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One of the most difficult experiences in life is the loss of a loved one. There are financial burdens, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses,other arrangements, as well as intense grief. Avoidable deaths caused by someone else’s negligence, whether in a car crash, as a result of medical negligence, are especially painful.
Wrongful death cases can be complex. The law varies from state to state on who can file a claim, the time limit for filing, and other essential details. Rhode Island attorneys with experience handling these claims know the applicable legal regulations.
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one due to negligence in Rhode Island, call Marasco & Nesselbush Law Firm at (401) 443-2999 for a free consultation. Our wrongful death attorneys can provide the legal advice you need to navigate the process of filing a claim for wrongful death.
Who Can Claim and Receive Damages For Rhode Island Wrongful Death Claims?
According to Rhode Island law, various individuals can file a wrongful death claim.
- Estate representative
- Surviving spouse
- Children or dependents
- Surviving parents
- Other heirs at law
The estate representative might be named in the will of the decedent or appointed by the legal court. If there is no person specified, surviving family members may be able to file a claim.
Nevertheless, the amount of time allowed to file, also known as the statute of limitations, varies in each case. In Rhode Island, surviving family members generally have a period of 3 years to file a wrongful death claim, while the estate representative is allowed only 6 months.
The question of who can receive damages can become more complex when there are common-law marriages or equitable adoptions involved. Rhode Island law has recognized these unions even in cases without official licenses or court agreements. Your wrongful death attorney can investigate your situation thoroughly to properly fight your case.
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How Are Rhode Island Wrongful Death Cases Classified?
Wrongful death is any death caused by the negligence of an individual, corporation, or government agency that otherwise would have been avoidable. There are various circumstances that could result in a wrongful death case.
If you are unsure whether the death of your loved one qualifies as wrongful death, a free consultation with our attorneys can help you understand your case.
Death caused by negligent driving
Negligent driving is the cause of many fatal motor vehicle accidents each year in Rhode Island. When a car accident is caused by a commercial vehicle, a wrongful death claim can be pursued either against the driver or the company responsible, depending on the circumstances.
Negligent driving can occur in various forms, including:
- Distracted driving
- Poorly maintained vehicle
- Aggressive or unsafe driving
- Operating a vehicle while using drugs or alcohol
Death caused by a workplace accident or illness
According to theBureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.8 million reported non-fatal workplace accidents and illnesses in the US in 2019. Unfortunately, each year workers are involved in a workplace accident resulting in wrongful death.
These situations are heartbreaking, especially when they are a direct result of a negligent employer. Many situations may make an employer liable for wrongful death.
- Unsafe working environment
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Improper maintenance of machinery
- Failure to provide appropriate protection
Death caused by premises liability
In Rhode Island, personal injury often happens on private property. The Rhode Island wrongful death attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush can investigate to determine whether the property owner could be liable due to a breach of duty.
Many types of fatal accidents that occur on property owned by someone else could result in lawyers filing a wrongful death claim. These may be related to:
- Slip and falls
- Insufficient or negligent property maintenance
Death caused by medical negligence
Most medical visits don’t end tragically. However, injuries and deaths caused by medical malpractice in the US are an increasing concern. Due to negligence or mistakes on the part of the health care provider, wrongful death claims are often pursued when medical malpractice results in death.
Medical negligence may involve:
- Surgical errors
- Wrong prescription
- Anesthesia administration
- Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment
Death caused by dangerous or faulty products
Unfortunately, companies manufacture and sell faulty or dangerous products at times. While uncommon, personal injury and fatal accidents happen as a result of dangerous products every year. This might be the case with childcare products, medical devices, or car parts.
Lawyers may be able to identify negligence that took place in one of these steps between the design, distribution, and sale of a product:
- Manufacturing error
- Unsafe product design
- Inaccurate product information
- Insufficient instructions or warnings
What Compensation is Available After a Wrongful Death?
Depending on the circumstances, compensation can be claimed for a number of different damages. Some damages have a fixed monetary value, such as the cost of medical and funeral expenses. Others, though, are for the deep emotional pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members after a tragic loss.
After a free consultation, one of the lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush can review your case to see which types of compensation you and your family may be eligible to receive.
Medical expenses incurred before death can be claimed as part of a wrongful death suit or claim. This may include the cost of medications, surgeries, ambulance fees, and all other hospital fees that were caused by the accident.
The costs related to a funeral and burial can easily start to pile up. The expenses faced by the family to purchase the casket, tombstone, and other items necessary for the funeral can be recovered by your lawyers as compensation under wrongful death law in Rhode Island.
Loss of future income
Often, the family will suffer from financial hardship due to the loss of income of the decedent who was supporting the family. This future potential income is calculated as part of the financial compensation offered to the dependants.
The work of a homemaker is invaluable within the family. If the decedent’s main responsibilities included caring for the home, this does not mean that there are no financial repercussions related to his or her death. The loss of this support is considered when identifying compensation due to wrongful death.
Loss of companionship
After the death of a loved one, the family experiences extreme emotional loss. The loss of love, companionship, and intimacy can be included in the damages offered by law after a wrongful death. Loss of consortium can also be claimed for the surviving spouse.
In rare and extreme cases, punitive damages can be pursued as part of a wrongful death claim. As the name suggests, these are in place as a punitive measure against the actions of the at-fault party when gross negligence has occurred.
Because each case is unique, it is difficult to determine an “average” settlement in wrongful death claims. However, Rhode Island has a minimum settlement amount of $250,000 for wrongful death cases. That means if a party is found to be liable for wrongful death, the awarded settlement cannot be less than $250,000 and it is most often above that amount.
Your local wrongful death attorney at Marasco & Nesselbush Law Office is knowledgeable about RI state law. Once we take on your case, he or she can fight for you, making sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you are grieving following the devastating effects of a loved one’s death, starting the claims process may be very difficult emotionally. Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible can enable you to focus on your emotional recovery, without the added stress of dealing with the legal implications.
It is important to remember that insurance companies are corporations primarily concerned with their bottom line. While it may appear that the company is interested in your well-being, the representatives’ main objective is to reduce costs. The smaller the settlement paid out, the more money the insurance company pockets.
Insurance companies employ a team of lawyers dedicated to serving the interests of the company. Remember; do not talk to the insurance company without first contacting your own lawyer. The insurance company’s goal is to minimize your pain and suffering in order to offer the lowest settlement possible. With a wrongful death lawyer representing you, you can have peace of mind by knowing that your interests are being considered by an experienced legal team.
How Our Lawyers Can Fight For You
The Rhode Island wrongful death attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush Law Firm can research and investigate the details of your case thoroughly.
When we take on your case, we will:
- Assert a wrongful death occurred according to the law
- Identify the at-fault party and prove liability
- Ensure you and your family members receive fair compensation
Of course, no amount of financial compensation can reverse the tragedy that happened. However, starting legal action and holding the at-fault party accountable can be the first step in moving forward after a devastating loss.
You do not need to feel that you must handle the complex legal aspects of your case alone. When the attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush take on your case, you will receive the legal guidance you need to support you after the loss of a loved one or family member. Contact one of our wrongful death lawyers today for a free consultation and case review.