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Awards & Affiliations

  • American Association for Justice
    As members of the AAJ, we are committed to promoting a fair, effective justice system that allows for victims of misconduct or negligence to obtain the justice they deserve.
  • Rhode Island Association for Justice
    Members of the Rhode Island Association for Justice follow the organization’s mission: Working together to ensure equality.
  • Rhode Island Bar Association
    The Rhode Island Bar Association has been working to uphold and protect federal and state laws since 1898, with an emphasis on maintaining a democratic government and honoring the justice system.
  • DC Bar
    Membership with the DC Bar provides us with access to legal research materials, professional service providers, and more that can be used for the benefit of our clients.
  • Super Lawyers
    Only 2.5% of attorneys in a given state are selected for inclusion on the Rising Stars® list. Members must be aged 40 or younger, or be in practice for 10 years or less.
  • Distinguished Martindale Hubbell
    Distinguished® attorneys are peer-review rated and selected based on their honorable professional achievements.
  • Brain Injury Association
    Our work with the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island is designed to provide information and services to survivors.
  • Brain Association of America
    As members of the Brain Injury Association of America, we are the voice of awareness, and we are here to help survivors.
  • Expertise Best Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Southern New England Brain Injury Law Center
    Southern New England Brain Injury Law Center
    This is a society of multidisciplinary brain injury professionals who come together to discuss issues concerning brain injury and bring the science behind brain injuries into practice.
  • Melvin M Belli
    Lawyers are initiated into the Melvin M. Belli society by invitation-only and are considered to be distinguished trial lawyers.

Providence Wrongful Death Attorneys

Wrongful Death & Survival Actions in Rhode Island

Families who lose loved ones in preventable accidents have the right to pursue justice. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can hold at-fault parties accountable and position your family to obtain financial compensation for your losses.

If someone you love passed away because of another’s negligent or wrongful act, Karns & Kerrison can help explore your legal options. We’re a family-run firm that fights for families and proudly serve clients across across Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.

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Why Choose Karns & Kerrison?

Karns & Kerrison is a trusted trial practice with a reputation for fighting on behalf of the injured and wronged. Since 1974, our family-operated firm has helped families across Rhode Island and New England fight for justice and has earned the trust of countless clients and colleagues along the way.

Reasons to choose our firm:

  • More Than 85 Years of Combined Experience
  • Over $250 Million in Compensation Recovered for Clients
  • Exclusive Focus on Personal Injury Law

Our Providence wrongful death attorneys offer FREE consultations and handle cases on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire and no fee unless we win. Learn how we can help by calling (888) 281-3100 or contacting us online.

Wrongful Death FAQ

How Do Rhode Island Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work?

In Rhode Island, families and estates can sue over a loved one’s wrongful death when the death results from someone else’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default.”

Under RI Gen Laws § 10-7-1, there are many negligent and wrongful acts that can be grounds for a wrongful death case. Examples include:

  • Fatal car accidents caused by negligent motorists
  • Unreasonable property hazards
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse
  • Toxic exposure
  • Defective products or dangerous medications
  • Medical malpractice
  • Intentional acts / homicide

While many people refer to claims that follow a person’s preventable death simply as wrongful death lawsuits, these cases consist of two separate legal actions:

  • A wrongful death action, which is filed on behalf of a victim’s surviving family members for their damages, such as grief, lost financial support, and loss of consortium (companionship).
  • A survival action, which is filed by the estate for damages a victim would have been entitled to had they survived, such as their pain and suffering and any medical expenses or lost income they incurred following their injuries and prior to death. Damages in survival actions are paid to a victim’s estate and distributed to their beneficiaries.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Only certain parties are eligible to file wrongful death and survival actions. Typically, these are close family members such as:

  • A surviving spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and there are scenarios in which a person not mentioned above could be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death action. If you have questions about your eligibility to file a claim, our attorneys at Karns & Kerrison can evaluate your options.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Action?

Civil claims are subject to a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time plaintiffs have to initiate legal action. If plaintiffs fail to file before the statute of limitations expires, they lose the right to recover compensation.

In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is generally three years from the date of the victim’s death. However, there are situations where the statute of limitations can be different, such as in cases involving minor victims and cases where the cause of death was concealed or not immediately known.

Ultimately, it is in the best interests of families with potential cases to seek experienced counsel sooner rather than later. Early legal intervention can help avoid problems with the statute of limitations and allow attorneys to conduct investigations before time can deteriorate potential evidence.

Does My Family Have a Case?

Whether your family can pursue a wrongful death action will depend on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. Generally, you may have a case if:

  • Someone’s negligence or wrongful act caused or contributed to your loved one’s death;
  • You are eligible to recover damages in a wrongful death action under Rhode Island law; and
  • The statute of limitations has not yet expired.

It is worth mentioning that any criminal investigation or case related to your loved one’s death does not affect whether you can file or win a wrongful death claim.

As civil cases, wrongful death lawsuits are separate matters from criminal cases. They do not concern whether a person is guilty of committing a crime, and instead focus solely on determining whether a defendant is liable (or financially responsible) for damages.

Because civil claims also use a lower burden of proof than the burden used in criminal cases (a “preponderance of the evidence” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt), families may still have viable civil claims when no criminal charges are filed in connection to their loved one’s death, and even in situations where individuals are found “not guilty” in criminal court.

Examples of Our Results

  • $2.1 million wrongful death recovery for the family of a 42-year-old recreational bicyclist who was struck and killed by a vehicle.
  • $1.86 million for a 76-year-old woman who suffered a brain injury when her vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.
  • $1.55 million for a 25-year-old female passenger who suffered a traumatic brain injury and fractures in a rollover auto accident.
  • $1.1 million recovery for the family of an 83-year-old pedestrian who sustained a fatal brain injury when he was struck by a motor vehicle.

Speak With a Providence Wrongful Death Lawyer: (888) 281-3100

Our attorneys at Karns & Kerrison have decades of experience helping families and personal representatives in wrongful death and survival actions across Providence County and Rhode Island. During a FREE consultation, we can review your matter, available options, and how we might be able to help.

Call (888) 281-3100 or contact us online today.

  • Car Accident Traumatic Brain Injury
    I would definitely recommend Karns & Kerrison to anyone who asked - they come through for you.

    - Patricia Feeley

  • Slipped on Greasy Floor
    I have no reservations whatsoever in recommending Karns & Kerrison.

    - Mike Carey

  • Rear End Collision
    Nothing 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 Accident
    They not only got me a fair settlement, they helped to get me well.

    - Nancy

  • Motor Vehicle Accident - Braga Bridge
    It was comforting to know I had someone watching out for me.

    - Jeanie Small

  • Pedestrian hit by Car
    I did not know where to turn when I realized I needed legal help but I am very happy that I found Karns & Kerrison.

    - Martin

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Schedule A Free Consultation

If you or your loved one suffered severe, life-altering injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we are here to help you fight for justice. For answers to your questions or to schedule a free consultation, contact our personal injury team at (888) 281-3100. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees after we have recovered compensation on your behalf.

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