Over 200,000 auto accidents are reported each year in Florida. Accidents can be extremely stressful and it isn’t always easy to remember the appropriate steps to take following a crash. Filing a police report after any auto accident is one of the steps that you should always follow, and there are several reasons why.
Have you ever been involved in a car accident and the other driver apologizes and claims responsibility on site and when you hear from their insurance adjuster, you learn that their story has changed and they have become the victim of the accident? All of a sudden, you have become a victim of an accident scam!
This is one of many reasons it is important to file an accident report with the local police department immediately following an auto accident. No matter how minor the accident may seem, and no matter who may be at fault, the report will most likely work in your favor.
A police report can be extremely effective as evidence; whether you are seeking compensation for damages from the accident or if you developed injuries that needed medical attention from the accident. The evidence represented in the accident report represents an unbiased view of the incident that took place and can be more effective than victims’ and the at-fault party’s telling of the story. The police report is needed by insurance companies involved in a claim as well as by your personal injury attorney if you decide to pursue a claim.
How & When to File a Police Report:
If someone has been injured in an auto accident, then a police report must be filed immediately. If the police or paramedics are called to the accident scene, they will take down information in order to create an official police report describing the accident in full detail.
When an accident occurs, the police are only available to physically come to the accident site in certain cases. There simply aren’t enough police officers available to attend to every accident that occurs. Typically, police officers are dispatched when someone has been injured, the accident is blocking traffic, a driver from the accident is intoxicated, or If participants involved in the accident are fighting or are being disruptive.
Police officers at the scene will create the detailed police report within the next three to five days. They may take photographs and speak with witnesses and record any information that could be critical to the case. The officers are trained as to what to record at the scene of an accident. It is the responsibility of both drivers to get the service number of the police report for their records; this is the number used when requesting a copy of the actual police accident report.
The Police Report Includes:
• Date and time of the accident
• Precise location of the car accident’s occurrence
• Damage to vehicles and other property as a result of the accident
• Injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, pedestrians or others
• Statements of witnesses
• Statements of drivers regarding the accident
• Environmental information from the time of the accident
• Any other important facts
When Police Are Not on The Scene:
If no officials are dispatched to the accident scene, then you typically have 10 days to file a crash report (unofficial report) in Florida. You may download a copy of the report, file on line (when available), or visit your local police station to fill out the report. Be sure to file the report with the local police station and share a copy of the report with the insurance companies and your accident attorney (when applicable). Be sure to include the following information in your unofficial police report:
• Detailed description of what happened
• Number of passengers in the other driver’s car
• Driver’s name and insurance information
• Names of witnesses (If possible, record their account of the accident using your cell phone)
• The damages your vehicles sustained
• Injuries to yourself or to your passengers
• Include photos of the scene, your vehicle, and your injuries
Police reports are very persuasive in personal injury claims and serve your best interest. Whether the police are on the scene of an accident or not, and no matter how minor the accident, a police report should be filed. This evidence can help you recover damages and seek the compensation you deserve in the aftermath of an auto accident.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in Florida, please contact an experienced accident attorney at David & Philpot to help you through the recovery process. David & Philpot, P.L. has been representing accident victims for over 20 years. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients and are here to help you. Contact us today at 800.360.7015 for a free consultation.