Do You Need a Police Report for a Car Accident in Florida?
Every day, hundreds of people in Florida get into a car accident. Thankfully, most of these are minor. They involve some bumps and bruises but no major injuries. Others cause a lot of vehicle damage but the drivers walk away with not a scratch on them.
Some people aren’t so lucky. There are nasty crashes where both drivers get rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. The last thing they’re worried about is their car. They need to make sure they’re okay.
In Florida, if the car accident is very minor and no one gets hurt, you are not required to call the police, and the law allows you to just exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. However, the better rule to follow is that no matter how minor your car accident, you should call the police. They’ll send a police officer to the scene to find out what happened. They can call and arrange for ambulances to help the injured, if needed. They’ll talk to witnesses and may take pictures. They’ll check to see if either of the drivers were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And they will usually issue a citation to the driver at fault for the accident. They basically get the information your Navarre personal injury lawyer is going to need to settle your claim or if he has to file suit.
A lot of times, especially in minor fender benders, the other driver will ask you not the call the cops. They suggest you just trade insurance information and go home. No matter how tempting this may be, you can’t agree to this. You need to call the police no matter what.
There are several reasons why the other driver may ask you not to call the police:
- He could be drunk or under the influence of drugs
- He doesn’t have a valid driver’s license
- He has no insurance
- He has active warrants
- He was breaking the law at the time of the accident
You have no idea if any of these things are true. The driver certainly isn’t going to admit the real reason to you. This is why you need to let the cops figure this stuff out at the scene.
Your Navarre Personal Injury Lawyer Needs the Police Report
When the police officer arrives on the scene, he’s going to draft something called a police report. This report has all the essential information about your crash. This information is vital to your case down the road.
Some of these things include:
- The police report will contain important information such as:
- Name, license and insurance information for both drivers
- Name and contact information for witnesses
- Statements made by both drivers
- Witness statements
- Pictures of the scene, road conditions and the vehicles
- Whether either driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident
- Information regarding any citations issued as a result of the accident
Even if your Navarre injury lawyer can get this stuff on his own, it’s going to take time and money. This is time and money he could have used to help your case in other ways.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Navarre, Florida Know You’ll Be Tempted to Leave
A lot of people consider leaving the accident scene without calling the police. They figure the police will take hours to process the scene. They just don’t have time to wait. They want to get on with their day. However, not calling the police is the biggest mistake you may make.
Why are plaintiffs tempted to not call the police? There could be many reasons, including:
- The damage to your car is minor
- You and the other driver agree to just handle it through your insurance companies
- The weather is terrible and you just don’t want to stand outside waiting
- You're in a rush or late for an appointment
- You don’t think you’re hurt
- the other driver begs you not to call the police and you feel bad
While your lawyer understands this, they would caution you to always call the cops, no matter how minor the accident.
You Have to Report the Accident Anyway
Even if you don’t want to call the cops, you have to. Florida law requires that all accidents are reported to the police if any of the following apply:
- There's more than $500 in property damage
- There are any complaints of injuries
- Someone died in the accident
- Any car was towed from the scene
You may think you know when a crash has to be reported. Why take the chance? You can be charged with a crime if you don’t report it. So you may as well call the cops and let them do it for you.
Call a Navarre Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
If you get into any type of motor vehicle accident in Florida, you should call a Navarre personal injury lawyer. He can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. He can also answer any questions you may have.
Call and schedule your FREE consultation today.