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Do You Have to Call the Police After a Car Accident in Florida?

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Posted on December 29, 2022

When You’re Required to Call the Police After a Car Crash

In Florida, you’re legally required to stop at the scene and notify law enforcement of a car accident when:

  • The accident results in injury or death.
  • The crash resulted in property damage of at least $500.

All drivers involved in an accident that results in injury, death, or significant property damage must stop immediately at the accident scene or as closely as possible without blocking traffic.

Drivers must immediately notify the local police department of the crash. Typically an officer will be dispatched to the scene.

Drivers must remain at the scene to provide their name, address, driver’s license number, and license plate number to the police and other people involved in the crash.

Failing to stop after a crash is a hit-and-run violation. If there are injuries involved, the hit-and-run can be charged as a felony offense. You must always stop to determine if there were any injuries, deaths, or property damage and notify the police if so.

If you stop but don’t notify the police when you are required to do so, you can be charged with a nonmoving violation and fined.

Consider Notifying Police When It’s Not Required

If a crash doesn’t involve injuries, death, or $500 of property damage, you’re not required to notify the police. You are still required to stop, but you’re not legally obligated to remain at the scene or report the accident.

However, there are many circumstances where it’s recommended that you report a car accident to the police even though you aren’t legally required to do so. Consider notifying police of a crash if:

  • The accident was a hit-and-run (the other driver didn’t stop).
  • The other driver appeared to be driving under the influence.
  • The other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
  • The crash involved a commercial motor vehicle.
  • The crash requires a tow truck or wrecker to remove an inoperable vehicle. If a car no longer runs, there’s probably been $500 of damage and you should notify the police.

Reporting a crash creates an official record of it, which you can use when filing 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.

Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, each driver involved will have to file a claim with their insurance company to pay for any minor damage to their car.

Without a police accident report, your insurance company may deny your claim or refuse to offer enough financial compensation to pay for your medical bills and property damage.

It can also be helpful to have a law enforcement officer report to the scene to help document the crash and collect the other driver’s information.

What to Do When Police Arrive

When police arrive at 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.

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.

Self-Reporting Minor Car Crashes

In a minor car accident, you don’t have to notify law enforcement, but you’re still required to self-report the crash to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).

Within 10 days of the accident, you’ll need to self-report the crash by filling out the Traffic Crash Report Form and submitting it to FLHSMV.

Contact a Lawyer if You’re Injured in a Car Accident

If you’re injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation from the at-fault driver. Speak to a car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Call (813) 471-4444 for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer. Our team will help determine the value of your claim and give you legal advice on winning maximum financial compensation for your injuries.