You can generally get a copy of a car accident report in Florida by requesting it from the records division of the law enforcement agency that filed it. The process to get this report varies by agency. Some offer instant downloads online, while others require you to appear in person or send your request by mail.
What You Need to Get a Car Accident Report
You will need to have some information on hand to locate the correct report. This may include:
- The case number
- The date and time of the accident
- The location of the crash
- The name of one or more of the drivers involved
You do not need all of this information, but having most of it will help speed up the process of locating and getting a copy of your report. This is especially true if you do not have the case number.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we can help you get a car accident report in Florida. Call us today for a free consultation with an auto accident lawyer.
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What Is the First Step to Obtaining My Car Accident Report?
To learn how to get a car accident report, you first need to know who filed it. For example, the City of Fort Lauderdale does not have access to reports from the Broward Sheriff’s Office or vice versa. You need to know which agency responded to your accident or which department you called to file the report.
Many police officers give business cards or other documents to help you remember who to contact for a copy of your accident report before they leave the scene of a crash. Your case number may also be on this card. If your crash occurred on an interstate or state highway, the Florida Highway Patrol may have jurisdiction. You can request a copy online.
Who Can Request a Report in Florida?
Accident reports are not part of the public record until 60 days after a crash. If you need a copy of the report during this period, you will need to complete an affidavit that specifies you were involved in the crash. However, after 60 days, anyone can request a copy of the police report.
This affidavit should be available at any police department, sheriff’s office, or other location where you need to pick up your report. You can also complete it online through the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) website.
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Are Accident Reports Always Required After a Car Crash?
Almost all car accidents in Florida require filing an accident report. Under state law, you must legally report the crash if there are any injuries, including any reports of discomfort from anyone involved.
You also need to file a report in other circumstances, like if a driver fled the scene or was drunk at the time of the crash. If your wreck involved a commercial truck or damaged a vehicle so badly it required a tow truck, you must also file a report.
You Should Still Get a Report If the Crash Was ‘Minor’
Even though some minor crashes do not require reports by law, a car accident lawyer in South Florida from our team will recommend filing one after any crash in case you later discover an injury or property damage. You need an accident report to file an insurance claim.
A minor crash usually means the damage to the vehicle did not make it undriveable after the accident. For example, minor incidents may result in a cracked windshield, small scratches and dents, or a broken headlight or taillight. While no one wants car damage, any of these examples are small enough to require repairs, and that’s it.
“Minor accident” also means the drivers involved don’t appear to have suffered moderate or major injuries after their fender-bender. Still, we encourage you to see a doctor to confirm that your injuries are not more serious than initially thought.
You Have 10 Days to File a Report If the Police did Not
If you called the police and officers responded to the scene of your crash, they already filed an accident report for you. If they did not, you have 10 days from the date of the accident to file this report, according to Florida Statutes § 316.066.
Often, you can do this online through the Florida Highway Patrol website. You can complete a questionnaire that helps you fill out the report accurately. In other cases, you will need to contact the local police or sheriff’s department with jurisdiction over the location where your accident happened.
What Happens If the Police Report Contains Errors?
When you receive your copy of the police report, you should review its information, including the responding police officer’s comments, to make sure everything is factually correct from what you know and remember. The report will contain a lot of information, so it’s important to go over it carefully. For example, this document includes personal information about each driver involved in the accident, the damage on each vehicle, and much more.
It is always possible that the officer didn’t record information correctly or at all, depending on the circumstances. You can check the report to ensure the following items are right:
- The accident place, date, and time
- The spellings of all streets or roads involved
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved
- Driver licenses, insurance policy numbers, and VINs (vehicle identification numbers)
- The make and model of the drivers’ vehicles
- Accident witnesses’ contact information
- Record of injuries and property damage suffered in the crash
- Issued citations and the names of who they were issued to
Make Sure the Crash Report Accurately Reflects What Happened
You will want to make sure the responding officer recorded the correct information about the accident. This narrative should include the officer’s conclusions about what led up to the collision and what happened afterward. For example, if you were in a T-bone accident, the report should not say you were rear-ended or sideswiped.
If you suffered major injuries and had to be taken to the hospital for emergency room care, that should be reflected in the report. The report should also detail if a driver exhibited risky behaviors before the accident, such as speeding or driving while drowsy or under the influence.
An accurate record of what happened is critical to your claim or lawsuit, as it can be difficult to challenge it later after time has passed. The responding police officer’s word can carry a great deal of weight. As soon as you can, you should record your version of what happened either on paper or video to ensure you have your recollection of events handy. You can always write down what you remember about the accident and submit it with your police report as well.
How Can I Talk to an Attorney About My Claim?
If the attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine handle your claim, we can help you get a car accident report in Florida. This report plays an important role in your case, no matter if we file a claim based on your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or pursue other compensation to cover serious injuries.
Here are some of the ways an attorney from our team can help you:
Compensation We Can Help You Recover
A lawyer from our team can help you seek awards for your losses after a car accident. Some forms of compensation we routinely pursue include:
- Car damage costs
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Along with the accident report, it is also good to keep a record of all of your expenses related to the accident.
We Can Help You File Your Case on Time
We almost always recommend filing a report after a car accident because we will need one to seek compensation through insurance. In Florida, you generally cannot seek compensation for the accident after four years from the crash, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a).
We will help you build your case and get it filed on time. You can contact our personal injury lawyer today.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today
If you have any questions or concerns about getting the money you need to pay for your medical care after a crash, we offer free case evaluations and consultations. Call us at 1-800-747-3733 to learn more about your potential legal options and next steps.
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