If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, you’re probably full of questions, including whether you have to report the accident. 

Suppose a car accident causes damage to a vehicle or other property but doesn’t meet the criteria for a police report. In that case, it still has to be reported within ten days of the incident, using a specific form. Continue reading to learn more. 

When Is a Car Accident Report Required?

Suppose the police are called to the scene of the accident.  

In that case, the responding officer will complete the Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form, a written report that is required in accidents that fit the following criteria:

  • Injury or death of individuals involved in the accident
  • One of the parties involved in the accident left the scene without giving their information to the other party
  • One of the parties involved in the accident was driving under the influence
  • A vehicle was so damaged that it had to be removed from the scene by a wrecker
  • A commercial vehicle was involved in the collision

Even if your car accident doesn’t meet these requirements, it’s always best to call the police after an accident. 

They can help facilitate exchanging information with the other party and will document the circumstances of the crash, which you may need if you want to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

What Information Is Contained in a Florida Accident Report?

The Florida Traffic Crash Report has all of the basic facts of the accident in a written report, including:

  • The time, date, and location of the accident
  • Descriptions of all vehicles involved in the crash
  • Name, address, and contact information of all drivers and passengers involved in the crash
  • VIN and other information of all vehicles involved
  • Witness contact information and witness statements

The crash reports are immediately available to all parties involved in the crash. 

Anyone who was involved in the accident can obtain a copy of the report, including legal counsel for the parties involved, insurance agents, the Florida Department of Transportation, law enforcement agencies, different media outlets (TV, newspapers, radio stations), and victim services programs. 

People who want a report of the accident must present a photo ID and sign a statement that they will not use the report for solicitation.

Alternatives to the Long Form Accident Report

If an accident doesn’t require a long-form report, then a short version of the report should be self-filed within ten days of the crash. 

The short form includes:

  • The time and date of the collision
  • Descriptions of the vehicles involved
  • Name and contact information of the drivers
  • Descriptions of the vehicles
  • Any witness’s names and contact information
  • Insurance companies of each party involved in the accident

All drivers must provide proof of insurance — both their personal injury protection (PIP) and other auto insurance policies. If a driver doesn’t have insurance or cannot provide proof of insurance, they may receive a moving violation citation. However, this citation may be voided if a person can provide proof of insurance within 24 hours.

What Are the Penalties for Not Reporting a Car Accident?

If you’re required by Florida law to report an accident, and you fail to, you’ll face non-criminal consequences — typically a fine. 

However, if you leave the scene of an accident and don’t report it, you can face criminal charges, as leaving the scene is a crime. If the collision resulted in injuries or death, you could serve significant jail time.

Having an official report of the accident can help ensure that you’re protected after the accident. For example, the other party’s liability insurance company (if applicable) may deny your claim even if you didn’t cause the accident. Or, the other party may claim that they suffered more extensive injuries and property damage than they actually did. 

Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442