A passenger in a car accident in Rhode Island has a three-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a personal injury caused by another party. The three-year period begins at the moment of the accident.
Car accidents can leave you struggling with:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages
It doesn’t matter if you were injured in Cranston, Warren, or anywhere else in the State of Rhode Island. If you or a loved one was a passenger in an accident, the following steps can help you seek treatment, pay off medical bills, and stabilize your finances. Of course, a Providence car accident lawyer can make the process a lot easier. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
7 Steps to Take as a Passenger in a Car Accident
1. Call 911 to Report the Accident
Immediately following a car or truck accident, it’s important to call 911 even if you’re not severely injured. You or the driver need to call 911 to report the accident. Symptoms can take time to manifest, and it’s important to call for help so that there’s a record of the accident.
You should remain calm at this time and only answer questions the police officer asks. If the driver of the vehicle leaves the scene of the accident, you still maintain the right to contact the police.
It’s in your best interest for the police to respond to the accident so that a valid police report is filed.
Ask for the accident report number before leaving the scene of the accident.
2. Collect Information from All Drivers
Collection information from the drivers involved in the accident, including:
- Insurance information
If you cannot collect this information due to injuries or parties being uncooperative, some information will be available on the police report. The police report will include:
- Names of all parties
- Names of all witnesses
- Description of the accident, damage and weather condition
- Diagrams of the accident
- Date, time and accident location
- Address information of all injured parties
If you can do so safely, use your smartphone to take photos of the accident scene and damages to the vehicles involved. When injuries do not permit or may worsen from leaving the vehicle, stay put, and wait for an ambulance.
3. Seek Medical Attention
Medical attention should be sought immediately following the accident. You can call an ambulance, or you can choose to go to the doctor on your own accord to be examined and treated.
If you’re suing for injuries, it’s vital to see a doctor as soon as possible.
You’ll want to:
- Keep records of your injuries
- Continue with your doctor’s treatment plan
- Continue going back for checkups as your doctor recommends
Doctor visits will provide clear documentation of your injuries and the steps you took on your road to recovery. Your lawyer will use this documentation to provide insight into your injuries and hardships following the accident.
Even if you don’t feel any pain or symptoms immediately following the accident, it may take days for injuries to fully present.
4. Document Everything
Documentation will provide proof of your hardships and allow your lawyer to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and loss of wages. The documentation that you’ll want to keep includes:
- Doctor visits
- Medical bills
- Lost work
- Other damages
You can also write down tasks you cannot complete due to your injuries, such as cooking, cleaning, watching over your child or walking a dog. If you have to hire a dog walker or a babysitter because of your injuries, keep these records, too.
5. Obtain a Copy of the Accident Report
You have a right to obtain the accident report under Rhode Island General Law § 42-28-37. Accident reports can be obtained online or via U.S. Mail.
“You may also request a copy of your accident report by U.S. Mail by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope, along with a $15 check or money order payable to ‘The State of Rhode Island.’ Mail to: Rhode Island State Police: Accident Bureau, 311 Danielson Pike, North Scituate, RI 02857,” states Rhode Island State Police.
You’ll want to keep a copy of the accident report for your own records and also obtain a second copy for your attorney.
6. Make Copies of All Documents
You want to make your attorney’s job as easy as possible when filing a claim. Documentation and facts will make or break a case. Make copies of all the documents you’ve currently collected to provide copies to your attorney.
Be sure to keep all original copies for yourself.
7. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
You should contact an attorney who has experience with personal injuries and specializes in car accident law in Rhode Island. An attorney will be able to guide your case, know who to hold liable, and also know how to receive the maximum settlement for your case.
If you or a loved one were a passenger in a car accident, you need a lawyer with experience navigating Rhode Island laws by your side.