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reportable accident

What Is a Reportable Accident in Florida?

If you’re a Florida resident or anyone who drives in Florida, you need to be aware of laws and requirements regarding the reporting of auto accidents.

Whether it's a minor fender-bender or a more serious collision, knowing when you need to report a crash will ensure you don’t face penalties and related repercussions. If you suffered injuries in the crash, properly reporting your motor vehicle accident can also help preserve and strengthen your ability to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

What Constitutes a Reportable Accident to Law Enforcement?

In Florida, certain criteria must be met for an auto accident to be considered reportable to law enforcement. According to Florida Statutes § 316.066, you are required to report an accident to the local police department, the county sheriff's office, or the nearest office of the Florida Highway Patrol if the accident involves:

  1. Injuries: If anyone involved in the accident sustains injuries, regardless of how minor they may seem at the time, it must be reported to law enforcement. This includes injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists.
  2. Fatalities: In the tragic event of a fatality resulting from the accident, immediate reporting to law enforcement is mandatory.
  3. Property Damage: Accidents resulting in property damage exceeding $500 must also be reported to law enforcement.

In addition to the general reporting requirement, Florida law also requires motorists to notify the closest law enforcement agency of reportable accidents immediately, and typically within 24 hours of the crash. Failure to comply can result in legal consequences, including fines and penalties.

What Happens When You Report a Crash to Law Enforcement in Florida?

When you report a crash to law enforcement, officers and other first responders will arrive on scene and immediately address any injuries, traffic control issues, and other safety concerns. They will also investigate of the incident and complete a Florida Traffic Crash Report, which will include:

  1. The date, time, and location of the crash.
  2. A description of the vehicles involved.
  3. The names and addresses of the parties involved, including all drivers and passengers, and the identification of the vehicle in which each was a driver or a passenger.
  4. The names and addresses of witnesses.
  5. The name, badge number, and law enforcement agency of the officer investigating the crash.
  6. The names of the insurance companies for the respective parties involved in the crash.

Under Florida Statutes § 316.066, each party involved in the crash must provide the law enforcement officer with proof of insurance. Failure to do so at the scene will result in a citation. However, if you can supply proof of insurance that was valid at the time of the accident within 24 hours, the citation may be voided.

What Constitutes a Reportable Accident to Your Insurer?

In addition to reporting the accident to law enforcement, Florida drivers are required to report certain accidents to their insurance company. While the specific requirements may vary depending on your insurance policy, as a rule, you should report the accident to your insurer if:

  1. There's Significant Damage: Even if the accident doesn't meet the criteria for police reporting, it's advisable to report it to your insurer if there's significant damage to your vehicle or property.
  2. Injuries Occur: If anyone involved in the accident sustains injuries, regardless of fault, it's crucial to notify your insurance company promptly.

Why Reporting an Auto Accident Matters for Personal Injury Claims

Prompt reporting of auto accidents is not only a legal requirement but also plays a significant role in protecting your rights and interests, especially when it comes to pursuing personal injury claims. Here's why:

  • Preservation of Evidence: Reporting the accident promptly ensures that crucial evidence, such as witness statements, police reports, and photographs of the scene, is documented and preserved, which can strengthen your personal injury claim.
  • Compliance with PIP Regulations: In Florida, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory for all drivers. Under the "14-day rule," individuals injured in auto accidents must seek medical treatment within 14 days to be eligible for PIP benefits. Reporting the accident promptly facilitates timely access to medical care, ensuring compliance with PIP regulations.
  • Protection Against Insurance Denials: Delayed reporting of accidents may give insurance companies grounds to deny or reduce your claim, citing lack of timely notification as a reason. By reporting the accident promptly, you safeguard your right to fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Immediate Support for Auto Accident Victims in Northwest Florida

At Perry & Young, we know things can feel hectic in the wake of an auto accident, especially when it comes to complying with reporting requirements and establishing the foundation for a successful personal injury claim. That’s why our award-winning attorneys provide immediate support and guidance to help accident victims understand their rights, communicate effectively with insurers, and pursue favorable outcomes for their claims.

If you or someone you love were recently injured in a car accident anywhere in Marianna, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Tallahassee, or the surrounding areas, we’re standing by to help. We proudly serve victims across Northwest Florida, offer FREE consultations, and collect no fee unless we win.

Call (850) 215-7777 or contact us online to discuss your rights and options.