When you are involved in an accident in Fort Lauderdale, you are required to report the crash to the authorities. If you fail to report the accident, this can adversely impact any compensatory damages you may want to seek later. A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can advise you on how best to get maximum damages for your crash-related losses.
The accident reporting requirements are even stiffer when it is a hit-and-run accident. This is particularly so as the details of the other driver are not known. Here is a look at the general accident reporting requirements as well the legal requirements for reporting a hit-and-run crash.
Reporting a Fort Lauderdale Crash
The law broadly categorizes accidents into two types – ones that involve injuries or significant losses, and ones that involve minimum losses with no injuries. The reporting requirements differ for both types of accidents.
In general, you don’t need to immediately report an accident if:
- No injuries or fatalities are involved
- The total property damage does not exceed $500
- None of the vehicles involved in the accident had to be towed from the crash scene
If an accident meets the above conditions, it is generally exempt from reporting requirements. However, as one of the parties involved in the crash, you must still report the crash to the authorities within a period of 10 days as per Florida Statutes XXIII Chapter 316.
On the other hand, for more serious accidents, you are required to call in the crash immediately. You must do so for accidents which involve:
- Injuries or fatalities to any of the drivers, passengers, or other persons involved in the incident
- Property damage that exceeds $500
- Involvement of a commercial vehicle such as a truck
- Serious damage to at least one of the vehicles involved so that it had to be towed away from the crash scene
When the above conditions exist, the accident must be reported immediately. A police officer will then reach the scene of the crash, observe the basic facts and evidence, take your statement as well as those of other people involved, and then compile a report. This report serves as a key document that you can later use in negotiating for damages with an insurance company.
For more serious accidents, a Long Form Florida Traffic Crash Report is typically filed. This report contains the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the crash
- Names and contact information of all the parties involved in the crash including drivers and passengers
- Make, model, year, and other details of all the vehicles involved in the collision
- Important witness information such as names of the eyewitnesses and their contact details
- Details of the police officer who investigated the crash and filed a report for it
Reporting a Hit-and-Run Accident
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in Fort Lauderdale, FL, you are legally required to report the accident immediately. As with other serious accidents, a law officer will file a Long Form report for a hit-and-run crash. Such immediate reporting of a hit-and-run is important for the following reasons:
- The identity of the other driver is unknown. Your timely report of the incident may help authorities apprehended the suspect vehicle and driver.
- The strength of your insurance claim depends on it. If you don’t report the crash on time and a police officer doesn’t fill in a report right away, an insurer can later claim that you made up the crash or that your injuries and vehicle damage were not caused by the crash.
Who Can Access a Crash Report?
Once you have reported a hit-and-run accident and a police report has been filed for it, you can get a copy of the report. This report is also available to the insurance companies involved in the incident, law enforcement agencies, the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as your lawyer. When you file a claim for damages or file a lawsuit to seek compensation, this report plays a central role in establishing your claim.
Why Hire a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Fort Lauderdale, FL, we can help you recover compensatory damages. Our lawyers help you explore your legal options, such as your own auto insurance or an umbrella insurance policy, to see if your losses are covered. We also help you determine whether you are covered under an underinsured or uninsured policy as well. Reach out to us today to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.