If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know what police reports look like. But have you ever wondered what happens to those reports and who has access to them? If so, you’re not alone. Many people don’t understand the purpose of accident reports, and if they need one or what type of information is on them. More importantly, accident victims wonder if these reports are open to the public and worry that the information contained in the records can infringe upon their privacy. So, are accident reports accessible to the public in Florida? The short answer is yes. However, it’s not simple.
When Are Police Required to Submit an Accident Report in Florida?
If you’re in a car accident—no matter how minor—it’s important to notify authorities. Try to remain as calm as possible so that the dispatcher can understand and pinpoint your exact location. In the state of Florida, once the officer or officers show up, they are required to submit an accident report in accordance with the following conditions:
- The accident caused an injury or death
- The accident was a hit-and-run
- The accident involved an intoxicated driver
- A tow truck was needed to remove an inoperable vehicle
- A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was involved
- The accident resulted in at least $500 in property damage
In any one of these conditions, a police report will contain valuable and specific information regarding the accident such as the location of the accident, a description of what occurred, and all parties’ contact information.
Who Can Access an Accident Report in Florida?
When a police report is submitted in Florida, the report may not be available right after the accident. Sometimes, it can take a police officer anywhere between three to five days to wrap up the report and up to ten days for it to become available. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), accident reports are not available for public access within the first 60 days from the date the report was submitted. The only parties that may access the report during this window are those involved in the accident, including insurance companies, attorneys, law enforcement, and government entities.
The reason that Florida restricts access in the first 60 days is to protect accident victims from being bombarded with unsolicited services and to reduce the number of fraudulent insurance claims. Those who illegally obtain a police report are subject to third-degree felony charges.
How Can I Obtain a Copy of My Accident Report?
If you want to obtain a copy of your accident report after 60 days, you can request a digital copy online after paying a $10 fee. You have 48 hours from the time of the transaction to download and save the file. You may also obtain a copy by visiting or contacting the law enforcement agency that filed it.
If you want a copy of your accident report before the 60-day mark, you will have to complete an affidavit for the release of the crash report. This is a sworn and notarized statement that affirms your identity as one of the parties involved, legally allowing you to obtain a copy.
Discover Your Legal Options with a Powerful South Florida Legal Advocate
When you’re in an accident, all your rights should be protected. At Baker Legal Team, we work tirelessly to hold negligent parties accountable for the actions, and we promise to protect and fight for your rights. Your car accident case deserves to be backed by a firm with experience, success, and an unbreakable commitment to justice.
When you work with Baker Legal Team, you will work directly with Board-Certified Boca Raton injury lawyer Robert B. Baker. Attorney Baker will make sure all of your questions are answered and his focus throughout all legal phases is you and making your life easier. Schedule a consultation with Attorney Baker by calling (561) 320-000 or completing a contact form today.