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Superior Court Issues Verdict in Dangerous Merge Car Accident Case

Freeways and interstates in Rhode Island can be some of the most dangerous places for auto vehicle accidents. The variable speeds and lane mergers that occur near onramps and offramps can increase the risk of a crash, as well as the damage caused in an accident. The Providence division of the Rhode Island Superior Court recently issued a bench ruling for a personal injury claim filed by a driver who was hurt in a crash on I-95 that was allegedly caused by the defendant who was attempting to merge onto the interstate.

According to the facts discussed in the judicial ruling, the plaintiff in the recently decided case was traveling northbound on Interstate 95 in Providence when he approached a slowdown on the right side of the interstate. The defendant was attempting to merge onto the freeway when he abruptly traveled across two lanes and into the lane that the plaintiff was driving in. The plaintiff avoided directly hitting the defendant by changing lanes, but the defendant’s vehicle did strike the side of the plaintiff’s car, causing property damage and minor injuries.

For a plaintiff to prevail in a negligence case (such as a motor vehicle accident) in Rhode Island, the plaintiff must demonstrate to the court that it is more likely than not that the defendant owed the plaintiff some duty of care, violated that duty, and the plaintiff was hurt as a proximate cause of the defendant’s violation of the duty. The Superior court applied this framework to the facts of this case and ruled that the defendant had a duty to avoid entering the plaintiff’s lane of travel. The defendant’s failure to honor this duty resulted in the collision, which was the cause of the injuries to the plaintiff. The court did determine that the plaintiff was traveling at an unsafe speed before the accident, and his damage award was reduced by 10% to account for his portion of fault.

For negligence cases, Rhode Island is what is known as a “comparative negligence” state. This means that if both parties were somewhat negligent in causing an accident, the negligent defendant is only responsible for the portion of the total damages suffered in a crash that can be attributed to their own negligence. Under this framework, expenses incurred in accidents that have multiple contributing causes can be fairly divided among the responsible parties.

Pursuing a Claim for Damages After an Auto Accident

If you or someone you know has recently been injured in a Rhode Island car accident, you may be entitled to significant damages for your loss. Even if investigators or police officers determined that you are wholly or partially at fault for the crash, you could deserve some compensation from your insurance carrier or other drivers whose negligence contributed to the crash. Contact a qualified Rhode Island personal injury and insurance claim attorney at Bilodeau Capalbo to help you pursue a claim for damages. With our representation and support, you can be comfortable that your claim is being handled professionally and competently. Contact our offices today and schedule a free consultation by calling 401-300-4055.

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