Car Accident Reports in Florida
Gregg Hollander | April 15, 2023 | Car Accidents
Below are FAQs about car accident reports in Florida.
When Do I Need to File a Florida Car Accident Report?
You are required by Florida law to report a car accident immediately to local law enforcement if any of the following are true:
- The crash resulted in at least $500 in estimated property damage
- The car accident resulted in bodily injury to someone
- A person died because of the car accident
You should also report a car accident if it involves a hit-and-run driver, commercial vehicle, or drunk driver. Accidents that render a vehicle inoperable, requiring removal by a tow truck, should also be reported.
What Is a Florida Traffic Crash Report?
Florida law requires a law enforcement officer to file a long-form crash report within 10 days after investigating a car accident. Officers are required to file long forms for the same reasons listed above for reporting a car accident to the police.
If an officer is not required to investigate the crash, a driver can file a short-form crash report for minor accidents. You can complete the Driver Report of a Traffic Crash to report the accident.
Information on a Florida traffic crash report generally includes:
- The date, time, and location of the car accident
- Descriptions and details of each car involved in the collision, including the make, model, and year
- Information about each driver involved in the crash, including their names, addresses, and driver’s license
- Insurance information for the parties
- Information for passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians involved in the accident
- Identity and contact information for eyewitnesses
- The police officer’s determination of fault, if the officer made a determination
Traffic accident reports provide information that is helpful when investigating a personal injury claim. The information can lead to evidence that helps prove causation, fault, and liability for the accident.
How Should I Report a Car Accident in Florida?
The quickest and best way to report a car crash is by calling 911 from the accident scene. Depending on the location of the crash, the city, county, or state law enforcement agencies might respond. The emergency operator will send the correct agency with jurisdiction over the crash site.
Allowing the police to handle the traffic crash report has several benefits. It creates an impartial report. Car accident reports created by drivers could contain misleading information about how the accident occurred.
Having an official car accident report can help with an insurance claim. The report is evidence that the crash occurred. The report contains information about traffic citations, a diagram of the accident scene, a narrative of how the crash occurred, and a determination of fault.
If you self-report the crash, the other driver could deny being involved in the accident. It could make recovering an insurance settlement more challenging.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Traffic Crash Report in Florida?
If you hire a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer, your attorney’s office will obtain a copy of the accident report as part of their investigation of your claim. However, you can purchase a copy of the accident report through the FLHSMV Crash Portal.
If a city police department responded to the crash, you might be able to get a copy of the report from the local police department. Check with the records office for specific procedures if you decide not to use the online portal.
Only specific people can access the traffic crash report for the first 60 days after a car accident. After 60 days, the reports become public information.
What Should I Do After I Report the Car Accident to the Police?
If you call 911 from the accident scene, remain there until police officers arrive. While you wait for the police officers to arrive, you can take steps to protect your legal rights after a car accident.
Steps to take include:
- Make a video of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles if they could not be moved after the collision
- Take photographs of the damage to each vehicle and other evidence, such as skid marks, traffic signs, road conditions, etc.
- If someone witnessed the crash or stopped after the crash, ask them for their name and contact information
- Get your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration ready to give to the police officer
Avoid talking about the crash with the other driver and people at the accident scene. Do not admit that you could have caused the accident or be partially to blame.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401