Attorneys Serving Clients Injured in Car Accidents Throughout Rhode Island
A car accident can be one of the most traumatic events anyone will face. The physical pain and mental confusion right after the crash are often just the beginning of the arduous process of reclaiming your life.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, don’t wait to speak to a lawyer about your legal rights and options. Motor vehicle accident claims can be complicated, and an experienced attorney can provide you with support and guidance when you need it the most.
For over 40 years, Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd has been serving clients injured in car accidents throughout Rhode Island. Please call (401) 273-8330 today for a free case evaluation. Our lawyers are committed to relieving your burden and fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
Driver error is the cause of most car accidents. Sometimes the actions of a single driver may result in a collision, or the accident may be caused by more than one of the drivers involved.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Rhode Island include:
- Texting and driving: Cell phones and operating a vehicle do not mix. Unfortunately, many drivers divide their time between the road and reading or composing text messages. This distraction is a leading cause of car accidents, in spite of countermeasures like Rhode Island’s ban on handheld devices while driving.
- Distracted driving: Texting isn’t the only distraction that can lead to car accidents. Other distractions that commonly result in collisions include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Talking to passengers
- Trying to manage children and pets in the vehicle
- Eating and drinking
- Making adjustments to the climate control, the radio, GPS devices, and other equipment
- Speeding: Excess speed is a significant factor in many car accidents. The faster a vehicle is traveling immediately before a crash, the greater the likelihood of serious or catastrophic injuries.
- Failure to obey traffic lights and stop signs: Intersections are a frequent location for car accidents. Negligence on the part of a driver, such as distraction, intoxication, or lapses in judgment, can lead to running a stop sign or red light or failing to slow down at a yellow light.
- Aggressive driving: Aggressive driving can take a number of forms. From tailgating to blasting the horn to yelling at other motorists, a driver exhibiting signs of road rage is often an accident waiting to happen.
- Driving under the influence: Drunk driving accidents are avoidable. Unfortunately, the poor judgment of a driver who is intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs can result in serious errors that compromise safe driving.
- The drunk driver alone may not be solely liable for the injuries he causes in a car accident. The bar, restaurant, casino, entertainment center, or other establishment that served the alcohol may also be liable if servers, bartenders, and other staff were negligent in providing alcohol to a patron who later causes an accident. This is known as dram shop liability.
Other potential causes of car accidents include:
Defective vehicles are a major hazard on the road. In addition to posing a risk to the driver and passengers of the stricken car, other motorists are also at risk in the event of a malfunction.
Auto accidents may be caused by defective parts, manufacture or design. Also, defective vehicle and component design may make injuries sustained in the crash worse. Examples of defective vehicle parts that can be a factor in serious accidents include:
- The vehicle frame
- Air bags
- Gas pedals and brake pedals
- The steering column
- The gas tank and fuel system
If a defect resulted in your car accident, our lawyers can pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer and other companies on your behalf.
Many people think of hazardous or poorly maintained roads as just a part of life. However, when poor care and upkeep of a road causes a car accident, you may be able to file a claim against the government or municipal agency responsible for designing and maintaining the road.
Hazardous conditions for which a government entity may be liable in your car accident claim include:
- Uneven pavement
- Missing or damaged road signs
- Buildup of gravel, dirt, and other debris
- Lack of drainage, resulting in standing water or flooding of the road surface
- Insufficient snow removal and ice mitigation
- Worn lane dividers and other road markings
- Missing or damaged guardrails, retaining walls, and other barriers
Claims against the government involve special legal procedures. It is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer before filing so you understand your options.
Lack of Seatbelts
Although not a direct cause of car accidents, a major contributor to serious injuries in car accidents is not wearing a seatbelt. According to statistics from the Rhode Island Department of Health, seatbelt usage among Rhode Island vehicle occupants is lower than the national average.
For your safety and the viability of a potential accident claim, always buckle up!
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Car Accident Claim?
