The Importance Of Reporting Your Car Accident
Contacting law enforcement after a crash is almost always a good idea. In fact, Florida law actually requires drivers to report car accidents to the police in certain cases, namely when the collision resulted in an injury, property damage of more than $500, or a death. Taking this step is a good way to ensure that anyone who requires emergency medical care obtains it as quickly as possible and can also go a long way towards helping prove fault at a later date.
Investigating the Accident
When a motorist calls 911 after a crash, the dispatcher will send law enforcement officers who have jurisdiction over the crash. This could be the local police department, the county sheriff’s office, or the Florida Highway Patrol. Upon arrival, officers will:
- Secure the scene and divert traffic if necessary;
- Offer to Call for medical assistance; and
- Coordinate the exchange of insurance information.
While these are all important tasks, one of the most critical things that law enforcement officers will undertake when assessing the scene of an accident is to begin investigating the cause of the crash. To this end, they may document the accident scene with photographs and notes, identify eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur, and interview the parties involved in the collision. Once this information has been collected, it will be compiled and recorded in an accident report. Accident victims can eventually access these reports online or can order a paper copy from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV).
Your Accident Report
All Florida law enforcement agencies use the same form when reporting accidents. This form requires a substantial amount of information, including:
- A detailed description of the location and time of the crash;
- Location identifiers;
- The vehicles and drivers involved in the crash;
- A description of the environment, such as the lighting, or weather conditions at the time of the accident;
- The type and degree of non-vehicle damage caused by the accident;
- A description of the damage sustained by each vehicle; and
- A description of the actions that led up to the accident, including whether either party violated a traffic law, received a citation, or experienced mechanical failure.
The accident report will also list the first harmful event that occurred during the accident. This could be a collision with a moving vehicle, a collision with a fixed object, or a contributing environmental or road condition. This designation is important, as it can play a key role in assigning fault down the road.
Contact Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers
If you need help proving that someone else caused your car crash, contact the dedicated Tampa car accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson to learn more about the types of evidence that you may need to establish fault. With over 40 years of experience handling car accident claims, our firm is one of the longest-running personal injury law firms not only in the city, but in all of Central Florida. As a result, we have acquired deep knowledge of the local community and court systems in the state. Call us at 813-251-0072 to set up a free case review today.