If you have been involved in a car accident in the state of Florida, the first thing you need to do is ensure that if anybody was injured, they get the medical care they need. You should also survey the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved. If you determine that one or more people are injured, or if it appears that the damages caused by the accident total to $500 or more, you must report the accident to the proper Florida authorities.
Making Your Report
If you have never been in an accident before, you may be wondering how you should report an incident after it occurs. To report the accident properly, follow these steps.
- Determine whether a report is required. – Before calling the police to report an accident, make sure that the circumstances of the accident require a report. If you think you may want to file a personal injury claim at any point, filing a police report is highly recommended.
- Decide whom you should call. – If your accident occurred within a city, you should call the city police. However, if your accident occurred outside city limits, you will need to call the county sheriff or a nearby Florida Highway Patrol office instead.
- Determine whether a written report is necessary. –If you call the authorities and they conduct a formal investigation of the accident, you won’t typically need to file your own written report. However, if the police do not conduct a formal investigation, you will need to file a written report within 10 days of the accident.
- File the report.– If you have determined that a written report is necessary, you can file the report by visiting the Florida Highway Patrol’s website to obtain the necessary form. The form is available in PDF format, so you can print it and mail it to the address listed. Alternatively, if you would like to save time, you can also complete and submit the form online.
Tips for Making a Traffic Accident Report
Whether you choose to file your report by mail or online, follow these tips for the best results.
Submit the form as soon as possible. – Submit the traffic crash report form as soon as you can after the accident. The sooner you complete the form, the more details you will remember and the more reliable the information you include will be.
Fill out the form in its entirety. – Make sure that you complete all fields of the traffic crash report form. Do not skip any sections.
Write legibly. – If you choose to complete the form in writing and mail it to the Florida Highway Patrol, be sure to write legibly so there will be fewer questions about your intentions or the information included in the report.
Add as much detail as possible. – At the bottom of the traffic crash report form, you will find a blank section where you can include additional details about the crash, the people involved, any witnesses on the scene and anything else relevant to the accident. In this space, include as many details as you can remember. These details will be beneficial if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim at a later date. They may also protect you from loss if a claim is filed by another party.
Filing a Claim
If you have been involved in a traffic accident in Florida and you think that another party was at fault for the crash, you may benefit from filing a personal injury claim. In general, these claims must be filed within four years of the date of the accident. If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, property damage, wages lost at work and more. Keep in mind that, because Florida uses comparative negligence to determine fault in car and motorcycle accident cases, you may qualify for compensation even if you were partly at fault for the accident.
To determine whether a personal injury claim is the right course of action in your case, please contact the experienced attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, 800-538-4878, to discuss your options and learn more about personal injury claims in Florida.