In a lawsuit involving injuries caused during an auto accident, the more evidence you have to support your claim that the other driver was at fault, the more effective your case will be. And one of the most important pieces of evidence in an auto accident case is the police report filed by law enforcement officers who were at the accident scene.
If you are the driver of a vehicle involved in an auto accident in Florida, you have certain responsibilities under state law. A driver must remain at the scene of the accident, provide assistance to anyone who has been injured in the accident, and exchange information with the driver of the other car.
The accident needs to be reported to the local police or Florida Highway Patrol immediately if:
- The accident causes a death or injury;
- It’s a hit and run accident;
- The accident involved an intoxicated driver; or
- The accident caused more than $500 worth of damage.
What’s in the Police Report?
The investigating officer will file a written report describing the details of the accident. The reports are usually filed within hours of an accident. If the officer files and completes the police report, you won’t need to file a report on your own.
If an accident report wasn’t filed by law enforcement, you are required to submit a report no later than 10 days after the accident. You can file the report online or go to a police station.
Some of the information in a police report after a car accident includes:
- Drivers’ names, driver’s license number and insurance information.
- The precise location where the accident took place.
- The date and time the accident took place.
- Damage done to a vehicle or property as a result of the accident.
- Injuries sustained by drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
- Statements from drivers.
- Statements from witnesses.
- Road conditions and other environmental information about the crash.
After the report has been filed, you can request a copy of the report. You should send one to insurance provider, one to your lawyer, and one to keep for your own records.
Important Evidence in an Auto Accident Lawsuit
A police report after a car accident in Florida provides an unbiased account of the accident made by a trained law enforcement official. If you were injured in the accident and the other driver was at fault, having a police report that supports your claim will greatly improve your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve in a personal injury lawsuit. If you were the driver at fault in the accident, the police report can protect you from false claims made by the driver or passengers of the other vehicle.
An experienced auto accident attorney will know how to use the information contained in the police report to establish proof of your claim when negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company or arguing your case in front of a judge and jury.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Car Accidents
What Information Should I Collect After An Accident?
After a car accident, it is important to talk to the other parties involved and write down:
• Full names of those involved and how to get in touch with them
• Insurance info
• Info on the cars involved, including make, model, and license plate numbers
• Info from their Driver’s License
It is also smart to gather evidence from the scene of the accident. Some things that can be helpful are:
• Pictures of all of the cars involved in the crash, including your own
• Pictures of the surrounding area
• Statements and contact info of anyone who might have seen the crash
• Pictures of any injuries
Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Say or Do After an Accident?
When you are involved in an accident, you might not have all of the facts, so don’t make any unnecessary comments or express any opinions. You should also refrain from posting anything about the accident on social media. Your words could be used against you if you decide to file a claim.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident Claim?
Lawyers that specialize in Florida auto accidents usually work on a contingency basis. Lawyers do not charge their clients up-front and collect a percentage of the settlement after the case has been settled. With this arrangement, injured parties can hire a lawyer without having to pay a retainer or other fees until after the case is settled.
Get Help from a Leading Auto Accident Attorney
The Rivas Law Group has many years of experience successfully representing clients in Lutz, Lakeland, Winter Haven and other surrounding Florida communities in a wide range of auto injury cases. We know the important role a police report after a car accident can play in a personal injury case and how to use the information contained in the report to bolster a client’s claim.
If you have been injured in an auto accident that was the fault of another driver, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. Call the Rivas Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Lutz auto injury lawyers. We’ll review your accident report and provide sound legal advice on how to move forward with your case.