Being involved in a car accident means that you have specific duties. Florida laws require that you report the car crash to the authorities. Below are some FAQs about car accident reports in Florida.
When Do I File a Car Accident Report in Florida?
Florida Statute §316.065 requires you to report a motor vehicle accident to law enforcement officials by the quickest means possible when:
- The accident involves an injury
- Property damages total $500 or more
- The collision results in a traffic fatality
The law requires police officers to file a long-form crash report within ten days of completing the accident investigation when the crash involves:
- Death or personal injury
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- A hit and run crash
- A complaint of discomfort or pain by any of the drivers or passengers
- Commercial motor vehicles
- Damage to a vehicle or property of at least $500
- A vehicle that must be towed from the accident scene because it is inoperable
If your accident didn’t involve any of these things, you might be entitled to self-report your accident online or by mail.
Drivers also have a legal duty to remain at the accident scene. Florida Statute §316.062 places a duty on drivers to give information and render aid after a car accident. Generally, calling 911 is the best way to comply with the laws related to car accident reports.
How Can I Get a Copy of My Florida Traffic Crash Report?
The easiest way to obtain a copy of your traffic crash report is online through the Official Crash Portal. You should be able to purchase a copy of the report online for a small fee.
If a local police department responded to the car accident, you might also be able to get a copy of the accident report from the police department. Local police departments have different procedures for traffic report requests. Check with the records office at your local police station for guidance.
Are Car Accident Reports Public Record?
Motor vehicle accident reports become public records 60 days after the car accident. For the first 60 days, only specific people can access the accident report.
Individuals who can access crash reports within the first 60 days after a crash include:
- The parties involved in the collision
- Lawyers representing parties involved in the crash
- The Department of Transportation
- Licensed insurance agents who provide insurance coverage for any vehicle involved in the accident
- County traffic operations
- Insurance companies that receive insurance applications from drivers involved in the crash
- Law enforcement officials
- Prosecutors and their offices
- Certain television and newspapers
Restricting access to car accident reports for the first 60 days after a car wreck protects the people involved in the accident. It does not expose them to individuals who might want to profit from the information.
Are Florida Car Accident Reports Evidence in a Personal Injury Case?
Florida law makes accident reports inadmissible as evidence in a civil case. Therefore, you cannot submit the accident report as evidence at a personal injury trial. In addition, the statements made to police officers investigating the accident by individuals involved in the crash are also not admissible at trial.
However, accident report privilege does not cover statements from eyewitnesses who were not involved in the accident. It also does not protect the findings of criminal investigations. Therefore, the results of field sobriety tests and BAC tests are admissible in a DUI accident trial.
Tangible evidence from the accident scene is also admissible in court. For example, measurements of skid marks and photographs of the accident scene could be used as evidence at trial.
What Information is Contained in Car Accident Reports?
A crash report has extensive information about the auto accident.
The information included in a Florida traffic accident report includes:
- Time, location, and date of the collision
- The damage to each vehicle involved in the accident
- The weather, lighting, and road conditions at the time of the accident
- The names and contact information of people involved in the accident
- Insurance information
- Statements made by eyewitnesses
- Traffic violations and citations
You should review the information on the traffic report. If the information is incorrect, notify your Miami personal injury lawyer. The police officer may correct factual information but is unlikely to correct information because you merely disagree with the officer’s assessment.
What Should I Do After a Florida Car Accident?
At the accident scene, it is important not to apologize or accept liability for the accident. You should only talk to the police. Keep your answers to the point without admitting fault.
If you sustain serious injuries, you might be entitled to compensation from the other driver after exhausting your PIP insurance benefits. However, you have the burden of proving that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident. If you accept any blame for the cause of the car crash, the amount of money you receive is decreased by your percentage of fault.
It’s best to consult a personal injury lawyer after a car accident in Florida to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you recover the maximum compensation available for your claim.