Florida laws require that drivers report most car accidents to law enforcement. Failing to report a car accident in Florida could result in one or more penalties. Therefore, all drivers should know and understand their responsibilities and legal requirements after a car accident. 

Requirements for Reporting Car Accidents in Florida 

Florida Statute §316.065 requires drivers to report car accidents if the accident results in:

  • Bodily injury to someone
  • A traffic fatality 
  • Property damage of $500 or more

The statute requires drivers to report the accident immediately by the quickest means possible. Generally, calling 911 is the quickest way to report a car accident in Florida

Knowing which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction over a crash site can be difficult. Calling 911 from the accident scene avoids the problem. The emergency operator dispatches law enforcement officers from the agency that has jurisdiction based on the location you provide when you report the crash. 

The $500 property damage threshold is low enough to apply to most car accidents. Furthermore, knowing whether you are injured after a car crash can be tricky until you see your doctor. Therefore, it is wise to report a car accident to the police.

When Does the Police Officer Complete a Car Accident Report?

Police officers must complete a long-form Florida Traffic Crash Report and file it within ten days if they investigate an accident that involves:

  • Someone involved in the accident sustains an injury, or the accident results in a fatality
  • A commercial vehicle
  • A hit-and-run driver or a driver who leaves the scene without giving their information to the other party
  • A vehicle with damage that requires a wrecker to remove the vehicle
  • A driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs

The car accident report contains information you may need to file insurance claims. You can obtain a copy of the car accident report through the FLHSMV online portal. If you hire a Clearwater car accident lawyer, your attorney will obtain a copy of the accident report when they investigate your accident claim.

When Does a Driver Need To File a Car Accident Report in Florida?

Some minor car accidents or fender benders might not meet the requirements to report the car crash to the police. If not, you must file a Driver Report or Traffic Crash. The report can be filed via email or mailed to the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. 

What Are the Penalties for Failing To Report a Car Accident in Clearwater, FL?

If you are required to report a car accident, you face non-criminal penalties under Florida law. You will not face jail time for failing to file a car accident report, but you can be fined.

However, a driver could be charged with a criminal offense for leaving the scene of a car accident. Hit-and-run drivers may face felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the circumstances of the crash. They could face significant jail time, fines, or other penalties.

What Should You Do if the Other Driver Asks You Not To Report a Clearwater Car Accident?

A driver might not want to call the police after a car accident. Reasons the driver might not want to report a car accident include, but are not limited to:

  • The driver does not have the required insurance coverage
  • A person does not have a valid driver’s license or is driving with a suspended license
  • The driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The person is committing a crime or has outstanding arrest warrants
  • The driver has a history of car accidents

It is unwise to agree to the driver’s request not to report the car crash. First, you are obligated by law to report the accident. Second, failing to report a car accident could impact your ability to recover compensation for injuries and damages.

If the other driver refuses to report the car accident, call 911 from the accident scene. 

Seeking Compensation After a Clearwater Car Accident 

You must report the car accident to your no-fault insurance company to recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages. However, Florida PIP laws require you to seek medical treatment within 14 days after the accident. If you do not receive medical treatment within 14 days, your PIP insurance company does not have to pay your claim.

Even though Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, some accident victims can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. You must sustain serious injuries to receive compensation from the other driver. 

If the at-fault driver has liability insurance coverage, you can file a claim with the insurance company. However, you can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

You might be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic damages, including:

The facts of your case determine how much your personal injury case is worth. For example, severe injuries usually increase the value of damages. However, sharing the blame for the cause of the accident can reduce the amount of compensation you receive. 

The insurance company might make a quick settlement offer. However, it will require you to release any further claims for damages. Therefore, it is wise to consult an attorney before you accept a settlement offer to ensure the settlement amount is fair. 

What Is the Deadline To File a Car Accident Claim in Florida?

Florida’s statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing car accident claims. Changes to the law reduced the deadline for filing most negligence lawsuits from four years to two years. The change applies to cases that arise on or after March 24, 2023.

Exceptions to the statutes of limitations can alter deadlines. Therefore, it can be difficult to calculate the deadline for filing lawsuits after a car accident. You should contact a Clearwater car accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline. 

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