Our car accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the accident and your injuries to determine how much you may be able to recover. Depending on the facts of the case, you may be entitled to compensation for damages such as:
- Medical expenses: Includes treatment you have already received, such as hospitalization, surgery, and ongoing therapy, as well as anticipated medical bills in the future.
- Lost wages: If the accident left you unable to work, you are entitled to compensation for the income you missed.
- Lost earning capacity: You may also recover the income you could have expected in the future, had your car accident injuries not affected your ability to work.
- Out-of-pocket costs: May include expenses related to medications, adaptive equipment, travel to and from doctor and physical therapy appointments, upgrades to your home and vehicle, and more.
- Pain and suffering: Refers to the physical pain and emotional distress you feel as a result of your injuries.
- Scarring and disfigurement: If the car accident left you with permanent scars or disfigured you in another way, you may be entitled to damages for the impact on your appearance and its effect on your mental and emotional state.
- Disability: Disabling injuries in a car accident carry more than a financial cost. They can also significantly impact your quality of life. You deserve recompense for this loss.
- Loss of consortium: If the car accident has impacted your relationship with your spouse, your children, and other family members, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship, intimacy, and more.
- Punitive damages: Awarded infrequently, punitive damages may be recoverable if the defendant’s actions leading up to the car accident were exceedingly reckless or malicious.
If you lose a loved one in a car accident, you and your family may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. Damages you may be able to recover include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and more.
How Much Should I Expect from My Car Accident Settlement?
It is important not to expect the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement after a car accident. The reality is they will likely make a low offer in the hope that you will sign for less, or they may deny your claim.
However, if you do receive a settlement offer, it is important to contact a Rhode Island car accident lawyer before signing. Settlements calculated by insurance companies typically only account for economic losses (i.e., medical bills and lost wages); they may apply a formula to estimate non-economic losses based on the nature of your injuries, but this is not a given.
Therefore, it is always in your best interest to speak to an experienced car accident attorney before settling your case. You may be entitled to additional compensation that could help you overcome the obstacles stemming from your injuries.
How Do You Handle Low Settlement Offers?
Many claimants are disappointed by the settlement offered by the insurance company after a car accident (if they get a settlement offer at all). When you hire a car accident lawyer, he or she can handle a low settlement on your behalf.
Our attorneys will do the following if you are dissatisfied with the amount the insurer is offering you:
- Calculate the full value of your claim
- Investigate the accident, including the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and the coverage limits
- Discuss the minimum amount you are willing to accept
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Communicate with you regularly on the status of negotiations and any new settlement offers
Settlement talks with insurance companies are a process of give-and-take. This is understandably frustrating for the victims of car accidents; your life has been turned upside down, but the insurer is haggling over dollars and cents?
At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd, we understand how frustrating this process is. We know how insurance companies operate, but our duty is to serve you and help relieve your burdens after the accident. We advise our clients not to get upset or do anything rash if they receive a low settlement offer. Instead, trust us to act in your interest and push for the compensation you deserve.
What Injuries Typically Occur in Car Accidents?
Your car accident injuries may vary depending on the force of the collision, the location of the impact, the difference in size between the vehicles, and a host of other factors. Some people walk away from an accident with only minor injuries while others suffer serious, life-altering trauma.
The car accident attorneys at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd have built their reputation on assisting clients who suffer catastrophic injury. Catastrophic injuries after a car accident may include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury, up to and including paralysis
- Burn injuries
- Complex bone fractures
- Damage to internal organs
- Serious whiplash
- Amputation injuries
In order to calculate the compensation that may be available in your case, our car accident lawyers will investigate the cause, extent, and seriousness of your injuries. Our team has unparalleled knowledge of the medicine in serious and catastrophic injury cases, and we will draw upon this knowledge to assess the evidence and identify the experts we need to hire to testify on your behalf.
If your loved one was killed in a fatal car accident, we will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine how the crash resulted in their death. We will then take action on behalf of your family against the liable party or parties.
Is It Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer?
