Are Car Accident Reports Public Record in Jacksonville, FL?
Florida law classifies car accident reports as public records. But this happens only 60 days after the report date. For the first 60 days after the traffic crash report, only certain people tied to the accident can access it.
This crash report contains important information about your crash and your injuries. By keeping the accident report private for 60 days, Florida protects your privacy.
In particular, solicitors for car repair services, medical services, and legal services cannot access your identifying information until you have time to recover from the trauma of the accident.
Read on to learn about Florida’s traffic crash reports and how you can access your report after an accident in Jacksonville, FL.
Accidents that Require a Traffic Crash Report
Florida requires law enforcement agencies to investigate all accidents that involve:
- At least $500 in damage
- Damage sufficient to disable a vehicle
- Hit and run
- A commercial truck or bus
When these accidents are reported to the local police department, county sheriff’s office, or Florida Highway Patrol station, the agency will send officers to investigate. At the scene of the accident, the officer will secure the scene, call for medical assistance if needed, and investigate the accident.
During the investigation, the officer may:
- Interview everyone involved in the crash
- Talk to witnesses
- Photograph the accident scene
- Measure skid marks and gather physical evidence of the crash
Based on this investigation, the officer will prepare and file a traffic crash report within ten days of the crash.
Contents of the Traffic Crash Report
The traffic crash report contains important information for you and your Jacksonville car wreck attorney as you prepare your injury claim. Some information you can get from the traffic crash report includes:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Names and addresses of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists involved
- Injuries reported
- Names and addresses of witnesses to the accident
- Vehicle information
- Insurance information
- Contributing factors to the accident
- Citations or charges stemming from the crash
- Narrative of how the accident happened
- Diagrams of the accident
This information can provide your injury lawyer with the facts needed to file an insurance claim.
Florida uses a no-fault system of insurance. Usually, you must file a claim with your auto insurance first. Your insurer will pay medical and disability benefits if it determines your injuries resulted from the accident. The traffic crash report documents your injuries and your crash in a way that helps your insurer resolve your claim.
If you exhaust your no-fault benefits or you suffer a significant permanent injury, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver. To succeed in this claim, you need to prove the other driver caused the accident. The crash report can establish the sequence of events that led to the crash and the other driver’s role in them.
Accessing the Traffic Crash Report
You can request a copy of your traffic crash report online from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). You can also request your crash report by mail.
For the first 60 days after the crash report is filed, FLHSMV keeps crash reports private. The department requires you to include a sworn statement with your request. If you do not include the sworn statement or do not fall into a limited category of people, you will only receive a redacted copy of the crash report.
Those entitled to an unredacted crash report during the first 60 days include:
- People involved in the crash
- Lawyers for those involved
- Insurers for any vehicle involved
- Law enforcement agencies
- Victim services programs
- Free newspapers that publish legal notices
- Radio and TV stations
- The Department of Transportation
All others must wait 60 days for the unredacted traffic crash report to become a public record. At that time, any member of the public can request a traffic crash report from FLHSMV.
Contact the Jacksonville Car Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202