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Do I Have to Report a Car Accident to the Police in Jacksonville, Florida?

Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys

Each year, Florida is listed as one of the states with the highest number of car accidents. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles tracks the total number of accidents overall and by county each year. As of December 15th, 2022, almost 400,000 accidents had taken place across the state. While not every accident is severe, many of them result in injuries. Over 230,000 injuries have been reported this year resulting from car accidents.

The statistics are just as high in Jacksonville, which is part of Duval County. Within the same time period, there have been more than 23,000 car accidents reported in Duval County, with nearly half of them resulting in some kind of injury. One question that many people have following a car accident is whether the police need to be called. According to Florida law, that is largely determined by whether any injuries occurred as a result of the accident.

Florida Laws for Reporting Accidents

Not every car accident that takes place in Florida will require the involvement of law enforcement. Some accidents are minor fender benders that can be self-reported once they are cleared. Other accidents, however, may be serious enough for the police to be contacted. Florida law has put several regulations in place to help drivers understand when to call the police following an accident.

There are four primary reasons why an individual would contact the police if they have been involved in an accident:

  1. Someone has been injured or killed because of the accident. In these cases, medical care will also be necessary, so the accident must be reported.
  2. The accident was a hit and run. In these cases, the police must file a report.
  3. The driver who caused the accident was not sober. These cases will often require other legal charges, so the police must be involved.
  4. The damage caused by the accident is estimated to cost more than $500.

If an accident does not meet these parameters, then it can be self-reported.

Police Reports vs. Self-Reporting

There are two ways that an accident can be reported in Florida: a police report or self-reporting. The severity of the accident will determine what type of report needs to be filed. Each one is important, but they serve different purposes.

Reports created by law enforcement are for more serious accidents. These reports will be important for any cases that involve injuries or fatalities. Police accident reports can also be beneficial if any type of claim, such as a personal injury claim, needs to be filed because those cases require as much documentation as possible.

Self-reporting is an option for drivers who have been involved in less serious accidents, such as fender benders. This process can be completed online and must be done within 10 days of the accident. A driver, their insurance agent, or an attorney can file this report. There is a significant amount of information and documentation that must be included with this report, so be sure to check that you have everything in order.

Why Should You Report a Car Accident?

While not every accident has to be reported to the police in Florida, it is important that the self-report is completed. This report will be helpful with filing any insurance claims and having the necessary documentation for your accident. Completing a self-report is also an important way to avoid any fines or other legal action that may be associated with a failure to report.

FAQs

Q: Do you have to call the police after a car accident in Florida?

A: Not every car accident will require law enforcement contact in Florida. There are certain stipulations that have been put in place by the state determining what accidents will need to be reported to the police. If the accident caused serious injury or death, it must be reported to law enforcement immediately. An accident will also need to be reported if the damage caused to a vehicle or property is estimated to be over $500.

Q: Do I need to report a minor car accident to the police?

A: The severity of an accident determines whether the driver must report it or not, so most minor accidents will not need to be reported in Florida. Injury, death, or major property damage are the only things that mandate an immediate call to law enforcement. You are not required to report a crash immediately after the accident if:

  • No injuries were caused.
  • No one was killed.
  • The estimated cost of the damage is below $500.

However, you will be able to self-report.

Q: Do you need a police report for an accident in Florida?

A: There are certain circumstances in Florida that will require a police report. Accidents that are more severe in nature typically require immediate police involvement, and the state provides a specific list of these accidents. The involved parties are required to stay on site and call 911 immediately in crashes that involve:

  • Injury or death
  • DUI accidents
  • Hit and runs
  • Significant damage
  • Damage requiring a wrecker
  • Commercial vehicles

Q: What happens if you do not file a police report after an accident in Florida?

A: Not every accident will require a police report in Florida. Most minor accidents do not require law enforcement to get involved, but the at-fault driver will need to self-report the accident. Not self-reporting a minor accident may result in you receiving a traffic ticket. If you are involved in an accident that does require a police report and you fail to report the accident, you may face consequences such as a fine or a larger ticket.

Jacksonville Trial Attorneys

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even if you are a safe and attentive driver. If you are involved in an accident, it is important to know how you should proceed, according to Florida law. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the process of reporting and filing any necessary reports following your accident. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident in Florida, contact Spohrer Dodd for all of your legal needs.