Call the police, check. Take photos, check. See a doctor, check. Your checklist for what to do after the car accident is almost complete. But not yet. You’re filing an accident claim and the insurance adjuster asks for the police report. Now, you’re scrambling to figure out how to get a copy of the police report.
Don’t worry. The West Palm Beach car accident lawyers at Fetterman Law can help you get a police report for your car accident. We know how time-consuming the accident claim process can be, especially if you’ve never gone through it before. We’ll help you take the right steps so you can have the best form of evidence for your claim.
What is a police report?
A police report, also known as a Florida Traffic Crash Report, is an official summary of the police officer’s investigation of the accident. The police report will contain some or all of the following:
- Date, time, and location of the crash;
- Contact information for people involved in the accident;
- A list of witnesses, including contact information;
- Weather, roadway, and lighting conditions at the scene
- Statements from parties and witnesses; and
- A diagram or sketch drawing of the accident
After investigating the accident, the officer should complete the police report after 10 days. Florida law says police reports are required for accidents that involved:
- A crash with a commercial vehicle;
- A DUI crash;
- Hit and run; and
- Vehicle damage of at least $500, and the need for a tow truck.
In the case of minor wrecks not involving injuries or major vehicle damage, the police may not show up after a car accident. Luckily, you can still self-report minor car accidents online or in-person. Just make sure you file the report within 10 days. Failure to do so can result in a traffic ticket.
Why do I need a police report?
Obtaining a copy of the police report is important because it can make or break your claim. The report contains facts and opinions about the accident.
For example, the location, date, and time of the accident are facts. The investigating officer’s statements explaining what happened and who is at fault are opinions. However, the insurance company will perform its own investigation and make its own opinion for determining fault.
At times, the police officer and insurance company will have different opinions. Because of the differences, the information in the police report can make it hard to successfully pursue a legal claim. This is where a skilled car accident attorney can come in to represent your best interests, not the insurance company who is trying to avoid paying you the money you deserve.
How to get a police report for your West Palm Beach car accident
If the officer didn’t make a police report at the scene of the accident, you can file a police report online by visiting the City of West Palm Beach Police online reporting system. You will need to give the following information:
- The date and time of the accident.
- The location of the accident.
- The make, model, and serial number of the vehicles involved.
- The contact information for the person(s) involved in the accident.
The system only gives you 30 minutes to file. Once you submit the report, you can immediately print a copy of the accident report.
If the officer did make a police report, you can order a copy of it through the Florida Crash Portal for $10.00. Before leaving the scene, the officer should give you a receipt with the identification number for the report that you can use when ordering a copy. After purchase, the report will be available to you immediately but you must download it within 48 hours.
We know car accidents can put a financial strain on your wallet. You may be able to save yourself some time and money by requesting a copy of the police report from your own insurance company. Simply ask your claims representative for a copy of the report. Unfortunately, the insurance company may not always have the police report. But if they do, you can obtain a copy for free.
Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys will handle the police report for you
Car accident attorneys spend their days reviewing the details of car accidents. At Fetterman Law we know what a police report should and should not contain, and how it can impact your ability to obtain compensation. Contact our experienced West Palm Beach car accident attorneys online or give us a call 561-845-2510 for a free consultation.