How to Obtain a Police Report after a Car Accident in South Florida
Police Reports Are Important for Car Accidents in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Across South Florida
When you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, you or someone else may have notified the police about the accident. The officers who responded to the scene will have completed a police accident report. Obtaining a police report after a car accident is extremely important. A police accident report will include details about the officer’s investigation of the crash, note whether any citations were issued or any arrests were made, and sometimes may provide the officer’s opinion about who was at fault for the accident. As a result, police accident reports often serve as a key piece of evidence in car accident claims.
You can request a copy of the police accident report following the crash, but you may not be familiar with the process of obtaining a copy or may have concerns about contacting the police to request a copy of the police accident report. The South Florida car accident attorneys of Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. can help you obtain a copy of the police accident report and can also help you understand how the report may impact your claim to compensation. Let our experienced attorneys utilize the crash report and other evidence from the accident to fight for fair and full compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation to learn more about why having a police accident report can make a difference in your car accident claim and discuss ways our firm can work to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses following a car accident in South Florida.
Obtaining a Police Report after a Car Accident in South Florida
Crash records from accidents that occur in South Florida are kept by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Copies of accident reports may be purchased online from FLHSMV. It usually takes up to 10 days for a copy of a crash report to become available for purchase, and reports are exempt from public disclosure for up to 60 days after the report is filed, although parties involved in the crash and other authorized parties can request a copy of the report within this timeframe. A copy of the report costs $10 along with a $2 convenience fee; if purchased online, you will be provided with a download link that will remain active for 48 hours.
You can also request a copy of a crash report by mail or in person at a Florida Highway Patrol Troop Station or at FLHSMV’s offices. If the request is made within the 60-day period that the report is exempt from public disclosure, you will also need to submit a sworn statement attesting that you are authorized to request a copy of the report during the 60-day period. Processing times by mail or in person can take four to six weeks.
How Can a Police Report Help My Car Accident Claim?
Police accident reports or crash reports often contain critical information about a car accident that insurance companies rely on in determining whether to accept a claim. Insurers prefer to rely on police accident reports since the investigating officer is a neutral third party who likely has some experience with investigating and reviewing car accidents. Without the police report, a car accident claim may devolve into a battle of competing stories between the drivers involved in the accident. Without objective evidence, the insurance company may conclude that it cannot determine fault for the crash.
In addition, under Florida law drivers are required to contact police following accidents involving:
- An intoxicated driver
- A vehicle that needs to be towed from the scene
- $500 or more in apparent property damage
Drivers involved in an accident that is not required to be reported to law enforcement may file a crash report with FLHSMV within 10 days of the accident. If a car accident is not properly reported, it may impact your right to seek compensation for any injuries or losses you suffered, since the lack of a report that is required by law may cause the insurance company to question your account of the accident or question whether an accident even took place at all.
Contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation
If you have questions about or need help with obtaining the police accident report from the car crash you were involved in, call or contact our firm for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can help and to discuss how our firm can help you throughout the process of pursuing compensation in your car accident claim.
Frequently Asked Questions about Obtaining a Police Report after a Car Accident in South Florida
If the police are not called to the scene of a car accident or if the police department does not send an officer to the scene, Florida law requires that drivers in an accident involving personal injury or more than $500 in apparent property damage are required to file a crash with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident. Failing to file a crash report when legally required to do so constitutes a criminal offense in Florida.
In many cases, insurance companies often will decline to pay out on a car accident claim if there is no police accident report or crash report from the accident. Without a report, a claim of a car accident can easily become a “he said, she said” affair, making it difficult if not impossible for the insurance company to determine who was at fault for the crash. If the insurance company cannot determine fault for a car accident, they are unlikely to pay out on a liability claim.
Whether you have a valid car accident claim depends on the cause of the accident and who was at fault. Watch our video below for more information.