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Providence Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, you know that the money spent on medical bills is just the tip of the iceberg. Losing the ability to work or the income from family members killed in a crash can leave you coping with serious financial stress in addition to your physical and emotional injuries.
Did You Take These 5 Steps After Your Car Accident?
Experienced Providence Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
At Gemma Law Associates, Inc., we know that nothing can make up for the harm caused by a preventable car accident. However, Rhode Island law gives you the right to be compensated for your economic and non-economic losses. An experienced lawyer from our firm can help you to protect this right by taking steps that include:
- Investigating your claim and helping you to prove your case
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Taking action against insurers who act in bad faith
- Representing you in court.
To learn more, call Gemma Law Associates, Inc., today at our toll-free number or contact us online to learn how we can help you. Our initial consultations are always free.
Types of Compensation Available after a Rhode Island Car Accident
When you meet with a Gemma Law attorney to review your case, we will explain to you the different types of compensation that are available to Rhode Island car accident victims. In your case, you may be able to recover money for:
- Medical costs
This includes payment of past and future medical bills and payment for things like transportation costs to go to your doctor’s office.
- Lost income
Whether you take sick time, miss work for a few months or cannot work again for the rest of your life, you may be compensated for any wages that the accident prevents you from earning. If your loved one is killed, you could be compensated for income that person would have earned and provided for your family over the course of his or her life.
- Pain and suffering
It is hard to put a price on what your pain is worth, but the law says that the person or entity who causes a car accident must compensate you for the pain you endure.
- Emotional distress
Like pain and suffering, nothing can take away the emotional anguish you feel due to the accident or injuries. Still, you deserve to be “made whole” from the crash, and that includes receiving payment for any emotional suffering you experience.
- Wrongful death damages
These damages are paid to surviving family members such as spouses, parents of minor children and kids whose parents die in crashes.
The compensation you may receive after an accident will depend on many factors, including the severity of your accident and the injuries. Unfortunately, the insurance companies won’t simply write you a check to try to make up for what has happened.
Your Legal Options after a Car Crash
If you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed in a car accident through no fault of your own, you have to take legal action and make sure you protect your right to get compensation you deserve. You can do this in many ways, including:
- Making a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
The driver responsible for causing your accident should pay for your bodily injuries and vehicle damage. The driver should have liability insurance coverage. In Rhode Island, by law, the minimum coverage limits currently are “25/50/25.” The first two numbers mean that the at-fault driver would pay up to $25,000 per person injured in your accident, or up to $50,000 if two or more persons are injured. The last number means that the driver would pay up to $25,000 for property damage that the driver caused. A Gemma Law attorney can negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the driver’s insurance company to get compensation for your injuries in exchange for giving up the right to sue.
- Making a claim with your own insurance company
If the driver who caused your crash had no insurance or didn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses, you may need to turn to your own insurance company and make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim (UM/UIM). At Gemma Law, we can review your insurance policy to determine your UM/UIM coverage and deal with your insurance company in making a claim through this policy.
- Taking your case to court
If the insurance companies refuse to agree to a full and fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit against the driver who was responsible for your accident. You will need to prove that the driver was unreasonably careless or broke safety rules, and you will need to show that you were damaged or harmed as a result. The judge or jury will decide if the other driver was to blame and how much money you should be awarded. Gemma Law has a long history of successfully taking these cases to trial.
If we take on your case, Gemma Law will work closely with you to pursue the options that are right for you and your family, and we will keep you fully updated and informed through every stage of your case.
How a Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Pursuing a car accident claim can be complicated. There are strict timelines (called statutes of limitations) and specific procedural rules that you need to follow. Also, when you are dealing with insurance companies, you are dealing with a team of experts who want to protect their profits and pay you as little as possible or nothing at all.
An experienced lawyer at Gemma Law can help you. We will:
- Investigate your claim and help you to prove your case
From interviewing witnesses to collecting records to finding an accident reconstruction expert, we will help you build a strong claim in an our effort to get the insurance company or a jury to understand why you deserve full compensation.
- Negotiate with insurance companies
Generally speaking, insurance companies do not want to pay what they owe, whether you are dealing with your own insurer or the other driver’s insurer. Insurance companies may use all sorts of tactics and delays to try to get you to settle for less. You need a negotiator with a detailed understanding of car accident cases to make the insurer play fair and pay you what you deserve. At Gemma Law, insurance companies know we are aggressive, tough negotiators who will stand up for our clients.
- Take action against bad-faith insurers
If your insurance company doesn’t pay out a claim when your policy covers it, they can be taken to court for bad faith. In many cases, you can recover compensation in excess of your policy limits when an insurer is unreasonable.
