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Personal Injury

How Is Car Accident Fault Determined in Rhode Island?

June 11, 2018

Updated: June 25, 2019

Car accident fault rhode island lawyer

Car accident fault can be determined in many ways depending on if you have an experienced attorney handling your case.

To determine car accident fault, an attorney can look at the police report from the crash, as well as witness statements in combination with your account to determine how best to argue your case with the insurance company. An attorney will look at the big picture of the accident and negotiate with the insurance company in an effort to maximize your compensation to in your case.


What If My Case Goes to Trial?

Most cases are settled outside of Court, but if your car accident case does go to trial, a jury or a judge will determine who was at fault in the accident. When a case goes to trial, the plaintiff and defendant can elect to have the case heard by a jury, or waive their right to a jury and have their case heard by a judge.

If your trial is heard by a jury, the jury will determine car accident fault, and reach a verdict on how much the at-fault party owes in damages. In the scenario that your case is heard by a judge instead of a jury, the judge will make both of those determinations. During the trial process, your attorney will submit evidence on your behalf to obtain the most favorable verdict from the judge or jury.


What If I was Partially at Fault?

Rhode Island allows injured parties to recover compensation after a car accident even if they contributed to the crash. This law is known as the pure comparative negligence law and it allows you to collect compensation from the other party even if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident.

For example, if you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident and the other party is found to be 80% responsible, you could be awarded 80% of the damages you seek from the other party.

There are many scenarios where pure comparative negligence can be found in a car accident case, especially in accidents that occur in an intersection. One example is if you were taking a left hand turn and were t-boned by a driver in the oncoming lane who was speeding and was not able to stop in time to avoid hitting you.  A jury might find that that the other driver was 70% at fault for speeding, but find you 30% at fault if the jury finds that you entered the oncoming traffic lane with another car approaching and that it was unsafe under the circumstances. In this scenario, you could potentially recover as much as 70% of your damages.


If you were in a car accident and believe you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, our office may be able to help. Call our office at 844-567-1185 for a free consultation.