How to Decode the Details of Your RI Accident Report

evidence-police-report-300x272When you’ve been hurt in a car accident and need to file a personal injury claim against the driver at fault for the crash, every piece of evidence is crucial. One of the most important pieces of your claim is the police accident report. Read on to find out why exactly this document is so vital to your Rhode Island car accident lawyer and your personal injury case.

What is a Police Accident Report?

When a car accident occurs and a police officer is called to the scene of the crash, an electronic report form usually must be filed by the officer with the Rhode Island DMV within two weeks. This report details what the officer saw at the scene of the accident, statements from the drivers involved, and (depending on the case) their personal assessment of which party(s) were at fault. If the accident resulted in any physical injuries or property damage valued above $1,000, officers are required to submit an accident report. Regardless of the severity, you should always call the police after an accident in order for them to assess the scene. There are times, however, where the police may not respond in a timely manner. For example, they may be involved in a serious matter that is deemed unsafe to leave. Under certain conditions, all the drivers involved must file their own accident reports with the DMV within a 21-day period. If any injuries or property damage valued at over $1,000 were sustained, drivers are required to self-report.

After the officer and/or parties involved file a report, the state government puts it into a database so that it may be accessed later if necessary. Your Rhode Island car accident attorney will be able to access your police report online or request a physical copy. The information from a report may also be used when compiling car accident statistics or data for policy changes and decisions down the line.

Breaking Down an Accident Report

Here are the elements that an accident report typically consists of:

  • The specific location and time of the accident, with the location stated to the nearest intersection. If the accident didn’t happen at an intersection, the officer will record the distance (in feet) and direction to the closest intersection.
  • Identifying information for all vehicles involved in the accident, including:
    • Drivers’ names, license numbers, contact information
    • License plate numbers
    • Insurance information
    • The direction in which each vehicle was headed prior to the collision
  • Any injuries and property damage; if there was any damage to one or multiple vehicle(s), an estimate of the repairs may be recorded. If there were any injuries or fatalities, the reporter should detail injuries and basic medical details
  • A description of the circumstances of the accident that answers questions like:
    • How the drivers were traveling prior to the accident
    • If any traffic violations were observed
    • The people and vehicles involved, including cyclists, pedestrians, or parked cars
    • Any resulting damage or injuries
    • Site of impact on each vehicle
    • Any resulting damage
  • Reporters may need to include third-party documentation or supplementary forms depending on the type of accident that occurred, which may include:
    • Estimates for repairing or replacing non-vehicular property
    • Documents for vehicle damage like repair estimates
    • Documentation from an employer estimating lost wages for the injured party
    • Copies of bills or medical documentation for injuries incurred

You will want to obtain a copy of the traffic accident report filed by the police for your own records. This will also be one of the first documents your Rhode Island car accident lawyer reviews when determining your eligibility to file a personal injury claim for damages.

Contact Tapalian Law Today

As soon as safely possible after your auto accident, contact a car accident attorney in Rhode Island who will help you collect evidence such as the police report, medical records, and assist with getting the optimal result for your claim. At Tapalian Law, Attorney David Tapalian and his skilled personal injury team will work tirelessly to ensure you are treated fairly and receive the maximum compensation that you deserve for your injuries. If you or somebody you love was involved in a car accident, call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 for a free consultation with a top Rhode Island car accident attorney today.

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