When an individual is killed or dies through the negligence, recklessness or misconduct of others in RI or Massachusetts, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in Rhode Island or MA. Wrongful death can occur through negligence or intent when the victim dies in an accident, by medical malpractice, slip and fall, construction injury, RI Car crash, pedestrian accident and other incidences including murder.
Wrongful death lawsuits in Rhode Island must be pursued by the executor of the decedents estate on behalf of the statutory beneficiaries of the estate. Depending on the circumstances an immediate family member of the decedent will be compensated as a result of the death. The statutory beneficiaries could include spouses, siblings, children, parents and grandparents of the deceased individual.
§ 10-7-2 Persons who may bring actions – Limitation of actions – Minimum recovery period. – “Every action under this chapter, other than one brought under § 10-7-1.2, shall be brought by and in the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased person, whether appointed or qualified within or without the state, and of the amount recovered in every action under this chapter one-half (1/2) shall go to the husband or widow, and one-half (1/2) shall go to the children of the deceased, and if there are no children, the whole shall go to the husband or widow, and, if there is no husband or widow, to the next of kin, in the proportion provided by law in relation to the distribution of personal property left by persons dying intestate;” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE10/10-7/10-7-2.HTM
Determining if a lawsuit is worth pursuing is best accomplished by consulting with a reputable Rhode Island wrongful death attorney or a top MA fatal crash lawyer. The law firm can evaluate the merits of the claim, offer legal options and assist the family members in filing the lawsuit before the expiration of the state’s statute of limitations.
A wrongful death could occur from any type of accident including: truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, auto accident, motorcycle crash, bicycle accident, slip and fall or premises liability incident.
Proving the Case
By law, four key elements must be true to file suit for a wrongful death. These elements include:
• The death of the loved one can be linked directly to the defendant in part or in whole
• The death of a loved one occurred because of negligence or intent of the defendant
• The death of a loved one affected surviving family members qualify under the law to receive financial recompense through a verdict or settlement in a wrongful death case
• The death of a loved one caused damages
Intent or Negligence
Every wrongful death claim will be based on either intent or negligence. Intent is considered the willful action of another to cause harm or death. The law considers negligence as a failure by the defendant to provide reasonable care to a situation, which led to the wrongful death.
Examples of negligence could include a commercial truck driver’s reckless actions, which caused a collision with fatalities, a rear end automobile crash, a drunk driving hit and run motor vehicle crash, or a physician making medical errors resulting in the death of their patient (medical or surgical malpractice) The negligent action, or omission of action, directly correlates to legal responsibility under the law.
To prove negligence or intent, the attorney will need to establish exactly how the defendant acted intently, recklessly, carelessly, or negligently. Often times, the process for proving the claim is complex. The attorney will gather evidence, speak with eyewitnesses, hire experts to provide testimony and/or reconstruct the incident to produce a convincing argument linking every key element together.
Obtaining Financial Compensation
A skilled RI Personal Injury attorney or Providence Wrongful Death lawyerwill seek legal recovery from the responsible parties to ensure that the family members are adequately compensated for their pain, suffering, damages and loss. Damages often include:
• Expenses including funeral and medical bills directly connected to the death
• All lost benefits including earnings, Social Security, insurance, and inheritance
• The loss of protection, care, consortium and companionship
• Compensation for mental anguish, suffering, pain and grief suffered by the decedent’s survivors
• In some cases punitive damages are sought as a way to punish the defendant and prevent the wrongdoer from harming others in the future
If your family is suffering the wrongful death of a loved one, you are likely entitled to receive fair and adequate compensation for your loss. A Providence Rhode Island personal injury law firm that specializes in RI wrongful death litigation can provide a free initial consultation to evaluate the case and offer legal options on how to proceed.
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.