Wrongful Death Legal Claims
Losing a close relative to an untimely death is unimaginable for those left behind. To lose a loved one so suddenly is even more difficult when your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s reckless or careless acts. Families are frequently left to pay medical expenses and funeral costs, not to mention enduring the loss of financial and emotional support they once received.
Fortunately, Rhode Island law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent party to help ease the financial burden. Even though no lawsuit can restore your loss, a wrongful death action can help the family reach closure and secure the money they need to get on with their lives.
If a family member has died due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act the Rhode Island attorneys at Dana & Dana can help. You can expect respect, compassion and care from our lawyers and staff. We can be reached 24/7.
About Wrongful Death Claims in Rhode Island
Rhode Island created a cause of action for wrongful death in R.I. General Law § 10-7-1. The Statute allows a wrongful death claim to proceed where a person’s death was “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” and the deceased person would have been able to recover damages from the wrongdoer if he or she had survived.
Rhode Island’s wrongful death statute allows an action to be brought on behalf of the deceased’s spouse and children. If there was no spouse or children, the action is for the benefit of the person’s parents. If there was no spouse, children or parents, then the action is for the benefit of the heirs.
Wrongful Death Law Frequently Asked Questions
- Medical expenses for the deceased’s treatment.
- Loss of financial support and benefits.
- Loss of household services.
- Loss of companionship, love and guidance.
- Pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages in exceptional situations where the defendant was reckless, willful or malicious in causing the death.
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On March 12th, the New York Times highlighted the dilemma of lead paint in residences and other buildings, and the dangers they pose to everyone, including babies and women who are pregnant. Anyone who has ever rented an apartment in an older building has likely signed a lead paint disclosure form stating that their apartment may contain lead paint. While lead-based paint can pose a danger to anyone, women who are pregnant or couples with children are often more nervous about signing this form and potentially exposing themselves and their children to lead, potentially developing brain and other injuries. So what are the alternatives?
Health Issues Associated With Lead Exposure
In the past, lead was used to produce paint used in homes and other buildings. It is especially dangerous to children because they absorb more of it as they are growing, and both their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Babies, in particular, are often at risk, as they sometimes touch painted walls and then put their hands in their mouths. They are also at risk before they are born, as a pregnant woman’s exposure can result in exposure to her developing baby. Children in general are also at risk if they inhale lead dust from lead-based paint. This is especially of concern if a building with lead-based paint is undergoing renovations.
The health effects of exposing children to lead are frightening, and include slowed growth, behavior and learning problems, hyperactivity, lower IQ, hearing problems, and anemia. Sometimes it can even lead to seizures, coma, and/or death. To date, lead paint is still the most common source of exposure for U.S. children.
Laws Regulating Lead In Paint
Although lead as a pollutant is regulated by many laws, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Title X) specifically addresses lead-based paint products in residential buildings. The Act declares that, prior to 1980, American housing stock contained more than 3,000,000 tons of lead in (the form of) lead-based paint, and that homes built before 1950 contained substantial amounts of lead-based paint. One of the main purposes of the law was to develop a national strategy to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in all housing.
If you are concerned that you live in an apartment with lead-based paint, it is important to specifically look for signs of flaking, peeling, or chipping, as they can pose an immediate issue to children. In addition, many cities require landlords to inspect apartments each year if children under the age of six live there. And if your landlord is re-painting, it is important that you insist on then relying on a painter certified in lead paint remediation. Be especially careful if you are painting a nursery, as prepping a room that was previously painted with lead-based paint before re-painting can serve as a serious form of exposure for expecting mothers.
Dana and Dana: Personal Injury Attorneys in Providence, Rhode Island
The personal injury attorneys at Dana and Dana have decades of combined experience helping victims of personal injuries—including toxic lead exposure–recover compensation for their injuries. After suffering something as serious as a brain injury, for example, our clients are understandably concerned about the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as the costs of a potentially having a permanent disability. A lawsuit handled by Dana and Dana can help our clients regain the financial stability they need to live a comfortable life. And with our no cost guarantee, you will not pay anything unless we are able to recover compensation for you. Contact us today so that we can get starting helping you.
When we think of wrongful death, we often think of hospital or medical errors, or perhaps a car crash that takes a loved one. Most of us do not see the potential for someone to do wrong to an infant, depriving them of their young life.
