If you were recently involved in a car accident, you might be wondering how to get a copy of the accident report. In Florida, anyone involved in a car crash that resulted in injury, death, or at least $500 in estimated property damage is legally required to inform the police. The responding officer will prepare an official police accident report once they arrive at the scene. Also known as crash reports, these documents contain information that can prove valuable as you pursue compensation from the party responsible for the accident.
Remember that you do not have to face the legal aftermath of an auto accident alone. Cardoso Law, PLLC, is ready to help you fight for full and fair compensation from the at-fault party. Call us at (850) 466-2073 or reach out to us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a Pensacola personal injury lawyer. Read on to learn how to get a copy of your crash report.
How To Get a Copy of Your Accident Report in Florida
If you were involved in a car accident in Florida, take the following steps to get a copy of your report:
- Wait at least ten days after the accident to allow the report to be completed and processed.
- Use the Florida Crash Portal available through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to request a copy of the report online. You can also request a crash record by mail or in person at the Florida Highway Patrol station closest to where the accident occurred.
- Provide the necessary information to obtain the report, such as the date and location of the accident, the names of the drivers involved, and the case number (if available).
- Pay any required fees associated with obtaining the report.
- For online requests, the FLHSMV will make the report available online immediately and send a link to the email address provided with the request.
- Review the report carefully and make sure all the information is accurate. If you find any errors, contact the law enforcement agency to have them corrected.
What Information is Include in a Crash Report?
Again, if you are involved in a collision resulting in an injury, death, or at least $500 in property damage, Florida law requires you to report it to the local police, the county sheriff, or the state highway patrol. Though the correct point of contact depends on the location of the crash, the responding office will send someone to secure the scene and conduct a preliminary investigation of the incident. They will then compile an accident report containing the following information:
- The date and time of the accident
- The location of the accident
- The name and address of each driver and any passengers involved in the accident
- A description of each vehicle involved in the accident, including its make, model, color, license plate number, and state
- The names and addresses of all witnesses to the accident
- Identifying information of the law enforcement officer who responded to the accident
- The names of the insurance companies for each party involved in the accident
Why Is It Important to Get a Copy of Your Car Accident Report?
You should obtain a copy of the accident report as soon after the incident as possible. Doing so is the first step in getting compensation from the person who caused the crash.
Perhaps most importantly for your claim seeking compensation, the responding officer’s account will ideally provide a neutral, unbiased take on the accident while the scene is fresh and the evidence is still in place. Though the report may or may not be admissible evidence if your case goes to trial, it can give your attorney a valuable starting point as they begin their own independent investigation.
Who Can Request an Accident Report in Florida?
Accident reports are considered public records in Florida, which means that anyone can request a copy. However, reports will not be released for public use for the first 60 days after the crash. Until that time, only those involved in the collision and certain other interested parties can request a copy. Those parties include:
- The drivers’ insurance companies
- The drivers’ legal representatives
- Law enforcement agencies
Importantly, under the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, there are some restrictions on who can access certain information in the report. These restrictions apply to the personal information of the individuals involved in the accident. Protected personal information includes:
- Photographs of individuals
- Social Security numbers
- Driver identification numbers
- Addresses (except for 5-digit zip codes)
- Telephone number
- Medical and disability information
However, according to the FLHSMV, certain government agencies may have easier access to this kind of personal information. Other entities that may potentially have access include vehicle manufacturers, towing companies, and companies that hire commercial drivers.
How Long After a Car Accident Should I Wait to Get a Copy of My Crash Report?
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), it can take up to ten days for an accident report to become available. Depending on the agency, you may be able to request the report in person, by mail, or online.
You may also be charged a fee before obtaining a copy of your report, which can vary depending on the agency and the type of report requested. For a standard crash report from the FLHSMV, the fee is $10 plus a $2 convenience fee.
Consult With Our Skilled Auto Accident Attorneys in Pensacola Today
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida, obtaining the crash report for the accident is an important step toward building a legal claim for compensation from the at-fault party. The evidence available in a crash report can go a long way toward proving their responsibility for the accident. If liability can be established, they may owe you money for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more.
The car accident lawyer at Cardoso Law, PLLC, is ready to investigate your case and help you understand your full rights and options. Our legal team can review the information included in your accident report and determine the best path forward in your case. Call us at (850) 466-2073 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.