Liability in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Your personal injury claim will be approached differently depending on the state. Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island approach personal injury claims through a system called ‘comparative fault’ (or ‘comparative negligence’). This means that monetary damages will generally be allocated according to the percentage of each party’s fault. While both states are comparative fault states, Massachusetts has adopted a modified version of comparative fault.
Pure Comparative Fault
Take this scenario as an example: if you were involved in a car wreck in Rhode Island that was caused by another driver running a red light, but you were also texting while driving, the court may find that you were 60% at fault. As a result, your overall settlement will be reduced by 60% to account for your level of responsibility in causing the crash. If the court awards you $10,000 in damages for your injuries, you will actually only be entitled to receive $4,000.
Modified Comparative Fault
Imagine this same car accident occurred in Massachusetts. Because Massachusetts approaches each personal injury claim as a “modified comparative fault” state, monetary damages will only be given out if the injured party is less than 50 percent at fault for causing the injury. If the injured party was 51 percent at fault or more (as in the example above), they will not be able to recover any damages. However, suppose the court finds you 30% at fault. In that case, you will be entitled to receive damages (because it is less than 51%), but the amount of money will be reduced according to the percentage of your fault. It’s important to seek out legal representation to help you navigate the complexities of Rhode Island and Massachusetts’ modified comparative liability laws.
What Types of Personal Injury Cases Do We Handle?
At Combies Hanson, P.C., we help you navigate liability and other legal complexities in the following types of cases and many others:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Negligent Security
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Dog Bites
- Work-Related Accidents
Remember, your health is always your top priority. Focus on getting better, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Steps to Take After an Injury
The shock of a personal injury can lead to uncertainty. However, knowing what to do in the days immediately following your personal injury is a way to regain a sense of stability. Follow these steps:
- Seek Medical Help: Once you seek proper care, the medical experts will determine the extent of your injuries.
- Collect Documentation: A personal injury claim may depend on documentation as evidence. Obtain copies of police reports, medical records, and witness statements.
- Personal Recollection of Details: As soon as possible, document your own recollection of what occurred before, during, and after the incident.
- Report the Injury to Your Insurance Company: Do this immediately, as some companies have strict time limits for reporting.
- Retain an Attorney: Hire a team of experienced personal injury lawyers to help you file claims, negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, or go to trial.
After your injury, don’t take any more emotional energy away from your recovery process. Allow quality legal representation to fight for you when you need it.
Time Limit to File a Claim
According to the statutes of limitation in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, you have three years since the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim. While this may seem like a long time, it’s not forever. It is critical that you immediately contact an attorney so that an investigation can take place and we can start protecting your future. The responsible party’s insurance company is conducting its own investigation with the intent of minimizing your claim, so it’s important to act fast.