Tampa has been ranked as the fourth-worst city for car accidents in the entire nation. Car accidents are simply more common in busy cities like Tampa.

You may be a responsible driver who takes all necessary steps to ensure the safety of you and your passengers. However, it’s possible you will be involved in an accident one day. Therefore, you need to know what to do in the event of an accident. One step you must take is calling the police to report the accident.

The Importance of Reporting a Car Accident in Tampa

Most people feel inclined to call the police after a car accident. That said, there are exceptions.

For instance, perhaps a driver who caused your accident is intoxicated or has a similar reason for not wanting to involve the police. They might try to convince you not to call law enforcement. Don’t make this mistake. 

In Florida, the drivers must report car accidents when:

  • Accidents result in death or injury
  • Accidents cause property damage of $500.00 or greater
  • Accidents involve total loss of a vehicle
  • Accidents render vehicles inoperable
  • Vehicles need to be towed or otherwise removed from the scene of the crash
  • Accidents involve commercial vehicles

Although you may not be legally required to report minor accidents, it’s best to err on the side of safety and call the police any time an accident occurs.

You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and similar losses after being involved in an accident in Tampa. Incidentally, your chances of recovering your full damages will typically be greater if you filed a report.

How to Report a Car Accident in Tampa

You don’t need to know the number of the correct law enforcement agency to call when reporting a car accident. You can simply call 9-1-1.

While waiting for law enforcement to arrive at the scene, you should calmly exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Refrain from making any statements that could be interpreted as admissions of negligence. You should not say anything that suggests you caused the accident.

You should also document the scene while waiting for the officer to arrive. This can involve taking pictures of the scene, your vehicle, and any signs of bodily injury. You should also get the names and contact information of witnesses.

You’ll need to provide the officer with certain information and documentation when they arrive, including:

  • The location of the accident
  • An honest description of the accident
  • Your name, address, and contact information
  • Proof of insurance

If you don’t provide proof of insurance, the officer can cite you for a noncriminal traffic infraction. If you don’t have proof of insurance, you can provide it within 24 hours to have the citation waived.

You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after your crash — even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured.

How Long Do I Have to File an Accident Report in Tampa?

The officer investigating an accident technically has up to 10 days to file a report. Being involved in an accident in Tampa can be a startling experience. It’s understandable if you find it difficult to think clearly after your crash. However, it’s important to remain calm and contact the police as soon as possible after an accident. It could influence your chances of recovering fair compensation later.