Should You Call the Cops for a Fender Bender in Jacksonville, FL?
Calling the cops for a fender bender in Jacksonville might seem more of a headache than a benefit. You must wait for the police to arrive, investigate the accident, and issue a report. Instead of 10 minutes exchanging information with the other driver, you might have to wait for more than an hour or two before you can leave the accident scene.
However, there are several good reasons why you want to call the cops for a fender bender in Jacksonville. Let’s review a few of those reasons and what could happen if you do not call the cops after a traffic accident.
Legal Requirements for Reporting a Car Accident in Jacksonville
Florida law requires you to report a traffic accident to the police by the “quickest means available” if:
- The crash results in an injury or death
- The crash results in damage to any vehicle or other property of at least $500
You must also report crashes to the police if they involve:
- A hit-and-run driver
- A commercial motor vehicle
- A drunk driving
- A vehicle requiring a tow truck to remove the vehicle
The 911 operator dispatches a law enforcement officer with jurisdiction over the accident scene. That means your accident might be investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office or the Florida Highway Patrol.
If you are not required to report a fender bender, you must complete a Driver Report of Traffic Crash (self-report) form. The form must be completed and filed within 10 days of the crash date.
Should You Report a Fender Bender in Jacksonville?
A minor fender bender often results in property damage that costs more than $500 to repair. Even if you are unsure, it is a good idea to report the car crash to the police. Having an official police report for the car accident can help you when filing an insurance claim.
The police crash report is object proof of:
- The date, time, and location of the traffic accident
- The weather and road conditions at the time of the crash
- A description of the apparent property damage to each vehicle
- Statements made to the police officer by the drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses
Without an official police report, proving that you were involved in a car accident with another driver could be challenging. Without eyewitness testimony to corroborate your story, video of the collision, or physical evidence, it is your word against the word of the other driver. The other driver could blame you for the accident.
If you did not sustain serious injuries, it might not matter because you are limited to the benefits of your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. However, you could have sustained a serious injury that you are unaware of until days or weeks after the crash. As a result, you might have a legal claim against the other driver for damages.
What Should I Do After a Jacksonville, Florida Car Accident?
First, call 911 to report the car accident. Ask the emergency operator to send police and emergency medical services (if required). While waiting for help to arrive, take photographs of the accident scene and make a video with your cell phone. This evidence could prove that the other driver caused the crash.
If there are witnesses, ask them for their contact information and names. However, do not say anything about how the accident occurred. Instead, let the witness tell you what they saw and make a note of their comments.
Never apologize or admit fault for causing the accident. Admitting fault could severely reduce the amount of compensation you receive for economic and non-economic damages. Sometimes, your statements could make you liable for the other driver’s damages.
As soon as possible, seek medical treatment for your injuries. Do not say that you are not injured or you are “okay” at the accident scene. Instead, state you will see your doctor for treatment if you do not feel you need to go to the emergency room by ambulance.
Remember, delays in medical care can also hurt a personal injury claim. It is best to see your doctor as soon as possible to be checked. Report all symptoms and signs of injuries, regardless of whether or not you believe the injury is serious.
You may also want to consult a Jacksonville car accident lawyer. Insurance claims can be difficult to win, especially when the insurance company knows the victim does not have legal counsel. A personal injury lawyer in Jacksonville evaluates your case during a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose by seeking legal advice.
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