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

how long do i have to file car accident reportIf you’re in a car accident, you usually call the police, and they take care of documentation and filing of the report. However, on some occasions, you don’t have to make that phone call and can file afterward. This latter option has many drivers wondering how long the state of Florida allows for self-reporting of auto collisions

In this article, we’re going to cover that, and several other questions you may have regarding motor vehicle collisions in the Sunshine State, including how to file one, the importance of doing so, and the importance of having an experienced car accident attorney on your side when dealing with your insurance company. 

How Much Time Does Florida Allow to Report a Car Accident?

From the moment your car accident occurs, you have ten calendar days to report it to the authorities. In addition to this deadline, anyone injured as a result of the crash has fourteen days to begin receiving care under the Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) guideline. This requirement ensures that accident victims can receive needed medical attention immediately without having to wait on insurance approval. One can always apply for this after the two-week period for starting care, but it may be more difficult to get the cost of your treatment covered.

In the state of Florida, you are legally required to file a report if your car accident meets one or more of the following criteria: 

  • Any of the involved parties were injured
  • There is at least $500 in collective property damage to one or both vehicles
  • Someone died as a result of the crash
  • Tow services were necessary
  • One of the parties was a commercial driver
  • Drunk driving was involved

How to File an Car Accident Report in Florida 

If the police come to the scene of the accident, they’ll file the report for you, and you will not need to worry about it. If you are looking to report it within the ten-day window, you can contact your local police department or the Florida Highway Patrol. Either one of these resources can point you in the right direction on what steps to take. You can also take care of this process via the mail, and there are forms to do so on the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles website. Once you mail it in, follow up with the department to ensure that they received your report.

Why Filing an Auto Crash Report Is Important

First and foremost, it is the law. If you fail to file, it could lead to a traffic violation. The consequences of these tickets can include community service, a court appearance, and even a license suspension. However, another reason to file is to have the accident documented. If you have an injury related to the crash, you need to have it on record. This documentation is essential for medical treatment, insurance claims, and any potential legal action that may follow. 

It is also critical to notify your insurance company after being in an accident, though you may want to speak with an accident injury attorney first to ensure you file a claim correctly. If you have questions surrounding your rights, they can answer them. Or, if someone got injured, you could be seeking or defending against legal action. If you are, contact an auto accident injury lawyer and pursue their legal counsel. 

No matter the size of the car accident, if you do not file a report, you are open to many different consequences in the state of Florida. Whether you receive a traffic ticket or miss work because of whiplash, the potential fines and lost wages from a license suspension can add up quickly. 

Trust Reputable Orlando Car Accident Attorneys to Handle Your Case

If you or a family member is in the middle of a Florida motor vehicle collision and are unsure what steps you need to take when it comes to accident reporting, injuries, and insurance claims, you can rely on the knowledgeable car accident attorneys of The Umansky Law Firm. Our compassionate legal team has over 100 years of combined experience in these matters throughout the state and can guide you through the process. 

As recognized Super Lawyers, we have proven our dedication to helping our clients through difficult injuries and insurance claims. Contact us online or by phone at (407) 228-3838 to schedule a free consultation, or speak to us on our website 24/7 to learn about your next best steps and how we can help.