You get into a minor fender bender while at a stop light in Miami. Neither you nor the other driver is hurt, but you’re unsure if you should call the police. How do you know when to call the police after an accident in Florida?
Put simply; you need to call the police after an accident in Florida when there are injuries, significant property damage, suspicion of illegal activities, hit-and-run incidents, or conflicts with other parties involved. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident with injury or significant property damage.
However, even if the law doesn’t require contacting the authorities, it is best to notify the police anyway. You may be more injured than you realize, and the damage to your vehicle may be more severe than it looks. A police report is valuable when trying to prove liability and collect compensation.
Florida Laws and Responsibilities After an Accident
After an accident in Florida, drivers are responsible for ensuring safety, exchanging information with the other parties involved, and assisting if necessary. Florida law (Section 316.065 of the Florida Statutes) requires all drivers to report accidents if there is a fatality, anyone is injured, or if property damage exceeds $500.
When reporting an accident, you must provide accurate and detailed information to law enforcement. Include the location of the accident, the parties involved, and any observations or accounts of the incident. By promptly reporting accidents as required by law, individuals can ensure that proper investigations are conducted, necessary actions are taken, and potential legal and insurance issues are addressed efficiently.
If you fail to report your accident to the police, you may be charged with a hit-and-run. This is a crime, and you could face significant penalties and consequences if convicted.
When Should I Call the Police After a Florida Car Accident?
After an accident in Florida, assess the situation and prioritize the safety of everyone involved, including yourself and others at the scene. This is your primary concern when deciding whether to call the police. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to call the Florida police:
- The severity of injuries: If significant injuries require medical attention, it is advisable to call the police. They can help coordinate emergency medical services and ensure appropriate care for those in need.
- The extent of property damage: If the accident results in substantial property damage, such as damage exceeding $500 or significant structural damage, involving the police can help document the incident and facilitate insurance claims. With the price of auto body work and today’s expensive vehicles, even minor damage can easily exceed $500.
- Hit-and-run accidents: If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident where the other party flees the scene, involve the police immediately. They can initiate an investigation and help identify the responsible party.
- Suspicion of DUI or illegal activities: If you suspect the other driver involved in the accident is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or engaged in illegal activities, you must contact the police. They can conduct appropriate tests and investigations to ensure public safety and enforce the law.
- Disagreements or conflicts with other parties involved: If there are disputes or conflicts arising from the accident, involving the police can help mediate the situation, gather unbiased information, and ensure a fair resolution. For example, if the other driver insists that you caused the accident and you’re in disagreement, call the police. Their report will help establish clear liability. Otherwise, it will be your word versus theirs.
Handling Minor Accidents Without the Police
In certain minor accidents in Florida, such as minor fender-benders or accidents with minimal impact or damage, you might not need to call the police. However, even if you don’t involve the police, you must take certain steps to protect your claim and your ability to collect compensation from the “at-fault” party.
Regardless of whether the police are called, exchanging information with the other parties involved in the accident is important. This includes obtaining their name, contact information, driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and insurance details. Providing your own information is equally crucial.
Even in minor accidents, you should document the details and gather evidence. Take photos of the scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible damage. Note down the date, time, and location of the accident. If there are any witnesses present, obtain their contact information. These details can be invaluable for insurance claims and resolving any disputes that may arise later.
You must also report your accident to your insurance company. Most insurance policies have specific time limits within which accidents must be reported. Failing to report within the specified timeframe may result in claim denials. Your insurance companies may wish to investigate to determine liability or assess the extent of damages. Cooperate fully with their investigations, providing any requested documentation, photographs, or statements. Assisting the insurance company in its investigation process can help expedite the claims process.
What Happens If I Don’t Report the Accident?
Failing to report an accident in Florida can have significant legal consequences and penalties. You could be charged with a hit-and-run or traffic violation. This could be a misdemeanor or even a felony offense if people were hurt in the crash.
When in doubt, contact the police. They will let you know if a police officer will come to the accident scene or if you can leave. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you did your civic duty and protected your rights to compensation at the same time.
Contact Our Florida Car Accident Attorneys
Don’t navigate the complexities of reporting accidents, dealing with insurance companies, or understanding your legal obligations alone. Call Attorney Prosper Shaked today and let him guide you through the process. Our experienced injury legal team is known throughout Florida for our experience handling car accidents, insurance claims, and personal injury cases.
When an accident occurs, you deserve to have someone on your side who can help you through this difficult time. Call Prosper Shaked at (305) 694-2676 for a free case evaluation. Together we can seek justice and get you the compensation you need – and deserve.