When you are in a car crash and you are cited for it, the accident gets on your record. This is important for a number of reasons. Your record is public, which means that anyone from a potential employer to an insurance company can look any accidents up. When they do, having a citation for an accident or a more serious traffic violation on your record can have serious consequences.
This is why it is important to know when an accident goes on your record and how long does it stay there. The precise laws governing each typically vary from state to state. Here’s a look at how Florida laws apply in these cases.
When Accidents Go On Your Record
It is obvious that not all car accidents are cited on your driving record. If a car accident in which you were involved was caused by the negligence of another driver, it makes sense that your driving record should not contain it. And that is how it is under Florida driving laws. A car crash makes it to your driving record only when you have been cited for it. In other words, if you were found at fault in a car crash, it is only then that the accident goes on your record.
This also makes sense given that Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state. This simply means that when an accident happens, you are first required by law to seek compensation from your own insurer. However, you have the option of seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is allowed when the other driver is clearly at fault and serious property damages or injuries are involved.
Duration of the Accident Records
The precise duration for which Florida accidents remain on your record varies. It depends greatly on the nature of the accident. If you have received a citation for the crash, it may stay on your record for 3 to 5 years. You can then request to have the accident expunged from your record.
In more serious cases, an accident may stay on your record a lot longer. Examples include an accident involving serious injuries and a DUI accident. Depending on the precise offense involved, the accident may go on your driving for as much as 10 to 15 years.
Impact On Your Auto Insurance Rates
Any changes to your driving record have a direct bearing on your auto insurance rates. This is because an insurer offers you insurance for an average amount of risk. When you cause accidents or are otherwise cited for one, the insurer realizes that you offer an above-average risk. This makes an insurer hike up the insurance rate.
Your auto insurer is more likely to increase rates if you are found at-fault in a crash. Under Florida’s laws, your insurer may then be required to pay up the damages to the other driver. The insurer may then want to increase the auto insurance rate offered to you.
The good news is that the higher rates are temporary. You should expect to pay above-average insurance rates for nearly three years in total following an accident citation. The rates hike more clearly in the months immediately following the accident but gradually decline back to the average.
For more serious accident citations, such as a DUI crash, the policy rates rise more sharply. Some insurance companies may even refuse to offer you insurance if a serious crash is on your driving record.
In addition to increased auto insurance rates, you may face other repercussions as well for having accidents on your driving record. As noted above, your driving record is public. This means that if you are renting an apartment, the landlord may be able to view your accident citation. Similarly, a potential employer can look up your record and see the crash cited on it. These are some of the many reasons you should try to avoid getting a crash citation in the first place.
Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Miami, FL
If you have been involved in a car crash in Miami, FL, our experienced attorneys at Englander Peebles can help you. We work with you to explore alternate options you can avail, such as traffic school, to avoid getting a crash citation on your record. We also help you make the right decisions regarding your auto insurance. Reach out to us today to discuss your Miami crash with our attorneys.