Do I have to Report a Minor Vehicle Accident in Florida?
If you are involved in a car accident in Florida, you have 10 days to file an accident report. However, if a police officer is present or called to the scene, the officer will file a report for you. While some minor “fender bender” accidents do not have to be reported, Florida law requires that an accident report to be filed after a collision if any one of the following is true:
- Someone is hurt in the crash
- Property damage exceeds $500
- One or multiple drivers are intoxicated
- A commercial vehicle is involved
- Any vehicle requires towing.
The moments immediately following a car accident are stressful. Still, taking a few basic steps will protect you later on. In addition to documenting the scene and exchanging contact information with others involved, one of those steps you must take will be to file an accident report.
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Car Accident Reporting Requirements in Florida
You can file a report after a car accident in Florida in any number of ways. For instance, in collisions involving intoxicated drivers, extensive property damage and injuries, you should call 911 and have a police officer dispatched to the scene of the accident. Once there, the officer will secure the scene, collect information and statements from all parties involved and record other important information about the collision. The officer will then file an official report. You will need to take no further action in order to report your accident.
If no officer files a report, then you will have 10 days to report your auto accident. If police were not called to the scene, you will need to contact the city police department, the local sheriff’s office or the Florida Highway Patrol to determine which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction in the area. You can then file your report with that agency.
Depending on where your accident occurred, you may be able to file your police report online. If online filing is not available, you may need to mail in the report or visit the office and report the incident in person
Why Is Filing an Accident Report So Important?
Even though it may feel like a hassle, filing an accident report after a minor collision could protect you if you discover injuries later on. Most serious injuries are noticeable in the immediate aftermath of a collision. However, the symptoms of some injuries like concussions or whiplash could appear over time. If you are involved in an accident, and the symptoms appear or worsen in the days and weeks after the event, your insurance company will likely request a copy of your accident report.
An accident report will allow the insurance company to better understand how your condition is connected to the collision. If you find yourself in a contentious insurance dispute, an accident report can help to support your position. In this sense, if you fail to report your accident, you may not be able to collect the compensation that you need for your injuries.
Reporting an Accident to Your Insurance Company
If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, no matter how minor, you should inform your insurance company as soon as possible. Although the prospect of insurance premiums increasing sometimes gives people pause about reporting a crash, the reality is that failing to give your insurance company prompt and accurate information about the collision could ultimately jeopardize your chance at recovering compensation later.
It’s best to reach out to your insurance company as soon as you can so that that the insurer can get started on your claim. When reporting the incident to your insurance company, provide clear and truthful information on what exactly occurred. Many insurers set up easy-to-use interfaces for reporting. Whether you prefer calling, going online or using the insurance company’s mobile app, it typically takes only a matter of minutes to report your crash.
Even though you should report an accident to your insurance company after being in a collision, you should speak with a lawyer before giving an insurance adjuster any recorded statement. If you have been injured in a car accident because of another person’s carelessness, you may be contacted by the at-fault party’s insurer to confirm the situation. Often, an insurance company is looking to offset its financial responsibility. So, any statement that you make without the advice of an attorney could hurt your claim.
What Happens If You Don’t Report a Car Accident?
When an accident is serious enough to require a report, the failure to file one could result in any of the following:
- A citation
- A required court appearance
- Community service.
While the resulting citation is not a criminal offense, each of these consequences could be avoided by simply reporting the accident within 10 days of the collision. When filing a report, honesty is crucial.
Our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Taking all of the necessary steps after an accident, or even knowing which steps to take, can be difficult. If you have been involved in an accident that left you injured, you have options, and a lawyer can help. The experienced attorneys at Englander Peebles will fight for the justice that you deserve if another person’s negligence has left you in a dire physical and financial situation.
When someone else’s carelessness results in your pain, you should not be left to deal with the consequences alone. We know that money is often a barrier that keeps accident victims from reaching out to a lawyer. Our team will not collect any costs or fees unless we are able to secure compensation for you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are ready to learn about your situation and work with you to determine the best way forward.
At Englander Peebles, we understand the pressure people face when they are seriously hurt in an accident and are facing off against a large insurance company. As the bills mount, so does the stress. And the most frustrating part is that you can be victimized a second time if the insurance company refuses to pay in full, putting your financial future in jeopardy.