A traffic accident can happen at any time and is usually the result of one party’s negligence or reckless driving.
Maybe you’re driving down the road, and a large, heavy, unsecured box flies off the back of the pick-up truck in front of you. Or an impaired driver heads the wrong way down the highway and hits your vehicle.
A Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) accident report is a critical document that can help you to pursue compensation for damages. This report contains a police officer’s account of the accident as well as the time, location, and road circumstances.
In this article, we look at how to get a Florida accident report and help you Demand More® for any injuries you suffered in a Florida accident.
Why is it Important to Get Your Car Accident Report?
A car accident report contains all the information you need to file an insurance claim, including details about what happened, damage to the vehicles, and driver information. The report is also essential in determining who is at fault.
Importance of FHP Accident Report in Finding Out Who is at Fault
The responding officer will investigate to determine how and why the accident happened. During this investigation, the officer will interpret evidence such as roadway marks, witness statements, and vehicle damage. Then, the officer will use an FHP accident report to document the cause or contributing causes of the crash and state who is at fault.
Filing Claims Against At-Fault Drivers
Allowing your lawyer to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurer is a step toward receiving compensation for damage and injuries. The insurance company will need the FHP accident report and documentation, such as an independent medical examination, to investigate the claim.
After the claim value evaluation, the insurer may issue a settlement check. If the settlement is inadequate or if the insurer denies your claim, you can appeal to the insurance company to ensure that you receive fair compensation.
What is Included in an FHP Car Crash Report?
The information in an FHP car crash report includes:
- Time, date, and place where the accident took place
- Parties involved in the accident and their insurance details
- Driving conditions at the time of the accident
- Damage to the involved vehicles
- Injuries, deaths or any other relevant information
The report will also contain a crash report narrative, which includes a written description of the scene, witness information, and reports about any arrests at the scene of the accident. The officer will also include a crash report diagram, which is a pictorial account of the accident.
Steps to Get Your Car Crash Report
An officer who responded to the accident will complete an accident report within a week after the incident occurred. The section below looks at how to get a car accident report so you can file an insurance claim against the party responsible for the accident.
Who can Request a Car Accident Report in Florida?
Parties who have direct involvement with the accident can immediately access the FHP accident or within ten business days, depending on how long the responding officer takes to write the report. Other individuals who can request accident reports include family members of victims, insurance agents, or legal representatives.
Paying the Fees
According to section 321.23 of the Florida Statutes, the fee per crash report is $10. If the transaction takes place through the Florida Crash Portal, an additional convenience fee of $2 applies.
Getting Your FHP Accident Report Online
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has an online portal for purchasing accident reports. After buying a report through the portal, you will immediately receive an email to the address you provided.
This email contains a download link to the report, which consists of PDF files within a Zip file. You have to download the report within 48 hours after making the request. Your accident report might not appear in the search results if the accident happened within the last ten days.
Getting Your Car Crash Report In-Person
You can request your FHP accident report in person at the FHP Troop Station nearest the crash location. If you require a report within 60 days after the accident, you have to complete a “Sworn Statement to Obtain Crash Report” form.
The FHP Troop Stations are open on Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. When requesting a crash report in person, remember to bring a valid driver’s license or any other form of personal identification.
Request the Car Accident Report Through Mail
You can request a car accident report through the mail by sending a request letter to:
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Your request letter should include payment with a check or money order made out to “FLHSMV.” You can expect to receive the report within four to six weeks.
Information to be Provided to Obtain the Crash Report
Your request letter should include all relevant information to make the process of obtaining the report easier. You should provide the following information:
- Your name and address
- The date and location of the accident
- Your contact details
- The number of crash reports you need with sworn statements
Types of Accidents that Require a Crash Report
Almost all types of accidents require a crash report. The officer who responds to the accident will complete the report.
In Case of Severe Damage
If a car accident resulted in bodily injuries, death, or property damage of more than $500, the accident must be reported to the police before anyone leaves the scene. A police officer will then come to the scene to gather information for the law enforcement report.
In Case of Minor Crashes
In the case of a minor crash, such as a fender bender that didn’t result in bodily injuries, death, or extensive property damage, parties can self-report the collision to an FHP Troop Station. In this case, a law enforcement report is not required. However, insurers will require an accident report to investigate a claim.
If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County car accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call (561) 983-4395 now.
You should not take any information in this blog as legal advice in any situation. If you need expertise for a specific issue of yours, contact a qualified Personal Injury attorney.