Right after an accident, it can be difficult to think clearly and make the best decisions. If the accident was a minor one with no injuries, you may be wondering if it is necessary to call the police to the scene. In most cases, it is best to have a police report of the accident, and in many cases, it is required. Here is what you need to know about when to call the police after an auto accident.
Florida Law Regarding Auto Accidents
In certain circumstances, Florida law requires you to immediately report an accident to the Florida Highway Patrol or the local police department. In these cases, you can usually call 911 to report the accident and have a police officer dispatched to the scene.
Here are the circumstances in which calling the police is required by law:
- There is a death or any injury in the accident.
- If any driver involved in the accident flees the scene.
- Any accident caused by an intoxicated driver.
- Property damage in excess of $500.
If there is a death or injury, or the accident involves a hit and run driver, this should be obvious to you at the scene and you should immediately call the police.
It may be difficult to know for certain after an accident if a driver is intoxicated. It could be that they are merely shaken by the accident and are not behaving normally. However, to be safe, if you have any reason to suspect the driver might be intoxicated, you should contact the police immediately.
Also, it can be difficult to assess the cost of any damage done to the vehicles. However, even a minor fender bender can result in $500 in damages, and if both your vehicle and the other vehicle are damaged, it is almost certain that the total will exceed $500 and you should call the police immediately.
What If My Accident Does Not Require Calling the Police?
Even if the accident seems very minor and there are no injuries, it is a good idea to get a police report for the accident. Either you or the other driver could have injuries that take some time to become apparent. Internal bleeding can go unnoticed for hours and can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
In this case, having a police report will serve to establish the facts of the case even though you did not believe there would be any problem at the scene of the accident.
Unfortunately, many people may see an accident as an opportunity to fraudulently collect money from an insurance company. A driver who admits they are uninjured at the time of the accident, could later claim an injury and blame you for the accident.
A police report can protect you from fraudulent claims by having an objective report on the accident prepared by a neutral third party.
Even in accidents that seem minor, it is usually best to call the police, even if it is not required. Doing so can protect your interests and guard you against fraudulent claims.
To learn more about car accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Car Accident Victims.