What Happens if I Do Not Report a Car Accident in Florida?
May 30, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
Failure to report a car accident in Florida can have serious financial and criminal repercussions. State law requires all motorists involved in a collision to report the accident to the appropriate authorities when there are injuries or property damage. Those who fail to do so can face steep fines and potential criminal charges.
If you consistently commute throughout the State of Florida, this article will help you understand why it is important to report any car accidents you are involved in.
Penalties in the State of Florida
Florida Statutes §316.066 mandate the reporting of accidents in specific situations. Failure to do so can result in a $30 fine. However, criminal charges are unlikely under the provisions of this particular law.
However, if you leave the scene of an accident without reporting the accident to law enforcement, you could be jailed and face additional criminal penalties. The consequences will escalate depending on the severity of any property damage or injuries.
Some people do not realize that reporting an accident can be as simple as making a phone call to law enforcement and filling out a crash report. Florida law does not specify the extent of the injuries required for reporting, so you will want to report the accident even if the only injuries are tiny bruises and small cuts.
When To Report an Accident in FL
It is important to note that Florida’s laws do not require every accident to be reported to law enforcement. If you are in a minor fender bender with no injuries, you are not required to notify law enforcement. However, you do need to report the accident if there are bodily injuries, death, or property damage over $500.
If you have ever had to repair a car, you know that most repairs can exceed $500. This means you must be careful when assessing the amount of property damage. In these cases, it is always good to err on the side of caution and report the accident.
Florida law states that those involved in a collision that meets the thresholds mentioned above must contact law enforcement immediately, which means using whatever means you have at your disposal. Fortunately, this can be as easy as calling them on your cell phone from the accident scene.
Providing Written Notice
If you are involved in a car or truck accident that requires reporting, and the police do not investigate, you must provide written notice of the accident. To do this, you must submit a report to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within ten days of the incident.
This form is located on the FLHSMV’s website and can be submitted in the mail or digitally using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Reporting to the Local Police
You should report the accident to the law enforcement division that has jurisdiction over the municipality where the accident occurred. The accident should be reported to Florida Highway Patrol if it occurred on a state or interstate highway.
Additionally, if you are unable to determine which department has jurisdiction, you can report the accident to the county sheriff’s department.
When reporting an accident to the police, be sure to have the following information handy:
- Current location
- Location of the accident
- Contact phone number
- Extent of all injuries incurred, if any
- Extent of property damage, if any
- Whether the accident is blocking the road
- Whether any vehicles were moved after the accident.
When speaking with law enforcement, try to remain calm and provide relevant information. This can be tricky when there are injuries or extensive property damage, but it will allow them to provide a more appropriate response, which could save lives.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Comply With Florida Law
Now that you know why reporting car accidents in Florida is important, you are more prepared to respond appropriately in the event of a collision. And if you have any further questions, reach out to an experienced car accident attorney for legal advice and assistance.
Contact a New Port Richey Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have any questions about the car accident settlement process in New Port Richey, Florida, get in touch with a qualified attorney for legal help. Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations, so you can learn about your options and receive helpful advice free of charge.
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in New Port Richey today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805