Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of driving, and they can happen to anyone at any time. But what should you do if you are involved in a minor car accident in Florida? Do you need to call the police, file a report, or contact your insurance company? The answer depends on several factors. In this article, we will explain the legal requirements and the best practices for reporting a minor car accident in Florida, as well as the potential consequences of not doing so.
Should You Report a Minor Car Accident in Florida?
In Florida, it’s the law that if someone has a car accident – no matter who is at fault – they must report about what happened. This law mandates reporting a car accident if any of the following occurs:
- Property Damage: You have 10 days to notify the police of any property damage over $500 resulting from the collision. This covers damages done to automobiles, buildings, or any other kind of property. It is advisable to report damage, even if it appears to be insignificant, in order to safeguard your rights and adhere to legal obligations.
- Injury or death: You have to notify the police as soon as possible if the accident results in any injuries or fatalities. It is essential to report as soon as possible in order to guarantee proper medical attention and an inquiry.
You won’t need to submit a written report if the accident was reported to the appropriate authorities verbally and a formal investigation was conducted thereafter.
Nonetheless, as a motorist, you have ten days after the collision to submit a written report to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles if the accident was not the subject of an investigation.
Are There Penalties for Not Reporting an Accident?
Failing to report a car accident as required may not lead to criminal punishment, but only to a fine. However, a criminal charge could result from leaving the accident scene.
Therefore, one should always stay at the accident scene. This is especially important if one is filing a personal injury claim for a Florida car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, as not having a police or accident report could cause problems for the claim.
- Failing to report an accident is a serious offense that could have legal consequences. You can be fined or sentenced if the accident caused any injuries, deaths, or more than $500 worth of property damage. In such cases, you could face hit-and-run charges, which are very severe. These charges could result in hefty fines and even imprisonment.
- Reporting your accident is essential if you want to claim insurance. Without a report, you have no evidence to support your claim and the insurance company will likely reject it. Insurance companies are very strict about this and they usually require police or accident reports as proof of what happened. Therefore, you cannot claim insurance if you did not report your accident.
- A police or accident report is a vital piece of evidence for your claim. Without it, your case can be weakened and you may not get the compensation you deserve. This is especially true if your claim lacks other solid evidence to back it up. Therefore, it is important to produce a police or accident report if you want to strengthen your case and increase the value of your claim.
What to Do After a Minor Car Accident No Police Report?
When you’re in a minor car accident no police report, the first thing to do is to move your car to a safe spot if it’s still drivable. Then, check if anyone is hurt and call for medical help if needed.
Next, get the details of the other drivers involved, such as their name, contact, insurance, and license plate. Also, take pictures of the scene as evidence. Don’t forget to call the police and report the crash, as this will create an official record.
You should also contact your insurer as soon as possible, even for minor accidents. They will ask for the information you collected from the other drivers, as well as any injuries or damage that may not be obvious right away.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Claim after a Minor Car Accident?
Filing a personal injury claim is not limited to major car accidents. You have the right to file a personal injury claim whenever you experience physical injury or personal property damage due to the negligence of another driver. Negligence means that the other driver did not drive carefully as they should have.
For example, they may have ignored a traffic signal, exceeded the speed limit, or been careless or distracted while driving. You need to demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident and that you suffered some injury or personal property damage because of it. By proving these elements, you can establish a legal claim and seek compensation for your damages from the other driver.
How Will I Know Whether to File A Claim after a Minor Accident?
In Florida, reporting all motor vehicle accidents is mandatory, either online through the FLHSMV website or by contacting law enforcement. If anyone is injured, even slightly, the police must be notified immediately. You can file a personal injury claim within 2 years of the car accident, unless some exemptions or exceptions apply.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also seek compensation from the insurance of the minor who caused the accident or their parents’ insurance.
Seeking Professional Legal Advice
Minor car accidents may seem like a minor inconvenience, but they can have major implications for your legal rights and financial well-being. If you are involved in a minor car accident in Florida, you should always report it to the authorities and your insurance company, as well as seek medical attention if needed. You should also consult with a professional legal advisor from Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorneys, who can help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your interests. Whether you need to file a claim, negotiate a settlement, or pursue a lawsuit, Browning Lawn Firm has the experience and expertise to handle your case.
Contact them today for a free consultation and let them take care of your minor car accident.