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How to File a Police Report After an Accident in Tampa
How to File a Police Report After an Accident in Tampa

How to File a Police Report After an Accident in Tampa

If you have had a car accident in Tampa, it is important to file a police report. The following article will provide the information for you to properly file a police report in Tampa and how to obtain it afterward.

A report can still be filed online up to 10 days afterward if the police were not contacted while at the scene of the accident.

Keep reading to understand why, after an accident, you should file a report, the requirements you need and how to obtain one in Tampa.

Why Filing a Police Report is Important

Summoning a police officer while you`re at the scene of the accident is beneficial to assure that no one is in imminent danger and that the accident is accurately documented. The accident report submitted by the officer will be built from the assessments of the information gathered and evaluated at the scene. Not only is it important that you file a police report, it is equally important that a claim be filed with the insurance provider of the other driver if you`ve sustained personal injury as a result of their actions. Insurance providers usually request police reports so it is in your best interest to file one.

The average police report includes crucial details of an accident along with:

  • Date, time, and location of the crash
  • Names and contact information of the parties involved, this includes:
    • all drivers and passengers
    • the identification of the vehicle that each were a driver or passenger
    • any witnesses
  • The attending officer`s name, badge number and law enforcement agency
  • The names of the insurance providers for all parties involved in the crash

The reality of filing a claim is it will provide legal protection as evidence for your case in the event there was bodily injury or substantial property damage, it will also give the information you will need to serve formal notification of a lawsuit to those involved. The attending officer may also include a formal statement in the report regarding their thoughts on the cause of the accident, and it is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to dispute this which is another good reason to protect yourself by filing a report and retaining one for your records. If this conflict arises you may require a Tampa accident lawyer who has your best interests to build a case for you. Although it is beneficial for your claim to have a police report containing the attending officer`s statement, be aware that law enforcement officials have no say in the final decisions regarding civil liability or fault of a crash.

How to File an Accident Report in Tampa

These are the steps necessary to take after an accident has occurred in Tampa according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

If a Police Officer reported to the Accident Scene

In Tampa, and the state of Florida, there are two options for filing a police report, when the police arrive they will investigate the cause and make an assessment of damages and injury, If neither occurred you can self-report using a Short-Form Crash Report within 10 days of the accident. However, if serious injury or death occurred as a result of the accident, or there were damages greater than $500, then police at the scene, after speaking with witnesses and the parties involved will complete a Long-Form Crash Report. In the event that the accident involves commercial motor vehicles, the responsibility becomes that of the driver or the owner of the vehicle and self reporting is not an option regardless whether or not damages or injuries were sustained and will also require a long-form crash report to be filed by police. If the accident involves a bus you do not need to self-report, that becomes the responsibility of the bus operator, lessee or owner, and your details will be taken by the police, along with any information you have regarding the accident for their report.

How to File an Accident Report Online

(If a Police Officer Did Not Come to the Accident Scene)

For minor private property traffic accidents without the need for medical attention or the need for towing and that didn’t require police involvement at the time of the accident, you can file an accident report with this form at The City of Tampa website. For similar accidents that occurred on a public road you can find the forms here.

It is also necessary, if no police were involved, to exchange information with the other parties while still at the scene, this includes the names of those involved, their contact, license and insurance information. If there are any witnesses to the accident it is a good idea to take their information as well if they are willing to cooperate.

Keep in mind if the accident was on a public roadway and you fail to report it within the 10 day period you could face criminal charges and a heavy fine if property damages were significant and physical injuries were sustained.

Obtaining a Police Report after a Tampa Car Accident

How Do I Get a Copy of the Accident Report?

To obtain a report for an accident that occurred in Tampa, the form can be filled out and the applicable fees paid through the Florida Crash Portal. You can find the information to submit the forms by mail, in person or online here

How Do You Get a Police Report at the Accident Scene?

Of course, after an accident your health should be your main concern. If you have been injured and need to seek emergency medical attention you should do so immediately to prevent your injuries from becoming worse.

It’s ok to leave the accident scene especially since you can file a report online later if you need to leave for medical attention.

If you do not require medical attention it is important to stay at the scene so the police can interview you and gather as much information you can remember regarding the accident so they can make a detailed report. Although the police will not be able to give you a copy of their report at the scene as it usually takes up to 10 days and sometimes longer depending on the complexity of the case, the investigating officer will give you their business card with an assigned case file number.

How to Get Your Police Report After a Car Accident in Tampa

There are few steps to take to get a police report after an accident in Tampa. First, you will need the case file number on the business card the investigating officer gave you, but if you have misplaced or lost the card you will need your license, date, location, insurance and other information relevant to the accident.

For traffic accidents that took place on city streets, reports from the Tampa police can be made through the City of Tampa Public Records Center portal, you will need to create an account here and login, if you already have an account you can request a report from the police here. Requests will be responded to immediately, you can access processing time information here. After your request has been processed and completed, you will receive an email notification and instructions for downloading the document. These reports are primarily for insurance purposes, if they involve a hit-and-run, require medical attention, damage requiring a tow or over $500, DUI, or a commercial vehicle then you will need to request forms through the FLHSMV.

If you don’t have your case file number when you request the accident report, it is crucial you have the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Date, time, and location of the crash
  • Names and contact information of the parties involved, this includes:
    • all drivers and passengers
    • the plate information of the vehicle that each were a driver or passenger
    • any witnesses
  • The attending officer`s name, badge number and law enforcement agency
  • The names of the insurance providers for all parties involved in the crash

Other information you can request, for additional fees, could include body cam footage, nearby video surveillance, witnesses cellphone footage and 911 transcripts. However these additional requests can become time consuming and overwhelming, to make things less stressful, a knowledgeable Tampa car accident lawyer can help you gather evidence that will strengthen your case.

Also, your insurance company may be able to help you avoid extra costs and time trying to acquire additional information, they can provide you with copies of the documents and reports that they have requested for their files. Other inquiries you may have regarding additional reports following an accident in Tampa should be discussed with an attorney who is knowledgeable with what records will benefit your case the most.

What Are Your Next Steps After a Car Accident in Tampa?

Obtaining an accident and police reports after filing are crucial steps but not the only ones you should take, accidents can be traumatic and details are easy to forget afterward. At the scene you should document as much as possible while they’re still fresh, taking photographs of all damage and gathering information from all parties and witnesses involved will help reference details later and serve as valuable evidence to support your claim.

Expenses after an accident can accumulate fast especially if you’ve sustained injuries that prevent you from working, make sure you keep a record of your medical expenses and lost wages along with property damage costs to include with your claim.

Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today

Protect yourself and get the compensation you deserve today by consulting an experienced Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer whose legal expertise will help you understand your options and gather evidence imperative to your case.

Our award-winning attorneys have indispensable knowledge dealing with accident claims, we prioritize our clients, listen to their needs and provide custom tailored care and attention until we get a desirable outcome. If you’ve suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

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