Many people wonder if they truly need a lawyer after being in a car accident. Although there is nothing in the legal system to prevent you from handling the case on your own, consider the following:
- You may be leaving money on the table. Car accident settlements tend to be higher when the claimant is represented by a lawyer. This is because a car accident attorney has a wider knowledge of the compensation that may be available in your case, as well as the experience to push back against low settlement offers.
- You might get a low offer and not know it. If you have been injured and you are facing financial trouble, any offer the insurance company makes might seem attractive at first. However, the initial settlement likely only represents a fraction of what you could stand to earn.
- Insurance companies capitalize on claimants’ inexperience. If you don’t hire a lawyer, the insurance adjusters are counting on you to make a mistake that will give the company grounds to underpay or flat-out deny your claim. Without legal counsel, you may sign away your rights, admit something against your interest, or take another misstep that could leave you with far less than you deserve in compensation.
- You likely don’t know what to expect from the insurance company. You may have filed a claim with the insurance company after a fender bender and found the process relatively straightforward. However, this is nothing like a car accident lawsuit involving serious or catastrophic injury. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to pay as little as possible on your claim. In addition to making a low settlement offer, they may try to pressure you to accept a settlement by a certain date or release your medical records. A car accident lawyer can protect your rights and handle communications so you don’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing; without representation, however, you are at a significant disadvantage in negotiations.
- You may not know how much your claim is worth. One of the big differences between the knowledge of a car accident lawyer and that of a layperson is understanding damages. Most non-lawyers only think about compensation for their financial losses, such as medical bills, lost earnings, etc. However, depending on the damages in your case, you may be entitled to compensation for additional losses such as pain and suffering. However, these damages are difficult to calculate without the experience and investigative acumen that an experienced car accident lawyer brings to your case.
Some minor car accidents can be resolved without an attorney, especially if you are only filing a claim with your own car insurance provider. However, if you need to file a claim against another driver’s insurance company, if you suspect more than one party may be at fault, and/or if you suffered a severe or catastrophic injury, it is generally in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Confusion, pain, worry – these are just a few of the emotions accompanying any car accident. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the process of getting medical care, filing an insurance claim, and trying to get back to some semblance of your normal life.
Dealing with insurance companies and the legal system is a daunting task for anyone in this condition. An experienced car accident attorney can provide valuable assistance with many aspects of your claim, including:
- Investigating your case: Car accidents yield significant evidence, but you have to know where to look. When you are seriously injured, you may be unable to gather crucial evidence at the scene. Our legal team can investigate the scene on your behalf, determine the cause of the accident, identify who is at fault, and more.
- Calculating your damages: An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to go beyond medical bills and lost wages to understand all of the ways the collision affects your life. Based on these calculations, your attorney can effectively pursue a claim for maximum damages.
- Hiring experts: Accident claims involving catastrophic injuries require not only more in-depth investigation but expert analysis and testimony to prove. Lawyers with experience will know what experts need to be hired from specialized fields in order to prove your case.
- Negotiating with the insurance company: Skilled attorneys make their living handling one of the most unpleasant aspects of car accident litigation for injury victims. Most car accident claims are settled out of court, and you need experienced legal counsel to ensure your settlement adequately compensates you for your injuries and other losses.
- Taking your case to trial: In the event that your car accident case does not settle, your attorney will need to represent you at trial in order to attain a verdict in your favor. Insurance companies know which attorneys prefer to settle claims and which ones will fight for their clients in court. You need a lawyer in the latter category.
In addition to handling all aspects of your case, your car accident lawyer should be able to put your mind at ease and provide you with emotional support in your time of need. Compassion is just as important as results.
Contact Our Providence Car Accident Lawyers Today
Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd has been serving clients who have been seriously injured in car accidents and other motor vehicle collisions for over 40 years. We have the knowledge, experience, and quality of service to guide you through the process of resolving your case.
Please call (401) 273-8830 today for a free case evaluation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients throughout Rhode Island.