Every driver knows that they could get into a car accident whenever they are on the road. When we think of car accidents, we’re often thinking about treating our injuries, paying for repairs, and having long conversations with insurance companies, but the moments immediately following an accident are impactful. Reporting an accident is crucial for everyone involved.
Reports alert the authorities, document the event, and are essential for receiving compensation to cover damages that result from the accident. It is not always clear when and how someone should report a car accident. To ensure the best outcome for your insurance or personal injury claim, you should know how to report an accident properly. If you are dealing with the fallout of a car accident, it may be beneficial to reach out to a car accident lawyer for legal counsel.
Check if You or Anyone Else Is Injured
After an accident, it’s important to check yourself for injuries. You should also examine your surroundings and check on anyone else involved in the incident. The presence of injuries resulting from the accident is one factor that determines whether the driver should report the accident. Whether it’s the other driver, other motorists, pedestrians, or a bicyclist, if anyone involved in the accident was injured, it must be included in the report.
If you are too injured to file an accident report at the accident scene, a passenger must do it. Otherwise, Florida law permits you to wait until you can physically do so. If the incapacitated driver is not the owner of the car involved in the accident, the vehicle owner must file the report within ten days.
Check the Vehicles for Damage
In addition to injuries, another factor that determines whether you need to report an accident officially is if there is property damage that appears to be worth $500 or more. Reporting is unnecessary if you’re in a minor fender bender with no damage.
Call the Local Police at the Scene of the Accident
Officially reporting a car accident is only legally required in certain circumstances. In that case, under Florida law, you must call the local police to report your accident immediately after the accident using the fastest available form of communication. The two most prevalent circumstances include if the accident resulted in injury, death, or at least $500 worth of property damage. It is also necessary to report your accident if the other vehicle involved is a commercial vehicle or belongs to a government entity.
Answer the Reporting Officer’s Questions Carefully
Once the authorities have reached the accident scene, you must orally report the accident. This usually involves answering questions about the location of the accident, showing identifying information to the reporting officer, and giving a statement describing your side of the events. You are not required to file a written report if authorities conducted a formal investigation after you orally reported the accident to the appropriate authorities.
However, if the authorities did not investigate the accident, you have ten days after the accident to file a written report with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. When you report the accident, describe the events carefully. Only include the necessary details, and don’t say anything that admits fault. Doing so could make you liable for the damages from the accident.
Consult an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Immediately following a car accident, you may be stunned by the impact and overwhelmed by everything you know you have to do afterward, but these moments are vital to your case. In certain circumstances, you are required by law to report a car accident in Florida. Car accident reports are essential for filing claims with your insurance provider and personal injury litigation. Car accident reports can be beneficial, and in the hands of an experienced car accident lawyer, they could be instrumental in securing you financial compensation.
Scott Sobol is an experienced car accident lawyer who knows the importance of properly filing a car accident report. Since 2003, Sobol has provided more than 1,000 clients with quality, compassionate representation. If you need legal assistance following a car accident, reach out to Scott Sobol by calling (954) 440-2000 or filling out the contact form.
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