Rhode Island Car Accident Compensation Laws

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the U.S., but it still boasts 384 miles of shoreline, the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and the country's oldest operating tavern, among other attractions. So despite its modest size, there's plenty to do, and plenty of destinations to visit by car. This means there's also abundant potential for car accidents. If you've been involved in an accident here, you'll want to learn about Rhode Island's car accident compensation laws.

Below is a table outlining important aspects of Rhode Island's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations

3 years for personal injury claims (Tit. 9, Sec. 9-1-14); 10 years for damage to property (Tit. 9, Sec. 9-1-13); 3 years for claims against the state and local government (Tit. 9, Sec. 9-1-25)

Limits on Damages No caps on most personal injury claims; $100,000 cap on claims against state (Tit. 9, Sec. 9-31-2) and local governments (Tit. 9, Sec. 9-31-3)
Other Limits Comparative negligence rule may reduce damages (Tit. 9, Sec. 9-20-4)

Types of Damages

There are typically two types of damages to consider in a car accident: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the more tangible, monetary losses you've incurred as a result of your injury or damage to property. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the more abstract costs of an accident, like emotional distress and the loss of spousal companionship.

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Car repairs or replacement
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages

Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of affection or companionship

Rhode Island's "Pure Comparative Fault" Rules

Like many states, Rhode Island is an "at fault" (often called "tort") system for insurance claims. This means that to recover damages, you must show fault on the part of the other driver. However, Rhode Island also follows the "pure comparative fault" rule, which allows you to recover damages even if you were 99% to blame for causing the accident. Under this rule, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault. For example, if you were 90% to blame and the other driver was 10% at fault, you may still file a lawsuit, but an award of $100,000 will be reduced by $90,000.

Limits on Damages

In Rhode Island, there are no caps on most types of damages, although most claims against state and local governments are limited to $100,000. Additionally, claims are time-sensitive. The deadline (known as the "statute of limitations") for personal injury and claims against the government is three years, while suits for property damage must be filed within ten years.

Get a Free Claim Evaluation from a Rhode Island Attorney

Rhode Island's negligence and damages rules may be more straightforward than other states, but the comparative fault standard affects both your liability and your ability to recover damages after an accident. Receive a free claim evaluation from an experienced attorney who's familiar with Rhode Island's car accident compensation laws to evaluate the strength of your claim.

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