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How to File a Police Accident Report in Florida

Navigating the aftermath of a car crash in Florida? Knowing when to file an accident report is crucial. If anyone suffers even a minor injury, or property damage exceeds $500, call 911 immediately. A Florida police report will be filed on the spot. For minor bumps with no injuries, take a breath and file a report within 10 days online or by mail. Remember, reporting any incident, big or small, protects your rights in insurance claims and legal matters, and contributes to safer roads for everyone. So, after any crash, assess the situation, follow the guidelines, and drive safe!

If you need to file your own police report – we’ve compiled a breakdown of the steps involved to help you. Don’t forget to contact a car accident lawyer for help – even with the most minor accidents, having someone protecting your interests can be invaluable.

Filing a police report for an accident in Florida?

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    The Step-By-Step Guide to Filing an Accident Report in Florida

    1. Assess the Situation:

    Health and safety is paramount, if someone is injured or there is a hazardous spill such as gasoline – it’s important to contact 911 immediately. Here are some steps to assessing the accident situation:

    • Injuries: If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Render first aid if trained and safe to do so.
    • Vehicle Damage: Check for damage to all involved vehicles and nearby property. Take photos of the damage from various angles, including close-ups and wider shots.
    • Traffic Hazard: If your vehicles are blocking traffic, move them to the side of the road if safe to do so. Turn on hazard lights.

    2. Determine Reporting Jurisdiction:

    It’s important to understand how your local jurisdiction wants you to report your accident. For the most part, non-injury accidents can be reported via the Florida Highway Patrol Crash portal. Also, any collisions that happen on the interstate or where the Florida Highway Patrol has jurisdiction would be reported there.

    SOME municipalities and counties also use the FHP Crash Portal – but not all. The best way to determine where you should file the report after your wreck is via your local police or sheriff’s department. Give them a call, tell them where the accident happened, and the helpful folks will tell you where and how to file. Generally speaking – non-injury accidents require you to file your own report, whereas accidents where the police, state troopers, or sheriff’s deputies end up on scene will usually be reported by the reporting department and you’ll be able to access the report then they have it ready.

    For self-reporting, contact:

    • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP): Contact FHP for accidents on highways, interstates, or involving injuries, fatalities, hit-and-runs, or suspected DUIs. Call 911 or FHP non-emergency line (844) 347-4747.
    • Local Police Department: Contact the police department for accidents within city limits, unless FHP jurisdiction applies.
    • County Sheriff’s Office: Contact the sheriff’s office for accidents in unincorporated areas of the county.

    3. Gather Information:

    If you are self reporting a crash in Florida – be sure to collect the following information. If the police, sheriff or FHP have responded – they’ll collect this but it wouldn’t hurt for you to also write it down if you’re able so you can have a backup in case the initially filed report has any inaccuracies. Your best reporting tool is likely in your hand – take copious amounts of photos with your phone – these can be invaluable during an investigation, claim, court case, and negotiation.

    • Your Information: Driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information.
    • Other Driver(s) Information: Driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information (if possible).
    • Witness Information: Names and contact information of any witnesses (if available).
    • Accident Details: Date, time, and location of the collision. Briefly describe what happened, being as accurate and objective as possible.
    • Weather and Road Conditions: Noting if the road was damaged or wet or has sand or grass clippings that may have contributed to the wreck can be helpful not only for insurance claims, they can help your lawyer reconstruct the crash as they investigate on your behalf. This can also help your attorney collect evidence from the DHSMV and can help the HSMV fix road damage that may cause an accident.

    4. Choose Your Filing Method:

    • In-Person: Visit the nearest police station or Florida Highway Patrol location & file an accident report in person. This is recommended for complex accidents or if you have extensive evidence.
    • Phone: Call the non-emergency number of the appropriate agency to file a report over the phone. This is suitable for minor accidents with no injuries.
    • Online: The fastest way to file your accident report online in Florida is going to be via the FHP Crash Portal and their instant online report filing feature. Most counties and city police departments are available in that system and you can file your minor, non-emergency collision claims right there.
    • If the Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene, here’s how to get your FHP accident report online.

    5. File the Report:

    • Provide all the information gathered in step 3 to the officer or reporting system.
    • Answer any questions honestly and clearly.
    • Review the report for accuracy before signing it.
    • Obtain a copy of the report for your records and insurance purposes.

    6. Additional Tips:

    • Exchange Information: Even if you don’t file a formal report, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver(s) involved.
    • Contact Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. They will coach you on whether the claim needs to be filed with them or with another party – in some cases, claims may be filed with both.
    • We also have information on how to attain Lady Lake police reports

    Do I Need A Lawyer If I’ve Filed My Own Accident Report in Florida?

    Whether you need a lawyer after filing your own accident report in Florida depends heavily on the crash’s severity and who was at fault. Minor bumps with no injuries often remain simple insurance claims, but serious wrecks or significant damage call for an attorney’s expertise. Disputed fault adds another layer of complexity, making legal guidance invaluable. Ultimately, even if you think you can handle the claim yourself, a consultation with an attorney can give you valuable peace of mind and ensure your rights are protected in the midst of navigating insurance companies and potential lawsuits.

    Remember, filing a vehicle accident report is essential for protecting your rights and ensuring a smooth claims process. By following these steps and staying calm, you can navigate the situation effectively.

    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).