Sean Lopez | November 10, 2022 | Car Accident
Is It Possible to File a Claim Without a Police Report in St. Petersburg?
What happens if you do not report a car accident to the police or if the police do not investigate the crash? Can you still file an accident claim without a police report in St. Petersburg? Yes, you can file a claim without a police report, but it could be challenging to win your case.
Requirements for Reporting Car Accidents in St. Petersburg, FL
Thousands of car accidents occur in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County each year. Most traffic accidents are investigated by the St. Petersburg Police Department or the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department. In some cases, the Florida State Highway Patrol might investigate a car accident.
Florida law requires drivers to report a car accident to the police by the quickest means available when one or more of the following are true:
- The crash caused $500 or more in damage to property
- The collision resulted in bodily injury
- The accident resulted in a fatality
The easiest and quickest way to report a car accident is to call 911. The emergency operator dispatches the appropriate law enforcement agency to the crash scene.
The police officer completes an accident report and files it with the appropriate agency. By law, the officer must file a Florida Traffic Crash Report Long Form if the accident involves at least one of the following:
- A drunk driver
- Death or injury
- A hit-and-run driver
- A commercial motor vehicle
- Someone complains of discomfort or pain following the crash
- A vehicle had to be towed away because it was inoperable
Accident victims use the police report to file insurance claims and personal injury claims. Having an official report can make resolving a car accident claim easier. If the police officer identified a driver as being at fault, the report is not conclusive evidence for liability, but it can provide leverage to use during settlement negotiations.
Tips for Filing a Police Report After a St. Petersburg Car Accident
It is usually best to call 911 to report a car accident, even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured. Until a repair shop inspects your vehicle and you seek medical treatment, you cannot be sure of the amount of property damage or the severity of your injuries. Therefore, having a police report is a safe option in case you need to file an accident claim.
Do not apologize for the accident. Saying you are sorry could be interpreted as admitting fault.
You never want to admit fault for a car accident. A St. Petersburg car accident lawyer conducts an independent investigation to determine fault. Police reports can contain errors regarding causation and fault.
However, never lie to a police officer. Tell the officer what happened, but stick to the facts. Do not embellish, but you should not try to paint the picture that makes you look the best.
If possible, take photographs of the vehicles and the accident scene. It can also be helpful to use your cell phone or other device to make a video. Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information in case the officer does not speak to them about the accident.
As soon as possible, see a doctor for a complete medical examination. You have just 14 days to seek medical treatment for a PIP claim. Delays in medical treatment can also hurt your chances of recovering full compensation for damages if you file a personal injury claim.
Do You Need To Hire a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer?
Florida insurance laws can be confusing. Meeting a car accident attorney for a free consultation can help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact a lawyer immediately if you believe you have a claim against the other driver.
Factors that indicate you need to talk with a personal injury lawyer about your car accident include, but are not limited to:
- You sustained serious injuries
- Your child was injured
- The accident involved a government vehicle or employee
- You are being blamed for causing the accident or contributing to the cause
- Multiple vehicles were involved in the crash
- The crash involved a commercial truck
- Someone died because of the car accident
- The insurance company denied your claim
The insurance adjuster for the other driver may try to raise allegations of contributory fault based on statements you made to the adjuster. Therefore, never agree to a recorded statement or sign documents without legal advice.
A St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer investigates the cause of the crash. The attorney obtains copies of your medical records proving your injuries meet the serious injury threshold for filing a liability claim.
You also have the burden of proving the other driver caused the accident by proving the elements of negligence. Therefore, you need evidence establishing causation and fault. An attorney also gathers evidence to prove the extent of your economic and non-economic damages to calculate the maximum value for your injury claim.
If you settle without consulting a lawyer, you could receive much less for your injuries and damages.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm – Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
Contact a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701