If a car accident occurs and causes damage to a vehicle (or other property) but does not require a police report (see criteria below), the driver of any vehicle involved in the collision must report the accident within 10 days following the crash. This written report must be provided via a law-enforcement-approved form.
When an Auto Accident Report Needs to Be Filed By Law Enforcement
In certain instances, a written report called the Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form, is completed by the police officer investigating the collision. This report is required for any accident that meets the following criteria:
- The collision caused the death of or injury to individuals who were involved in the collision.
- The crash involved a party leaving the scene of the accident without giving his/her information (name, vehicle registration, etc.), rendering aid to the other party, if needed, or ensuring that the accident is reported to the authorities; or a party was driving drunk or intoxicated.
- A vehicle involved in the collision was damaged to the extent that it was inoperable and had to be removed from the scene of the accident by a wrecker.
- A commercial motor vehicle was involved in the crash.
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What Is Included in a Florida Traffic Crash Report?
You can look to the Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form, for all the basic facts of an auto accident in Florida, including:
- Where and when the accident happened
- Descriptions of all vehicles involved in the collision
- Names and contact information for all drivers and passengers, as well as information on the vehicles each was driving or riding in
- Names and contact information for individuals who witnessed the accident
- Name and badge number for the police officer investigating the collision
Crash Reports Are Available Immediately to All Parties Involved in the Crash
Any party involved in the accident can obtain the police report. These reports are also available to:
- Legal counsel
- Insurance agents
- Law enforcement agencies
- The Department of Transportation
- Victim services programs
- Various forms of media (newspapers and radio and television stations)
To receive the crash report, an individual must provide a photo ID and sign a sworn statement that the information will not be used for commercial solicitation.
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When a Long Form report Is Not Required, a Short Form Is Completed
If a collision does not meet the criteria that requires a Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form to be completed, a short-form version of this report is filed. Alternatively, the law enforcement officer on the scene may give each driver involved in the collision a driver exchange-of-information form.
Items Included in the Short Form Report
- Where and when the collision occurred
- Descriptions of vehicles involved in the crash
- Names and contact details for drivers and passengers involved in the accident, including descriptions of the vehicles each was driving or riding in
- Witness’s names and contact information
- Police officer’s name and badge number
- Insurance companies for the parties involved in the accident
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Everyone Involved Must Provide Proof of Insurance
The parties involved in the accident must provide proof of insurance to the police officer who arrives on the scene to investigate the crash. The officer, in turn, documents this proof in his or her crash report.
Failure to provide such evidence can result in the issuance of a nonmoving violation. The law enforcement officer might deem that the circumstances of the accident made the provision of this information not immediately possible, however. In this case, the party has 24 hours to provide proof of insurance. If they can fulfill this duty, the police might void the citation.
Florida Statutes Motor Vehicles Title XXIII, Chapter 316 describes reporting requirements following an auto accident in Florida.
Beneficial Things to Do After the Accident
When dealing with a life disruption like an accident, it can be difficult to figure out what to do next. However, after filing an accident report, you could:
Keep off of Social Media
Protecting your claim to compensation is important. Insurance adjusters might take your words or photos out of context to disprove your injuries and other losses.
Not Accepting Quick Settlement Awards
The insurer might offer a low amount that does not truly cover all your accident-related losses. You should wait until you speak to legal professionals to understand what losses could make you eligible for damages. Also, your medical team can tell you how long your injuries will take to heal. You might have medical expenses far into the future.
Retaining Your Lawyer to Handle Your Auto Accident Case
After an accident, you might be dealing with many injuries and expenses. This is not the time to argue with insurance adjusters or brainstorm opportunities for evidence supporting your case. A legal professional from our firm can support your family at this time.
We are ready to:
- Investigate the accident
- Assign a value to your losses
- Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement
- Answer your questions and walk you through the process
- Tell you about your legal options
- File paperwork
- Stand with you in court, if necessary
- Help you stay within the statute of limitations
- Gather evidence that supports your case
If You Were Involved in an Auto Accident in Florida and Want a Car Accident Lawyer
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers’ auto accident legal team in Florida is ready to get started on your case. We will pursue legal action against the driver whose negligent behavior caused your injuries.
You deserve to be compensated, and we will provide compassionate, professional services to see that your case is heard. Call today for a free case review: (855) 529-0269.
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