One of the first things that often happens after you get involved in a car accident in Tampa Bay, Florida, is someone calls the police. While they can help to direct traffic around the wreck and deal with other complications, they also serve another important purpose at accident sites. They write accident reports.

An accident report can be a critical piece of evidence in your personal injury case. Read on to learn more about these reports and how you can get one.

What Is an Accident Report?

An accident report is an official document recording the details from your car accident. You may also hear this called a police report, since it’s written by the officer who shows up to the scene. This report is kept on file with the Tampa Bay government and is released to public record after sixty days.

Your accident report can be a critical piece of evidence if you wind up pursuing a personal injury case in court. It can not only corroborate your story, but also record important details that could prove you’re due certain damages. 

While it isn’t necessary to get an accident report if you’re in a minor fender bender, it is a good idea any time you’re involved in a more serious crash.

When You Need to Request an Accident Report

In many cases, accident reports get filed and then never looked at again. 

But if you plan to file a personal injury claim, you need to request your accident report. This can be one of your key pieces of evidence and may even determine if you’re entitled to any damages at all.

It’s best to talk to your lawyer about when you should request your accident report. Chances are they’ll tell you they want to request it as soon as possible so they can start gathering evidence. The sooner you can act on a personal injury claim, the better your chances of gathering the evidence you need to win.

Requesting Less than 60 Days After the Accident

In Florida, accident reports don’t get released to public record until sixty days after they’re filed. But don’t worry – you can access your report sooner if you need to. Those records are just limited to the people involved in the accident, their legal counsel, and their insurers.

If you request your report less than sixty days after the accident, you’ll have to fill out a sworn statement saying that you are either one of the people involved in the crash, a lawyer, an insurer, or another qualified party. 

You’ll have to get this form notarized and show a photo ID proving you are who you say you are.

Requesting an Accident Report Online

If you’re requesting your accident report more than sixty days after the crash, you can follow a simple procedure online. 

You’ll need to visit the Tampa Bay government site and fill out a Traffic Accident Report Request. You’ll need a variety of information, including the report year, your name, the date of the crash, the location of the crash, and the report number (if you have it).

You can only request up to ten crash reports at a time in Tampa Bay, and there will be service charges associated with the request. Each request includes a $2 convenience fee, plus you’ll have to pay $10 per report. 

If you need more than ten reports, you have to request them through a separate process.

Requesting an Accident Report In Person

You can also choose to get a copy of your accident report in person at the Tampa Police Department’s Records Division. You can find this division at 411 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. 

You can also mail a request to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Crash Records at 2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28, Tallahassee, FL 32399.

If you file your request in person, you’ll only have to pay $0.15 per single-sided sheet and $0.20 per double-sided sheet.

Get a Lawyer on Your Side

An accident report can be one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in your personal injury claim. If you file your request less than sixty days after the accident, you’ll have to sign some extra paperwork. If you file a request more than sixty days after the accident, you just have to submit your request and pay the appropriate fees.

Of course, one of the easiest ways to get your accident report is to let your lawyer take care of it for you. At Roman Austin, our lawyers will dig deep, gathering accident reports, medical records, and other evidence to build your case. Schedule a free consultation with us today to get the compensation you deserve.

Contact the Tampa 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 Tampa. 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