Car accidents are terrifying experiences, but they’re all too common with nearly 17 million drivers in Florida. Statistics suggest there are nearly 1,000 car accidents in the state every day, and as more drivers than ever enter the state, the risk of being involved in one at some point is quite high. If you’re involved in a wreck in Florida, you have to file a car accident report. What does that mean, and are you required to do so? Read on to learn more about the process of filing a Florida car accident report.
When Do You Have To File an Accident Following a Motor Vehicle Accident?
According to Florida law, an accident report must be completed with 10 days from the day of the accident in the following scenarios:
- The accident was associated with personal injury.
- The accident was associated with a fatality.
- The accident was a result of a DUI.
- The accident involved a hit and run.
- The accident required a wrecker to remove the vehicle.
- The accident involved a commercial motorcycle.
- The accident resulted in property damage of at least $500.
In most cases, the involved motorist(s) will call law enforcement from the accident scene and let the officer file the report.
Not sure you need to file because your accident doesn’t match one of the above scenarios? Even though reporting is not required for all motor vehicle accidents, just to be on the safe side, you should always call the local police department to ensure you don’t need to file a report. This is particularly true if you have sustained any type of serious injury. Suppose law enforcement isn’t notified or doesn’t appear at the accident. In that case, you must still contact them because your insurance company will require a police report to connect your injuries to the motor vehicle accident itself.
Besides the police report, if you are injured, it is important to seek medical care, preferably on the same day or at least within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t, and you need to file a personal injury claim later, you may not be able to do so. Even if you’re admitted to the hospital as a result of the accident and a police report hasn’t been filed, it’s essential that you call the police or have someone file the report on your behalf. You can also self-report online or via mail by completing the Crash form.
Self Reporting an Accident
It is possible to self-report an accident to the police later to avoid the wait and the hassle. This can only happen, though, in a minor collision. Moreover, it can only happen in situations where the property damage involved totals less than $500.
Completing the Paperwork
To file a car accident report in Florida, you will need to supply or gather the following information:
- Place, date, and time of the accident
- The name, address, and date of birth of both drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved in the accident
- The driver license information should include license number and state of license
- The driver’s license plate number and in which state the car is registered
- The name and address of all policyholders and the name of the insurer
- The name and address of the registered vehicle owners involved in the accident
- A diagram of the accident scene that shows where the direction of the vehicles, any stop sign, pedestrian crossing, where the damage occurred, and road condition
- Upload any photos of the accident scene if you have any
Making a Report to Your Insurance Company
After the police report has been made, the next step is to report the motor vehicle accident to your insurer. This should be done as soon as possible because insurers also have deadlines for filing claims. When you make your report, don’t share any injury information with your insurer or claim that you haven’t sustained any injuries. Motor vehicle injuries sometimes present much later, and if you claim you haven’t suffered any injuries, your insurer could claim your injuries aren’t the result of the accident. Sharing injury details, too, could mean other problems, so wait for a doctor’s report to share injury details.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you’re probably overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. After you file your car accident report, consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer. He or she can help you understand how to collect the maximum compensation for your injuries and property damage. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, your window to file a claim and hire an attorney is fairly small. The sooner you contact an attorney after you file your report, the better!