Do You Need to Report a Car Accident to the Police?

police car next to an overturned vehicle

For many, car accidents are an unfortunate part of life and can be confusing and stressful experiences. In Florida, certain criteria must be met in order for you to report an accident to local law enforcement. Knowing whether or not you should call the police can help make the process easier.

Legal Requirements for Reporting an Accident in Florida

In Florida, drivers involved in a car accident must report the incident to local law enforcement if any of the following criteria are met:

  • The total property damage from the accident is estimated at $500 or more
  • Any person involved in the accident has been injured or killed
  • Collision with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
  • A drunk-driving accident
  • The at-fault party involved drives off (hit-and-run)

These requirements are set out by Section 316.065 of the Florida Statutes. Failing to meet these requirements may result in criminal penalties such as fines, jail time, and/or license suspension. That said, it's important that all drivers involved in an accident know their legal obligations before deciding whether or not to call local law enforcement.

Self Reporting

In the event of an accident not meeting these requirements (a minor accident), drivers may be able to self-report an accident online or by mail. This is an alternative to calling law enforcement to a crash with damages less than $500.

Duty of Passersby To Inform Authorities

If you witness an accident happen or discover what may be the aftermath of an accident and there is no law enforcement around, do not assume that anyone else is going to call 911. As soon as you can, when it is safe to do so, call the authorities and inform them of what you see and the location of the accident.

Florida law does not require passersby to render aid to a car accident scene; however, Good Samaritan laws may protect you should you choose to do so.

Car Accident Attorney in Tallahassee, FL

If you or someone close to you has been the victim of a car accident in Florida, it's important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. can help ensure that your rights are protected and that all necessary steps are taken to obtain fair compensation for any damages or injuries suffered.

Call us today at (850) 629-7226 or schedule a free consultation by filling out our form.

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