Donna M. Di Donato
Donna M. Di Donato joined personal injury law firm, Decof, Decof & Barry, P.C. in 1990, practicing in the areas of personal injury law, medical malpractice and wrongful death. Donna litigates cases, including serious personal injury and death claims arising out of defendants driving while intoxicated and often with claims of dram shop/liquor liability, at the state court and federal levels. Before joining the firm, Donna served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island, as justice of the peace/bail commissioner for the district and family courts of the State of Rhode Island (1985-1989) and as assistant solicitor for the Town of Charlestown (1986-1987). She has also lectured at Providence College and Roger Williams University and routinely participates in mock trials as an instructor and judge with the Rhode Island Mock Trial Tournament.
Awards and Other Honors
- Member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board 2016-present
Memberships and Affiliations
- Rhode Island Bar Association, Member 1985-present
- Rhode Island Association for Justice, Member 1995-present
- Federal Bar Association, Member 2014-present
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group, Member 2011-present
- American Bar Association, Member 1984-present
Education and Admissions
Donna graduated from the University of Vermont (B.A.) in 1980 and from Suffolk University (J.D.) in 1983. She also attended Northwestern University (Prosecutor’s School) in 1984.
Donna earned admission to the bar in the states of Rhode Island (1984) and Massachusetts (1987), as well as the Federal District Court of Rhode Island (1998) and District of Massachusetts (2002)
Notable Case Wins
Pelchat v. Commercial Union Insurance CompanyRhode Island Supreme Court, 1999
Donna succeeded in recovering insurance proceeds for the parents of an adult daughter killed in a car crash caused by her own negligent husband. She proved the woman’s next-of-kin were entitled to recover the insurance proceeds, despite the existence of the “Slayer’s Act” law, which the insurance company claimed eliminated their obligation to pay. The insurance company appealed the trial justice’s decision, and the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed, finding in favor of our clients.
Fortes v. RamosRhode Island Superior Court, 1996
In a medical malpractice case, Donna won an important ruling that emotional injury stemming from the death of a fetus does not need to be accompanied by identifiable physical symptoms, known as “physical symptomatology,” to be compensable.
Confidential settlements on behalf of five teenagers who were ejected from a mini-van when it rolled over following a tire tread separation. One of the occupants was killed and four were seriously injured. Settlements just prior to trial after five years of litigation against one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers.
Motor Vehicle Accidents, Collisions and Liability Claims
Donna often represents victims of negligent drivers in a variety of circumstances, and has extensive experience and skill in finding and recovering all available insurance policies. She has handled many successful settlements for clients before, during and after jury trials in many cases involving vehicle collisions causing serious injuries and deaths.
MVA - Cyclist
Recovery of insurance policy limits from defendant motor vehicle driver’s automobile liability carrier as well as the client's own underinsured motorist insurer.
Substantial recovery against a corporation for the negligence of one of their drivers of a commercial vehicle in a lawsuit brought by a bicyclist and his wife.
Policy limit recovery against defendant driver.
Donna assisted Patrick Barry in a case resulting in a $1.8 million judgment following a 3-week jury trial for severe temporomandibular disorder following a rear-end car crash.
Confidential settlement during trial for the family of a man killed during a pre-planned bank robbery, where the bank’s security measures and physical properties were alleged to be deficient.
$750,000 recovery from a homeowners insurance company on behalf of a minor child injured by an unsecured gun.