Peter Catania | June 26, 2021 | Car Accidents
When you file a car accident report in Florida, the information on that report is a matter of public record. Matters of public record are available to the court, government entities, and the general public. However, there are restrictions on who can view the information in a car accident report for the first 60 days following a car accident.
The only individuals or parties who may access a copy of the car accident report during the first 60 days after a Tampa car accident are:
- The people who were involved in the car wreck
- The legal representatives of the car accident victims
- Insurance providers that have policies covering the vehicles involved in the collision
- Law enforcement agencies and county traffic operations
- The Department of Transportation
- The prosecutor’s office
- Some newspaper and television outlets
- Agencies that provide programs for accident victims
- An insurance company that receives an application for an insurance policy from one of the drivers involved in the crash
- Individuals who are contracted to provide claims information to an insurance provider
After 60 days, the general public can request a copy of the car accident report. In most cases, people are not interested in car accident reports for crashes that did not involve them or a family member.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Car Accident Report in Tampa, Florida?
If you do not have access to online records, you can also request a copy of the car accident report by mail. You must mail the required forms and the fee to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The address is 2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS28 in Tallahassee, FL 32399. Make the envelope to the attention of Crash Records.
If the Tampa Police Department investigated your accident, you could also request copies of traffic accident reports online through the City of Tampa. The reports are only available after 60 days from the date of the car crash. If you request a report within 60 days of the date of the accident, you must submit a Sworn Statement for Traffic Crash Report Information form and a copy of your current photo identification.
When you hire a car accident lawyer to handle your injury claim, your attorney will obtain a copy of the police report. If you want a copy for your records, you can ask your attorney to give you a copy of the report.
What Information Does the Car Accident Report Contain?
Accident reports completed by law enforcement officers contain a great deal of information that can be useful when filing a personal injury claim.
Information in a crash report includes, but is not limited to:
- The identity of the drivers and passengers involved in the crash
- The location, date, and time of the car accident
- The road and weather conditions at the time of the car accident
- A description of each vehicle involved in the wreck and the damage sustained by each vehicle
- Statements made to police officers by drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- A diagram of the accident scene, including the positions of the vehicles
- Insurance information for each vehicle
- Whether the drivers received traffic tickets related to the accident
- Whether a driver contributed to the cause of the collision, according to the investigating police officer
The conclusions in a car accident report are not necessarily proof of fault. In some cases, an insurance company might accept the police officer’s conclusions regarding who caused the crash. However, the insurance company might investigate the crash to gather additional evidence before deciding whether to deny or approve an accident claim.
When Do I Need to File a Car Accident Report in Florida?
If you are involved in a car crash, you are required to stop and exchange information with the other driver. Failing to stop at an accident scene can result in criminal charges and penalties. All traffic accidents that result in property damage of $500 or more or result in personal injury or death must be reported to the state.
It is wise to report all car accidents to the police immediately. Calling 911 is the fastest way to report the collision and request assistance.
An emergency operator will dispatch the correct law enforcement officials to investigate the crash. The operator can also dispatch emergency medical services to the accident scene.
If you do not believe you require emergency medical services, say that you will follow up with your doctor. Do not say that you are uninjured. Statements you make at the accident scene could be used to dispute a personal injury claim.
Car accidents can result in significant damages. Florida’s no-fault insurance laws restrict who can file a claim for damages. If you were injured in a car crash, a personal injury lawyer could review your case to determine whether you might be entitled to compensation for damages from the at-fault driver.