If you’re involved in a car accident in Florida, you’ll need an official accident report. Following any collision, it’s critical to contact law enforcement, regardless of the severity or who was involved. In fact, Florida state law requires motorists to report most crashes.
According to the 2020 Florida Statutes concerning motor vehicles, a crash report must be submitted by law enforcement within ten days of a collision. This helps protect you from false accusations of fault, denied insurance claims, and higher monthly rates.
An accident report in Florida contains information specific to your crash. The information documented by a law enforcement officer present at the scene can be used as evidence in any resulting insurance settlement or lawsuit. If you were injured or suffered property damage, it’s important to call the police so that they create a crash report that documents the incident and resulting damages. It could make all the difference in the future.
There are several categories within a Florida crash report. Each of these categories contains relevant information regarding the accident. An accident report in Florida will contain:
A law enforcement officers will gather this information upon arrival at the scene. This basic information includes relevant details such as:
This section documents the vehicles involved in the collision, such as:
In this section, the officer records information concerning the driver of each vehicle and any other occupants, including:
The investigator will gather the information about the person(s) responsible for each vehicle involved and the aftermath of the collision, such as:
In this section, the law enforcement officer present at the scene will document all identifying information of those involved in the crash who were injured or killed. The information in this portion of the accident report includes:
Should there be any charges filed as a result of the collision, such as a drunk driving citation, it will be included in this portion of the accident report. This information is not final since charges could be added or dropped in the future.
This section will detail information concerning the damages each vehicle sustained as a result of the collision. The investigator will document this information to the best of their ability, but additional damages may be identified as the case or lawsuit progresses.
If any commercial vehicle was involved in the collision, the law enforcement officer would list all the relevant information about the vehicle in the crash report, such as:
This section documents information concerning the weather or road conditions that may have played a role in the accident, such as:
In this section, the law enforcement officer will create a narrative of how the accident occurred using the information they collected in the crash report. They will identify who they believe caused the collision and any other contributing factors. They will also create a visual diagram of the crash.
You can purchase a crash report from the Florida Department of Transportation in person, by mail, or online. It may take up to 10 days before it becomes available to involved parties and becomes available to the public 60 days following a crash report being filed. You can also request one for free right here.
In Florida, you have the option to self-report an accident online or by mail. It’s recommended to report all crashes by calling 911, so a law enforcement officer can record the crash accurately and without personal bias. This could protect your right to compensation in an insurance claim.
No. The information included in a crash report and a police report may overlap, but they are two separate documents that serve different purposes. A police report will be filled out when a crime occurred at the scene of the accident, such as one or more of the drivers operating their motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if someone is killed as a result of the collision.