Providence Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one is never easy, but losing a close family member to wrongful death carries the extra pain of knowing that if not for another’s negligent or reckless misconduct, your loved one would still be alive. At the Law Offices of William M. Kolb LLC, we understand the anguish and resentment that accompanies a wrongful death and help clients in Providence and throughout Rhode Island weather the associated emotional, financial, and legal challenges by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

What Is the Legal Definition of Wrongful Death?

Legally, wrongful death is defined as death that results from another’s misconduct; the resulting death may be the result of negligence or a deliberate act. Wrongful death lawsuits are often described as suits that would have been filed as personal injury lawsuits if the deceased person had survived.

You may think of any deliberately caused death as criminal but wrongful death is a civil matter. Although even if the defendant loses a wrongful death case they will not suffer incarceration, the fact that wrongful death is litigated in civil court has two advantages for the plaintiff:

  1. The financial penalties are usually significant enough to be considered punishing since
    In  Rhode Island, the minimum recovery for a successful wrongful death claim is $350,000.
  2. Even if the defendant in a wrongful death case was charged and not convicted in criminal court or was never charged with a crime at all, the defendant may still be held responsible in civil court, providing a sense of justice. 

The latter is true because there is a lower bar for the plaintiff in civil court. In criminal court, guilt must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but in civil court, the plaintiff needs only prove the defendant’s liability “by a preponderance of the evidence.” 

How Wrongful Deaths Occur

Tragically, wrongful death can occur at any time to any person of any age. Among the types of wrongful death cases that Bill Kolb handles are those that are the result of:

  • Car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents due to drunk, drug-impaired, or otherwise reckless driving by the defendant
  • Premises liability, e.g. slip and falls, swimming pool accidents
  • Medical malpractice, e.g. misdiagnosis, or surgical, anesthesia, or prescription errors
  • Physical assault

If your loved one was killed by an act of physical violence, you can sue the defendant in civil court even while a criminal case is in process. Whether or not the defendant is found guilty in criminal court, Bill Kolb will fight for a win in civil court. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, either the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death claim.  However, if that is not done within six months of the death, then  any beneficiary can file a claim on behalf of all beneficiaries. 

Besides the general wrongful death claim, Rhode Island law allows the deceased’s spouse, parents, and/or children to file individual claims as follows: 

  • Surviving spouse for loss of consortium
  • Surviving children for loss of parental society and companionship
  • Surviving parents for the loss of the child’s society and companionship

Wrongful Death Damages Bill Kolb Will Fight to Win

Among the types of damages that Bill will fight to recover for you are:

  • Medical and end-of-life costs for the deceased
  • Funeral and burial/cremation expenses
  • Pain and suffering (if it can be established that the deceased had conscious pain before death)
  • Lost income the deceased would have provided if they had lived
  • Loss of household services the deceased would have performed
  • Loss of the guidance and financial and emotional support the deceased would have provided

In some cases, if the court finds that the defendant’s actions were especially egregious, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed not only to punish the defendant but to deter similar misconduct in the future.

Hire an Experienced Attorney to Help You with Your Claim

If you have lost a loved one to wrongful death, you are no doubt living through a dark period, but you don’t have to go through it without legal and moral support. As soon as you get in touch with Bill Kolb, you will know that you have come to the right place. Once he learns the specific details of your case, he will create a strategic plan to win you meaningful compensation for all you have lost. His goal, like yours, is to secure your future in the face of unexpected tragedy.