Motor Vehicle Accidents

  • Any passenger injured in a motor vehicle accident will generally be entitled to an award of 100% of his or her damages (including medical expenses, loss wages, pain & suffering, scarring, etc.).

  • When two or more vehicles collide, either operator may be 100% at-fault, or 100% not at fault, or each operator may be partially at-fault.

  • A driver not at-fault is also entitled to an award of 100% of his or her damages. On the other hand, any driver who is at-fault will be liable to all others injured but may not collect for his or her own injuries.

  • If more than one operator is at-fault, any award of damages will be apportioned among all operators who are found liable.

  • Motor vehicle accidents (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and recreational vehicles) almost always involve the application of the “Rules of the Road” in determining liability or fault of any operator. The investigating officer may or may not issue a citation for a traffic violation to an operator involved in a collision.

 
 
 
 
 

       For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

Car, Truck, Motorcycle
& Boating Accidents
 
 

Motorcycle Accidents 

  • Motorcycles raise special issues because the risk of injury to the operator and any passenger of a motorcycle is obviously much higher.

  • Motorcycles are especially at risk under adverse road conditions, such as in construction zones or on a road that is not properly maintained.

  • Any dangerous road condition caused by another party, such as spilling of a slippery substance or not properly securing items to a vehicle that fall off and become road hazards, can cause serious injury to motorcyclists. 

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims 

  • When an at-fault operator of a motor vehicle causes personal injuries to another and does not have sufficient insurance coverage to cover all the damages that the injured party is entitled to, the injured party has an "uninsured or underinsured" motorist claim.

  • In such a case, the injured party must be covered by one or more auto insurance policies that includes Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage (or "UMBI") coverage.

  • By law, every insurance company providing automobile liability coverage in Rhode Island must also offer UMBI coverage in the same amount of limits.

  • In Rhode Island, the minimum amount of liability insurance required by law is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident. Many drivers opt for higher coverage, such as 50/100, 100/300, or a single limit of $500,000 or $1 million.

  • Whatever the liability limits chosen, every vehicle owner should never opt to exclude UMBI coverage. Otherwise, there may be no insurance available to compensate the person for injuries caused by the negligence of an uninsured driver.

  • Opting out of UMBI coverage, or opting to reduce the coverage limits below the liability limits, must be done in writing. Furthermore, it will be up to the insurance company to produce the original or copy of the written waiver. An experienced lawyer will always request a copy of any waiver if an insurance company claims that the injured party lacks UMBI coverage.

Boating Accidents 

  • Boating accidents are investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and/or local officials to determine if any operator violated the "Rules of the Road" applicable to the waterway where the accident occurred. These rules may involve federal, state and/or local regulations.

  • The more serious boating accidents, such as those involving a drowning or death, can become Wrongful Death claims.

Drunk Driving Accidents 

  • Whether a car, truck, motorcycle, boat or recreational vehicle is involved in an accident where the operator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drunk driving issues are raised. A person injured or killed by a drunk driver has a claim for damages against the drunk driver and vehicle owner and may also have a "Dram Shop" claim against any establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver. For more information on this topic, click on link below:

Recreational Vehicle Accidents

  • Accidents that occur while the injured party was operating or being transported on a recreational vehicle may raise issues of "products liability" if the design of the recreational vehicle created an unreasonable risk of harm that the injured person could not easily appreciate. For example, while it is obvious that a motorcycle can easily become unbalanced and fall over, it is less obvious that a three-wheel ATV could become unstable while turning. Thus, an inexperienced driver of such a vehicle may not fully appreciate the risk posed by such a design.

  • Four-wheel ATVs can also be unstable when either turning or bouncing over bumps. If it can be shown that the design of the vehicle was defective and created a risk of harm that the operator could not reasonably appreciate, then a defective products claim may be brought against the manufacturer.

  • For "off road" recreational vehicles, the design of the vehicle may be a more crucial fact due to the increased risk of an accident occurring on an uneven surface.