What To Know About Car Accident Reports in Clearwater, FL
July 5, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Personal Injury
Thousands of car accidents happen every day in Florida, ranging in severity from minor fender benders to crashes involving severe or fatal injuries. One common feature among all accidents that lead to injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage is that a car accident report must be completed.
These reports contain information that can be helpful when it comes time to file an insurance claim or a car crash lawsuit. It is a good idea, therefore, for you to know how an accident gets reported and what to do once a report has been completed.
How Car Accident Reports Are Completed
In Florida, there are several situations where law enforcement must be called to respond to a crash. Drivers must make sure that a Florida accident report is completed if any of the following apply:
- The total amount of property damage is believed to exceed $500
- There is an injury to or death of someone involved in the crash
- A vehicle must be towed away from the accident scene
- It is believed one or more drivers were under the influence
- One or more drivers involved in the crash have fled the scene
In these situations, law enforcement will respond and investigate the crash. An officer will then prepare and submit a car accident report to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) within ten days of the crash.
Failing to report an accident to law enforcement when required can result in a noncriminal traffic infraction charge and associated fines and penalties.
You can also contact law enforcement and ask them to respond to a crash that does not fall into any of these situations. If you do, an officer will complete and submit an abbreviated car accident report. Or you may self-report an accident directly to the FLHSMV. In either case, the report must still be submitted to the FLHSMV within ten days.
Car Accident Reports Can Contain Useful Information
Once an accident report is filed, you and certain other individuals can have access to the car accident report. After 60 days, the report is publicly available. These reports can tell you:
- Who was involved in the crash and their respective insurers
- When and where the accident took place
- The names of the law enforcement officers who investigated the crash
- Names and contact information of any witnesses the officers spoke to
Having this information at your disposal can enable you and your car accident lawyer to more easily identify responsible parties and file a claim or a lawsuit against them. You can also use the list of witnesses to investigate the accident and ascertain the strength of your case.
Limitations on the Use of Car Accident Reports
A car accident report completed by a law enforcement officer can contain helpful information that leads you and your lawyer to evidence. However, the accident report itself is not admissible evidence in a court of law.
Make the Most of Your Car Accident Report
It is always a good idea to get a copy of your car accident report if you have been injured in a Clearwater car wreck. Even if the report itself cannot be used as evidence in a later lawsuit, the information it contains could help you and your lawyer identify who to pursue for damages and locate witnesses who could help your claim.
Contact a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg 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