How Do I Get a Highway Patrol Accident Report in Florida?
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How Do I Get a Highway Patrol Accident Report in Florida?
If you have experienced a car accident, obtaining a traffic crash report can be essential for your insurance claim or lawsuit. Generally, you have the option to get your highway patrol accident report online, by mail, or in person.
If you were hurt in an accident in Florida and want to file an insurance claim or lawsuit, you don’t have to struggle alone. Morgan & Morgan has your back. We understand that victims rely on adequate compensation to rebuild their lives after a crash. Our experienced car accident lawyers could help you receive the settlement you deserve. Contact us now to identify your legal options in a free case review.
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What Is an Accident Report and Why Is it Important?
An accident report is a written document containing information about the details of a crash, such as:
- A drawing of the collision
- The drivers involved
- Statements from drivers, car occupants, and witnesses
The investigating officer responding to the 911 call typically completes the accident report.
Since an accident report can include an officer’s opinion regarding who is at fault for the crash, the document can hold much weight for insurance companies and attorneys. If you experience a collision and someone else is responsible, the police report can be a critical piece of evidence.
Reporting a Car Accident in Florida
According to Florida Statute 316.066, drivers involved in a car accident must remain at the scene and call 911 to report the crash immediately if:
- There are deaths, injuries, or complaints of discomfort by any of the parties involved
- The accident involved a commercial vehicle
- An alcohol or drug-impaired driver caused the crash
- Property damage is over $500
- The accident was a hit and run
- There are inoperable vehicles that must be removed by a wrecker
If you were involved in a minor crash, you could report the accident by completing a “Driver Report of Traffic Crash (Self Report)” or “Driver Exchange of Information” online at the FLHSMV website.
Requesting Your Accident Report Online
Accident reports can take up to 10 days to become available. To access and purchase your accident report online, visit the Florida Crash Portal provided by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and enter your report number. The fee for the accident report is $12, which includes $10 for the report and a $2 convenience payment charge. According to FLHSMV,
- Your report will be available immediately
- The agency will send a link to download the report to the email provided
- You must download the file within 48 hours of requesting it
If ten days have passed and you cannot look up your accident report online, FLHSMV may be experiencing problems with the portal. In this case, you should contact the applicable law enforcement agency directly for a copy of the report.
Picking up Your Crash Report in Person
You can pick up your crash report from the closest Florida Highway Patrol Troop Station to where the accident occurred. You can find a list of stations here. However, before obtaining the report, you must complete a “Sworn Statement to Obtain Traffic Crash Report” available here.
If you plan to pick up your accident report at the station, take a picture ID with you, such as a passport or driver’s license.
Ordering Your Highway Patrol Accident Report by Mail
To order your accident report by mail, you must send a letter that includes the completed and signed sworn statement and states which crash report you are requesting. The letter should also include the $10 fee for the report by money order or check made out to “FLHSMV.” Send your letter to:
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Processing time for receiving your accident report is approximately four to six weeks.
Information Contained in Accident Reports
Police traffic accident reports are created by law enforcement officers at the crash scene and contain essential information about the accident, including the details of all involved parties. The investigating officer will inspect the vehicles, talk to drivers and eyewitnesses, take photographs, and make comprehensive notes. Information typically included in traffic accident reports includes:
- The time, date, and location of the crash
- The weather and visibility at the time of the accident
- A diagram of the collision
- Statements from drivers and eyewitnesses
- Contact details and insurance information of the drivers involved
- Contact details of eyewitnesses
- Description of damage to the involved vehicles
- Traffic citations
- An opinion regarding the cause and fault of the crash
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you were injured in a car accident and are seeking compensation from the at-fault party, a crash report can help you get justice and receive damages. A car accident attorney representing you can obtain a copy of the report as part of their investigations for your claim. They can also provide you with a copy of the document.
However, a car accident attorney from Morgan & Morgan can protect your rights and help you with a claim or lawsuit in many other ways, including:
Prove Your Car Accident Claim
Gathering the evidence to prove someone else’s fault for your accident is vital for getting what you deserve. Our lawyers can collect and organize evidence to prove another driver’s responsibility, such as:
- The police accident report
- Eyewitness statements
- Traffic camera and dash cam recordings
- Accident investigator reports
We can also prove your injuries and financial losses due to a crash by organizing the relevant evidence, such as medical reports, physician statements, receipts for out-of-pocket losses, and other critical material.
Negotiate With the Insurance Company
A tenacious attorney’s help can be critical when negotiating what you deserve. Insurers typically have their own best interests at heart and not yours. Our injury lawyers can protect you from an insurer’s manipulative tactics to try and push you into a lowball settlement offer.
