Rhode Island Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline

If it didn't share a border with Massachusetts there would probably never be a car accident in Rhode Island, but it does, and you're likely to end up in a crash with a chowderhead at some point. The following article helps provide some guidance regarding the Rhode Island car accident settlement process and timeline as well as important notes about the steps to take after an accident.

Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Rhode Island?

There are two different kinds of reporting requirements that may arise following a Rhode Island car accident. Under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 31-26-3.2, a report must be made to the nearest police authority immediately following an accident involving injury or death using the quickest means possible.

Additionally, any driver involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person, or in which the damage to the property of any person exceeded $1,000 must file a written report to the Division of Motor Vehicles within 21 days after the accident, pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 31-26-6.

Rhode Island Car Insurance Laws

Like many states, Rhode Island requires that drivers maintain evidence of their financial security as a driver in the form of minimum insurance policies. Under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 31-32-2, drivers must maintain an insurance policy with the following minimums:

  • At least $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person in a single accident;
  • At least $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more persons in a single accident;
  • At least $25,000 for the injury or destruction of property in a single accident; or
  • A $75,000 combined single limit.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Rhode Island?

A settlement happens when you and the insurer can agree upon an amount that covers your damages. The process begins when you file a claim with the insurer that includes the information necessary to show the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. Following a period of investigation the insurer may make a settlement offer. You can accept the offer, or send a counteroffer along with your reasoning for the different amount. This can result in a series of exchanges and multiple offers. Ultimately, either you will come to a mutually agreeable amount or decide to take the case to civil court.

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Rhode Island?

Average settlement amounts can be unhelpful or even misleading. The amount of a settlement is determined almost entirely by the details of your accident. The severity of injuries, the amount of property damage, the cost of your medical treatment, your lost wages, your pain and suffering, and the other impacts of an accident vary so greatly that anything other than an individualized assessment is unlikely to be helpful. A local attorney can probably provide a reasonable estimate after an examination of your case.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island doesn't let you wait forever to file a lawsuit. The deadline to file a case relating to your injuries, under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 9-1-14, is reached three years after the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit within this time frame you will be barred from suit and you'll have lost most of your bargaining power with the insurer.

Get a Free Claim Review from a Rhode Island Attorney

Even with an overview of the process following a Rhode Island car accident it can still be difficult to manage the state's requirement and the necessary communication and negotiation with insurers. A lawyer can help ensure that you don't drop the ball and that you are fully compensated for your damages. Contact a local attorney to schedule a free claim review to learn more.

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