Auto Accident Settlement
Here is What You Need to Obtain Your Police Report
Unfortunately, traffic accidents involving motorcyclists, motor vehicles and trucks happen every day along the Treasure Coast. Tragically, in 2018 there were 99 fatalities from crashes in this region, perpetuating its continual rise in traffic deaths, with this increase of 41% over the 2013 statistics.
The Florida Highway Patrol maintains 37 troopers along the Treasure Coast. The agency promotes “Arrive Alive” campaigns to raise public awareness of DUI risks and the results from disregarding seat belt use. Strong efforts are employed on social media along with LED messages on highway boards — and still, the numbers climb.
While the barrier islands and narrow sandbars shield the Treasure Coast’s inland waterways, bays and rivers from the Atlantic Ocean — only adequate legal constraints and the adherent commitment of our citizenry can shelter us from the daily driving challenges of commuting and shipping transport.
From this perspective, it is welcome news that on July 1, 2019, the Florida House of Representatives enacted a new law making it illegal to text while driving. Previously you could only be cited for this activity if you were pulled over for another offense. Florida drivers now can be stopped solely for texting as they drive. Additionally, the new law prohibits the use of handheld communication devices while driving in either a school or work zone.
If you or a loved one has been seriously or fatally injured in a Treasure Coast traffic crash, please do not hesitate to reach out to a local personal injury lawyer with Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd at (866) 460-1990 to discuss your accident. Established over 35 years ago, our personal injury law firm has multiple offices along the Treasure Coast, and in Okeechobee as well. Out-of-pocket costs are not required, as we do not accept any fees prior to settlement.
As a public service, Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd is pleased to provide this resource page to simplify the process of locating and requesting your police reports for the Treasure Coast. We have included relevant Florida statutes defining the necessity for these reports, as well as legal provisions restricting their acquisition.
When Must a Police Report Be Filed in Florida?
Anytime there is a traffic crash involving a motor vehicle in which the following conditions are met, the responding law enforcement agency must file a Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form (HSMV 90010S) pursuant to local statute Section 316.066. Under Florida law, you only have 10 days to report a car accident.
The accident involves:
a) personal injury, or death
b) indications or complaints of pain or discomfort by involved parties
c) a driver who fails to remain at the scene or property or vehicle damage
d) a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
e) a commercial motor vehicle
f) a vehicle was rendered inoperable to the degree that it requires a wrecker to remove it
The submitted police report must include the date, time and location of the accident; vehicle descriptions involved parties names and addresses; and the VIN number of each driver’s vehicle as well as the insurance carrier. Any witness names and addresses will be listed, and the report will include the name, badge number and investigating officer’s law enforcement agency.
Treasure Coast Police Report Custodial and Release Laws
After a traffic accident, your police report will be filed at the agency associated with the investigating officer. There are 2 timelines which define when you may obtain a police report within the state of Florida. The following descriptions will put you on the correct path for your purpose.
- Confidential Period
Section 316.066 sets aside the first 60 days following the date the record is filed for private access by only “exempt parties.” Those eligible for exemption include persons directly involved in the accident, their attorneys and insurance carrier, and legitimate media.
Your request will require a copy of your current photo identification, and proof of your eligibility. The law enforcement agency, at their discretion, can require a signed affidavit witnessed by a law officer or notary. This form is generally referred to as a sworn statement and the HSMV website provides a downloadable form for your use.
Any person who obtains a police report copy within the confidentiality period, without proper eligibility for exemption, is guilty of a third-degree felony charge. These confidential documents must not be utilized in any way for solicitation of crash victims, nor can they be disclosed to any third party for similar use.
- Public Record Period
The statute further provides that 60 days after the police report was filed by the investigating officer, the report is declared to be a public record, and as such is accessible by any party upon payment the required report fee. There is no signature required, no ID to be presented, and no sworn statement to submit. Copies can now be obtained online on Florida Crash Portal.
Please be aware that, under Florida law, your email address is also a public record — and so, if you do not care to have them released in response to someone else’s future public records request, do not use email to correspond with Florida public records custodian agencies. Instead, purchase the police report in person or by mail, with a check or money order payable to the relevant department.
Law Enforcement Jurisdictions of the Treasure Coast
Acquiring a copy of your police report is a specific process which can vary substantially depending on the location of the traffic accident, and the law enforcement agency of your county, city, town, CDP (census-designated place) or unincorporated area.
County Law Enforcement – Sheriff
In the State of Florida, the County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction over all non-municipal areas including census-designated places (CDPs) and unincorporated communities.
To visit our resource access page for confidential or public county police reports, please click on the link for the county name listed below:
City Law Enforcement – Police Department
To access our resource page for both confidential and public records for a traffic accident within city limits, please choose the city name link from the following list.
Highway Law Enforcement – Highway Patrol
The Florida Highway Patrol has jurisdiction over the Interstate and state highways running through the entire state. Within the confidential 60-day period, you may obtain police report copies in person by visiting the FHP department with jurisdiction over the incident county. When at least 60 days have passed since the officer’s submission date, the FHP accident report is now public record and may be purchased online at the Florida Crash Portal, or by mail to the following address:
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Treasure Coast Personal Injury Lawyers You Can Count On!
Why not seize the opportunity for a free consultation with one of our Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd personal injury attorneys — and discover what over 35 years of legal practice on the Treasure Coast can do for your future? And remember, no fees are due until, and unless, a settlement is achieved.
Call (866) 460-1990 today for a no-cost case review with Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd.
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