Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Florida?Request Free Consultation
Getting into a car accident is a confusing time; you may not know what steps you are supposed to take after the crash, such as whether reporting is mandatory. Each state has different laws regarding when a driver is legally required to report a car accident. In Florida, you have to report a crash if it causes injuries, deaths or at least $500 in property damage.
When to Report a Crash in Florida
According to Florida Statutes Section 316.065, the driver of a vehicle that is involved in a car accident must immediately by the quickest means of communication notify the local police department of the crash if it was serious enough to qualify as a reportable accident. This means that the driver must report the accident to law enforcement as soon as possible, such as by calling 911 using a cell phone from the scene of the crash.
In Florida, the law requires drivers to report car accidents in any of the following situations:
- When someone is injured.
- When someone is killed.
- When property damage appears to be at least $500 in value.
If you fail to notify law enforcement of this type of crash in Florida, you could face penalties. Leaving the scene of a car accident before fulfilling your legal responsibilities as a driver could be viewed as a hit-and-run crime. In addition, failing to get a police accident report could result in an insurance company rejecting your claim or failing to offer fair financial compensation for your medical bills and property damage.
Other Reasons to Report a Car Accident
There are other circumstances where you may need to notify the police of a car accident in Florida, as well, such as if the other driver appears to have violated a law. In these scenarios, it can benefit you to have a law enforcement officer report to the scene. A police officer can help you document the crash and gather the other driver’s information.
You may wish to report a crash if:
- The accident was a hit-and-run.
- The other driver appears intoxicated.
- The other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
- The crash requires a wrecker to remove a disabled vehicle.
- The crash involves a commercial motor vehicle.
Even if you don’t legally have to notify the police of a car accident in Florida, it could be in your best interests to do so. Reporting a crash creates an official record of it, which can be used during your car insurance claim. The police accident report will contain important information, such as the crash date, time, location and the names of all parties involved.
What Else to Do After a Car Accident in Florida
When you call the police to the scene, give them your side of the story and write down your police report number. Then, obtain a copy of the report to file your car insurance claim. If you get involved in a car accident that is minor enough that you don’t legally have to report it, you may still need to fill out a written Traffic Crash Report on your own and submit it to the Florida Department of Highway Safety shortly after the wreck.
Take photos at the scene of the crash before you leave. If anyone witnessed the accident, write down their names and phone numbers. Go directly to a hospital for a checkup, even if you feel fine. Your adrenaline may be masking the signs of an injury. When you’re ready, call your car insurance company to report the crash.
Before you accept an insurance settlement, contact a Tampa car accident attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights as a crash victim in Florida and negotiate with an insurance company. You can trust your lawyer to pursue maximum financial compensation for the full extent of your injuries, property damage and other losses.