How Do I Get a Florida Highway Patrol Accident Report?
By Space Coast Daily // June 24, 2020
If you were involved in a car accident on a Florida highway, you’ll need to request a copy of your accident report from the highway patrol’s records division.
Thanks to the state’s Public Records Act, anyone can get a copy of an accident report provided they have information about the wreck like the case number, where it happened, and when it happened.
The accident report isn’t the only information you have the right to view.
Thanks to Florida’s public records laws you can also see any:
• Audio recordings
• Digital records
This is true for records from any public agency unless the law has specifically exempted it. These laws have been amended over the year, but they have been in use in one form or another since 1909.
Can I See My Accident Report Online?
You can see your accident report online in Florida, but this service is not free. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers online crash reports for a small fee.
As per section 321.23 of the Florida Statutes, you can order as many as 10 accident reports at $10 each in a single transaction. You will be charged a $2 convenience fee for each transaction.
Once you’ve ordered your reports, an email will be sent to you with a link to your download. You must download the report within 48 hours.
Why Should I Call the Police After an Accident?
There are two main reasons you should call the police to have an accident report created: the insurance company and the court. If you don’t have a copy of your police report, the insurance company may deny your claim because there is no official record that the accident ever happened.
Insurance companies are greedy companies that will do anything they can to get out of paying a claim. Not reporting your accident to the police makes this easy for them because if the other driver doesn’t report the accident, it could be your word versus theirs.
This will especially be true if you failed to get any photos or video footage of the crash and there are no witnesses.
Without this evidence and a police report, you may run into the same problem in court if you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. An accident report will back-up your claim that you are not the at-fault driver.
Why Do I Need a Copy of the Accident Report?
Aside from needing your accident report in court and when dealing with insurance, you should also get a copy so you can review it to check for mistakes. According to Dansker & Aspromonte car accident law firm, if your police report has inaccurate information, it can greatly reduce any damages you are awarded or cause your case to be thrown out entirely.
Some of the mistakes you may find on your accident report include:
• The officer forgot to list the passengers
• The diagram of the accident scene is wrong
• The drivers’ names are mixed-up
• The drivers’ cars are mixed-up
• The description of the car is wrong
Getting any of these critical details wrong could make your case needlessly difficult. Taking the time to make sure every detail on your car accident report is correct is time well-spent.
If you find a mistake on your police report, politely contact the officer and explain the error. There is a good chance they will be willing to fix it, especially if you provide documentation.
Some of the types of documentation you can offer to prove that a mistake was made include witness statements, your car’s registration, the statements of any passengers, or photos and videos of the scene. Police officers are only human, and they can make mistakes like anyone else.
Luckily, this is one mistake that can be fixed if you approach it respectfully.
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