- Represent you in court
If your claim goes in front of a judge or jury, we know how to present evidence in a compelling way that will convince the court to award you the maximum in damages.
When you are represented by Gemma Law Associates, Inc., you have a caring, dedicated and experienced lawyer with knowledge of Rhode Island car accident laws on your side.
With more than 40 years of experience representing accident victims, we know how important it is to you to be awarded fair compensation after your car accident so that you will have money to meet your needs. We take our responsibility to our clients seriously. We will treat your case with the importance that it deserves.
We never charge legal fees unless we win compensation for you. This means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having our firm on your case.
Give us a call today or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation so you can learn more about how we can help with your claim.
The majority of car accidents are caused by drivers behaving in a negligent or reckless way. Many drivers are distracted by talking to passengers, eating, drinking or talking on cell phones. Drivers are also distracted by the numerous technological devices available in the modern car such as CD players, radios, navigation systems, televisions, etc. Some drivers make improper turns, fail to obey traffic signals, speed, or operate their vehicles while tired, sick or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Accidents can also occur due to defective cars, defective parts, weather, or dangerous road conditions.
It is important that you seek immediate medical attention for any injuries. When everyone is out of danger and police help has been summoned, make a note of the following:
- The full name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance information for all drivers.
- Whether any of the drivers appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The full names, addresses and phone numbers for all passengers, pedestrians, witnesses and vehicle owners.
- Any and all statements you hear about the cause or consequences of the accident.
- Location, date and time of the accident.
- A detailed description of the accident, including which direction the vehicles were going, weather conditions, time of day, what happened, any injuries, what was damaged, and what the police did, especially if they issued tickets or gave a sobriety test.
- Any problems with vehicles not caused by the accident, such as broken lights or worn tires.
Even if you think you are to blame for the accident, you should not volunteer that information because you may later learn that the other driver was as much or more at fault. You should first talk to your insurance company and a lawyer because anything you say to the police or the other driver can be used against you later. Do not agree to pay for damages or sign any paper except a traffic ticket until you check with your insurance company or lawyer.
Police or other law enforcement – If the accident causes a personal injury or property damage exceeding a certain dollar amount, you are required to report the accident to the police.
Your insurance company – Most car insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report a car accident. Failure to provide information on a timely basis can result in loss of coverage for the accident.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) – Rhode Island requires every driver involved in an accident causing personal injury or property damage in excess of $1,000 to file a report with the DMV within 21 days of the accident. Failure to do so can result in revocation of your driver’s license.
Even if you feel fine after being involved in a car accident, it is always wise to be checked out by medical professionals. Many people dismiss initial pain as inconsequential or hope that it will go away on its own, only to go to the doctor weeks later and discover more serious injuries. Delaying treatment is bad both for your health and your chances of obtaining an appropriate legal settlement because there will be no medical record of your injury at the time of the accident. When you are reporting your injury to the police and medical staff, take extra care to identify specific complaints. Anything that is out of the ordinary is a symptom and should be reported to your doctor so he or she can make an informed diagnosis.
Generally speaking, it depends on what happened, what injuries were suffered and who suffered them. You should definitely contact an attorney if the injuries were serious, likely to be permanent or resulted in death. An attorney should also be consulted if fault is clearly an issue, the police report is incorrect, the limits of your liability insurance are low, you have no insurance or your insurance company engages its own attorney. You should also seek legal advice on the settlement value of a claim, the terms of your insurance policy, or suspected bad faith actions by your insurance company.
You have a valid personal injury claim if your injury is a direct result of the car accident and the accident was partly the fault of another person. If you can establish that the accident was caused due to another person’s negligence, you can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses incurred in the treatment of your injuries.
- Future medical costs.
- Actual lost wages.
- Loss of future wages.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Pain and suffering.
Every state has a certain time limit, called a “statute of limitations,” that governs the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit with the court. Rhode Island requires a personal injury claim arising from a car accident to be filed within three years of the date that the injury took place. If you miss the deadline for filing the case, you may be barred from bringing the lawsuit in court.
It is best not to talk to the other driver’s insurance company until you have had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer. If you are contacted, politely decline to talk. Insurance companies’ claims adjusters are professional negotiators with extensive experience. Their job is to pay you as little as possible. They are trained to ask questions in a manner designed to minimize your claim. You should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can determine the best way to proceed.
If a lawsuit is brought against you for damages arising out of a car accident, it is crucial that you contact your insurance company immediately. Generally, your insurance company will assign an attorney to handle your case. However, you may need your own attorney if you are sued for more than your policy limits or if your insurance company indicates it may not cover you for everything. Also, insurance company lawyers do not handle traffic citations or criminal cases such as hit-and-run charges.
Motor Vehicle Accident Report Update, Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles