FAQs: Car Accident Reports in Florida
Bill Allen | October 10, 2022 | Car Accidents
Florida law requires all motorists to file an official crash report following a traffic collision, whether involved in a fender bender or a severe accident.
The Sunshine State has some of the highest car accident rates in the country. As of October 1, 2022, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported 280,766 crashes statewide.
You must follow the established protocols and submit a crash report whenever you become involved in any car accident or collision. Learn more about Florida’s car accident reports and how these may affect you should you become involved in a crash.
What Is a Crash Report in Florida?
Crash reports are essentially detailed summaries of a car accident. In many cases, these are generally filled out by law enforcement officers who respond to the scene and will include details about the vehicles involved, the cause of the crash, injuries, and other vital elements.
Every car crash is unique, and depending on the nature of the accident, your car crash report may contain different types of information.
Do You Always Need to Call 911 After a Crash in Florida?
Every state has laws regulating how car crashes are handled and reported. In Florida, all traffic collisions must be reported to state traffic authorities, from minor fender benders to multiple car pile-ups.
Per Florida collision statutes, motorists must legally remain on the scene and contact 911 when the following elements are true:
- The crash results in bodily injury or death
- One or more drivers fled the scene
- DUI is suspected
- The crash results in property damage of $500 or more
- A commercial vehicle was involved
- Towing is necessary for one or more vehicles
Whenever a crash involves serious elements, police will generally take care of filing a crash report and submitting these on behalf of the parties involved. If the collision is less severe, Florida drivers can submit a shorter version of a crash report themselves, either using the state’s online portal or through the mail.
What Information Is Included in a Florida Crash Report?
Florida has two types of crash reports – long form and short form.
Long-form reports are usually filed by law enforcement officers, while short-form reports are self-submitted after minor crashes and collisions.
Both reports will contain roughly the same information, including:
- Names of drivers involved
- Witnesses and their contact information
- Insurance policy information
- Date, time, and location of the crash
- Passenger information
- Fault designation, if filed by police
The appropriate investigative bodies use these submitted reports to review the information and provide a final report that can be purchased from the FLHSMV.
How Are Crash Reports Useful in Florida?
After you report an accident, law enforcement will investigate the incident and return a finalized report. Most investigations are completed between 7 and 10 days after an accident, but some may take longer, depending on the circumstances.
Finalized crash reports include:
- Citations that police handed out after the accident
- A narrative of how the accident likely occurred
- A drawing or diagram of the accident
- Determination of fault
- Contact information for the police officers and related parties who participated in the investigation
Motorists can use these crash reports to submit claims with their insurance companies and recover damages, though these cannot be used as evidence when filing a personal injury lawsuit in court.
What Happens If You Don’t File a Crash Report in Florida?
Florida law requires all motorists involved in a crash to submit a crash report. Failure to do so can result in financial penalties, though these are not criminal in nature.
However, fleeing the scene after a crash is considered to be a criminal offense and can result in prosecution and even jail time.
Contact Our Gainesville Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville car accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: