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How Long Do You Have to File a Police Report in Florida?

If you are involved in a car accident in Florida, you have 10 days to file a police report if the accident caused property damage exceeding $500. This includes damage to vehicles, structures, or any other property. Even if the damage seems minor, like a scratch from a door ding – or a wrinkle in a bumper, it’s best to report the accident to protect your rights and comply with legal requirements.

Filing a police report for an accident in Florida?

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    The truth is – even the most minor car accidents, from door dings to a parking lot fender bump, can rack up a repair cost of over $500 when you factor in the dent repair & paint job. Accidents that may require a doctor or hospital visit will immediately rack up a bill over $500 – so we recommend reporting everything. If you don’t need the report, and nothing comes of it – there’s no penalty for filing one – and your interests are covered.

    There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, you do not need to file a police report if the accident was caused by a hit-and-run driver, or if the accident occurred on private property and only involved vehicles owned by the same person. For example, your kid is backing out of the garage and hits another vehicle you own in the driveway. You can still file a claim with your insurance company, and a police or accident report will likely not be required.

    If you are involved in a crash or accident that involves an injury, fatality, a hit-and-run, a DUI, needs a tow truck, or includes a commercial vehicle – you must notify law enforcement.

    If you are involved in a crash that does not involve any of the previously named exceptions, you can self-report the accident in Florida within 10 days.

    Wondering how long you have to file a police accident report in Florida? You have up to 10 days to self-report the accident.

    What Happens If You Don’t File A Police Report After An Accident?

    Filing a police report is a mandatory legal obligation, particularly in cases involving significant property damage, physical injuries, or, in the worst-case scenario, fatalities. Failure to report a car accident in the State of Florida can result in a substantial fine, but no criminal prosecution in and of itself. The criminal prosecution may come into play if you leave the scene of what is later determined to be a crime. To protect your best interests, we always advise filing a police report after any accident – no matter how minor.

    Moreover, within a legal proceeding, you may be subject to an intensive questioning process. The judge or opposing lawyer could infer that your failure to report the accident implies an attempt to hide something, such as potential involvement in activities like drunk driving or possession of illegal substances. Consequently, it is consistently in your best interest to promptly report any accident.

    Where Do I File My Accident Report in Florida?

    All automobile accidents are filed with the State of Florida – via the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle website. No matter which town or jurisdiction the accident occurred in, all accidents are filed via the FLHSMV website.

    To file your report – visit https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/#report and follow the instructions:

    To Self-Report a traffic crash online:

    • Download the Driver Report of a Traffic Crash.
    • Complete all applicable fields within the form
    • Sign & date the form
    • Email the completed form to SelfReportCrashes@flhsmv.gov

    To Self-Report By Mail

    • Download the Driver Report of a Traffic Crash.
    • Complete all applicable fields within the form
    • Sign & date the form
    • Mail a copy of the report to:
      • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
      • Crash Records
      • 2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28
      • Tallahassee, FL 32399
    • Please keep a copy of the submitted report for your records and insurance purposes.

    If the Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene, here’s how to get your Florida Highway Patrol traffic accident report.

    What if I Don’t File a Police Report After an Accident in Florida?

    Failing to file a police report after an accident in Florida, especially when it involves significant property damage, physical injuries, or fatalities, can have serious consequences. While it may not lead to criminal prosecution on its own, it can result in substantial fines and potentially raise suspicion during legal proceedings. In the interest of safeguarding your rights and ensuring transparency, it is always advisable to file a police report, even for seemingly minor accidents, within the stipulated time frame. Doing so not only fulfills your legal obligations but also protects your interests in case of unforeseen complications.

    How Do I Get My Police Report in Florida?

    If a local police department or county sheriff filed a police report after an accident in their jurisdiction, or if you filed a report on your own, you will need the accident report for insurance and to give to your Florida car accident attorney. Refer to our helpful guides on how to obtain an accident report online in Florida, how to get your Ocala accident report, how to obtain a Marion County accident report, and how to get your Sumner County police report online.

    Gordon Glover

    Attorney Gordon Glover is the founder of the Glover Law Firm Accident & Injury Lawyer in Ocala and The Villages, Florida. He has an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating as determined by other attorneys and the judiciary. Gordon has been recognized by Florida Super Lawyers, a distinction given to less than 2.5 % of the lawyers in Florida, and earned AVVO’s highest rating of “Superb 10/10.” Glover Law Firm also has a perfect A+ rating on the BBB (Better Business Bureau).