What To Do After an Auto Accident
Thinking Clearly in a Stressful Situation
Being in an accident is at best an annoyance. However, the actions you take immediately following the incident can save lives, reduce the impact of injuries and save time and money. Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts have laws regarding the filing of car accident reports within a specified time if there is damage to either vehicle in excess of $1,000, or death or injury occurs. See below for more detailed information on each state and do not hesitate to contact a lawyer regarding your rights and duties under the law.
At the Scene of an Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, the first concern should always be the well being of the drivers and passengers. Be sure to put on your hazard lights and, if it is safe to do so, move your vehicles out of the line of traffic.
- Call 911 regardless of the seriousness of the accident. This will help ensure the safety of those involved as well as begin the most accurate documentation of the accident that can minimize potential financial headaches, even for a fender bender.
- Exchange information. It’s always a good idea to get the other driver’s information in the event you need it before you get a copy of an accident report. Important information includes name, address, phone number or email address, insurance information and vehicle information. If the vehicle owner is different from the driver, try to get the owner’s information as well.
- Call your insurance company. They will be able to quickly advise you of your coverage, including towing assistance, repair shop recommendations, etc.
There are many resources to find detailed information regarding the steps to take when you are involved in an auto accident, such as your insurance company’s website as well as local attorney’s offices. You can also find helpful information at these sites:
Accidents in Rhode Island
A car accident report must be filed in Rhode Island within 21 days.
IMPORTANT NOTE: State law no longer requires drivers to file a separate form with the DMV because municipalities send a daily Crash Report electronically.
Therefore, if you do not call the police when you have an accident and after the fact want to involve your insurance company, you would need to go to the police department in the city or town where the accident occured and file the report.
You may purchase a Rhode Island accident report for a fee online or request one by mail through the R. I. State Police.
Accidents in Massachusetts
In addition to, or in lieu of, a police report, drivers involved in a car accident in Massachusetts, where the accident causes injury or death or damage of either vehicle in excess of $1,000.00, are required to file a report must be filed within 5 days of the accident.
The Collision Repair Process
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