Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | January 15, 2023 | Car Accidents
Reporting a car accident is frequently necessary in Florida, and crash reports can play a critical role in a car accident claim. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding car accident reports in Florida.
Do You Need To Report Every Car Accident in Florida?
In short, no, not every single car accident must be reported in Florida.
Under Florida law, you are legally required to report a car accident if any of the following apply:
- Anyone was injured or died
- The accident involved an intoxicated driver
- There is property damage of $500 or more
- The damaged vehicle was inoperable, requiring removal by a wrecker
- The accident involved a commercial vehicle
Additionally, if the accident was a hit and run, meaning an individual hit someone’s property or another person and fled the scene of the accident, it must be reported.
What Is a Car Accident Report?
A crash report includes important information regarding your collision. There are typically two types of reports in Florida: long and short form. Long-form reports are usually filed by law enforcement officers who respond to the scene of the accident. Parties usually file short-form reports for minor accidents.
Regardless of the type of crash report, they usually include the following information:
- Details regarding the accident, including date, time, and location
- Names of the drivers involved in the accident
- Driver’s license information
- Insurance information
- Passenger information
- Witness contact details, if any
- Fault, if filed by law enforcement
Accident reports are helpful in many circumstances, especially if you’re interested in taking legal action against the at-fault party.
How Do You Report a Car Accident in Florida?
After an accident, you have two choices: allow the police to handle reporting your accident or file an accident report yourself.
Whether you choose one or the other often depends on the circumstances. For example, if your accident is severe or someone is injured, you’ll likely call 911 and request police assistance. In this situation, law enforcement would handle your accident report, meaning you wouldn’t have to take any further action.
If you do not involve the police, you have to complete a crash report and file it with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). You can either self-report online or by mail. You must gather pertinent information and fill out a Driver Report of a Traffic Crash.
When Should You Report a Car Accident?
Certain accidents should be reported the moment they occur. For example, if your collision involves injury or an intoxicated driver, you should call 911 at the scene. When law enforcement is involved, your accident is reported right away. Otherwise, if you choose to self-report, you have 10 days to file your completed form.
Are There Consequences for Not Reporting an Accident in Florida?
Yes, drivers that fail to report traffic accidents that fall under a category that requires reporting can have consequences. Usually, penalties involve fines; however, it can depend on the details of the accident.
For example, if an individual commits a hit-and-run accident (fleeing the scene of the collision without reporting), they may face more severe repercussions, including jail time.
What Is a Florida Crash Report Useful for?
Crash reports can be particularly useful if you wish to take legal action against the other driver. Because of all of the information an accident report contains, it can serve as critical evidence to help build your case.
A crash report completed by law enforcement often includes details such as:
- A narrative of how the collision likely occurred
- Information regarding traffic citations
- Determination of fault
- A diagram of the accident
Once available, you or your car accident attorney can request a copy of your crash report for your case.
Although car accidents are fairly common, most people don’t know a lot about reporting accidents. After learning more about crash reports, you can confidently report your accident, which will be vital to your claim.