Rhode Island, like all States, recognizes an action for wrongful death. In early common law, such actions were not allowed under the belief that since the victim was dead, no one was alive to bring the lawsuit. Wrongful death statutes changed this practice and allowed for the family to sue for the death of a loved one. Today, when someone dies due to the fault of another person or entity (like a car manufacturer), the survivors may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit seeks compensation for the loss suffered, including but not limited to, Loss Of Wages and earning potential, companionship, and funeral expenses.
How Does Wrongful Death Happen?
Wrongful death claims stem from all types of fatal accidents, from auto and truck accidents to serious medical malpractice (doctor or hospital staff negligence) or product liability (dangerous products or services) cases. Persons, companies, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently (failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted) or for acting intentionally.
Immediate family members, such as spouses and children, are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Rhode Island.
Recent Rhode Island Legislation Regarding Wrongful Death
It is also VERY important to know that the House of Representatives in Rhode Island voted to approve a bill which amends the wrongful death statute to allow parents to make a claim for loss of parental society and companionship even if the child is over the age of 18 and no longer a minor.
The truth is that no lawsuit will ever compensate for the loss of a family member and loved one. It is, however, important to understand your rights and contact an attorney who can help the family get their feet back on the ground.
Contact my office for a free consultation.