You may feel that an accident should be reported to the police, no matter how minor. Many feel this way, but as Orlando personal injury lawyers
we know that Florida traffic accident laws cover these questions, and they require certain criteria to be met.
Here are the criteria that the law demands be reported to the police:
– If any injuries are sustained whatsoever
– If you (or anyone else) have complaints of pain and discomfort
– $500 damage to either vehicle or both of the vehicles combined
– If there is a death
– If a vehicle has to be towed from the scene
– If one of the drivers involved were driving a commercial vehicle of any kind
– If one of the drivers was (or seems) drunk or impaired by drugs
If you fail to report any accidents that include ANY of these criteria, you will most definitely receive a traffic violation, fine, etc. If any other crimes were committed during the accident, the police will pursue them and possibly charge you with those as well.
The best time to report an accident is at the scene. However, immediately following the accident you may be hurt or confused. Therefore, this may not be the best time to report the incident to anyone. If you are injured, you should seek medical attention first and foremost. Your injuries may not be diagnosed immediately, and many (such as brain injuries) won’t show symptoms for days or even weeks. Immediate injuries should be treated at the site, but only you and the EMT can best decide to pursue immediate hospital help.
Florida law gives you up to 10 days to file a report on an accident. Insurance policies, however, have different deadlines for reporting different things. If you are injured in the accident, Florida law gives you 14 days to seek medical help. If you do not seek medical help within 14 days, any further medical care or compensation filed may be denied.
You should communicate the facts to your insurance company as soon as possible. Even if you are not going to file a claim, your insurance company needs to know of the incident as a claim could be filed against you.
Any injury can seriously affect your life, and you should not wait to seek medical attention. Your attorney will make sure you fully understand all the ramifications of Florida accident law, and will also assure that you and your family’s future will be taken care of competently and professionally.
What is the Florida Car Accident Statute of Limitations, and How Can it Affect Me?
Florida law sets the time limit or statute of limitations at four years. That means that you have up to four years to bring a lawsuit against any other parties. This “time limit” usually starts on the day of the accident. If you don’t consult with your injury attorney within that time and file your case, it is almost certain that the lawsuit will be dismissed.
If the other driver was singularly at fault for the accident, their insurance company will commonly pay to compensate for lost wages, medical bills, and other losses. The courts in Florida however follow the pure comparative fault rule if both drivers are found to contribute to the wreck.
If the pure comparative fault rule is used, the jury has to agree on two main points:
- The total dollar amount to be paid to the plaintiff (victim or person filing the lawsuit)
- The percentage of fault that belongs to each party in the case.
For example, if the jury decides the total damages awarded to the plaintiff should be $100,000 (medical bills, lost income, damage, etc.). The jury also decides you (the plaintiff) are 40% responsible for the accident (maybe you were speeding or otherwise contributed to the accident), then you would receive 60% of the damages or $60,000.
When coming up against this rule, the jury determines the amount and the percentage of fault. This is where your personal injury lawyer is invaluable to your case.
What are the Most Important Things to Do After a Car Accident in Florida?
Here are some of the key things to do immediately after a car accident:
- Stay calm – It is natural for you to be upset and maybe even panic. By staying calm, you can help yourself and others the most.
- Keep yourself safe – Keep you, your family, and others away from traffic, and don’t move anyone who is injured. Call 911 if anyone is hurt at all.
- File a police report – If your accident needs to be reported, get a copy of the police report. Get the officer’s name, badge number, phone number, and report number. If you file a lawsuit, one is filed against you, and for your insurance company, accurate information is vital.
- Don’t admit fault – This is common as you are shaken from the accident but admit no fault at the scene.
- Exchange essential information – Take photos. If you are not able, then have someone take them for you and get all the information from the other driver. Get their full name, policy number, and the insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company – Although you’re not required to contact your insurance company at the scene, you should report it as soon as possible. This is especially true if there is serious damage or someone sustains an injury.
You may also ask, how can a car accident attorney
help? Most car accidents are confusing, complex, and frustrating to deal with. This is especially true if you are injured, and you need to devote yourself to recovery.
Your attorney will be there to help you navigate the insurance and legal maze. An attorney’s guidance will give you and your family the best chance of regaining a sense of normalcy in your life.