Mark Roman | January 21, 2022 | Car Accidents
A car accident can be a very stressful and exhausting event. You might be dealing with injuries caused by the collision. If you’ve never been in an accident before, you might be unsure what to do next.
If the accident was minor and no injuries are apparent, it can be tempting to avoid contacting the police. You may want to just exchange insurance and contact information with other parties and leave.
However, every state has unique laws regarding when drivers must contact police after a wreck. Make sure you understand the laws in Florida before you decide to leave the scene of a car accident.
Are You Required to Report a Car Crash to Police in Florida?
Florida law requires drivers to report a car crash that results in injury, death, or damage in excess of $500 to the local police department or county sheriff. The quickest way to do this is by calling 911.
If the crash occurred on a highway or interstate, it must be reported to the Florida Highway Patrol. If the crash is not reported, the driver may be subject to a noncriminal traffic infraction (assuming the driver didn’t flee the scene). According to Florida Statute 318.14, this may result in fines, penalties, or orders to complete community service.
What Happens If the Other Driver Doesn’t Cooperate?
Suppose the damage from a car accident appears to be minor, and the other driver expresses their willingness to cover damages. Suppose they tell you there is no reason to get the police involved. They may appear to be nice at the scene of the accident but then vanish afterward.
This can be a problem if the damage to your car is later found to be more significant than it initially seemed. In some cases, you may have symptoms of injuries that arise well after the crash.
In worst-case scenarios, the other driver may give you false insurance or contact information. In this case, if you only carry liability insurance on your vehicle, you may have to foot the bill for repairs out of your own pocket. Contacting the police will help you avoid such hassles.
Police Can Investigate a Car Accident and Help to Determine Fault
A police report can quickly quell any doubts as to who was at fault in an accident. An officer will talk with all of the parties involved in the accident and look for evidence to determine the cause of the crash.
Law enforcement will also ensure that both parties exchange correct contact information. In some cases, they can validate insurance coverage at the scene.
Having a police report can help insurance companies and lawyers to settle disputes quickly without the need for a back-and-forth exchange. This can be very beneficial if car repairs or medical expenses need to be settled quickly.
You Might Not Know You’re Injured Right Away
The adrenaline and stress of a car accident can mask the symptoms of an injury. Oftentimes, car accident victims may feel shaken but not think anything is seriously wrong. But painful injuries like whiplash can take hours or days to appear.
If you don’t have a police report, it can impede your recovery of medical expenses. Insurance companies may try to dispute that the injury was a result of the crash. A police report gives you tangible evidence of the crash and connects the at-fault driver’s behavior to your injuries.
It’s Better to Be Safe than Sorry
Even if your crash seemed to be minor, it’s better to stay on the safe side and call the police to the scene of the accident. Doing this can eliminate potential headaches when it comes to collection compensation for car repairs and injuries.
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.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655