Do I Really Need to Call the Police After an Auto Accident?

Auto accidents can make you feel rattled and upset. One’s natural inclination is to get the ensuing process done and over with in the fastest manner possible. This urgency can even cause some motorists to avoid calling the police. 

However, you should know that calling the police and getting an accident record on file can help to protect your rights, provided you are working with a Florida car accident lawyer in pursuit of financial damages after the accident. 

No matter how small your accident is, you should call the police once you’re in a safe place. The 911 operator will ask you some questions about the accident and the accident scene. Depending on the severity of the crash and the current call volumes, the operator might inform you to just exchange information with the other driver and move on. It is always best however, to insist on having an officer or community service aide come out and make a formal report.  

What Is an Accident Report?

Generally, for serious accidents, the police will come to complete an accident report. The car accident report details the who, what, and when of the accident. Sometimes, the officer will insert opinions about the cause of the accident or even try to determine which driver was at fault. 

These details can be helpful to your car accident attorney as they work with you to build a case. Here’s a look at the important details included in most car accident reports:

  • Collision date, time, and location
  • Drivers’ names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information
  • Witness information
  • Locations of any vehicle damage 
  • Conditions at the scene, including weather, lighting, and roadway
  • Accident diagram showing how the collision occurred
  • Driver and witness statements
  • Citations and/or law violations
  • Fault determination and opinions on the collision’s cause

Role of Police After a Florida Car Accident

The police do more on the scene after a car accident than just take a report. Some car accidents take place in busy intersections and it’s not uncommon for the involved vehicles to sit for extended periods, leaving a potentially hazardous scene in which a police officer must inspect. Here’s a look at a few of the things police handle and the important role police play after a Florida car accident:

  • They will work to ensure an ambulance arrives quickly in case of serious injuries. The drivers might call and discuss the accident without realizing they’ve suffered head trauma or other serious injuries. An officer, however, can often spot the signs and call an ambulance to come out and get the injured person to care immediately, since head injuries can leave lifelong damage behind.
  • Protect and document the accident scene before cars are towed and the debris is cleaned up from the roadway.
  • Investigate the cause of the accident and document it with a police accident report.

Obtaining an Accident Report with Your Florida Accident Attorney

If you can, obtain the responding officer’s name and badge number at the accident scene. This will make it easier for you to locate the accident report once the officer files it. You’ll also want to know which jurisdiction’s or municipality’s police team responded to the call. That’s the agency you’ll need to reach out to in order to obtain the accident report.  Most officers will provide you a card with the case number, or a driver’s exchange of information with the basics so you can notify the insurance company and request the full report when it is available.  

The great news is, your Florida accident attorney can obtain your accident report for you. Having the details about which police department was on the scene will still be helpful.

What to Do if Law Enforcement Won’t Come to the Scene

If law enforcement tells you to simply exchange information with the other driver at the scene, make sure you are thorough in collecting this information. You’ll want to get these details from the other driver or drivers at the scene

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Car insurance provider name
  • Policy number for car insurance
  • State the driver’s car is registered in and their plate number

Some people might fake this information to get away from a bad situation. Ask to copy their personal information from a driver’s license so you can verify their name and address. 

You should also take a photo of their insurance information. Don’t become the victim of misinformation at an accident scene that later keeps you from getting your vehicle fixed and any resulting medical fees paid.

Hiring a Florida Car Accident Lawyer

Most Florida car accident lawyers work on a contingent basis, meaning they don’t collect money from you unless they win your case. Because the financials work this way, there is no reason not to hire an attorney immediately after a car accident if you have sustained injuries.

Goldman & Daszkal is a team of trustworthy car accident lawyers in Florida who ensure accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Schedule your free consultation to learn more about our law firm.