How Can I Get a Copy Of My Florida Highway Patrol Car Accident Report?
In the state of Florida, it is important you request a copy of your patrol car accident report sooner, rather than later. This is because the accident report is a crucial piece of evidence that documents the details of your accident exactly how it went down. If you file a claim, and the other driver claims something completely different, you can use the crash report to prove exactly what happened on that date and in that location.
Obtaining a Patrol Car Accident Report
The first step in obtaining a patrol car accident report is knowing who filed it. For example; if your accident occurred on an interstate road or state highway, the Florida Highway Patrol may have jurisdiction. However, if your accident occurred in a neighborhood or on a back road, then the police department who responded to your accident would have a copy of the report.
To find this information, you can check the documents you received from the officer immediately following the accident. He may have even given you a copy of his business card, which would have the information of the precinct he is from. If the Florida Highway Patrol has jurisdiction, then you should be able to file for a copy online.
If all of this seems too overwhelming and you don't know where to start, a Miami car accident lawyer can request a copy of the report for you, and then file or pick up your claim from there.
When To File a Car Accident Report
Nearly every car accident that occurs in the state of Florida must be accompanied by an accident report. This is especially true if anyone suffered an injury in the accident, even if it's just mild discomfort, or for certain extenuating circumstances, like the other driver was drunk, or you were the victim of a hit-and-run. Of course, if your car sustained major damage, to the point where a tow truck was necessary, this is another situation wherein the filing of a report is mandatory.
When No Police Officers Are Involved
If you have been in a minor accident, like a fender-bender with no injuries, neither you nor the other driver may feel it necessary to involve the police. That's fine, but you still need to file an accident report with the Florida Highway Patrol to comply with state law and/or the requirements of your insurance company. If you don't file the claim, your insurance company is not required to pay out – even if the accident was in no way your fault.
To file a report, go to the "Driver Report of a Traffic Crash" page on the Florida Highway Patrol's website. Once your filing is complete, you can print a copy and forward it to your insurance company. You should also print a copy for yourself so that you or your lawyer, should you choose to hire one, can use it as evidence in connection with a potential lawsuit against the other driver.
You may have heard that accident reports are eventually made part of the public record. This is true, however 60 days must pass before that happens. Until the 60-day mark, accident reports are only available to anyone who can prove a "connection to the accident." These parties include:
- The drivers and/or owners of the vehicles in the accident
- Passengers in either car
- Witnesses to the accident
- Insurance companies for the parties
- Lawyers for the parties
You may also have to file a written statement indicating that you do not intend to use the report to exploit anyone in the car accident for commercial purposes. In other words, you have to agree not to use the accident to sell or buy anything to or from anyone involved.
Need To File a Car Accident Report in the State Of Florida? We Can Help!
If you have just been in a car accident, the last thing you want to have to deal with is paperwork. We get it. However, you must file a crash report, if one hasn't been filed for you, to comply with the law and with the requirements you signed on your contract with your insurance company. The sooner you file a report, the less likely you are to be accused by either your or the other driver's insurance company of fraud.
If you are concerned you will not file the claim correctly or on time, a Miami car accident lawyer can help. We know how annoying paperwork can be, and the last thing you need after an accident – especially if you're recovering from an injury – is more frustration. If you would like to speak with one of the experienced lawyers on our team, fill out our contact form, or give us a call at 305-928-2909 to get started.
Remember: time flies when you're debating whether to file a lawsuit. Don't fall behind and lose out on what could be thousands of dollars in damages. Call us today, and let us help you get the fair compensation you deserve!