Rhode Island Car Accident Law, Lawyers and Attorneys

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Car accidents happen every single day. In a country with 4 million miles of highways within its borders, even tiny Rhode Island has its share of traffic incidents. Fortunately, there are many options available to protect yourself: seatbelts, airbags, auto insurance, and, as a last resort, the legal system. If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, and you’re looking for help, you’ve come to the right place. Of course, if the accident just occurred, or if someone is injured, the first thing to do is call 911 immediately. Don’t leave the scene of the accident until you’ve made sure that everyone is all right and all your required accident reporting tasks are complete. The information available here on FreeAdvice.com has to do with understanding your legal rights, responsibilities and opportunities. If you’d like more information on issues ranging from claims and fault data, to liability issues and the context behind structured settlements, please see the sections below. You will also find rules, laws and other information specific to the state of Rhode Island, as well as links to Rhode Island personal injury attorneys who can evaluate the strength of your claim and offer advice on the best course of action available to you.

Rhode Island Car Accident Articles:

How an Auto Accident Insurance Claim Works
What is Your Car Accident Injury Claim Worth
Who is at Fault?
Car Insurance and Auto Accidents: Are You Covered?
What You Can Expect to Recover for Property Damage in Auto Accident Cases
Auto Accidents: Options if You’re at an Impasse with the Insurance Adjuster
Car Accidents Involving Government-Owned Vehicles and Government Workers
Structured Settlements
Do I Need to Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident

Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyers:

Find an experienced Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney at AttorneyPages.com

Article: How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Special Rules for Rhode Island Car Accidents:

Rhode Island Fault: Pure Comparative Fault

Rhode Island Car Insurance Requirements/Limits: Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability. The minimum level required by law is:
$25,000 per person for bodily injury AND $25,000 per person for uninsured motorist coverage
$50,000 per accident for bodily injury AND $50,000 per accident for uninsured motorist coverage
$25,000 per accident for property
Proof of this liability insurance must be kept available in the vehicle at all times, including when registering a vehicle, renewing license plates, or anytime a police officer asks you to show proof of insurance.

Rhode Island Small Claims Limits: $2,500

Rhode Island Personal Injury Statute of Limitations: 3 years

Rhode Island Auto Accidents Involving Government Vehicles: In most cases, government entities receive protection from private lawsuits under a legal doctrine known as “government immunity” or “sovereign immunity.” This doctrine doesn’t necessarily provide complete protection for the government, though. It may actually just impose extra notice requirements on you before filing your lawsuit. For more information on this type of government protection, follow this link to the FreeAdvice.com article on vehicle accident claims against government entities. Keep in mind that, depending on which government entity, there are frequently special requirements for how long you have to notify them of your claim. See below for some Rhode Island specific details:

Requirements for Filing Against Government Entities:

1) For filing against the Federal Government: Use Standard Form 95 and follow the instructions on the back page. The form must be completed and submitted to the appropriate agency within two years after the claim accrues.

2) For filing against the State of Rhode Island: All accidents involving any vehicles in the state that resulted in injuries or damage in excess of $1,000 must be reported in writing, within 21 days, to the DMV at the Office of Safety Responsibility. Contact information is included in the Rhode Island Car Accident Resources and Statutes article.Ask the DMV or ask the Rhode Island State Police for more information regarding filing deadlines and possible government immunity issues. Otherwise, Rhode Island’s readily accessible laws are largely silent on issues peculiar to state-owned vehicles and private accidents. Should you get in an accident involving a state-owned vehicle, remember that there are time limits for filing the requisite forms. Contact whichever agency was involved for more information as soon as possible. Feel free to use the contact information for the various state agencies listed in the Rhode Island Car Accident Resources and Statutes article. Of course, you should also consider contacting an attorney specializing in Rhode Island car accident law as soon as possible.

3) For filing against a Rhode Island county or municipality: The requirements vary with the entity, so you’ll have to contact the specific county or agencies involved. See Rhode Island Personal Injury Venue below for more information on where and how to file a claim. See this directory for a list of all public agencies in Rhode Island.

In dealing with accidents involving government entities and workers, be aware that there are always special notices to be filed against the appropriate government unit responsible, whether in risk management, attorney general’s offices, or local agencies, and the time periods are limited in all cases: as little as 30-180 days after the accident to file a notice of claim. The rules for each jurisdiction may vary, so be sure to carefully check the forms linked above before you fill them out, and/or call the main office numbers of local agencies directly involved before filing your claim. Accident claims involving the government can be complicated; you don’t want to risk losing your ability to recover damages for your injuries because of a filing error. See Rhode Island Personal Injury Venue below for more information on where and how to file a claim. Consult an experienced attorney right away to preserve your rights. Also seeCar Accidents Involving Government-Owned Vehicles and Government Workers.

Rhode Island Personal Injury Venue (Where to File Your Lawsuit): In the municipal or justice court located where the defendant (the person you are suing) lives or does business. Alternatively, you might consider filing in a court located where the accident occurred. If you are filing a claim against a government agency and are unsure of which agency is responsible, the most prudent course is to file a separate claim against each agency, or contact a Rhode Island auto accident attorney. Don’t forget that if you have been in an accident that has more than $1,000 of damage, you have to report it in writing to the Rhode Island DMV Office of Safety & Responsibility within 21 days of the accident. Remember also that if your action is an appeal, you will appeal to the District Court, and it must be done within 10 days. Remember, appeals courts make decisions based on issues of law, NOT of facts.

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