Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone will go through in their life. Especially if the death was caused by a preventable accident, the unfairness of it all may seem overwhelming. As the institutions around you move forward, without making time or space for your grief, you deserve someone who will stay by your side, making sure you are cared for.
The decision to file a wrongful death claim is never an easy one—but for many families, it’s the right one. Aside from the emotional impact of the loss, there are changes in household structure and needs that happen when a family member dies. A wrongful death claim can give you a financial safety net to fall back on. It can also help bring closure by holding the at-fault party accountable. Our lawyers are here to explain what you can expect if you decide to file.
When Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims can be filed when one person’s death was caused by another party’s negligent or harmful actions. Any situation that might lead to a personal injury claim for a surviving victim may give you cause to file a wrongful death claim.
This might include a:
- Bicycle accident
- Boating accident
- Car accident
- Defective product
- Motorcycle accident
- Negligent healthcare provider
- Pedestrian accident
- Slip and fall
- Truck accident
- Workplace accident
To file a wrongful death claim after an accident took your loved one’s life, you will need proof of the other party’s liability. Our lawyers know how to recover and preserve evidence that can help with your claim. We will take care of this process completely, so you can spend time in the ways you most need to.
Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim
The first party with a right to file a wrongful death claim is the estate of the deceased, according to Rhode Island law. The administrator—who might be a family member or heir, but might not—will not necessarily benefit from this claim, depending on their relationship to the decedent. Statute 10-2-7 requires the compensation recovered in such a suit be split between the surviving spouse and children.
This means you may not need to drive the legal process to receive the compensation you need. If you are the representative of an estate, our team can help you take the right steps to start a suit. In cases where the estate does not have a representative, the right to sue passes to the surviving spouse, children, and other heirs.
One other detail of note: If you plan to file a wrongful death claim, you must do so within 3 years of your loved one’s passing. We understand you need time and space to grieve. However, we want to make sure you are not barred from receiving justice. When you are ready to think about your next steps, contact our team at Karns & Kerrison for advice.
Is a Wrongful Death Claim Right for Me?
If your loved one was taken from you too soon, especially in a manner that was preventable, we urge you to consider filing a wrongful death suit against the at-fault party. Even if their actions were truly accidental, they should still be held responsible for the pain they have brought upon your family. Some clients tell us their wrongful death case helped them find closure—others say it made them feel they were honoring their loved one by finding justice for them. Going through the process cannot provide answers to all your questions, but it may help you understand what happened.
Another aspect to consider is how your life will change materially without your loved one. Many of us live in two-income households, and especially if you have dependents, the loss of a provider can put you in danger of not being able to pay your mortgage or rent, your utilities, or even your weekly grocery bill. With a wrongful death claim, you can address this by requesting damages like:
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of pension, inheritance, etc.
- Loss of household services
- Medical costs incurred prior to your loved one’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
Our team will also push for non-economic damages including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
There is obviously no price one can put on a relationship—but recovering compensation can help you take care of necessities until you get back on your feet.
Let Our Family Help Yours
Karns & Kerrison is a family-owned and operated firm that has been serving Rhode Island since 1974. We feel a deep connection to our community and do our best to help those who are most in need at any given time. Our wrongful death attorneys work purely on a contingency basis, with no up-front costs for you. We are focused on providing support and a caring shoulder to lean on.
Working with a firm like ours gives you access to skilled, experienced professionals and adequate resources to handle complex cases. If you make the decision to file a wrongful death claim, it should be a smooth process that comes to an acceptable result. Our lawyers can help you each step of the way.
Car Accident Traumatic Brain InjuryI would definitely recommend Karns & Kerrison to anyone who asked - they come through for you.
- Patricia Feeley
Slipped on Greasy FloorI have no reservations whatsoever in recommending Karns & Kerrison.
- Mike Carey
Rear End CollisionNothing but positive results from consultation, to filing the legal suit, handling of a major operation, to recovery and finalizing a generous settlement.
- Larry Goldfarb
Horrible Car AccidentThey not only got me a fair settlement, they helped to get me well.
Motor Vehicle Accident - Braga BridgeIt was comforting to know I had someone watching out for me.
- Jeanie Small
Pedestrian hit by CarI did not know where to turn when I realized I needed legal help but I am very happy that I found Karns & Kerrison.