Is It Illegal To Not Report A Car Accident?

You were involved in a minor fender bender with barely a scratch left on each vehicle. You and the other driver exchange information and decide to work it out amongst each other. You both drive off and continue your day. If you were the person driving the vehicle that struck the second vehicle, you just may have committed a hit and run under the eyes of the law.police reporting an accident

It may seem like a bit of overkill, but the laws are designed to protect all parties involved. At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we have enough experience in car accident law to know that stories and attitudes can change no matter what is said at the scene. In Florida, you are required to report any accident involving possible injuries or serious property damage to the proper authorities. Let’s take a closer look at the relevant statutes to see when and why a car accident report is required.

Florida’s Law on When to Stop After an Accident, In Brief

Statute 316.066 dictates what must happen following collisions of certain types. We won’t get into the minute details of it all, but we will provide you with the basics. 

A Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form must be filled out when specific conditions are met. These include: 

  • A crash that results in the death or injury of any driver or passenger
  • A crash that involved the consumption of an intoxicating substance
  • A crash that causes damage severe enough to require a tow truck to remove the vehicle from the scene
  • A crash involving a commercial vehicle

Any crash that does not involve at least one of these elements is recorded on a Florida Traffic Crash Report, Short Form. No matter which form is used — long or short — the following must be recorded:

  • Location, date, and time of the collision
  • Basic description of the vehicles involved
  • Conditions at the time of the accident
  • Name and contact information for any person involved, and which vehicle they were in at the time of the crash
  • Name and contact information for any witnesses
  • Identifying information of the investigating officer
  • Each party’s insurance company information

Beyond Reporting: Taking The Right Steps

A car accident alone is enough to change the course of your day. You certainly don’t want a criminal charge to compound the problem. The first step to take, of course, is to contact the local authorities by dialing 911. The next steps you take can make or break a potential claim. 

1. Seek Medical Attention

You may not need to be transported directly from the scene, but you should see a medical professional within the first 24 hours following your accident. The sooner the better. Why? Because if you fail to do so and symptoms of unknown injuries show up days or weeks later, it may be difficult — if not impossible — to attribute them to the car accident. Let a doctor determine whether or not you are injured.

2. Keep Calm and Quiet

If you have any type of social media account, it can be tempting to spout off about your accident, try to explain your version of events, or even just look for a sympathetic ear. Our advice to you in this situation is very simple: don’t! Do not post anything about your accident on social media. Do not tell others what happened; do not admit fault, and do not blame someone else. Do yourself a favor, and keep your collision off the Internet.

3. Contact Your Insurance Agent

One of the first phone calls you will want to make after you have received a medical evaluation is to your insurance agent and, potentially, the other driver’s liability insurance provider. Provide any insurance representatives with the basic facts, but do not confirm your medical diagnosis and the presence/lack of injuries since these are evolving matters. Do acknowledge if you have possible injuries or experienced pain or other symptoms, but don’t go into details. Any agents will likely be recording everything you say, and third-party insurers will be looking for a reason to offer a lowball settlement.

4. Call A Florida Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in the accident, you need the informed advice of an experienced legal advocate. Even if your case may not seem catastrophic, you may have further damages than you are initially aware of. You are entitled to recover damages in the event of an injury caused by someone else’s negligence. Speak with a lawyer experienced in car accidents before you decide the most appropriate next steps.

Your Advocate On The Treasure Coast

When you or a family member have been involved in an injury accident on the Treasure Coast or the surrounding 866-460-1990, or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. Your first consultation with our car accident attorney will be held at no cost to you. It costs nothing for you to secure the legal advice of an attorney familiar with local and state statutes.

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