Cars have been a feature on Rhode Island roads since the vehicles were invented. Unfortunately, that means car accidents have been a feature on state roads for just as long.
For years that meant interaction with police on the scene, then later filling out a Motor Vehicle Accident Report. Several years ago the state streamlined the process to make it easier on citizens.
Now those involved in accidents don't need to fill out a separate form. Today if the crash involves bodily injury or damage of more than $1,000, the motorist needs to only fill out the Uniform Crash Report.
What's on the report
The report is generated by law enforcement officials, usually on the scene of the accident and is automatically sent to the state Department of Transportation.
The report contains information your lawyer needs for a personal injury claim, including:
- Identifying information and insurance information from the other driver
- Description and identifying information about the other vehicle
- Location of the accident and road conditions
- Specifics about the damages to both vehicles and any bystanders
- Officer's observations as well as the officer's name and badge number
- Witness statements
The officer or deputy at the scene will give you an accident report number you can use to access the report online.
Your lawyer can use this information to help you through any possible personal injury claim. The report is usually available within 72 hours after it is filed.
What to do if you are in an accident
If you unfortunately find yourself in an accident there are some simple steps you need to remember:
Stop: Never leave the scene of an accident no matter how minor the damage. If you leave the scene of an accident you could face hit-and-run charges.
Call the police: Call 911 if anyone is injured and wait for the ambulance. If there is any damage, call 911 and wait for officers.
Stay with your vehicle: If your car is blocking the road and is moveable, get it to the side of the road. Put on your hazard lights.
Take pictures: If you have the ability, take as many photos of the accident scene as possible.