How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in Gainesville, FL
Bill Allen | February 23, 2022 | Car Accidents
Florida law requires law enforcement agencies to investigate certain accidents and complete a Florida traffic crash report. These reports can provide valuable information for your injury claim or lawsuit.
Fortunately, Florida makes traffic crash reports readily available. You can request a copy of your traffic crash report from the Gainesville Police Department or the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). You can even search and download reports online.
Here is how you can obtain a car accident report in Gainesville, FL, and how it can help your case.
Accidents That Require a Police Report
You must call the police after any car accident that causes an injury, death, or more than $500 in property damage. Commercial drivers must also report all truck accidents and bus accidents involving a commercial motor vehicle.
If you are within city limits, you must call the city police department. Outside of the city, you must call the county sheriff’s office or the Florida Highway Patrol.
When the police respond to the accident, the officers will make sure that the drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists involved in the accident exchange information as required by Florida law.
The responding officers will investigate the accident. This could include:
- Taking pictures of the accident scene
- Collecting evidence, such as skid mark measurements and breathalyzer tests
- Interviewing drivers, passengers, and bystanders
Based on this investigation, the investigating officers must determine whether the drivers broke any laws and issue citations or charges.
Within ten days after the accident, the investigating officers will complete a Florida traffic crash report. Florida law requires reports for accidents that:
- Cause an injury or death
- Disable a vehicle
- Involve a commercial motor vehicle
- Involve an intoxicated driver
- Result from a hit-and-run
If the damage-only accident causes more than $500 in damage but does not disable a vehicle, the officers can instruct the drivers to exchange insurance information and forgo the report.
How to Get a Copy of Your Traffic Crash Report
FLHSMV maintains a portal that you can use to order a copy of your crash report. The state charges a fee of $10 per crash report plus a $2 processing fee per online order.
You can find your crash report by searching with your driver’s license number. Once you find your crash report, you can download it immediately.
Under Florida law, crash reports are not public documents until 60 days after the crash. If you want to access your crash report before the 60 days expires, you must certify that you are:
- Someone involved in the crash
- A lawyer for someone in the crash
- The owner of a vehicle in the crash
- An insurer for a vehicle or person in the crash
After the 60 days expires, anyone can access the crash report.
The Gainesville Police Department can also provide a copy of the crash report for any accident it investigated. You must make the same certification if your request falls within 60 days after the accident. You must also pay a fee.
The Gainesville Police Department does not provide downloadable copies of crash reports. You must either pick up a copy at the police department or have a copy mailed to you.
Using the Traffic Crash Report
The crash report will include important information that may be relevant to an insurance claim, including the other driver’s insurer and policy number. You and your lawyer can use this information to file a claim if you fall within an exception to Florida’s no-fault insurance system.
The crash report will also list the cause of the accident and any traffic citations issued to the other driver. You and your lawyer will use this information to prove that the other driver acted negligently in causing the crash.
Contact a personal injury lawyer today for help obtaining and using your crash report to recover compensation after your accident.
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