If you have been involved in a car crash in Florida, you may be left with many questions. If you have sustained injuries, the most important thing you can do is seek medical attention. You can recover any medical bills from your insurance company in a personal injury case filed at a later date. Car accident reports are more urgent. State law requires you to file a crash report after a car accident. Otherwise, you could face a penalty.
Crash reports in the State of Florida do eventually become public. Florida Statute 316.066 outlines how motor vehicle accident reports become available on public record 60 days after the Florida car accident has occurred.
If you have been a person involved in a car accident and you are worried about the crash report and police report being publicly available, you should contact our car accident attorneys at The Law Place. We can answer all of your questions and offer you some legal advice. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at (941) 444-4444.
Do I Need to File a Car Accident Report?
The traffic laws in the State of Florida require all vehicles involved in a car accident to stop. All of the parties involved in the accident must exchange details. If people involved in the accident lost their lives, suffered a personal injury, or if property damage of $500 or more was sustained, you must file a car accident report with a law enforcement agency.
The easiest way you can file a car accident report is by calling your local police at 911. Law enforcement officers will be dispatched to the scene of your car accident, as well as emergency medical services.
When a law enforcement officer arrives at the scene, they will investigate the traffic accident and write a car accident report.
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Who Can Access Car Accident Reports Before They Become Public?
A car accident report becomes public 60 days after a traffic accident in the State of Florida. Some parties, however, will be able to obtain copies of crash reports before they officially become available on public record. These parties include:
- The drivers and passengers of the vehicle involved in the crash.
- The legal representatives of the people involved in the motor vehicle accident.
- Insurance companies that provide insurance to the vehicles and/ or people who were involved in the accident.
- The Florida Department of Transportation.
- Radio and television organizations that receive their license from the Federal Communications Commission.
- Police officer officials and county traffic operations.
- A prosecutor’s office.
How Do I Find Out If Someone Has Been in an Accident?
To find out if someone has been involved in a car accident, you need to contact and file a written request with the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). They are the official custodian of car accident reports. They are responsible for accident report data collection across the State of Florida.
For help and more information, get in contact with a car accident attorney at The Law Place today. We can help you find the accident reports that you may be looking for.
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Does My Personal Information Get Protected in a Car Accident Report?
Even though car accident reports in Florida are public records, you can feel rest assured that your sensitive personal information will be protected from your crash report. Your personal information will be protected both under state and federal law. Your crash report will not reveal your social security number, your state identification number, or your driver’s license number. Your medical information will also be hidden from traffic accident reports.
Some information that crash records will share with the public includes:
- Specific details about the car accidents.
- The status of a driver’s license.
- Moving violations and tickets.
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Can a Non-Authorized Person See My Car Accident Report?
Even though every accident report becomes available on public record 60 days after an accident, there are great penalties in place for those non-authorized individuals who access the accident report before it becomes public.
The unlawful disclosure of confidential personal information is a criminal offense, and there are penalties for those who break the law. Anyone who attempts to access accident statements that are not authorized to could face criminal penalties, such as third-degree felony charges. In the State of Florida, this charge can result in a fine of $5,000 and a five-year prison sentence.
Why Are Car Accident Reports Not Public for 60 Days?
If you have been involved in an accident, the State of Florida will restrict public access to your accident report for 60 days. This is because they are protecting you from any solicitation. Before this restriction was enforced, countless victims were being inundated with unwanted house and phone calls from auto body vehicle repair shops, chiropractors, physicians, and more. All of these parties wanted to make money from the misfortune of others.
It is for this reason that your accident details are hidden from the public record for 60 days.
Does the Law Require Me to File a Car Accident Report?
The law requires you to file an accident report within the ten days following the accident. Either you, your legal representative, or your insurance company can complete the crash support. You may need to gather evidence to complete this report as you need to gather the following information:
- Time and place of the accident.
- The names, addresses, and dates of birth of all other parties involved.
- The driver’s license information of everyone involved.
- The policy details and contact information of everyone’s insurance coverage.
- A bird’s eye view sketch of the traffic crash.
- An accident diagram form.
How Can I Get a Copy of My Accident Report?
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) will keep a copy of your accident report. There are a few ways that you will be able to access these reports.
This is by far the easiest and quickest way to obtain a copy of your report. To access your report online, you will have to pay a $10 fee for each accident report, plus a $2 fee for convenience. You will be able to immediately view your report. You will receive an email with a download link that you must use within the following 48 hours.
You can also request a copy of your accident report by mail. This request will take a considerably longer amount of time. It can take anywhere between 4-6 weeks to process. Your letter must also be accompanied by a payment.
Your request can be sent to the following address:
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28
Tallahassee, FL 32399
The responding police officer at the scene of your accident may have given you a receipt with an identification number for your report. There may be instructions to phone the traffic division of the legal officials who filed your report. This method can cost you $15.
Should I Contact The Law Place?
If you have been involved in a car accident, you should contact The Law Place. We can help you file an insurance claim to help you recover compensation. Your injury claim can help you recover the costs of medical bills, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so much more.
If you think you may be eligible to file an injury claim, you need to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a reputable and experienced member of our team. We can offer you some honest and unbiased legal advice. What are you waiting for? Call us now at (941) 444-4444.
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