A reckless driving motorist who fails to stop at stop signs or runs red lights intentionally.

Sadly, there are many crashes in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and in New Bedford, fall River and Dartmouth Massachusetts involving automobiles or tractor trailers hitting motorcycles or bikes making left hand turns at intersections.

Tragically, many of these mishaps are fatal. These fatal RI bike crashes often lead to wrongful death litigation in Providence Superior Court. If a family member or spouse was killed in a deadly accident, you should immediately speak with a RI wrongful death attorney. Only the estate of the person who was killed in the accident, acting through the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased can pursue wrongful death litigation in Rhode Island.

Top Los Angles Motorcycle accident attorney published an article in which he stated “biker is approaching an intersection or is near an entry to a parking lot of a shopping center and a driver in an automobile turns left in front of the bike, causing the rider to either collide with the car broadside or to lose control of the bike and lay it down while the rider is ejected to the pavement.” http://www.massachusettspersonalinjurylawlawyer.com/why-is-the-left-hand-turn-so-deadly-for-motorcycle-riders-in-ma-and-ca/

According to wikipedia:”Broadside collisions, known as right-angle collisions or T-bone collisions in the United States and Canada, are where the side of one vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of another vehicle, forming the “T”. Vehicle damage and occupant injury are more likely to be severe, but severity varies based on the part of the vehicle that is struck, safety features present, the speeds of both vehicles, and vehicle weight and construction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_collision

According to Top Indianapolis Car accident Lawyer William Bill Hurst “One of the most common intersection auto crashes involve a vehicle making a left turn at an intersection during a “yellow” light striking an oncoming vehicle. The injuries and damages incurred in these crashes can be catastrophic because of the nature of the “T-bone” impact between the cars involved in the accident.” http://blog.billhurst.com/2014/01/intersection-accidents-happen-left-turns/

It is crucial that an injured motorist, motorcyclist or truck driver retain a Providence Personal Injury Lawyer who has experience litigating T-bone accidents resulting in typical injuries from such crashes: fractures, whiplash, broken bones, cervical injury, Traumatic Brain injury (TBI), concussions and back/neck / leg injury.

“Impacts to the side of a passenger car rank second only to frontal crashes as a source of occupant fatalities and serious injuries. They are especially dangerous when the impact is on the passenger compartment because there are no deep, crushable metal structures between the occupant and the impacting vehicle or object, as there are, for instance, in frontal or rear-end crashes. The door collapses into the passenger compartment and the occupants contact the door at a high relative velocity.”http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Test+Procedures/An+Evaluation+of+Side+Structure+Improvements+in+Response+to+Federal+Motor+Vehicle+Safety+Standard+214

It is especially important that Rhode Island Motorists’ yield to bicyclists and cyclists to avoid a serious bicycle accident. Below you will find the RI law concerning auto drivers yielding the right of way to a bicycle lane.

Bicycle accident right of way:
“§ 31-17-9 Yielding to riders on bicycle lane. – (a) The driver of a vehicle about to cross or to turn left or right across a bicycle lane shall yield the right-of-way to any person operating a bicycle or motorized wheelchair upon the bicycle lane.” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-17/31-17-9.HTM

“Beginning September 1, 1993, all light trucks (pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles) were required to meet a crush resistance standard for side doors. Data from calendar years 1989 through 2001 of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) were used to determine the effectiveness of changes made by vehicle manufacturers to meet this standard. Effectiveness was determined by comparing changes in the number of fatalities in side impacts relative to those in frontal impacts.” http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluate/809719.html

Many Providence area and RI truckers and motorists are unaware of the law concerning who has the right of way at an intersection in RI when their are no signs or signals. Here is RI law concerning that issue:

§ 31-17-1 Right-of-way in absence of signs or signals. – (a) The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.

(b) When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right…..

(d) Violations of this section are subject to the fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4, unless bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death occurs to any person other than the offending operator under this section.
http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-17/31-17-1.HTM

Article by East Providence RI Car Accident Lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100