Rhode Island’s Amended Joint Tortfeasor Causes Increased Certainty in the Settlement of Multi-Party Negligence Matters
Anyone who has handled tort claims in Rhode Island, including personal injury and negligence matters, knows that the resolution of these claims is complicated by the presence of multiple defendants. These complications come by way of parties arguing for differing levels of responsibility—if any, conflicting theories of defense, and the classic “deep pocket” defendant who is often asked to carry the weight of the “judgment-proof” one. Handling these claims was not made any simpler or less confusing by reviewing Rhode Island’s previous version of its enactment of the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, G.L. 1956 § 10-6-1 et seq.; however, recent amendments have made Rhode Island’s law more consistent with liability practices in other states. This should make handling tort claims in Rhode Island more familiar to construction companies, insurance carriers, and their legal counsel.
The law recently changed with the passage of two bills through both houses of Rhode Island’s General Assembly, which became effective July 14, 2021. In short, after these