Is It Possible To File a West Palm Beach Car Accident Claim Without a Police Report?
Gregg Hollander | May 29, 2023 | Car Accidents
Car accident claims are the most common of all personal injury claims in West Palm Beach and elsewhere. After a car accident, the typical progression of events is that the police arrive, and an officer gathers information that will generate a “police report” (known in Florida as a crash report). You might have to wait up to ten days for a crash report to become available.
While you could run into great difficulty if you try to file a car accident claim without one, you can still do so nonetheless. This blog post will explain the importance of a police report in filing a West Palm Beach car accident claim.
Don’t Leave the Scene of an Accident
Florida law requires you to report any accident that resulted in injury, death, or property damage over $500. With respect to property damage, it is safe to assume that any damage greater than a slight scratch is worth more than $500. Keep in mind that you can be arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, as it could be considered a hit-and-run if you do so.
Long Form Police Reports
The same Florida law requires a long-form police report under these circumstances. If the police arrive at the scene of the accident, you can rest assured that the officer will take care of this step for you. All you need to do is cooperate. It is perfectly acceptable for you to take care of your medical needs first. In other words, catching an ambulance ride to the hospital does not constitute “leaving the scene of an accident.”
Filing a Crash Report Yourself
Imagine having an accident on a lonely country road with your cell phone out of order. That scenario, or some other scenario where you could not summon the police to the accident scene, could happen. In that case, you will need to file a crash report yourself within 10 days of the accident. You can file a crash report online or by completing a Driver Report of a Traffic Crash (Form HSMV 90011S) and mailing it to the address on the form.
How To Get a Copy of a Florida Police Report
How Insurance Coverage Works in Florida Car Accident Cases
Most car accident claims are paid by insurance companies. In Florida, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy should pay for your property damage. Your own PIP insurance will pay your medical expenses unless your injuries are “serious” according to the definition of the term under Florida personal injury law. In that case, you can sue the at-fault driver.
Crash Reports as Evidence in Court
Ironically, despite the typical insurance company’s emphasis on a crash report as a tool for settlement, courts normally will not allow you to submit a crash report as evidence. A crash report is inadmissible hearsay, mainly because you cannot cross-examine it. You can, however, cross-examine a live police officer. Courts prefer to simply call the officer who created the report as a witness and let the lawyers ask questions.
Will the Insurance Company Require a Crash Report?
If you intend to file a claim against an insurance company, it is to your great advantage to submit a copy of the crash report. Some insurance companies will automatically reject your claim if you cannot produce a crash report, while others will work with you. Even if the insurance company rejects your claim, you can still file a lawsuit. In any case, expect to experience greater difficulty winning without a police report.
Do You Need a West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer?
You might need a lawyer, and you might not. If your claim is large or complex, you probably do need a lawyer. Nevertheless, you might not need a lawyer for a minor fender bender. When in doubt, speak with a qualified West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer. The contingency fee system that most personal injury lawyers use ensures that they have no incentive to offer to represent you for a weak claim. You only pay legal fees if they win your claim.
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