In 2015, there have been 271,801 car accidents in Florida—with 116,468 of them resulting in injuries. Another 153,513 involved property damage. With all of these accidents, it is easy to see why Florida law enforcement may struggle to report to every crash.
In order to help law enforcement, you may wonder if not calling the police after a relatively minor crash is a good idea. In some cases, it may be allowed, but it is not always recommended.
When to Call
You must report a car accident if it caused any type of injury or death. This includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even passers-by who may have been injured by debris. You must also report the car accident if there was property damage or vehicle damage that will likely result in at least $5,000.
Even in very minor cases, it still might be a good idea to report the accident. Reporting the crash gives all of the parties a record of the incident that you can rely on later if any lawsuits result.
Who to Call
You don’t always have to call 911 if the accident is minor. You are required to report the accident to the local police if you are in a town or city. If you are not in a town, then you should report the accident to the county sheriff or the Florida Highway Patrol.
Calling 911 will put you in touch with the correct authorities, but you can also call any of the above law enforcement centers directly.
Should I Wait Here?
In very minor cases, you may not need to wait for the officers to arrive at the scene after you have reported the accident. In fact, officers put minor traffic accidents very low on their to-do lists, so you may be waiting for an officer to arrive.
Instead, if the accident is very minor (with less than $500 in damage), then you can fill out a report online using the Florida Highway Patrol’s online form. It will ask for information you collected at the scene of the accident, so be sure to ask for the following things:
- Location of the crash (including town, county, street address)
- Insurance companies
- Driver’s license information (such as your name as it appears on the license and the driver’s license number)
- Descriptions of the vehicle(s) involved
- Vehicle license numbers
- Names and addresses of any passengers involved in the accident
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- A description of the accident and the damage reported
In order to use this self-reporting feature, however, all of the drivers must have current and valid insurance, registration, and driver’s licenses. You should always call the police if the other person involved in the accident does not have a valid driver’s license.
If possible, move any vehicles involved in the accident out of traffic and on to the side of the road. This will prevent any further traffic accidents or issues while you are waiting for officers to arrive or collecting information.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney West Palm Beach
Gathering information and getting reports can make or break a personal injury case. If you have been injured in an accident, call an experienced personal injury attorney West Palm Beach to ensure your rights are being protected at 561-687-5660 .
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