A minor accident, such as a rear-end collision, might seem like nothing significant. You could get out of your vehicle and notice it is still drivable. You might even feel fine enough to get back in your car and head home.
Regardless of how “minor” the accident might seem, you are required by law to report that incident in the state of Florida. More so, it is in your best interest to report such accidents if you ever want to file a claim for damages later.
Your Responsibilities as a Licensed Driver of the State
As a licensed driver in the state of Florida, you are required to stay at the scene of an accident. You must also provide help to all parties involved in the accident, and leaving the scene before having permission could result in a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
When are You Required to Report an Accident?
If you are involved in an accident in Florida, the law requires that you report an accident that involves an injury, death, or entrapment of a person in the vehicle. You are not required to report an accident with damage unless another property is damaged aside from the vehicles. For example, you strike a street pole in the crash.
Also, it is mandatory to report the incident if you suspect the damages in are $1,000 or more.
How Quickly Should You Make the Report?
If there are injuries, even minor ones, or the damage exceeds $1,000, you must report the accident immediately to the authorities. Therefore, you cannot leave the scene of the crash and should report via your cell phone.
You are not required, however, to file a written accident report unless there are serious injuries.
The Penalty for Not Filling Your Car Accident Report
Here is another reason you may want to report the incident: you could go to jail or face a fine.
Knowingly or intentionally failing to disclose an accident or recklessly failing to report an accident is a Class C misdemeanor in the state. Therefore, you could face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Reasons to File the Accident Report
The reasons to file an accident report go well beyond protecting yourself from criminal charges or jail time. In fact, you need to protect yourself in the event you suffer injuries that are unseen on the date of the accident.
Whiplash, for example, often manifests a few hours to a few days post-accident. So, while you might feel okay at the time of the accident, you could wake up the next day and realize that your injuries are much more severe than you initially thought.
Other reasons to report the incident include:
- You may need to file an injury claim. If you fail to report the accident, you will have no official record that it occurred. An accident report by the police is a marker showing the date, time, and details of the crash. While it is often considered “hearsay” in court, it at least establishes a few facts of the case in the event you need to prove injuries later.
- The other side might put the blame on you. When you go to file an accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance, their insurer or the other driver could attempt to place blame on you for the crash. Without a police report detailing the facts of the crash, it may be harder to prove fault.
After You Report the Accident, Call an Injury Attorney
You may not think you need to file a claim right now, but eventually, you may find that your injuries and damages are so severe you can no longer keep up with them. In that case, you need a personal injury advocate ready to fight for your right to compensation and hold responsible parties accountable for your injuries.
For your auto accident, the team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers. Call our office to schedule your free consultation or connect with online.