Mark Roman | January 24, 2023 | Car Accidents
Many people consider a “fender bender” a minor car accident. However, there is no such thing as a “minor” car crash. Even a fender bender can result in more than $500 in property damage, which requires you to report the crash to the police.
What Are the Reporting Requirements for Florida Fender Benders?
Drivers involved in a car accident must report the car accident to the police by the quickest means possible if the traffic accident involves:
- A traffic fatality or injury
- Property damage of $500 or more
- A drunk driver
- Hit and run
- Commercial motor vehicle
- A tow truck to remove the vehicle
Calling 911 is the fastest means of reporting a fender bender in Clearwater. The 911 operator dispatches the correct law enforcement agency to the accident scene. The emergency operator also dispatches emergency medical services if someone is injured.
Depending on the accident’s location, the Clearwater Police Department, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, or the Florida Highway Patrol investigates the accident. If a police officer does not investigate a car crash, a driver should use the Driver Report of Traffic Crash to self-report the car accident. The form must be completed and filed within ten days of the accident date.
Reasons Why You Should Call the Cops for a Fender Bender in Clearwater, FL
First, it does not take a strong impact to result in $500 in property damage. Therefore, it is best to report all car crashes to ensure you comply with Florida law.
Second, it is difficult to know if you were injured in the fender bender. You might experience pain or other symptoms a few hours or days following the car accident. If you do not have a crash report, it could be your word against the other driver whether you were involved in a car accident.
Third, having an official accident report can make it easier to file an insurance claim after a car crash. Florida’s insurance laws require drivers to have no-fault insurance (PIP coverage). You must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident to receive benefits.
You could have a claim against the at-fault driver if you sustained serious injuries. A police report can have important information that could help you prove causation and fault for the accident. An accident report can contain information such as:
- The name and contact information for each driver
- The date and location of the collision
- Names and contact information for passengers and witnesses
- A description of the visible property damage to each vehicle
- Whether the officer attributed fault for the crash to one or both drivers
- Statements made to the police officer by drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- The officer’s conclusions about the accident
An accident report is not conclusive evidence proving fault. However, the report contains information that a Clearwater car accident attorney can use when investigating the cause of a car crash.
Steps To Take After a Clearwater Car Accident To Protect Your Rights
The steps you take following a car accident in Clearwater could significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury claim. Regardless of the severity of the crash, call 911 to report the accident.
While you wait for the police officer to arrive, avoid discussing the cause of the accident with the other driver or witnesses. Do not apologize for the crash because your apology could be interpreted as admitting fault for causing the accident.
Instead, gather evidence that an attorney could use to prove fault. Taking photographs of the vehicles and the crash site. It is also helpful to make a video of the accident scene with your cell phone.
See a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Prompt medical care is essential. Tell your doctor you were involved in a car accident and report all symptoms you experience.
Be cautious when discussing the accident with your PIP insurance provider. PIP coverage is no-fault insurance. Therefore, you could receive PIP benefits even if you caused the accident.
If you file a claim against the other driver for economic and non-economic damages, you have the burden of proving that driver caused the accident. If you are partially to blame, your compensation could be reduced under Florida’s contributory fault laws. Therefore, you do not want to make statements to your PIP provider that could be interpreted as admitting fault.
You might consider consulting an attorney if you have questions or concerns about a car accident case. A Clearwater personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case during a free consultation. An experienced lawyer can tell you how much your personal injury claim is worth, the steps involved in filing a claim, and how to protect your right to a fair settlement agreement.
Contact the Car Accident Law Firm Of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers To Get The Help Your Deserve
If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please call the car accident law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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