Advocating for Car Crash Victims Throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, but the impact may last for weeks, months, or even years. An accident could lead to severe injuries that disrupt or completely alter your daily life, from third-degree burns to brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, disfigurement, and more. And the worst part? Negligent parties often prioritize themselves over those they have injured.
It would help if you were not left to pay the losses, or “damages,” incurred by another person's negligence. Unfortunately, in the days after a crash, insurance agents will attempt to do just that. At Karns & Kerrison, we won't allow this.
Since 1974, our dedicated legal team in Providence has stood up for auto accident victims, taking on insurance companies in negotiations and, if need be, in civil court. A lawsuit may be the best way to recover the total amount of your damages, such as pain and suffering, medical costs, lost earnings, emotional distress, and more.
On This Page:
- Who Can File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
- What Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident?
- When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
- How We Can Help You
- The Car Insurance Claims Process
- What to Do After Your Accident
- Guiding You Through the Legal Process
- Get Help
- Car Accident FAQ
- Recommended Reading
Who Can File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
In Rhode Island, anyone injured due to the negligence of another has the right to seek compensation through a civil lawsuit. You will need to prove a few elements to have a strong, valid case:
- The negligent party owed you a duty of care, such as the one all motorists owe to others on the road;
- The negligent party violated this duty through negligence, such as speeding or other reckless driving;
- The violation resulted in an accident, meaning their negligence (not yours) directly caused the accident; and
- The accident led to your injury and its associated damages, such as missed time from work, medical care, vehicular damage, etc.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident?
While car accident victims can technically sue a negligent party for however much they want, they will need to be able to prove these damages to actually recover compensation for them.
Common damages after an auto accident include but are not limited to:
- Medical bills and prescriptions
- Doctor visits
- Hospitalization costs
- Long-term care
- Lost wages, past, and future
- Loss of consortium
- Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering
- Punitive damages for extreme cases of negligence
If the other driver's insurance policy cannot cover all the damages you have incurred, then your own insurance policy may cover the balance through uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage and collision coverage.
When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
The last thing anyone wants to worry about after an accident is dealing with insurance adjusters, filing paperwork, and collecting evidence. That's where an attorney comes in. They can handle the brunt of the legal work so that you can focus on getting the medical treatment and rest you need to recover. In addition, a good attorney can greatly increase your chance of recovering your full and fair compensation.
How We Can Help You
When you come to Karns & Kerrison, you can rest easy knowing our team of Rhode Island and Massachusetts car accident attorneys are handling all aspects of your claim, including:
- Helping you get the medical treatment you need
- Filing all necessary paperwork
- Collecting any necessary documents or evidence to support your claim
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Preparing your case for trial; if a settlement cannot be reached
Whether you hire an attorney is up to you—and it doesn't hurt to consult one. Karns & Kerrison provides no-cost, no-obligation consultations to all prospective clients. That way, you can make an informed decision about legal representation.
The Car Insurance Claims Process
If you have been injured in an accident, you have likely been approached by an insurance company with a settlement offer. While it can be tempting to take an offer and put your accident behind you, you should understand that insurance companies exist to turn a profit and rarely have your best interests in mind. The fact is, any initial settlement offer is unlikely to take into account the full scope of the damages you have suffered. That is why it is important to seek advice from an experienced Rhode Island personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following an accident.
What to Do After Your Accident
The insurance claims process is largely set in motion as soon as an accident or injury occurs. For example, if you suffer an injury in an accident, it is important to take notes and to get contact information from any witnesses, if you are able to do so. It is also helpful to take photos of the accident scene if you can. If you were involved in a car accident or another accident where property damage occurs, it is also helpful to take photos of the damage prior to any repairs being made.
If you are contacted by an insurance company in the days or weeks following your accident, it is important to not sign any documents they provide you with until you speak with an attorney. These documents are typically designed to release negligent parties from liability, which can seriously impair your ability to recover the compensation you deserve.
Guiding You Through the Legal Process
When you meet with our car accident attorneys in Rhode Island, we will collect any evidence you may have gathered, and we will get to work on our own investigation. This may involve surveying the accident scene and collecting expert opinions from medical professionals, economic specialists, and others. This information will help us get a picture of the type of treatment you will need in order to make as full a recovery as possible, as well as help us determine the extent of lost wages and other damages you have suffered.
At this point, we will request a settlement from the responsible parties and their insurance providers. If our settlement request is turned down, you have the option of pursuing legal action. This will involve filing all of the necessary paperwork and pleadings with the court. Bear in mind that this does not mean your case will go to trial. It is possible for a case to settle at any time during the pretrial process. In fact, our willingness to go to trial often results in the other party offering to settle, although each set of circumstances is different. In any case, you can rely on us to fight for your interests every step of the way.
How Long Can a Car Insurance Claim Stay Open?
Under standard circumstances, a car insurance company completes their investigation and settles the claim within a 30 day period. In Rhode Island, insurance companies have 55 days after a claim is filed to settle it. There are also specific timeframes that they must acknowledge a claim has been main and decide if they will accept it or not. They have:
- 10 business days to acknowledge the claim and give the policyholder the relevant paperwork.
- 15 business days after getting the proper paperwork if they will accept or deny the claim.
- 30 business days after the claim is approved to make the final payment.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorney Today
At Karns & Kerrison, we believe that no one should have to suffer due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another. We will, therefore, advocate aggressively for you.
Some of our notable motor vehicle accident case results include:
- $2.1 million for a bicyclist who was struck and killed by a motor vehicle
- $1.55 million for a woman who suffered a head and brain injury in a car crash
- $1.26 million for a nurse who was injured in a rear-end collision
With a track record of over $250 million in client recoveries and more than 85 years of combined experience, we stand ready to fight for you! Find out what it's like to work with an award-winning trial team that puts you first.
Car Accident FAQ:
Is it Important That I See a Doctor After My Accident?
Make sure you seek immediate medical treatment after an accident, whether you take an ambulance to the hospital, drive yourself to the hospital, visit a walk-in clinic or urgent care, or make an appointment with your primary care physician. Tell whoever examines you about any pains and injuries you have from the accident. In addition to getting immediate care, it is extremely important to get follow-up care.
Should I Speak to the Insurance Company?
You have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company after an accident; however, if the other driver's insurance company asks to speak with you or get a statement, you should direct them to your lawyer. Speaking with the other party's insurance company will do nothing but hurt your case since they have no interest in protecting your rights. They aim to pay you as little as possible to protect their bottom line.
How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Lawyer?
At Karns & Kerrison, we do not charge any legal fees unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. You will never get a bill as the case proceeds. We do not take a percentage of the property damage recovery; we only charge a percentage of the rest of the settlement that we get you at the end of your case. This is known as contingency-fee representation, meaning there are no fees unless we win your case.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing Car Accident Claims in Rhode Island?
In any civil case, a statute of limitations imposes a time limit on your claim. Rhode Island residents generally have three years to file a lawsuit after they have been hurt in an accident, whether that involves a car, truck, motorcycle, or any other type of vehicle (Rhode Island General Laws § 9-1-14).
State residents have three years to act for car accident cases involving wrongful death.