Providence Personal Injury Lawyer: What Is My Case Worth?
This articles addresses, in a very general manner, a common question that Rhode Island personal injury car accident victims wonder: "What is my case worth"?
Please understand that this is a "general" article laying out categories of damages and assuming that liability is primarily adverse to the other party (meaning that you did not primarily cause the car accident). You should know that because Rhode Island is a pure tort state, you may be entitled to compensation even if the accident was some percentage your fault. The following categories are areas in which you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you evaluate and negotiate the best possible outcome for your case. I practice as an AV rated RI car accident lawyer, including as a Providence personal injury lawyer down to our smallest towns and villages. My clients receive free consultations specific to their case and there is absolutely zero cost until we win your case. Therefore, if you would like to contact me to discuss these categories applicable to your case in more detail, then you may contact me for free and with no obligation.
If your car has been damaged in an RI car accident, then you may have a right to have another party pay you for the damage. We have regulations in RI that provide some specific guidance depending on your situation. In general, insurers will pay you the "fair market value," meaning the approximate amount of money you would have received if you tried to sell it prior to the collision. Our Providence personal injury lawyers may assist you having a vehicle appraiser provide a lost value report evaluating the property damage. You may also be entitled to the reasonable cost of a rental vehicle for a period of time.
The "reasonable and necessary" gross medical expenses as a result of your injuries suffered in the car accident are recoverable in your personal injury case.
Our Providence personal injury lawyers are experienced in compiling, reviewing, and calculating the exact medical expenses, using the proper ICD9 and U40 medical coding system. In addition, our clients are instructed to maintain all evidence of out of pocket expenses incurred such as for co-payments and deductibles. You should keep your medical bills and receipts. Your car accident attorney will need to know which expenses your medical insurance provider pays and which you pay yourself.
In Rhode Island, personal injury car accident clients are entitled to recovery of their gross lost wages or lost earning capacity.
Lost wages may be as simple as calculating the exact hours an hourly employee missed from work due to the personal injuries suffered in the car accident. Or, the calculations may be much more complex for a salaried employee or business owner. You may also claim loss of a homemaker's services, where a homemaker is someone responsible for the care of the home and family. (R.I.G.L. 9-1- 47) Should the collision be fatal, these damages may include lost wages, pensions, retirement plans, or social security benefits. (R.I.G.L 10-7-1 through 13; See, e.g., Pray v. Narragansett Imp. Co., 434 A. 2d 923 (R.I. 1981))
General Damages / Pain and Suffering Damages
General damages are sometimes referred to as "pain and suffering" damages. Unlike the other categories of damages, "pain and suffering" damages are not easily calculated.
These damages may include factors such as the amount, location, duration, and frequency of pain, scarring, disfigurement, loss of society and companionship. For example, loss of society and companionship includes recovery for injury to a spouse, child, or parent. (R.I.G.L. 9-1-41). Our Providence personal injury lawyers are experienced in discussing and evaluating these types of damages.
In rare cases (and seldom for settlement purposes), it may be appropriate to present the jury with evidence in support of punitive damages. In Rhode Island, punitive damages are reserved for only acts that are akin to criminality and involves instances of intentional or reckless conduct that goes beyond ordinary cases of negligence.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident caused by a RI drunk driver, than our Providence personal injury lawyers would contend that such damages should be awarded. It is important to understand that punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer. This category of damages is much more uncommon. Further, Rhode Island generally does not require an insurer to pay punitive damages for a driver's misconduct. Allen v. Simmons, 533 A. 2d 541 (R.I. 1987).
by: Mike Bottaro