Getting into a car accident is no fun. In addition to being dangerous, car accidents can lead to a host of headaches including disputes with your insurance company, squabbles with the other driver, and various hassles as you wait for your car to be repaired. 

If you have been in an accident that resulted in a death, injury, or significant property damage, you are required by Florida law to report the accident to the authorities. Depending on where the accident occurs this could mean calling the municipal police department or notifying the county sheriff’s office. 

While dealing with the police might sound like just another one of the tasks you have to do but don’t want to after an accident, rest assured that contacting the police promptly is in your best interest. This is true not only because it will help you avoid a fine for not reporting the accident, but also because the report the police file is an invaluable tool as you seek compensation from the negligent party.

What Is In a Car Accident Report?

A car accident report is the official report filled out by the responding officer. It is a treasure trove of information that is crucial to proving who was at-fault for an accident and why. You might think you remember everything about an accident, but car accidents can be traumatic and there could be important information about the incident you don’t recall.

Additionally, as a car accident victim, you only saw what happened from one perspective. The other driver, witnesses, and traffic cameras might tell a different story. Finally, even if you do have a firm grasp of what happened to cause the accident, the testimony of witnesses and the opinion of the officer writing the report will carry more weight given their unbiased nature.

In addition to the above information, accident reports might also contain:

  • Where and when the accident occurred
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • An account of the accident as it happened and the damage it caused

Needless to say, with all the valuable information it contains, an accident report is a crucial part of any car accident case.

How To Get a Car Accident Report in Clearwater, Florida

The maintenance and distribution of car accident reports fall under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Traffic Safety and Motor Vehicles. This is true no matter where the accident occurs in the state. The good news is that this means getting an accident report is easy and affordable.

You can order a copy of your accident report simply by visiting the Department of Traffic Safety and Motor Vehicles website. Follow the instructions and order your report without having to make a trip to a police office or precinct. After entering the information related to your accident, you will be prompted to pay a processing fee of $10 per report. 

In addition to getting your hands on a copy of the accident report, you might also want to consider hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accident cases. A good lawyer will know how to best utilize the accident report and any other important information to help you maximize the damages you receive for the pain, suffering, and property damage you have endured.

If necessary, your lawyer might even conduct a further investigation into the accident to determine who was at fault and to what extent. This might mean interviewing additional witnesses, hiring an accident reconstructionist, or documenting other contributing factors. 

Rather than dealing with insurance companies on your own, consider hiring a lawyer to work with you to help you get the compensation you deserve.