If you have been in a serious car accident, the law requires you to take certain steps to report the crash to the appropriate authorities. While Florida law does not require you to call the police if the car accident was minor, it can be in your best interest to do so—especially if you decide to file an insurance claim or lawsuit later on.
At the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine, we will advise you on what to do if you were in a car accident. Contact us today at 800-747-3733 for a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney.
Do I Have to Report a Minor Accident to the Police?
If you were in a fender bender or other minor accident, you may not have to report your accident to the police. According to Florida law, you must immediately report your accident to the police if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- The accident involved an injury or death;
- A driver fled the scene after the crash;
- A driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- The crash damaged a vehicle so badly it required a tow truck to remove it from the scene; or
- The accident involved a commercial motor vehicle, such as a big rig.
Should I Still Call the Police If My Accident Was Minor?
If your accident was minor and does not meet the above criteria, you do not legally have to report it. However, our attorneys recommend that you report it anyway.
Police reports are critical pieces of evidence that we can use to support your insurance claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. The police report can establish the date your accident occurred and other key details that may help you recover compensation from your PIP policy for any property damage and lost wages.
You should also call law enforcement if the other driver in your accident is uncooperative, refuses to exchange information, or you suspect that they are uninsured.
What Happens When the Police Arrive?
Once you make the call, a police officer will arrive at the scene and document the accident in a Florida Traffic Crash Report. This report provides details such as:
- The names of the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in the crash;
- The vehicles involved;
- The facts of the crash, such as the date, location, and weather conditions;
- How the crash occurred;
- Whether one or more parties violated a traffic law or received a traffic ticket;
- Whether a driver was driving under the influence;
- Proof of insurance for drivers involved in the crash;
- Whether anyone suffered injuries; and
- The contact information of any eyewitnesses present on the scene.
What Else Do I Need to Do After an Accident?
Reporting your accident to the police is important, but it is not the only thing you need to do. Here are some of the additional steps you must take after a car crash.
Stay at the Scene
If you leave the scene of an accident too soon, you could face hit and run charges. Generally, you must stay until law enforcement gives you the okay to leave or at least until you and the other involved parties exchange information.
Move Your Vehicle out of the Way
If your vehicle is movable, move it out of the way to avoid endangering others.
Seek Medical Attention
If you or another person suffered an injury, you need to seek medical help as soon as possible—even if the injuries are minor. If your injuries are minor, you may have to decide for yourself whether to seek further treatment.
Given the choice between going home and going to the hospital for a check-up, our attorneys generally advise that you go to the hospital. A more thorough checkup may reveal additional injuries that you were unaware of. Also, receiving medical treatment immediately after an accident makes it easier to recover benefits or damages later on.
Once you have called for medical help, you should start gathering information from other motorists and witnesses and document the scene of the crash itself. You should exchange contact information with everyone on site and collect insurance policy information from those involved in the crash. You should also take photos of your injuries, your vehicle, the other parties’ vehicles, and the scene of the crash itself.
How Can I Speak to a South Florida Car Accident Lawyer About My Case?
Once you have safely arrived home, you should call the attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine for further assistance. We can help you file your insurance claim to recover PIP benefits from your insurer. For victims with more serious injuries, we may be able to seek additional damages. Call 800-747-3733 today to discuss your case.