Where are accident reports kept?

There are likely many unanswered questions you have after a vehicle accident. Should we notify anybody about the incident? The insurance company will want a copy of the accident report, right? Okay, so where do I even begin? The experienced legal team at Anidjar & Levine can explain to you who has access to your car accident report and how to obtain a copy of your own.

You Must File an Accident Report, As It Is the Law
To begin, in the state of Florida, it is required by law that you file a report of any car accident within 10 days. Any injuries sustained or property damage exceeding $500 requires filing a report. In a police accident report, officers are required to record the following details:
Details of the incident’s time, place, and date
Conditions on the road, such as weather and visibility
A schematic depiction of the mishap
Drivers’ names and contact details
Injury/Damage Reports
Information about the responding officer, including his or her name and badge number

At the outset, only approved individuals will have access to this data. There will be an embargo on this report until 60 days have passed since the incident. The reports of automobile accidents are made available to the public after that period.

Can Anyone See a Car Accident Report That Isn’t Publicly Available?
Florida law generally requires police departments to withhold accident records from the public for 60 days, however, there are exceptions to this rule. Some of the people who might see this private data are:
Passengers involved in the car crash
Members of their legal team
Insurance companies representing them
Agents who assess risks for insurance policies
Authorities charged with maintaining order

In what location can I obtain a copy of my car accident report?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for obtaining a copy of an accident report is 10 days from the date of the incident. Once that’s done, you can request your report in one of three ways.

Submission of an Online Request
You can submit your request through Florida’s Crash Portal. There is a $10 fee in addition to the convenience charge. The report you ordered is now available for download. A download link will be sent to the email, but it must be used within 48 hours. This is the most convenient approach.

Make a Request Via Mail
An accident report’s copy can be obtained by sending in a written request. It may take up to 4–6 weeks to fulfil your request. Figure out which FHP Trooper Station is closest to the accident scene. There must be payment enclosed with the letter requesting the report.

Direct Approach
If a police officer responded to the scene of the accident, he/she may have provided you with a receipt that includes a report number. It’s possible that you’ll be told to contact the traffic division of the police department that took your report. Costing around $15, this method represents the administration fee. Don’t worry if you didn’t get an accident report number; just go to the FHP Trooper Station and give them the details of what happened.

Can Someone Who Is Not Supposed To See It View a Car Accident Report?
A car accident report is considered public information after 60 days, but any unauthorised person who obtains this information is subject to severe penalties. If you leak someone else’s private information without their consent, you could face criminal charges. It’s a criminal of the third degree even to try to get your hands on this information. That carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in Florida state prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

In what ways do insurance companies utilise police reports?
When a car accident claim is filed, the insurance company will launch its own investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident. An insurance company’s first request will likely be for a copy of the incident report filed by the police. This is because, as we’ve already established, the report is packed full of details about the car crash. Sometimes the views of the insurance company & the police officer are at odds with one another. Even if the police officer finds that the other driver was at fault, the insurance company may still reject your claim.

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