How to Read an Accident Report
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. However, it is important to contact an experienced accident injury attorney right away.
One of the first things you’ll need to do to try to get that money is to get your police accident report. These reports provide you and your personal injury attorney with crucial information. Law enforcement officers are trained to thoroughly assess the scene of an accident and determine the type and cause of the collision. Police reports contain information about the accident and include statements from witnesses.
How Do I Get an Accident Report in Florida?
An accident that occurred in the State of Florida will be filed with the FloridaCrashPortal.gov. This is a government website that allows you to purchase a copy of your crash report. This has been a valuable tool that has made life easier for those who’ve been involved in vehicle accidents.
You can also get a copy of your crash report from the law enforcement department and precinct that attended the accident scene. For example, if your accident was attended by a highway patrolman, you need to know the station where the officer works to get a copy of the report.
In either case, you must allow five to seven business days for the report to be finalized and filed. Purchasing the crash report online will keep you from standing in line at the station house to get a copy of your report. The fee is $10 with an additional $2 fee for using the portal.
If you are involved in a minor car accident, without injury or with damage to property that is less than $500, you may report the crash yourself. In this case, you use the state’s crash portal to fill out the information about the accident. At this time, you’ll also receive a link where you can submit the form. You will keep a copy of the report for the at-fault party’s insurance company and your personal injury attorney.
What’s on the Accident Report?
The Florida crash report has several sections that law enforcement fills out at the scene of an accident. Insurance companies use these reports to determine fault and any witnesses listed on the report may be called to testify during a deposition or at trial.
The first page gives an overview of what happened during the accident. For example, it contains the date and time of the crash, location, and roadway information. The officer will also indicate any contributing factors he found at the scene. This can include road conditions, weather, fixed objects, or work zones. This is also the page where contact information for witnesses may be included and any damage to non-vehicle property will be listed.
The second page of the report contains identifying information for the vehicles involved and the owners. Each vehicle in the accident will have its own page. Below are checkboxes the officer can use to describe the vehicle and the role it played in the accident. Two sections play an important role in liability – vehicle maneuver action and vehicle defects. Finally, at the end of the page, the officer will list any citations that were given to the owner of the vehicle.
Each person involved in the accident will also have their own page. The top will have the person’s identifying and contact information. The investigating officer will identify the type of driver’s license, whether the driver was distracted, and the actions taken at the time of the crash.
Individuals who were not in vehicles will also have their own page to identify their location and any actions that may have contributed to the accident. On the individual person’s page, the officer will also indicate drug and alcohol testing that may have been done at the scene.
On the final two pages, the investigating officer will provide a narrative, detailing in paragraph form what happened during the accident. On this page, they may also list information that is not found on other pages.
On the final page is an open area for the officer to draw a diagram of the crash. This will include road names, and arrows indicating direction, documentation of physical evidence, and the position of the vehicles before, during, and after impact. It’s important that you review the information on this accident report to ensure it matches your memory of what happened during the accident.
Call The Bruner Law Firm Today
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent or risky behavior, you may be entitled to compensation. This can help cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Call the Fort Walton Beach car accident lawyers of The Bruner Law Firm today at (850) 243-2222 so we can help you recover fair compensation for your injuries. This is a no-obligation, free consultation. Call (850) 243-2222 now.