How to Get a Copy of Your Police Accident Report
If you were hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, you may wish to file a personal injury insurance claim for compensation to cover your medical expenses, repairs to your car, lost wages, and other damages.
The first thing you should do is get a copy of the police report about the accident. The police report, along with your medical records, eyewitness statements, photos, etc., can be crucial for establishing the other party’s fault. You should obtain all of this information and contact an experienced car accident lawyer to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case as soon as possible.
The experienced attorneys of Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC are prepared to assist you if you’ve been hurt in a collision caused by someone else’s negligence. We’ll be ready to sit down with you and review the police report and other details of the crash, or we’ll assist you with obtaining a copy of a police report if you haven’t already requested it.
Our knowledgeable team is here to help you, so call us, fill out a contact form, or chat with us on our website now.
Police Reports: Public Information, Publicly Available
Police reports are part of the public record, though some police reports will have redacted information like the names and contact information of witnesses. The report provides information about the accident, including factual information like obstructions in the road, weather conditions, location, time, and other pertinent information.
The police report is the initial public record of the accident and it can be useful in insurance claims when determining who was at fault. Sometimes the report will contain information about the responding law enforcement officer’s opinions regarding how the crash happened and who was to blame.
Ideally, the police department in every Florida town will provide you with the report, though you have to find out if you may request it in person, by mail or online. Procedures differ in various police departments in the state. Some jurisdictions will only give the report to someone involved in the accident, while others will also give them to family members, lawyers or other representatives.
It may be possible to get your car accident report through the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ web portal, though it will cost you $10:
If the police responded to the scene of the accident, your first point of contact is the responding officer, unless you were badly hurt. In that case, getting medical attention will be the first priority. If you do have the responding officer’s contact information, call the officer to find out how you can get a copy of the report. They will be able to give you the specifics of obtaining the report.
What Problems Might I Encounter in Getting a Copy of the Police Report?
- The police officer doesn’t reply. You might have to be persistent about contacting the responding officer. Depending upon their shift, they may be dealing with very different kinds of issues when out in the field. Car accident reports are not a top priority if there were no injuries, so the officer may be backlogged and it may take a while for him or her to write the report.
- You may play “phone tag” with the responding officer. When you leave a phone message for the officer, remember to briefly explain why you are calling. Include your name, the date of the accident and any specifics about the accident that might help the officer remember the accident.
- You may have to go to the police department. If you cannot contact the officer, you can try the customer service desk at the police department or call the local courthouse to see if a police accident report has been filed. If it has, you can go to the courthouse and get a copy. They often charge small fees, so bring cash or a debit card.
- Your insurance company may obtain a copy. If neither the police department nor the courthouse can supply you with the accident report, call your insurance company or your lawyer and ask for assistance.
- You may contact the DMV. Another possible source for police reports is the local DMV office. “Local” in this instance means the local office where the accident occurred. Some DMV offices get a copy of the report once the police officer writes and files it.
What Do I Do With A Car Accident Report?
You certainly will want to review the report closely. It could contain important information about your ability to collect damages from the other driver.
The responding officer will investigate what happened and make a determination in the field as to what the contributing factors were in the officer’s opinion. Keep in mind that the police officer does determine civil liability for a crash. While the report may contain valuable insights into the cause of the accident, it does not have the final word on who was at fault and responsible for covering the damages.
Often, both drivers share some measure of responsibility in a car accident. For example, the other driver may have hit you from behind, but you may have failed to signal a left-hand turn that required to stop in an intersection when the light was green. Or the other driver veered into your lane and hit you, but you were exceeding the speed limit and could not respond in time.
In the process of negotiating your damage claim, these contributing factors are important in determining just how much you will be awarded. Your claim could be reduced by the percentage of responsibility the court assigns to you.
Call Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC to speak with an experienced Brooksville car accident attorney now. We’ll be ready to help you get a copy of your police report, or if you have it already, our attorneys will sit with you to review it and discuss your legal options.
Don’t wait to get the justice you deserve. Contact us for help today.