Is It Possible to File a Claim Without a Police Report in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Paul Brannon | June 24, 2023 | Car Accident
Car crashes in Fort Walton Beach are common. Traffic crashes in Okaloosa County totaled 3,717 in 2021. That total represented a 21% increase from the collisions in 2020.
Do I need a police report to file a claim with an insurance company? You can file a claim after a car accident if you did not report the crash to the police. However, it could be more difficult to win your case.
Furthermore, you might be required by Florida law to report Car accidents to law enforcement.
Know Your Responsibilities for Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident in Florida
Florida law requires drivers to report car accidents if:
- Someone sustains an injury
- A hit-and-run driver is involved in the accident
- The accident involved a drunk driver
- Someone dies because of the accident
- The accident caused property damage of $500 or more
- The crash involves a commercial motor vehicle
- A tow truck must remove a vehicle involved in the accident
The statute requires the driver to report the crash by the “quickest means of communication” to the applicable law enforcement agency. A collision in Fort Walton Beach might be investigated by the Fort Walton Beach Police Department, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, or the Florida Highway Patrol. The location of the accident determines which agency has jurisdiction to investigate the crash.
The easiest way to fulfill your duty to report a car accident to the police is to call 911 from the accident scene. The emergency operator will ask for the location of the accident. Based on the information you provide to the operator, they will dispatch the correct law enforcement agency to the crash site.
If an accident does not require a law enforcement report, the driver has ten days after the crash to file a written report to the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. The form is available from the Department or online.
Can You File an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report After a Fort Walton Beach Car Accident?
Technically, you do not need a police report to file an insurance claim after a car accident. However, recovering the compensation you deserve could be more difficult without a police report. Insurance companies scrutinize claims much closer when the accident victim did not report the crash to the police.
Furthermore, the other driver could “forget” they were involved in a car accident. They might claim that you are making a false insurance claim. Without an eyewitness or other evidence that you were involved in an accident with the driver, you might not be able to prove your claim.
Therefore, it is always wise to call the police after a car accident in Fort Walton Beach. A minor car crash can cause at least $500 in property damage. If the police state that they do not need to investigate the wreck, there is a record of the 911 call.
Tips for Car Accident Claims in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Call 911 to report the car accident.
If possible, gather evidence at the accident scene, such as:
- Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles, skid marks, and other important items
- Make a video of the accident scene with your cell phone
- Ask people who stop at the accident scene for their names and contact information
Do not apologize for the accident or admit fault for causing it. Florida’s contributory fault laws recently changed for car crashes.
If you are more than 50% to blame for causing a car crash, you cannot recover any compensation for damages. However, if you are 50% or less at fault, you can receive damages, but your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault for causing the car accident.
Also, do not say you are not injured. Many car accident injuries are not immediately known after the crash. Learning the full extent of your injuries could take several hours or days. Therefore, it is best to say you intend to see your doctor instead of saying you are okay or feel fine.
See a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Florida’s PIP laws require you to receive medical treatment within 14 days after the accident to receive benefits. Furthermore, delays in medical care could create problems if you file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Florida car accident claims can be confusing and frustrating. Insurance laws are difficult to understand, and insurance companies do not always treat accident victims fairly. Therefore, seeking legal advice from a Fort Walton Beach car accident lawyer is also wise.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547