And yet that is precisely what happened to a young one-year-old baby whose parents are now suing her former nanny for wrongful death; specifically, for negligent, willful, reckless, malicious, and/or grossly negligent acts that resulted in their daughter’s death three years ago after suffering from brain swelling and bleeding. Their goal in suing is to ensure that the child’s former nanny is not able to make a profit off of the baby’s death in the form of a book deal or otherwise.
The case originally gained international attention because the nanny was originally to be prosecuted for criminal charges (murder) until the medical examiner in the case changed the official cause of death and—although not eliminating murder as a possible cause—doubt was cast as to the prosecutor’s ability to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. The medical examiner’s original theory was that the baby was the victim of shaken-baby syndrome, which typically involves an infant suffering from head trauma due to being excessively shaken or hit. According to the lawsuit filed, the nanny slammed the baby onto the changing table and proceeded to shake her violently to get her to stop crying, causing hemorrhaging, skeletal fractures, and brain swelling, ultimately leading to her death.
Evidence of Wrongful Death
Other evidence which emerged included “signs of violence” in the home, including some drywall missing near the changing table, indicating that it had forcibly hit the wall. Blood was also found on baby wipes, blankets, and clothes nearby.
Unlike the relevant standard in the nanny’s criminal case, the parents only need to prove that the nanny is guilty “by a preponderance of evidence.” Currently, the two sides are essentially arguing over what the medical evidence shows, and specifically, when the baby’s bone fractures occurred.
Of late, shaken-baby syndrome has become the subject of a national controversy, as the medical establishment pushes back against the attempt by some defense lawyers to argue that some have been wrongly accused of it, warning the public that it is an accurate way of identifying horrific child abuse
Wrongful Death Attorneys in Rhode Island
Losing a loved one is painful enough as it is; Losing your newborn infant is, arguably, even more difficult, especially if it was caused by someone else’s intentional or negligent acts. Fortunately, Rhode Island law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim to help the family reach closure and secure the money they need to get on with their lives. If a family member has died due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act, the Rhode Island attorneys at Dana & Dana can help. Contact us today so that we can help you.
The issue of police violence and personal injury has come to the forefront of the public’s attention this last year. Many are concerned about racial disparities when it comes to police misconduct and people getting injured or killed, but has anyone looked at the overlap between police violence and mental illness issues?
According to data compiled, of all the people shot and killed by police officers last year, 25 percent of them showed signs of mental illness. Many individuals who end up in prisons and jails also have serious mental illnesses and never received assistance or opportunities for intervention. Thus, the explanation isn’t as simple as just too much police violence plaguing our society; but also inadequate mental health treatment, which is arguably feeding into police violence.
Criminal Charges Instead of Mental Health Assistance
City by city, we are eliminating millions in community mental health treatment services, affecting those living in poverty who are most in need of these services; many of whom will likely end up charged with crimes and in jails precisely because mental health services were not available to them. Many of those who are called upon to be the “front line” on mental health issues (police) are not even properly trained to deal with these types of emergencies.
Some have called for not only more training with our “front line” of defense (police), but also for making strides in bringing together law enforcement and mental health services to actually offer more to help and prevent the mentally ill, when possible, from being charged with crimes and ending up in jail. To do this, mental health workers would have to work with police in the form of a “crisis team” and alternatives to jail would have to be offered, such as clinics or urgent services to provide housing and care.
Although there is no end-all be-all panacea to the overlap crisis between mental health issues and incarceration, we must at least take steps to try and avert violence and incarceration as the only modes of response.
Help In Rhode Island
There are programs in Rhode Island designed to provide housing to those who are homeless and suffer from severe mental illness. One of those is known as the Safe Havens program, as run by Rhode Island Housing. In addition, their Shelter Plus Care Program is designed to provide rental assistance and other support services to those who are seriously mentally ill.
Dana & Dana
If a family member has died due to the negligent or intentional act of the police or someone else, or you have been charged with a criminal offense, the Rhode Island attorneys at Dana & Dana can help. We are dedicated to providing respect, compassion and care for all of our clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We have the experience and expertise to ensure the highest quality criminal defense representation possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.
