Rhode Island Wrongful Death Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed December 19, 2018
This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy, clarity, and style by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and attorneys and in accordance with our editorial standards.
The last updated date refers to the last time this article was reviewed by FindLaw or one of our contributing authors. We make every effort to keep our articles updated. For information regarding a specific legal issue affecting you, please contact an attorney in your area.
The pain that comes along with losing a loved one is indescribable. You may go through many stages of grief, some all at once, and others more gradually. But at some point you may be wondering if there is anyone that should be held liable for your family member’s death. In Rhode Island, these claims are known as "wrongful death" lawsuits. According to Rhode Island wrongful death laws, wrongful death itself is defined as death "caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another."
Statute of Limitations
In order to be fair to all parties involved, Rhode Island, as most other states, has a time limit in which you can file a wrongful death claim. Here it is three years from the date of the incident or whenever the injury was or should have been discovered, whichever comes first.
More Detailed Information About Rhode Island Wrongful Death Laws
While trying to get through the pain of losing a loved family member, you may have questions related to a possible wrongful death lawsuit. If you are in the exploratory stages or ready to file a lawsuit now, below you will find information on important statutes, who may bring a claim, and much more.
Rhode Island State Statutes
Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
An executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate must bring the wrongful death claim to court or if the person dies without a will or estate plan, the court will appoint an administrator to bring the action in court. Who can be an administrator will depend on the Rhode Island laws of intestate succession.
Elements in a Rhode Island Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In order to be successful in a wrongful death lawsuit, the claimant must prove:
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Rhode Island Codes and Court of Appeals Opinions
Additional Resources: Rhode Island Wrongful Death Laws
If you are thinking of bringing a legal action against a person or entity for wrongful death of a loved one but still want to do some research, you are in luck. We’ve done some of it for you. Click on the links below to learn more.
- Rhode Island Civil Statute of Limitations
- Time Limits and the "Discovery" Rule
- Wrongful Death by Police
Get Legal Help with Your Wrongful Death Case in Rhode Island
Losing a family member is a devastating period in anyone's life. This is particularly true if you lose that person unexpectedly and through the harmful actions of another. If you're dealing with a wrongful death claim in Rhode Island, now is the time to act. Speak with a skilled personal injury attorney today to learn how Rhode Island wrongful death laws will apply to your case.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.