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Personal Injury

What To Do If You Are in a Car Accident in Rhode Island

June 26, 2018

Updated: June 20, 2024

car accident rhode island

Approximately 6 million car accidents occur in the United States each year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). Although no one plans to be in a car accident, it is important to be prepared with information as to how to handle it in the event that a crash occurs. It is important to keep these first steps in mind following a car accident:

  • Above all, be safe. Each accident is different.  The most important thing is that you look out for the health and safety of yourself and others.
  • Stay calm.
  • Stop the vehicle. If you leave the scene of the accident you risk being charged with a “hit and run.”
  • Call 911 for the police. Request an ambulance if you or someone else is injured.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and be careful of traffic. The Rhode Island State Police recommend that you stay in your vehicle with your flashers on until emergency personnel have arrived.

Good information can help you and your attorney seek compensation for your injuries.  After a collision occurs, record as many details about the accident as possible. Such information may include:

  • Location of the crash: If the accident occurs at an intersection, record the names of the two intersecting streets. If the crash occurs in a residential neighborhood, note the house number nearest to the scene. If on the highway, document the name of the highway and the closest mile marker.
  • The exact time of the crash.
  • Information from the other party. Write down the other driver’s name, address, contact information, license number, license plate number, insurance information, registration state and number, plus the vehicle’s year, make, model, and color.
  • Name and badge number of the police officer who arrived at the scene.

If you can safely do so, take photos of the accident scene.  Take pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident.  The position of the cars relative to each other can be important if the cars were not moved after the collision.  Even if the cars were moved, get pictures showing the accident damage on each car and to any property.  It is also good to photograph the road conditions and the surrounding streets showing traffic signs and signals.  Pictures of anything that explains how the accident occurred could help.

Do you need to submit an accident report to the DMV after a Rhode Island car accident?

No, provided that you call the police to the accident scene.  The police should complete a State of Rhode Island Uniform Crash Report and submit that to the department of transportation.  These reports are commonly referred to as “Police Reports.”  Police reports often provide important information for a personal injury claim such as information about the drivers and their insurance, injuries, road conditions, accident damage, the officer’s observations as to how the accident occurred, and witness statements.  Police reports are usually available within 72 hours after an accident.  Your lawyer can get the police report for you.


If you were injured in a car accident, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick now at 401-331-6300 to learn more about how we can help you.  Our consultation is free and you won’t pay us unless we recover money for you.