Drivers in Florida must call the police after a car accident involving injury, death, or at least $500 in property damage. The responding police officers must often produce a crash report summarizing their investigation. This report can provide valuable information for an injury claim, such as the citations issued due to the crash.
However, many accident victims do not know how to obtain an accident report in Clearwater, FL. Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers can help you obtain your report and use the information it contains to gather admissible evidence for an injury claim.
We can also help you understand your legal rights and options following a crash – and, from there, help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at (727) 787-2500 to get started with a free case review.
How Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Get Compensation Following a Car Accident in Clearwater, FL
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers was founded in 1996 to serve injured people in Clearwater, Florida. Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience and have recovered over $120 million in injury compensation for our clients.
When you suffer an injury, our Clearwater car accident lawyers provide:
- Legal advice about your options for seeking compensation from those who injured you
- Passionate negotiators to fight for a fair settlement without waiting for a trial
- Award-winning litigators to take your case to court when opposing parties refuse to settle
Car accident injuries can leave you with massive medical bills and no way to pay them. Contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your injuries and the injury compensation you can pursue for them.
How Many Accident Reports Get Filed in Florida?
In 2022, Florida had 308,385 total traffic accidents. Florida law requires police officers to prepare police reports for all crashes that involve:
Traffic accidents in Florida included:
- 2,421 fatal crashes
- 127,960 injury crashes
- 178,004 property damage-only (PDO) crashes
The state also had 9,238 total CMV accidents, and 3,452 of these truck accidents caused injury or death and were previously counted in the fatal and injury crash totals. This left 5,786 PDO truck accidents that required a crash report under Florida law.
Florida has not yet released DUI crash numbers for 2022. But its 2021 Crash Facts Report had 6,272 DUI crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or both – and 3,068 of these crashes caused injuries or fatalities and were already counted. If you assume DUI crash numbers in 2022 roughly matched 2021’s numbers, you can add 3,204 PDO DUI crashes.
From these numbers, you can calculate that at least 139,371 accident reports were written for crashes involving injury, death, CMVs, or DUI in 2022.
Three Ways To Obtain a Crash Report in Clearwater
According to Florida law, the officer who investigated your crash has ten days to file the accident report. For the first 60 days after filing the report, the law limits those who can access it. Some categories of people who can access the report during this period include the following:
- Crash victims and the parents of minor crash victims
- Owners of vehicles involved in the accident
- Insurers and attorneys for a victim or vehicle owner
Your options for obtaining your crash report depend on the jurisdiction that investigated your crash. In Clearwater, there are a few jurisdictions that might have produced your report.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP)
The highway patrol shares jurisdiction over crashes on state or interstate highways. The FHP can also get called to back up other police agencies for crashes on other roads.
The only place you can request an FHP report is on the Florida Crash Report Portal. All crash reports in the state, regardless of the jurisdiction or agency, also get posted to the crash portal.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
The sheriff’s office has sole jurisdiction over unincorporated areas of the county. It also shares jurisdiction within Clearwater city limits. If sheriff’s deputies investigated your crash, you can contact the sheriff’s office or use the state’s crash portal.
Clearwater Police Department
The police department has shared jurisdiction within Clearwater. It may also get called as a backup for the FHP or sheriff’s office. If city police officers responded to your accident, you can contact the city for your crash report. You can also use the state’s crash portal.
Using an Accident Report for Your Injury Claim
A crash report constitutes hearsay. As a result, a judge will not admit the report as evidence. But the report still serves a valuable purpose. For one, it can be used during settlement negotiations with an insurance company.
Claims adjusters do not follow the rules of evidence and may use the report to investigate your claim. The report also provides leads so your injury lawyer can track down admissible evidence, like official records of traffic tickets and witnesses who testify on your behalf.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Clearwater Car Accident Lawyers
Car accident injuries can jeopardize your physical and financial health. Contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 for a free consultation to discuss your Clearwater car accident and the compensation you can seek for your injuries under Florida law.