After the Accident – Understanding the Police Accident Report

When you or a loved one is in a motor vehicle accident, one of the important things to do after seeking emergency medical care and contacting a reputable attorney — is to obtain a copy of the police or traffic accident report.  You can streamline the process by asking the police officer for the police accident report case number and law enforcement agency contact information before leaving the accident scene.

How do I Obtain a Police Report?

Under Florida law, you can request a copy of a vehicle accident report in Florida through the records division of the agency that filed it.  You will need to complete and submit a formal “Request for Traffic Crash Report Information Form” that includes the case number, date and time of the accident, crash location, and the name of one of the drivers.  To request a copy of a report, contact the police department by phone or online.  For Broward County, click here.  Martin County reports can be requested here.  If the accident report was filed in Palm Beach County, follow this link.  For Miami-Dade, visit this site.  If the accident occurred on a state or interstate highway, you may need to contact Florida Highway Patrol here.

Note that the accident report is private for the first 60 days, and afterwards anyone may access a copy of the report. 

Although the format may vary, there are several key pieces of information that you should review in the police accident report.  See the following diagram:

Since the police accident report contains many details – both facts and opinions — about the accident, it’s important for you to review and understand the content.  If you have questions or concerns about the report, consult a reputable personal injury attorney.

How are Police Reports Used?

Police reports are often used in settlement negotiations and as an investigative tool, but in circuit courts, the police report may not be permitted as evidence and is considered hearsay.  In certain circumstances and depending upon the interpretation in a particular jurisdiction, police reports may be used in litigation for other purposes outside of the hearsay rule.  Consequently, the extent to which a police accident report may or may not be considered evidence depends on the case and the court system. 

In addition to the police accident report, the insurance companies typically conduct their own investigation of the accident.  They will use the police accident document as reference but will use their own adjusters to investigate and make their own determination.

Navigating the legal system can be complicated.  But Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help. Our experienced attorneys can help you obtain, comprehend and work with your police vehicle accident report as well as confront your insurance company, manage the complexities of the legal system, and recover the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain or suffering. 

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.