An auto accident is almost always a harrowing experience for everyone involved. But what if the accident has left you injured?
It is sometimes tempting to avoid calling the police in accidents that are relatively minor, and when nobody appears to be hurt. All you need to do is leave after exchanging insurance and contact information with the other parties, right? Not quite.
The timeframe in which drivers are legally obligated to report an accident to the police varies from state to state. Before you decide to leave the scene of an auto accident in Winter Haven, it’s important to make sure you are familiar with the state’s laws. This auto accident lawyer in Winter Haven, Florida is going to discuss some of the key things you should know below.
If you were in a car accident in Florida, do you have to report it to the police?
A driver must report a car accident to the local police department or the county sheriff if the accident results in an injury, death, or property damage greater than $500, as stated in F.S. § 316.065. Dialing 911 is the fastest approach to do this.
If the crash took place on a state highway or an interstate, you must report it to the Florida Highway Patrol. If the accident is not reported, the driver may be liable for a non-criminal traffic violation — provided the driver did not flee the accident scene. Per F.S. § 318.14, this might result in fines, penalties, or an order to do community service.
What are the consequences if the other driver refuses to cooperate?
Suppose the other driver offered to pay for your losses, even though it seemed like the damage from the accident was relatively minor. Suppose that they tell you there is no need to involve law enforcement in the situation. They could give you the impression of being helpful at the accident scene but then disappear.
This could be a problem if it turns out that the damage to your car was more severe than it first appeared. You may even have symptoms of injuries that do not show up until a long time after the accident.
The other driver could provide you with phony insurance or contact information in worst-case scenarios. In this case, if the only type of insurance you carry is auto liability insurance, you could be responsible for paying the cost of repairs out of your pocket. To avoid this, any experienced auto accident lawyer in Winter Haven, Florida will advise you to call 911 in these situations.
Police can investigate the accident and help determine fault.
A police report can immediately put to rest any questions or concerns regarding who was at fault in an accident. To ascertain what led to the accident, the lead investigator will interview all parties involved and look for any evidence available.
Additionally, the officer will double-check that all the contact information given is accurate. They can even verify the insurance coverage at the accident scene in some cases.
If the insurance company or your auto accident lawyer in Winter Haven, Florida has access to a police report, it may be easier for them to resolve a dispute quickly and without engaging in more back-and-forth dialogue. When there is a pressing need to pay for medical bills or auto repairs on time, this can be very beneficial.
You might not know the severity of your injuries right away.
The rush of adrenaline and the stress caused by a car crash can obscure the visible signs of an injury. Car accident victims may report feeling rattled after the accident but may not believe anything is seriously wrong with them. However, severe injuries such as whiplash may not manifest for several hours or even days.
A police report provides you with tangible evidence of the accident and links the at-fault driver’s actions and your injuries.
Looking for an Auto Accident Lawyer in Winter Haven, Florida?
Have you or a loved one recently been a victim of a car accident in Winter Haven? If so, Tonya Stewart Law PA is here to help. As the top-rated auto accident lawyer in Winter Haven, Florida, Tonya Stewart and her legal team have what it takes to makes sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (863) 279-4473 to learn how we can help.