What Happens if I Do Not Report a Car Accident in Florida?
You may face financial consequences if you fail to report the accident and criminal charges if you leave the scene of the incident. According to Florida law, any motorist engaged in a car accident must report the accident to police authorities if there are injuries or severe property damage resulting from the collision.
Remember that there is no need to submit a written accident report when the police already investigated the accident. Also, reporting the crash over the phone or orally to law enforcement means that a follow-up report from you is not necessary. If the accident happens within a municipality, the driver must report it to the local police department. If the collision happened outside of a municipality, the driver must report it to the county sheriff or the nearest Florida Highway Patrol office or station.
Consequences of Failing to Report an Accident in Florida
If you fail to report a reportable car accident in Florida, you may face non-criminal consequences. You won't go to jail for it, and it won't be considered a criminal charge, but you will be fined a $30 penalty.
Suppose you neglect to file a written accident report because a law enforcement agency did not investigate the accident. In that case, you could be charged with a separate non-moving traffic infraction.
The penalties for leaving an accident scene without reporting it to the authorities are substantially more severe. If there were bodily injuries or death, leaving the site of an accident is a criminal violation that could result in jail time.
When Is Reporting a Car Accident to Law Enforcement Required in Florida?
According to state law, motorists are not compelled to report every accident to the police. Minor car accidents and fender benders, for example, do not require informing law enforcement.
In certain instances, the police officer investigating the car accident fills out the long-form called the Florida Traffic Crash Report. You need to report a car accident if it meets the following criteria:
- The accident results in an injury;
- The car accident causes death;
- The auto collision results in vehicle damage that amounts to $500 or more;
- The car collision involves a commercial motor vehicle;
- The car accident involves a party leaving the accident scene without providing his information, giving aid to the injured party, and ensuring that the accident is reported to law enforcement or a drunk driver is involved.
The Florida law requires you to report a car accident to the police ASAP! This usually entails calling the cops from the scene of the accident. It is sufficient to notify the police in this manner to fulfill a motorist's obligation to report an accident.
When You Must Provide a Written Notice of a Car Accident to the FLHSMV
Suppose the police do not investigate an accident you reported to them. In that case, you must file a written report to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within ten days following an accident.
What Is Included in the Traffic Crash Report?
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a party should record the following fundamental data of a car accident in a long-form:
- Descriptions of vehicles involved in the crash
- When and where the crash occurred
- The other driver's and passengers' names and contact information
- Contact information and names of witnesses
- Badge number and name of the officer in charge of the vehicle accident investigation
All Parties Involved in the Crash Have Instant Access to Crash Reports
The police report can be obtained by any party involved in the car collision. These reports are also available to the following people:
- Insurance agencies
- Law enforcement agencies
- The Department of Transportation
- Legal Counsel
- Victim services program
- The media (radio, television, and newspapers)
A Short Form Is Completed When a Long Form Is Not Required
A short-form version of this report is filed if the car accident does not meet the requirements for completing a Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form. Alternatively, a law enforcement officer on the scene may hand out a driver exchange-of-information form to each driver involved in the collision.
What Is Included in the Short-Form Report?
In a short-form report, the following information is included:
- The description of the vehicle involved in the collision.
- When and where automobile accident occurred
- Names and contact info of the driver and passengers involved
- Names of witnesses and contact information
- Officer's name and badge number
- The involved party's insurance company
Why You Should Notify Your Insurance Provider
In some circumstances, most insurance companies' policies are that insured drivers are responsible for notifying their carries when an automobile accident happens. This is true regardless of whether or not the victim files a claim with their own insurance company.
This obligation is in place to ensure that the insurance providers can investigate the facts of an accident. Carriers will conduct their investigation before deciding whether to accept or deny coverage.
Insurance providers require their insured drivers to notify them of an accident as soon as possible because these investigations are time-sensitive. Failure to tell your insurance company may have serious ramifications. It could result in your insurance claim being denied or your coverage being canceled entirely.
So, even if your car accident was minor and did not qualify as a "reportable accident" under Florida law, you should report it to your auto insurer only to ensure that the carrier will cover the accident in the event you need it.
You Are Not Obliged to Notify the Other Driver's Insurance Company
You may be required to contact the proper authorities and contact your insurance carrier, but you are never required to speak with or notify the other driver's insurance company.
Additionally, talking to the other motorist or their insurance provider about your car accident might give you risk since they will use your words against you to put the blame on you.
So, don't talk about your vehicle accident to anyone other than your personal injury lawyer to preserve your case!
How Soon Should You Report Your Car Accident?
Typically, after an auto accident, a driver will call the cops from the site to make an investigation and accident report.
It is critical to report an accident ASAP if you suspect you have been injured or are experiencing any discomfort. As per Florida law, any person, driver, or victim must notify law enforcement about the auto accident IMMEDIATELY using the fastest means of communication.
What If You Are Unable to Report the Accident Immediately?
If you are physically unable to file a report, the law exempts you from reporting the accident at the time you are incapacitated. However, you must make the report once you are physically capable of doing so.
Also, suppose you are physically unable to make an oral report or subsequent written report of an auto accident, and you have a passenger in your vehicle at the time who can make a report. In that case, the passenger must make the report or have someone else do it.
And suppose you are physically unable to file a subsequent written report of an accident, and you are not the vehicle's owner. In that case, the vehicle owner must make the report within ten days of the accident if you have not done so.
You may learn more about the rules for reporting a car accident in Florida by visiting:
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer After Your Car Accident in Florida
Following an accident in Florida, you may face several injuries and medical bills. The Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys has been helping car accident victims with their injury claims since 2013. We've helped clients get the compensation they deserve after suffering from minor and severe injuries due to another driver's negligence on the roadways. Our experienced auto accident attorneys make sure you are taken care of through each step of the process until you get the justice you deserve!
If you or your loved ones have recently been involved and seriously injured in a car accident in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation. Find personal injury lawyers near you.
Contact a car accident attorney at (786) 723-8801 to find out how we might assist you in obtaining the highest possible settlement or financial compensation. We also offer free consultation and free case evaluation.