Should You Call the Cops for a Fender Bender in Gainesville, FL?
Bill Allen | September 27, 2022 | Car Accidents
In 2020, 341,399 car accidents occurred in Florida. Of those accidents, approximately 3,098 caused fatalities. The remaining accidents ranged from serious collisions resulting in significant injuries to minor “fender benders.”
A fender bender is a common term used to describe a minor car accident. Fender benders are considered minor wrecks that cause little or no damage to the vehicles and do not result in serious injuries to the people involved.
Because fender benders do not result in visibly significant damages, many people are unsure whether they should call the police when they are involved in one. Involving the police has many benefits that serve the interest of all parties involved – here, we will discuss why.
Why Are Minor Car Accidents a Cause for Concern?
Though a minor fender bender may not seem significant enough to involve the police, underlying and delayed effects may be present. Days, weeks, or months after a minor collision, some people may experience injuries stemming from their accident.
Some injuries, like whiplash or muscle strains, can go undetected for long periods of time. Besides injuries to a driver’s person, issues with cars may be undetectable at the scene of the accident but show up later in small or big ways.
Calling the police after a fender bender will help you if you have undetectable injuries or damages – especially if the accident wasn’t your fault. It will prevent the other driver from blaming you for causing the wreck and help you prove liability if you pursue a claim.
What Are the Benefits of Filing a Police Report After a Fender Bender?
When you call the police after being involved in a fender bender, they will typically complete and file an official crash report containing all of the details regarding the accident.
A police report includes important documentation that can be of benefit to both parties, including:
- Official statements from the witnesses
- All drivers’ or parties’ insurance information
- A record of all visible vehicle and property damage
- Details about who was involved and how the crash occurred
If you choose to file an insurance claim, a police report will be of significant benefit. Insurance companies prefer to review official reports because it helps eliminate hearsay during the investigative process. They provide an unbiased account of the collision and are one of the most accurate and helpful pieces of evidence.
If you choose to pursue a settlement in court related to the accident, an official police report will be advantageous in helping your attorneys negotiate an award on your behalf.
How Long Do I Have to File A Claim for an Injury from a Car Accident in Florida?
In Florida, the statute of limitations that applies to a vehicle accident claim depends on whether the crash resulted in injuries or death.
If the crash resulted in injuries – to either a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian – the statute of limitations is four years. Most claims such as these are negligence claims, which allege that the negligence of one or more drivers caused the accident resulting in the claimant’s injuries.
The four-year statute of limitations also applies to any claims for damage to or the total loss of your property (i.e., your vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.) due to the accident.
If someone dies as a result of a car accident and their family wishes to bring a claim against the at-fault driver, they will likely file a wrongful death case. A Florida wrongful death claim must be filed within two years, with the statute of limitations beginning on the date of the person’s death (which may be different from the date of the accident).
Contact a Gainesville Car Accident Lawyer for Help After a Fender Bender
The evidence you provide during settlement negotiations or in court will be crucial to winning your claim. This is why it is always a good idea to involve the police in a car accident, even if the accident appears to be no more than a fender bender.
It’s also wise to consult an experienced Gainesville car accident attorney after a fender bender. This ensures that you fulfill your legal obligations after an accident and pursue all avenues for compensation if you were injured or sustained property damage.
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: