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The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and scary, especially if you suffered injuries or had severe damage to your vehicle.

Understandably, you may consider filing a car accident lawsuit in order to get compensation. If you’ve never filed a personal injury lawsuit, however, the process can be complex and overwhelming.

That’s why the experienced legal team at Gemma Law Associates has outlined how to file a car accident injury claim below.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Rhode Island and you want to seek compensation, call (401) 400-3337 to speak to the car accident lawyers at Gemma Law.


The most important thing to know about your car accident injury claim is that there is a time limit, called a statute of limitations.

In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident.

You have three years from the time the accident occurs to file a personal injury claim. If you’re seeking compensation for damage to property, like your vehicle, you have ten years from the date of the accident.

If someone you love was killed in the car accident, there’s a separate statute of limitations deadline for filing a wrongful death claim. The deceased person’s family may file a claim within three years following their death, as opposed to the date of the accident itself.

If you wait too long to file your car accident claim and the deadline has already passed, the other party can ask the court to dismiss the case, which a court is likely to do. That’s why it’s so important to keep the statute of limitations in mind if you want to file a claim.


In some states, car accident lawsuits are handled in small claims court. Small claims cases usually involve claims with low dollar value, speeding up the process and keeping expensive legal fees relatively low.

The maximum dollar amount that can be awarded defines a small claims case; in Rhode Island, the maximum damages is $2,500. In other states, the limits may range from $3,000 to $15,000.

However, personal injury cases related to car accidents are technically not heard as small claims cases in Rhode Island. Car accident lawsuits are filed in the Rhode Island District Court, which has adopted a different set of forms and procedures that don’t require legal training to understand. 

To start your car accident claim, you’ll file a Notice of Suit – Complaint. The complaint asks for an explanation of the situation, the monetary amount you feel you are owed, and the defendant’s information. After your complaint is filed, your car accident claim has officially begun.


The defendant (the person you’re suing) has a chance to respond to your complaint in a formal Notice of Suit – Answer. They can respond with any legal defenses and admit or deny the allegations in your complaint.

Then, the discovery process allows each party to plan their side of the case and build evidence to prepare for court. During discovery, each side may gather witness statements, testimonies, and documents as evidence.

Settlement negotiations may also occur through discovery, right up until the jury reaches a verdict on your claim. If a settlement cannot be reached, you may go to mediation, where an unbiased third party tries to help resolve the conflict. This is optional, and it’s less formal than heading to trial.

If an agreement can’t be reached during mediation, you’ll proceed to trial. Since you initiated the claim, it is up to you to prove that the defendant was at fault. The jury or judge will decide in favor of you or the defendant; if they decide in your favor, the defendant must pay damages.


You’re not required to have an attorney to file a car accident injury suit in Rhode Island, but it can be very helpful.

Although the Rhode Island District Court has a separate, simpler process for personal injury cases involving motor vehicle accidents, understanding the laws and rules of evidence can still be difficult if you’re not experienced with law.

Without a personal injury attorney at your side, you may not receive the outcome of your claim that you were hoping for.

A personal injury attorney at Gemma Law can help you build a case for your claim by communicating with those involved in the accident and gathering evidence from medical professionals and law enforcement.

Before a car accident claim gets to court, insurance adjusters will try to negotiate a settlement to prevent the lawsuit from being filed. An attorney can help you settle, or continue to pursue your claim for monetary compensation.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Rhode Island, Gemma Law Associates, Inc. can help you file a car accident claim.

We’ll gather necessary evidence, develop a plan for your claim, file a lawsuit, and guide you through the trial process.

Call Gemma Law at (401) 400-3337 to speak to one of our personal injury attorneys, or fill out an online contact form.

For more car accident claim resources and updates on our firm, follow Gemma Law on Facebook and Twitter.

Serving the Greater Providence metro area, including Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, North Providence, South Kingston, Coventry, Cumberland, Woonsocket, and East Providence.

Gemma law is the best and helped and guided me threw everything … highly recommended thank you so much
ellen almgren
ellen almgren
5 stars all the way. They did exactly what was expected. Good Job
Keith Ruggiero
Keith Ruggiero
Very efficient and very good with communicating with me. I received updates about my case without having to call and request them. Very good law office! Very satisfied.
Bethania Herrera
Bethania Herrera
Mark Gemma has been absolutely amazing. He was helpful and answered all concerns and questions I’ve had. Him and his team are beyond incredible, supportive, and sweet. I would like to thank them all for everything they’ve done.
Samantha Argus
Samantha Argus
very professional and honest, what I liked the most is whenever you call the lawyer returns your call with every concern I had. It was my first time and I would not hesitate to trust them again.
Diana Palacio
Diana Palacio
This team is extremely helpful and kind. Mark Gemma was a great help in guiding me through this whole process and was a huge help. I would recommend this team to anyone seeking legal counsel
Zachary Dustin
Zachary Dustin
I am so happy with the turnout of my case. Both Sarah and Peter kept me up to date on everything and worked very hard on my case. The whole staff is friendly and diligent with their work. 100% recommend!
Chelsie Abatiello
Chelsie Abatiello
Managed to get my money before Christmas...in just days after settling! Great communication and always helped with my needs, and always gave good advice. Would definitely recommend.
Trini Luckey
Trini Luckey
Always professional and always checking in on their clients. Excellent atmosphere.
Susan Hallam
Susan Hallam
After spending 8 hours in a hospital overnight to get stitches in my lip because of a drunk driver’s negligent decision to get behind the wheel, the last thing I wanted to do was think about it all. I sent an email to Gemma Law, and Mark Gemma quickly called me back with an empathetic approach to listening to my story and helping me figure out the next steps. When he told me I wouldn’t have to have any contact with the insurance companies, I was HOOKED! When he pointed out how unfortunate it was I might have to miss out on a lip modeling career from a potential scar from the stitches, I was SOLD! And when I finally received my settlement check after letting him do all the leg work while I just focused on recovering, I was and am eternally GRATEFUL! Mark Gemma helped me turn a near death experience into a new start in life and I highly recommend him to anybody needing a personal injury lawyer.
Angie Sherman
Angie Sherman

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