There is an average of 6 million car accidents in the US every year (According to Driver Knowledge). You likely know of someone who has been in an accident, or maybe you’ve been in one yourself. If you have yet to be in a car accident, maybe the thought scares you. You never know how bad your car accident is going to be, or perhaps you’re wondering what to do if the situation ever occurs. If you’re asking yourself the question of, “Do I need to call the police if I have a car accident in Florida?” We’ve got you covered.
Reporting The Incident
Under Florida’s Statute of Limitations Section 316.065, you are required by law to report your accident if your accident meets the following criteria:
- You or the other party experience injuries
- There is a death
- Damages of either vehicle amount to $500 or more
Failure to report your accident can result in a traffic citation.
You probably noticed that the criteria to report your incident happens in nearly every car accident. There’s likely always an injury and damages reaching $500, so it’s safe to say you likely have to report an accident every time.
There Are Benefits to Calling the Police
Some people fear first responders, especially the police, in car accidents, but we’re here to tell you there are benefits to calling the police for these situations. Not only does it ensure you do your civic duty in reporting your accident, but if your situation ends up going south, then the police report can be beneficial later on.
When you call the police to the scene of the incident, the officers will take a statement from you and the other party involved. If there are civilians standing by who witnessed the accident, they can provide witness testimonials that you can also use later in a case.
While the state of Florida has a pure comparative fault system in place, a police report can help in determining fault. This alone can help you when it comes time to file your insurance claim. Whether your insurance requires a police report or not, having the document can help you seek a fairer settlement to cover your damages.
No, What You Say Will Not Be Held Against You in Court
Many people might be scared to call the police since they think what they say will be used against them later in court, but under Florida law, that will not happen. Florida law has a provision called the “Car Accident Report Privilege,” which means what you say about the accident in your report will be inadmissible in court. You can read more about it under Florida’s Statute of Limitations Section 316.066(4).
What to Do as You Wait for Police to Arrive
As you wait for the police to arrive at the scene after you’ve called them, there are things you can and should do if you’re able that can also help your position and cover your tracks.
For instance, the first thing you should do is take photos of the scene if you are not too badly injured to do so. Taking photos of the scene can be used as evidence for insurance and your lawsuit if you need to file one.
You should take photos of your vehicle damage, any injuries, or roadway obstructions if the reason for your accident is because of road debris instead of another person.
While you are at the scene, it’s also important you gather the name and contact information of the other party involved that you might need later for insurance and legal purposes. And as you are getting their information, look for any witnesses you can find and get their information as well. If your case makes it to court, you could benefit from witness statements to back up your position.
Do Not Skip Medical Examinations
After you’ve taken all the steps at the scene, it’s time to receive medical attention. It’s likely that if you call the police, an ambulance will be on its way as well.
Regardless of if you feel fine and do not see any scratches, you still should have a medical professional examine you. You could have an internal injury that could cause problems later if it’s not diagnosed early on, or you could have a concussion you aren’t aware of.
Medical examinations can also act as evidence, as your police report. While you may feel that everything is fine with you, a medical report will ensure you’re covering your tracks and taking all of the necessary steps in your case.
Before You File with Insurance, Speak to An Attorney
After calling the police, taking photos of the scene, and receiving medical attention, it’s now time to file with insurance once you arrive home. Technically, there’s another step before you call your insurance representative. You should call a Port St. Lucie Car Accident Lawyer. Some people wait until their insurance company has declined their claim or given them less than they deserve to call an attorney. To avoid any roadblocks and to optimize how much your insurance claim is, speaking with an attorney from the start is your best bet.
Your insurance company does not have your best interest at heart, but your attorney does. An attorney’s job is to put you and your needs first, whereas an insurance company is out to save money wherever they can. Attorneys possess qualities that can benefit your claim and position early on. Attorneys are:
- Skilled negotiators
- Knowledgeable about legal positions
- Narrative storytellers
- High-quality investigators
If your car accident case meets the requirements to file a lawsuit, your attorney will assist you in gathering all necessary evidence and speaking for you in court. That said, it’s important that you look for a highly competent lawyer from the start with a proven background handling car accident cases and going to court for these situations.
Receive Help with Your Case Today
Are you needing the assistance of a top-notch car accident lawyer in Port St. Lucie, Florida? Let the experts at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers help you seek compensation.
Our highly awarded firm has been helping those in Port St. Lucie and other surrounding Florida areas for the last 40+ years seek compensation and justice they deserve for their car accident claims (by appointment only).
We understand that car accidents can leave behind a world of stress financially and monetarily, which is why it’s important to us that you have the right people behind you fighting your battle while you recover.
To get started, we are happy to schedule a free no-obligation case evaluation where you can come into our office and speak with one of our trusted and awarded attorneys. If you feel that we would be a great fit after the consultation, we will begin prepping your case immediately.
Set up your evaluation today by calling us at (561) 800-8000.