A vehicle accident report details what happened during a car crash, and lists the contact information for all drivers, and witnesses. Generally, the police will create the report, but if you did not call the police, you must report the crash on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor vehicles website.
What is an Accident Report?
An accident report is a record keeping document that describes what happened during a car crash. They generally include information on how the crash occurred, who witnessed the crash, what cars and people were involved, and any citations given by police officers. They also include contact information and addresses for all people involved.
Generally, the police will file an accident report on your behalf. If the car accident caused noticeable death or injury, property damage that was over $500, was a hit and run accident, or was caused by an intoxicated driver, you are required by law to report the accident to the police at the time of the accident. You are also required to call the police if your car is obstructing the roadway for any serious amount of time, because allowing such obstruction is illegal. When police get to the scene of the accident, they will take witness statements, and conduct their own investigation. This is the type of crash report that most attorneys want, as it is a detailed and complex report of all the parties involved.
If you do not call the police to the scene of the accident because your accident did not fit one of the categories above, then you will be required to fill out an accident report online within ten days of the crash. The crash report submitted to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website generally asks where the crash occurred, and for the information of the people involved in the crash (remember to always take the other driver’s information regardless of whether the police were present). Reports filed by laypeople are substantially less detailed. Due to these requirements, these reports should only be filled out in situations where you don’t plan to sue anyway.
A failure to have any report filed is a traffic violation, and you may face a fine if you do not comply with reporting requirements. If you are physically unable to report your accident, you are exempt until you are able to report.
Why Are Accident Reports Important?
Accident reports are evidence that a crash exists and allow your attorney to know who they can contact to get information regarding your car crash. Lawyers tend to love the crash report because it includes addresses, car makes and models, and names for witnesses and drivers. Furthermore, it includes a general summary of how the crash occurred, and what police officers can be witnesses for you. A crash report filled out by a police officer is an accident attorney’s best friend.
With that being said, self-reported reports are not as detailed, and may not be as accurate. The truth of the matter is that these reports are not as helpful to attorneys and create serious legal complications due to the fact that you likely did not follow the law by failing to call the police if you are going to sue.
With that being said, it is important to note that while you may be required to call in the police in certain circumstances, you can still call the police to your accident scene even if the law doesn’t require you to. It is always best practice to call the police after a car crash, even if you believe your damages are under $500, and you believe you have no injuries. Injuries can take weeks or months to reveal themselves. And damage to vehicles is not always noticeable. When in doubt, always call the police for your legal and medical protection.
Do Accident Reports Cover All Types of Accidents?
Accident reports cover all types of vehicular accidents including those involving cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and in many cases, even bicycles. No matter the vehicles involved it is important to get a report.
Should I get help from a personal injury attorney if I didn’t call the police at the scene of the accident, but now realize I should have?
Contacting a personal injury attorney is not required, but can be helpful, as they will be able to inform you of how to contact the proper authorities and fill out important documentation to better your legal position. Because lawyers are familiar with the laws, they can assist you more effectively than you could likely assist yourself. Furthermore, they will help you get the compensation you need for your injuries from said crash.
Will a personal injury attorney help me self-report a car crash?
If your crash caused no injuries, and your damages are under $500, then you are likely not suing for damages. Generally, personal injury attorneys, due to their limited time and resources, only assist those that need compensation for property damage or injuries. In these cases, filling out the report yourself is the best. As long as you collected driver information, it is not difficult to fill out.
Should I get help from a personal injury attorney if I want to get a crash report that a police officer filled out.
Personal injury attorneys know how to get crash reports. You can order the report from the FLHSMV website, whether you ask for it or not your attorney will likely get the report for themselves anyway, as it is a helpful resource. The real benefit of a personal injury attorney, however, comes from everything that happens after the crash report is received.
When trying to get your deserved compensation for your damages, you will be going against an insurance company that has a legal team that exists to deny claims. Trying to represent yourself is an uphill battle, the truth is it will be hard to match people who have the ability to work full time on your case, and do so with knowledge of all the procedures and laws in the area.
Getting yourself an expert for yourself, in the form of your personal injury attorney, allows you to match the insurance company’s expertise and get justice for your case, without the stress you would otherwise experience. Instead of fighting a nearly impossible battle, you will be able to take the time to relax and heal yourself and your life.
If you have been in any type of a motor vehicle accident in Tampa or St. Petersburg, contact Bulluck Law Group today.
We offer a free case evaluation to see if we’re a good fit as well as a No Recovery, No Fee Promise.
The team at Bulluck law group has years of experience in this area of the law and knows the right way to fight for your compensation. Contact us for a free consultation today.