How Can I Get A Copy Of My Car Accident Report In Miami, Florida?
If you’ve been involved in a Miami car accident, you’re entitled to a copy of the official police report of your case, whether or not you were at fault. Police officers do not always give instructions for accessing a copy of the report to the parties involved when they are at the scene of the accident, so it is important that you know what is in the report, why it is important, and how to get a copy for your records.
How a Police Report Is Prepared
Florida law mandates all auto accidents be reported to the police before those involved in the accident left the scene. You are required to wait until a police officer arrives at the scene, conducts an investigation, collects basic details from all parties and passengers involved, and notes down personal information such as car and insurance details.
The officer will then give the drivers a driver’s exchange or case card. Within one week, the officer is required to write an official police report that generally includes detailed information about the facts of the accident. However, in the case of a fatality, an official police report or homicide report could take months to prepare. Police reports typically indicate which road user was at fault, so obtaining your own copy is an important step toward protecting your rights and financial interests in the aftermath of an accident.
Police Car Accident Reports
Here is what needs to happen before you can obtain a copy of the official police report for your accident.
Call in Your Accident
Under Florida law, it is mandatory to call the police after an accident if it led to property damage of over $500, bodily injuries, or death. Any victim of a hit and run accident or a crash with an intoxicated driver is also required to report the crash to Miami police.
A crash has to be reported before anyone leaves the scene of an accident. When in doubt of the best course of action, call the police, even if the accident was minor. If the police officer that responds to your call does not complete the report for whatever reason, you have 10 days from the day of the accident to file a crash report yourself. Keep a copy of your report for your records.
Talk to a Police Officer
It is the police officer’s job to carry out an investigation of the accident and take notes for incorporation into their official report. The officer will gather personal information and vehicle insurance details from all parties involved in the accident once the officer arrives at the scene. Before the officer in charge leaves the scene, ask him/her for a driver’s exchange or case card. These documents will have your agency report number or case number on them. If you leave without a report number, you can contact the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) station closest to you. You can also contact Miami-Dade Highway Patrol by calling 305-853-9171.
Wait for the Report’s Release
Typically, the officer that responded to your accident call will write up a report within a week after the accident occurred. Statute 316.066 of the Florida Legislature outlines how citizens should go about requesting an accident report. This statute calls for a waiting period of 60 days before the police can issue a traffic crash report to the public. However, if you were directly involved in an accident, you can access the crash report immediately or within seven to 10 business days.
The statute mentioned above also mentions other parties that may have early access to reports, such as insurance agents and legal representatives. In Florida, disclosing confidential personal information or obtaining confidential police reports when you were not directly involved in the accident in any way (either as a victim, an at-fault motorist, or as a representative or family member of someone involved in the crash) is a third-degree felony.
Request a Copy of the Crash Report
Obtaining a police report copy is essential since it will often name the party who the police officer believed was at fault for the accident. The report will also have the location, time, and date of the crash, the badge number of the responsible officer, eyewitness information, as well as the name of all accident parties’ insurance companies. A police report can be used as evidence of the fault in your insurance claim.
Obtaining the Police Report
You can obtain your accident police report in a number of different ways. Here are the easiest ways to do so.
Call the Local Police Department
The easiest way of obtaining a report is by calling the local police department. You can also mail them a formal request for the report.
More than 150 police agencies in Florida use BuyCrash.com to provide online police reports. There may be various fees for this service, but this is one of the easiest ways of obtaining a copy of your police report.
Have a Lawyer Follow Up for You
Following up with an accident claim and obtaining evidence such as police reports and eyewitness statements after sustaining injuries can be difficult. Instead, you can let our lawyers do the following up for you as you focus on recovering from your injuries.
Call Us for Answers to Your Legal Questions
If you have questions about how to obtain a crash report in Florida, call us at 305-853-9171. We’ll answer all of your questions, and we are also ready to take up your case on a contingency basis. Pay nothing until you win and have a legal expert handle your case from start to finish. Call now.