You were recently involved in a car accident. At the time, it didn’t seem like a huge deal. As such, you moved on without calling the police and filing a report.
Now, however, you’re starting to realize that the accident caused you injury. And so you’re wondering: is it possible to file a Tampa car accident claim without a police report?
The simple answer? Yes, it’s possible. The more complex answer? We’re going to get into that below.
Here’s everything you need to know about filing a car accident claim in Florida sans a police report.
Can You File a Car Accident Claim Without a Police Report in Florida?
Legally speaking, yes, you can file a car accident claim without a police report in Florida. Note, though, that without a police report, you’re going to have a much harder time getting compensation than you would have had if you had filed a police report. If you have the choice, you should, indeed, file a police report.
If you didn’t file a police report, and if you’re still looking to file a car insurance claim anyway, you’re strongly advised to speak with a car accident lawyer. Car accident attorneys defend countless clients in cases where police reports weren’t filed. And they will be able to guide you through the process with experienced-backed knowledge.
The Drawbacks of Not Filing a Police Report
We’ve discussed how not filing a police report can negatively affect one’s ability to receive compensation from insurance companies. Now, let’s delve into the specific drawbacks of not filing. They include the following:
It Allows the Other Driver to Lie About the Incident
A police report creates an official legal account of what happened at the accident scene. The police officer takes information from both sides, surveys the area, and makes deliberations about what occurred. The officer might even site a specific driver as being responsible for the accident.
Insurance companies see this as a credible account. They trust the authority of a third party (the police officer) over the account of the injured person in the accident. So, when a police report is present, the insurance company has very little interest in what the other driver has to say.
When a police report isn’t present, however, there are only two accounts for the insurance company to sort through. This includes yours and the other drivers.
Now, if the other driver is 100% honest, this won’t affect you. However, the odds of the other driver being 100% honest are low. In fact, the other driver could lie about the incident entirely as a means of avoiding blame.
This, of course, would make it extremely difficult for you to get insurance compensation. And that’s why the police report is so important: it nullifies the account of the other driver. It provides an official account for the insurance company to rule by.
It Allows the Other Driver to Accuse You
Not only does the absence of a police report enable the other driver to lie about the situation but it also enables the other driver to accuse you of causing the incident to begin with.
Should this happen, you’ll struggle mightily to get any compensation from the insurance company. In fact, your insurance company might end up having to pay out to the other driver, thus hurting you in the long run.
There are unscrupulous individuals out there who will falsely accuse others in an attempt to win compensation. You can prevent them from doing so entirely by simply filing a police report.
It Makes It Difficult to Connect Your Injuries to the Incident
The last drawback of not filing a police report is that it makes it difficult to connect your injuries from the incident to, well, the incident. Without a police report, you’ll have no solid proof that your injuries came from the incident at all. As far as the insurance company is concerned, you could have just as easily injured your back during a pickup game of basketball.
The police report shows without a shadow of a doubt that an accident happened. If you can get a police report filled out at a specific time, followed by a hospital record filled out directly after, you’ll have solid proof that the injury was directly related to the incident.
When Is It Legally Required to File an Accident Report?
Not only are you advised to file a police report after an accident. But, in some cases, the law requires you to file a report. Failing to file a police report in these situations can leave you vulnerable to legal penalties, particularly fines.
One situation that requires a police report is an accident with injuries. Both minor and large injuries should prompt a call to the police.
Extreme property damage (exceeding $500) should trigger a call to the police as well. This is true whether it’s damage to the vehicle or something inside the vehicle.
A fatality accident is the last situation that requires a police report. Failing to file a police report in this situation is a serious offense, one that could result in jail time.
Looking for a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer?
Were you recently involved in a car accident in Tampa? Looking for a Tampa car accident lawyer? If so, look no further than RHINO Lawyers.
We’ve represented countless car accident victims and have helped them secure ample compensation for their injuries. Whether you filed a police report or not, we’ll help you successfully file your car insurance claim and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to get the process started!
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.