It is perhaps every family’s worst nightmare: to have their child try or successfully end their own life because they have been bullied at school. Sadly, as the means of bullying spread via the internet, it seems to become common news. And for some families who feel that the school district, its board, officials, and/or students were active in allowing for the incident to happen, they sometimes decide to file suit for wrongful death.
Specifically, school officials have a responsibility to ensure students’ safety, and allegedly failed to do so in one particular incident, resulting in a student’s death. According to the lawsuit, the district and its officials failed to address many bullying incidents that had been happening for years. In fact, when the student’s parents asked that their victimized child be moved to a different classroom in order to avoid those students bullying her, the Assistant Principal of the school allegedly declined the request. Officials also allegedly failed to remove derogatory graffiti that was posted about the victim. The parents of the victim are now suing to try and move the school district towards creating policies and procedures to address the bullying issues within the district.
Claims against School District
In a case in which plaintiffs allege that the wrongful death of their child resulted from the school district negligence, the complaint focuses on a variety of allegations. Some of these include arguing that the school district violated:
- Their own policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, anti-bullying policy, sexual harassment policy, racial/national origin harassment policy, and any and all reports associated with these policies;
- The U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV Substantive Due Process (Fourteenth Amendment rights to life, liberty, familial relationship, education, and freedom from government actions that interfere with these);
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Discrimination on the Basis of National Origin and Sex Discrimination via the acts and omissions of the District with respect to the student);
- Their obligations to maintain lawful policies and procedures;
- S. Constitutional Amendment XIV, Denial of Equal Protection on the Basis of Race and/or National Origin;
- Their duty to report child abuse; and
- Their duty of care and supervision, resulting in negligence, recklessness, and/or gross negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Attorneys
While losing a relative is always a difficult and painful time for a family, losing your child as the result of the intentional or negligent actions of someone else (or an entire entity) can be absolutely unbearable.
Rhode Island law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties to help ease certain burdens. No lawsuit can restore a loss like this, but a wrongful death action can sometimes help the surviving family members feel as though they are addressing any injustices associated with the death of their loved one, which they are.
If a family member has died due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act, the Rhode Island attorneys at Dana & Dana can help. Contact us today so that we can get started helping you.
Road rage is fairly common these days; many on the road experience anger brought on by the stress and frustration of driving—but not all of us act on it. When an individual does however it can be dangerous, sometimes placing someone else’s life at risk. Unfortunately, these incidents take place frequently, and they can become exacerbated if one or more drivers involved is also under the influence of alcohol or something else that negatively affects driving. If this results in personal injuries, those that are victimized by road rage may need to seek damages from the other driver, who has acted negligently and, in some instances, even intentionally.
Road rage isn’t limited to one particular age range: Recently a 67-year old man was charged in what authorities termed a “drunken road rage” wreck that killed someone else when he intentionally hit another pickup truck–sending it rolling–and then fled the scene. When the police found him, he stated that he did it because the guy in the pickup cut him off. Sadly, that victim died as a result of the accident, and the man charged in his death has two previous drunken driving convictions, indicating that this could be a pattern. He now faces criminal charges, including motor vehicle homicide while drunk and leaving the scene of a death or personal injury.
The Law in Rhode Island
While many of these types of incidents result in injuries, some also result in wrongful death. In Rhode Island, wrongful death is defined as death caused by the wrongful act, negligence, or fault of another. In other words, if the deceased had survived, they would have been able to bring a personal injury claim, thus personal injury and wrongful death are connected; the law on wrongful death effectively enables someone else to bring the victim’s claim to seek damages as though they had survived.
Sometimes wrongful death claims are filed simultaneously with the wrongdoer being prosecuted under criminal charges. The State prosecutes for criminal charges while the administrator of the deceased’s estate sues for wrongful death. While the State seeks criminal sanctions such as jail time the administrator’s civil suit seeks financial compensation.
Although the claim is brought by the estate administrator, it is often for the benefit of the victim’s surviving family members; specifically, the surviving spouse, children, and/or other heirs such as parents or grandchildren. Compensation received for wrongful death claims can include any medical expenses the victim dealt with due to the injury, lost wages as a result of the injury (including wages that would have been made in the future), pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and, in some instances, punitive damages intended to punish the party responsible for the wrongdoing.