If you are in a car accident, you may need to report it to any of three different entities, depending on how serious it was. These include your auto insurance company, the police and the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Not all accidents necessarily need to be reported to the DMV or insurance companies, but it is typically a good idea to call the police.
Many states have laws in place that require people involved in accidents to inform the police if the collision led to bodily injury or property damage of at least $500 or $1,000. Obviously, it can be difficult to assess at the scene exactly how much a person’s medical care or vehicle repairs will cost. Thus, it’s best to just call the police so that officers can help sort things out. Even a small dent in a vehicle could cost upward of $1,000, which it’s why it is better to be safe than sorry.
What happens when the police arrive?
Law enforcement officers will ask both parties involved in the accident exactly what happened. You will have some time to wait before they arrive, so make sure to go through the events of the crash in your mind and try to piece together how it happened. Always answer officers’ questions as honestly and accurately as you can — exaggerating events or telling flat-out lies can only hurt you, especially if the accident is investigated by specialists. Avoid assigning blame to yourself or to the other driver — just stick to the facts.
If you do not have a phone on you and the other person refuses to call a police (and there is no way to access a phone nearby), then you should exchange information with the other driver and go to a police station as soon as you can.
If you have a cell phone with a camera, get a picture of the other partie’s drivers licence, as well as their car, making sure to get a picture of the damage and their license plate.
To learn more about the steps to take after a car accident in Florida, speak with an experienced Jacksonville personal injury lawyer at Combs Greene, PA.
Attorney Mark Link contributed to this blog post.