Mike Bottaro car accident attorney

Fatal Car Accidents in Rhode Island

blue car totaled on roadwayLosing a loved one due to another driver’s negligence can be soul-crushing. Although you should focus on mourning for your family member, the reality for many people is that the financial instability caused by a loved one’s sudden passing can be terrifying. How do you survive emotionally and financially after losing a precious loved one in a fatal car accident?

At Bottaro Law, we don’t have the power to heal your heart. But we can help you hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions and seek a degree of justice on behalf of the deceased.

Our team knows this is an exceedingly difficult time for you, and we encourage you to reach out to our Rhode Island office for support and legal advice. We provide a free, no-risk consultation to help get you started.

How Common are Fatal Car Accidents in Rhode Island?

For several years the rate of fatal car accidents in Rhode Island was declining. In a recent year, before the pandemic, there were 57 fatalities in Rhode Island, according to the Federal Highway Admission. Recently, however,  local news organizations have reported an uptick in the number of fatal car accidents on Rhode Island roadways, possibly due to increased speeding and alcohol use during the pandemic.

While fatality numbers may not seem high, fatal car crashes in Rhode Island are still too common, and motorists can prevent them by exercising more caution.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents?

Negligence causes many fatal car accidents in Rhode Island. Drivers who take their attention off the road for even a moment can cause catastrophic accidents.

Some of the most common causes of fatal accidents in Rhode Island include:

  • Impaired Driving – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation  (RIDOT) estimates that the state ranks above the national average for the percentage of fatalities involving impaired drivers. On average, law enforcement agencies across the state arrest at least 3,000 motorists for driving under the influence. To be considered legally intoxicated in Rhode Island, a motorist must have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The average impaired driving offender in Rhode Island has a BAC of 0.17 – more than twice the legal limit.
  • Distracted Driving Distracted driving is another concern for the RIDOT. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a motorist’s hands or attention away from safe vehicle operation. In a recent year, distracted driving claimed the lives of 2,841 people nationwide. Rhode Island has been trying to combat the problem by passing a hands-free law prohibiting drivers from holding a cell phone or other wireless device while operating a vehicle.
  • Speeding – Additional data from RIDOT confirms that speeding significantly contributes to the number of fatalities on Rhode Island roadways. In a couple of recent years, speed was likely a factor in at least 45 percent of all Rhode Island traffic fatalities.
  • Aggressive Driving – According to AAA, aggressive driving is common among U.S. drivers and may contribute to traffic-related fatalities. Aggressive driving is any unsafe behavior that jeopardizes another person’s safety or shows a blatant disregard for safe driving practices. Examples of aggressive driving include tailgating, running red lights, unsafe lane changes, and failing to yield the right of way. One AAA estimate found that 80 percent of U.S. drivers taking a survey engaged in angry and aggressive driving behaviors at least once within the 30 days before the survey.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Rhode Island?

Following a fatal car accident, surviving family members may be able to hold a negligent driver accountable for their actions by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are like personal injury lawsuits in many ways. When a negligent person injures someone, the victim can seek compensation for their injuries by filing a personal injury suit. Wrongful death claims work in a similar way. However, it is the executor of the victim’s estate who has the power to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased victim. 

Rhode Island law dictates that the victim’s estate executor may file a wrongful death lawsuit within six months of the deceased individual’s passing. During these six months, only the executor has the power to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court. If there is no executor or the six-month period has expired, certain members of a deceased individual’s family may file a claim on behalf of all beneficiaries. 

Family members who may pursue a wrongful death claim include the victim’s spouse, children, or parents. Generally, money recovered from a wrongful death lawsuit will be distributed to the deceased’s beneficiaries.

Potential Compensation in a Rhode Island Fatal Car Accident Case

At Bottaro Law, we understand that money cannot replace the loss of a cherished family member. Nothing has the power to fill that hole in your heart. However, compensation can help your family recover from the financial setbacks and complications that losing a family member can cause. 

Rhode Island allows beneficiaries to seek compensation for the following:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Medical expenses related to the victim’s passing
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of care, compassion, or guidance
  • Pain and suffering

How Our Attorney Can Help You After Losing a Loved One 

Losing a loved one is never easy. Following a fatal car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may feel angry, frustrated, and depressed. These emotions can easily overwhelm your everyday decision-making while leaving you extremely vulnerable. Money is often the last thing on your mind. Yet, financial instability in the aftermath of a deadly accident can cripple you and your family.

An experienced and resourceful fatal car crash attorney can ease your burden by taking responsibility for recovering compensation for your loss, giving you the time you need to mourn. At Bottaro Law, we will investigate the accident circumstances and gather the evidence needed to prepare a solid wrongful death case. Along the way, our team will provide compassionate service and the extra support you need to navigate this emotionally difficult time.

Contact Our Acclaimed Car Accident Lawyers at Botarro Law Firm Today 

The team at Bottaro Law believes you should have the time and space to grieve for your lost loved one. When you turn to us for help, we give you the support you deserve while we work diligently on seeking the compensation your family needs to survive.

Seek justice for your loved one and get in touch with a skilled Rhode Island fatal car accident lawyer today by contacting our office. The consultation is free and confidential.