If you have been involved in a car accident and you determine that the accident only resulted in minor property damage or minor injuries that don’t require medical attention, you may wonder whether you need to report the accident to the authorities. As a driver, you need to understand what your legal obligations are in the event you are involved in a motor vehicle crash in Florida.
Examples of Minor Car Accidents
Car accidents are a common occurrence in Florida. Fortunately, most car crashes are relatively minor in nature, resulting in only property damage or only involving one vehicle. Some of the most common examples of car accidents that are normally considered “minor” include:
- Backing up into another parked vehicle
- Bumping into the back of another vehicle at an intersection
- Sliding off the road into a piece of fixed property
- Hopping the curb when taking a turn too sharply
What to Do After Getting Into a Minor Car Accident
If you are involved in an accident that you think is only a minor one, the first thing you need to do is to confirm that no one who has been involved in the accident is hurt. Some injuries that can be suffered in a minor car accident, such as a concussion, are not visible and only present with subtle signs. If anyone seems like they may have suffered an injury or are in some sort of physical distress, you are required to call 911 to summon medical assistance.
Do You Need to Report the Accident?
Florida law requires you to report to the police any car accident that you have been involved in, no matter how minor the accident was. The law requires you to stop at or immediately return to the scene of an accident (doing your best not to obstruct other traffic) and exchange information with another driver or property owner involved in the accident. You must also report the crash to law enforcement. If you call the police and an officer arrives on the scene, you have met your obligations under the law. If an officer does not respond to the scene, you are required to report the accident to the local police department or the Florida Highway Patrol.
If you fail to report a car accident, you can be charged with a criminal offense. While the charge may only be a misdemeanor if the accident only resulted in property damage, you can face felony prosecution if the accident caused serious personal injury or death.
When Can You Not File a Report for a Minor Car Accident
Practically speaking, the only scenario where you might be able to choose not to report a minor car accident to law enforcement is when the accident involves only your car, the only property that was damaged belongs to you, or you were the only person who suffered any injury in the accident. However, by not reporting the accident, you will likely be unable to file a claim with your insurance company to be reimbursed for repair costs for your vehicle or for any medical expenses you incur to treat any injuries.
Contact a Lake Worth Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. represent clients injured because of car accidents in Miramar, Coral Springs, Davie, Boca Raton, and throughout Florida. Call (561) 533-0345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 813 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460, as well as offices in Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.