A car accident lawyer can level the playing field and ensure you are not leaving money on the table in negotiations. If an insurance company has already reduced or denied your claim, consider speaking to our attorneys immediately to determine your next best steps.
Fight for You at Trial
Most personal injury claims settle out of court. However, sometimes an insurer or at-fault party refuses to agree to a fair amount for the victim. In these cases, our experienced trial attorneys do not shy away from taking a case all the way to trial. We never settle for less because we want our clients to receive the full value of their claims and get their lives back on track.
What Are My Next Best Steps After a Car Crash?
If you experience a significant accident, you must seek help promptly, especially if there are injuries. Call 911 immediately for law enforcement and medical assistance, and assist injured individuals if you can. However, you can also take essential steps that could help a later legal claim, such as:
- Taking photographs of the crash scene
- Making notes about the road conditions and weather at the time of the collision
- Recording how the accident happened and who you believe caused it
- Collecting contact details and insurance information from other drivers
- Asking eyewitnesses for their contact details
However, knowing what not to do at the crash scene can be just as critical. Accidents can be chaotic and emotionally charged, and you may encounter belligerent drivers or occupants. Under no circumstances discuss fault with any of the parties at the scene. Moreover, if any other individuals display aggression or you feel unsafe, return to your vehicle and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
Is it Necessary to Obtain a Crash Report?
Florida Highway Patrol officers responding to your accident will create a report that contains critical information regarding your crash and who is responsible. While you do not have to obtain a crash report, the document may be necessary for your insurance claim or lawsuit further down the line. Therefore, consider requesting a copy of your report as soon as it is available, particularly if an insurer is making it challenging for you to get a fair settlement.
How Is Fault Determined in My Car Accident?
Every crash is unique, and determining fault can be tricky, especially if multiple vehicles are involved in a collision. The police accident report can be essential for deciding fault as it typically contains a police officer’s interpretation of the accident. However, accident reports are not always conclusive, and the officer may have missed key facts.
Hiring a car accident attorney to represent you can be critical for preventing an unfair assessment of your role in the accident. An experienced lawyer from our firm can launch their own investigation into the collision to understand who is responsible.
What Happens if More Than One Party Is Responsible for the Accident?
Florida law follows comparative negligence, meaning that even those with some fault in an accident can potentially seek damages from other parties. However, the amount of recovery you can receive is typically reduced by your degree of responsibility. For instance, if your damages are worth $50,000, but you are 20 percent responsible for the accident, you would only be able to recover $30,000 in damages.
What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance?
Florida drivers are required to carry mandatory no-fault coverage called Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP). If you suffer any injuries in a crash, PIP covers you (and any other occupants of your car) regardless of fault.
However, if you have suffered significant injuries, wage losses, and other financial losses, PIP coverage may not be sufficient to compensate you for damages. If someone else caused the accident, consider contacting a car accident lawyer for help and advice, as you could be entitled to compensation.
The Insurance Company Asked for a Recorded Statement; What Should I Do?
If your own insurance company asks you for a recorded statement, you should cooperate. However, if the at-fault party insurance requests a recorded statement, it is generally best to refuse. You are under no legal obligation to provide such a statement. Moreover, doing so could severely harm your case. An insurer may use the opportunity to push you into saying something that could discredit your claim.
The best course of action when an insurer requests a recorded statement is to call an attorney who can offer advice and protect your rights.
When Should I Seek Medical Help After a Collision?
Ideally, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible after a crash, even if you feel fine or experience only minor symptoms, such as a stiff neck or persistent headache. Some injuries, such as whiplash or traumatic brain injury (TBI), can have a delayed onset. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can be crucial for your health.
Seeing a medical provider can also be essential for your insurance claim or lawsuit. If you do not see a doctor immediately and later develop an accident-related injury or illness, you may struggle to get what you deserve. The other side or insurer may argue that you got injured elsewhere. Therefore, one of your critical first steps after an accident should be seeking medical assistance.
Morgan & Morgan Is Here to Help
The aftermath of a severe car crash can be hectic, stressful, and upsetting. Moreover, getting what you deserve if another caused your accident can be a struggle, especially if you are still recovering. However, our dedicated car accident lawyers can handle all aspects of your claim, including obtaining the highway patrol accident report, so you are free to concentrate on getting your health and life back.
You have no financial risks as you pay nothing upfront when we take your case. Contact us today to find out more in a free, no-obligation consultation.