Rhode Island Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits
Drivers and passengers who have been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island will want to get familiar with the state laws and car insurance rules that could affect any settlement or lawsuit that is brought over the accident.
Drivers and passengers who have been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island will want to get familiar with the state laws and car insurance rules that could affect any settlement or lawsuit that is brought over the accident. This page provides a summary of the Rhode Island-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, plus links to more detailed information.
Rhode Island Car Accident Laws
If you end up filing a lawsuit after a car accident in Rhode Island -- even if you’re only making an insurance claim for the time being -- there are a few state laws to keep in mind, beginning with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started (this kind of law is called a “statute of limitations”).
Rhode Island has some of the most generous lawsuit-filing time limits in the country. The relevant deadlines for car accident lawsuits are:
- three years after the accident for filing a lawsuit for personal injury (codified at R. I. Gen. Laws section 9-1-14) and
- ten years after the accident for filing a lawsuit for property damage (i.e. damage to a vehicle) (codified at R. I. Gen. Laws section 9-1-13).
If you don’t get your case started before the lawsuit-filing window closes, it’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear it when you do try to file. So it’s crucial to pay attention to the deadline, and that’s true even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other Rhode Island laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Car Insurance Requirements
Like most states, Rhode Island requires drivers to carry adequate car insurance coverage on any vehicle owned and operated in the state. The following minimum coverage is mandatory:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.)
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident, and
- $25,000 for damage to another person’s vehicle or other property.
Car insurance carriers are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage for any policy sold in Rhode Island, but consumers are free to reject UIM coverage as long as they do so in writing. For more details on car insurance for vehicles in Rhode Island -- check out our companion article Rhode Island Car Insurance Laws.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Rhode Island
You might not find it necessary to hire a lawyer for every car accident claim you decide to file. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the car accident, and you suffered only minor injuries, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself as long as you’re comfortable with the process.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the extent or the costs of your medical treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (and contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Rhode Island. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to Rhode Island civil court.