Petrarca and Petrarca Law Offices

A report being filed for a Rhode Island car accident

How to Get a Rhode Island Car Accident Report

After a car accident, the physical and emotional toll on your life can be overwhelming. But if you need compensation from an insurance claim or personal injury case, you have to navigate a sea of documents and paperwork. Obtaining a car accident report should be one of your first steps, post-accident

One of those essential documents is your car accident report – which can be tricky to obtain. In Rhode Island, every city and county has a slightly different process to obtain a car accident report. Depending on your location, you may be able to request one online, in person, or by mail. Learn more about your options to buy a RI crash report below, courtesy of a Providence personal injury lawyer

What is a car accident report? 

A car accident report is a police record of your accident containing key facts and details that the police discover at the scene. The exact contents can vary on a case-by-case basis. But it typically includes information such as:

  • The date, time, and place of the accident 
  • Descriptions of the weather and road conditions
  • The make, model, and year of all vehicles
  • Insurance registration status of the vehicles 
  • Names and personal information from the people involved, such as driver’s license numbers
  • Notes on property damage or injuries 
  • The assignment of fault
  • Other important details, such as a driver’s intoxication status or vehicle speed 

Why do I need a car accident report? 

You don’t always need a car accident report to make a minor insurance claim, like a dent or scratch. But if your vehicle needs more extensive repairs or you suffered physical injuries, your insurance company will likely want to see a copy of the report. 

Having a report already on hand can streamline the claims process since the claims adjustor won’t be able to dispute key facts about the case. 

When do you need to call the police? 

You should call the police to report the accident if:

  • It results in property damage over $1,000
  • Someone is injured 
  • You hit an unattended vehicle.
  • You hit a domesticated animal, like a dog or cat

If a state trooper responds to the scene of your accident, they should create an RI state police accident report on the site. If the city or county police respond, they’ll create an accident report local to that location. 

When are car accident reports available? 

The responding officer at your accident site should give you a case number, which you can use to obtain the accident report later. 

Most Rhode Island crash reports will be available 72 hours after their creation. But if details of the accident were unclear or need a more extensive police investigation, it may take longer for your crash report to become available. 

How to get a car accident report in Rhode Island

Every state has its own procedure for obtaining a car accident report. In Rhode Island, the process you’ll follow will depend on where your accident takes place and whether a state trooper responds or the local police. You can get yours through one of the following methods. 

How to get a Rhode Island accident report by city or county

First, look up the county or city where your accident took place. The local government website should have instructions on the process you should follow. For example, you can get your RI car accident report in Warwick through one of the following methods.  

    • In-person: Make an appointment at the city Records Division. 
    • Online: Submit an online records request or use a third-party site
  • Mail: Mail a request with a check to the Warwick police department. 

How to get an accident report online

The Rhode Island state government doesn’t offer a direct way to get an RI state accident report online. But they recommend using a third-party service, such as BuyCrash or CrashDocs.org, to request a copy. 

BuyCrash currently allows you to buy a crash report in RI and charges a $6 convenience fee, while CrashDocs charges $10.00. That said, CrashDocs doesn’t charge additional fees, while BuyCrash may add transaction fees. 

How to get an RI state accident report by mail

You also have the option to request a copy of your RI state accident report by mail. Your request should include: 

  • The driver’s name
  • The date of the accident
  • The accident report number 
  • A $15.00 check or money order

You can put the above information into an envelope addressed to the Rhode Island State Police: Accident Bureau, 311 Danielson Pike, North Scituate, RI 02857. The accident bureau addresses reports in the order they are received. 

graph of data regarding RI car accidents

What other information do I need to send? 

Once you’ve gathered your RI accident report, your insurance company may want to see other information in your claim, depending on the situation. Some of the information they might request includes:

  • Medical records from your doctor or hospital 
  • Auto repair bills
  • Receipts for other expenses, such as a rental car
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Photos of the scene, property damage, or injuries
  • Photos of driver’s licenses 

Some insurance companies may require you to provide this information at an in-person office while others have online portals that allow you to fill out the information. Of course, you can also leave this part of the filing process to your lawyer. 

A RI car accident lawyer for car accidents

If you’re tired of dealing with mountains of paperwork alone, Petrarca Law has your back. 

As dedicated RI car accident lawyers, we can gather all the documents you’ll need to file your claim, including crash reports and medical records. We’ll use the facts from these documents to build the strongest claim we can and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. 

We strive to reach the highest amount you can expect under your insurance policy. So, you won’t need to focus on anything other than living your life again. 

Contact us today for a free consultation.