How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in Clearwater
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
Car accidents can be incredibly jarring. After the initial fear subsides and you receive medical attention, trade insurance information with the other driver, and tell the police officer your side of the story, it is time to get compensation from the insurance companies. You can’t do that without a police report, however. And you might have no clue how to get one.
Police Reports Are Easy to Obtain in Florida
Assuming a Florida police officer made a report, a crash report is rather simple to acquire. You can get the report:
- Via the online crash report portal
- By requesting the report by mail
- In-person at a Florida Highway Patrol station
No matter how you acquire the report, each crash report costs ten dollars (with a small transaction fee surcharge if you get it online). Crash reports are usually available no more than ten days after your accident.
The online portal has been available since July 1, 2019. Reports can be downloaded immediately upon payment and must be downloaded within 48 hours of purchase. The reports are provided as PDF files. The site accepts payment from all major credit cards.
Florida Highway Patrol stations are located throughout the state of Florida. To request a report in person, visit the station closest to where the crash occurred. You can only request a maximum of ten records during an in-person visit, but this shouldn’t be a limiting factor when you are acquiring a single report for an accident you were involved in.
Requests by Mail
If you request your report by mail, be aware that it will take about four to six weeks to receive your report. Getting compensation from an insurance company can be a time-sensitive process, so this may be too long to wait after a car accident. However, if you can afford the delay, mail your request with payment to:
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 28
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Why You Need an Accident Report
The main reason you will need an accident report is to support your insurance claim. The accident report provides evidence that the insurance companies use to determine fault. If you are not at fault, the accident report should support that fact and speed up the process of seeking compensation for your accident.
If an insurance company is refusing to provide compensation, your accident report becomes even more important. It is one of the pieces of evidence your attorney will need to force the insurance company to pay. The accident report will be a critical piece of evidence if your case goes to trial.
Additionally, the accident report helps your attorney track down information. A full report includes contact information for drivers, witnesses, and officers. This allows your attorney to investigate on their own instead of trusting the insurance company investigators.
What to Do If the Report Isn’t Available
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is the central depository for all traffic accident reports. However, sometimes there are delays in getting those reports to the FLHSMV when the officer who writes the report isn’t part of the Florida Highway Patrol.
If your report isn’t available ten days after the accident, the FLHSMV recommends that you contact the officer who wrote the report directly. This usually means that you will have to call or visit a local police station. Make sure you get the contact information of the officer who takes the report at the scene of the accident, just in case.
Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg Car Accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,