What Are the Requirements for Reporting a Florida Car Crash?
Car accidents can lead to serious injuries that cost victims thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses if they don’t receive a fair injury settlement. The first step in personal injury claims or lawsuits is to file a police report for the accident. However, is a report always required for a car accident? Should you contact a South Florida car crash attorney after a collision, even if it’s just a fender bender?
When Do Florida Traffic Laws Require Filing a Police Report for an Accident?
According to Florida Statutes Title XXIII. Motor Vehicles § 316.065, you must report your accident within 10 days to the DMV if:
- The accident was a hit-and-run accident
- The accident resulted in injuries
- The accident resulted in death
- The damages to the vehicles involved totaled $500 or more
You, your insurance company representative, or your attorney must file a crash report with the DMV. You will need several pieces of information, including details about the accident, driver information of all vehicles involved, insurance information, diagrams, and more.
The exception to filing your own report with the DMV is if an officer reports to the scene, collects evidence, and files a police report.
How Can a Police Report Help You Seek Compensation for Injuries in an Accident?
The police report will describe the accident events, vehicular damage to both vehicles, and any injuries sustained as reported at the scene, as well as the officer’s notes on how they believe the accident happened and whether either driver broke Florida traffic laws to cause the accident.
The insurance companies and courts will use this report to help prove negligence by one or both drivers involved in the collision. Your Florida car crash attorney can procure a copy of the police report to begin building your case as soon as the report is available.
The Litigation Process for a Negligence Lawsuit After a Car Accident
Most personal injury claims don’t make it to trial. Your attorney may be able to help you reach an appropriate injury settlement with the insurance company before filing suit against the negligent driver who caused your injuries or during the pre-trial phase of a lawsuit. In Florida, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for personal injury is two years from the date of the accident.
The litigation process in pre-trial includes a long phase of “discovery,” the part of information and evidence gathering where the representation of each side can discover what the other knows by requesting specific evidence from the other side. The defense can also request that the plaintiff undergo a deposition to add their responses to the record for the case.
As the plaintiff, you bear the burden of proof “with a preponderance of the evidence” to prove negligence by the defendant. If your evidence supports your claim, you can pursue economic, non-economic, and even punitive damages.
Florida Is a Modified Comparative Negligence State
Florida now follows a 51% modified comparative negligence rule for compensation in accident cases. This means if a plaintiff is more than half responsible for the accident that caused their injuries, the defense wins (the Plaintiff receives nothing).
Let’s assume, however, that the jury believes the Plaintiff is 10% responsible. The initial award is $100,000. The verdict would be reduced to $90,000.
Contact Our South Florida Personal Injury Law Firm
You need a police report to pursue a claim in a car accident in Florida. Contact a South Florida car crash attorney with our firm at Lyons & Snyder today. Call us at 954-627-1779 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices.