Providence, RI – There are a number of ways that victims can be affected after an accident. Some injuries will cause the victim to miss time from work, have to reconsider their career ambitions, and deal with the costs and inconveniences of medical treatment for months or years after the incident. The civil law provides a remedy in the form of compensation that is used to pay for the victim’s losses. The amount of compensation that is available is generally proportional to the severity of the person’s injuries.  

The legal term for the compensation that someone receives based on the severity of their injuries is damages. The final element of a negligence case is also proving that the victim suffered actual harm that can be quantified into damages. Money paid out by an insurance claim is different from damages awarded in a civil case. 

The law of damages in Rhode Island

The two main types of damages that are available are economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are calculated based on a summary of all losses that can be considered to be caused by the defendant’s actions. This includes the total of medical treatment, property repairs, lost income, and other tangible amounts that are proven through documentation. 

Non-economic damages are more difficult to predict, but they can be substantial in serious accident cases. This is an amount meant to compensate a victim for things like a reduced quality of life, emotional trauma, physical pain tied to injuries, and various forms of stress and psychological problems. 

One rule that is unique to Rhode Island in cases involving fatal injuries there must be specific proof that the victim did not pass away immediately after an accident and had actually experienced pain and suffering for non-economic damages. If this cannot be proven, then non-economic damages are not available after a fatal accident case. 

Rhode Island’s laws do not have damage caps or limits on what a victim can collect for standard personal injury cases. 

Comparative negligence

Some accident victims may have their damage award affected if they are partially at fault for an accident. Rhode Island uses the comparative negligence standard. This means that the plaintiff will have their damage award reduced relative to their level of fault for the accident. However, they can still file a lawsuit and collect damages regardless of their percentage of fault. Even a plaintiff who is considered to be mostly at fault for the accident will still be able to collect a reduced amount of damages. 

Learning more about accident lawsuits is a directory that is available to help people who need legal assistance for various reasons. Anyone who has been involved in an accident can find a lawyer in Providence or other cities based on their practice area.