Even though being in a car accident is always a stressful event, most drivers remember that the first thing they should do is call 911 to request police and medical assistance.
In some cases, drivers involved in a car crash wait hours for the police to come. In other cases, however, the police do not show up at all. What should you do if the police never arrived at the scene of your auto accident?
When do you have to call the police after a car crash in Florida?
Under Section 316.061, Florida Statutes, motorists have a legal obligation to stop their vehicle if they were involved in a car accident and stay at the scene of the crash. Further, Section 316.065, Florida Statutes, requires drivers to report the accident to the local police department if the collision involves bodily injury, death, or property damage of at least $500.
If the police do not show up at the accident scene, you can fulfill your legal obligation by reporting the crash at the nearest police station. If you fail to call the police or report your car accident to the authorities – when you are legally required to do so under Florida law – you may face criminal penalties.
Reasons why the police may not come to the scene
The police may not show up at the scene of your car crash for various reasons. According to the National Emergency Number Association, Americans make approximately 240 million 911 calls every year, which averages to about 658,000 calls per day.
It’s not surprising why police departments do not respond to all accident reports. Police officers are less likely to come to the scene of a minor car crash that involves no injuries or deaths and no significant property damage. Indeed, police departments ask the public to call a separate phone number for these non-emergency cases.
The police are likely to pass on the call if there is a more urgent emergency requiring their attention, or they may simply not have the resources available to respond to the scene.
What to do if the police don’t show up at the accident scene?
If the police don’t show up after your car accident, you will have to gather all available evidence at the scene and document all relevant details yourself to be able to prove the other driver’s fault.
If you have waited a reasonable amount of time after calling the police and it’s apparent that no one is coming, the steps you take at the scene of your crash will play a major role in the overall success of your personal injury claim.
Police reports usually contain neutral documentation of how the collision occurred. However, if the police didn’t arrive at the scene of your car accident, you will have to gather all available evidence at the scene and document all relevant details yourself to be able to prove the other driver’s fault.
Collect as much evidence as you can, including but not limited to:
- Take photographs and videos at the scene, focusing on skid marks, vehicle damage, injuries, traffic signals, debris, weather or road conditions, and any other pertinent details;
- Talk to witnesses and write down their names and contact information; and
- Obtain the name, address, contact information, driver’s license, insurance information, and vehicle plate numbers from all parties involved in the crash.
The evidence you gather at the scene of your car crash will help you and your personal injury lawyer to determine liability and strengthen your claim in order to secure a favorable outcome.
What about the car accident police report?
Typically when police arrive at the scene of a car accident, the responding police officer will complete a police report, talk to witnesses and the parties involved, document evidence, and photograph the scene as part of their preliminary investigation.
A police report is a vital piece of evidence and an official account of what happened in an auto accident. The report contains details about the responding officers’ investigation of your car crash, information about the parties involved, a description of weather and road conditions, and other relevant information.
If you call 9-1-1 (or the alternative non-emergency police phone number), but the police do not come to the crash site within a reasonable amount of time, you can self-report your accident by making a report at the nearest police station. Some police departments allow drivers to file a police report online.
Following a car crash, you are also required to report the accident to your insurance company within a reasonable time frame. It’s advised to work with a personal injury attorney to help you deal with the insurance company and negotiate a fair compensation amount.
Our West Palm Beach injury attorneys will always show up for you
It is critical to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, especially if the police didn’t show up at the scene of your crash. Contact the dependable Florida injury attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, P.A. to help you gather necessary evidence and documentation to strengthen your personal injury claim. Give us a call at (561) 666-9850 to schedule a free consultation with our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys today.