If you’re injured by a negligent driver in south Florida, and you need to be compensated for your medical bills and lost wages, you’ll need to ask a Miami personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and legal options. In some cases, those options may include filing a personal injury claim.
Typically, the police in south Florida are dispatched to traffic accident scenes if injuries or fatalities have been reported, if traffic has been blocked, or if anyone who was involved is intoxicated or becomes violent or aggressive.
What Should You Do If You’re Injured in a Traffic Accident?
If you are injured in a traffic crash, summon the police or ask someone else to make the call. When you reach a 9-1-1 dispatcher, be as detailed and precise as possible. When injuries or deaths are the result of a collision, officers will secure the scene and investigate the accident.
The police will question witnesses and gather evidence. Later, those police officers will review that information and create an accident report called an “FTC” (Florida Traffic Crash) Report.
Why Will You Need a Copy of the FTC Report?
If you file a claim to seek compensation for damages, you will need to obtain a copy of the written police accident report once it is complete and made available. After any traffic accident, call the police to the accident scene. Don’t let the other motorist talk you out of making the call.
What does a police accident report include? If you pursue a personal injury claim and seek compensation from an at-fault motorist, how important is the accident report? Can a written police accident report be used as evidence – for you or against you – in a personal injury case?
If you keep reading, you’ll learn the answers, and you will learn more about your legal options if you are injured by a negligent driver in this state.
After most traffic collisions that involve injuries, the police will conduct an accident investigation and write a report that provides the details of the accident. The report may or may not offer any indication of the accident’s cause or which driver may have been at fault.
How Do You Obtain a Copy of the FTC Report?
If you file a claim against another driver, that driver’s auto insurance company will closely scrutinize the accident report. You and your personal injury lawyer will also need a copy of the report.
Florida Traffic Crash Reports are usually made available to anyone for a fee to cover copying and/or postage. In Miami-Dade County, you can request a copy of an FTC Report from the Miami-Dade Police Department online from policereports.lexisnexis.com.
However, there may be limited access to a written police accident report if a criminal investigation that is linked to the accident is ongoing. In these cases, your personal injury lawyer may have to file a subpoena to obtain a copy of the FTC report.
What is Included in an FTC Report?
A Florida Traffic Crash Report typically includes the following:
1. the time, location, and date of a crash
2. the details of what happened, as far as the police on the scene could determine at that time, including a diagram that may show intersections, traffic lanes, the positions of the vehicles, the location of debris or skid marks, or other pertinent details
3. the names of everyone who was involved – vehicle owners, drivers, and passengers – and the names of witnesses who were questioned by the police officers
4. the names and addresses of anyone who was injured and whether medical attention was provided at the scene or the injury victims were taken to a hospital
5. a summary of road and weather conditions and visibility at the time of the accident
6. a description of the vehicles, the damage they sustained, and any other property damage
The FTC Report may or may not include any conclusions or opinions regarding why an accident happened, which driver may have been at fault, or if any traffic laws were violated immediately prior to or at the time of the crash.
What if the Report is Inaccurate?
If there are errors of fact in an FTC report, such as a wrong date or a misspelled name, you and your lawyer will probably be able to have that corrected.
However, if you disagree with the overall findings of the report or with a statement made by another party, you may not be able to have that changed, although in some cases, some police agencies may allow you to attach a statement of your own to the report.
If you’re injured because your vehicle collided with an object or with any other obstruction in the road, summon the police. If police officers determine that the object was there because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to take legal action and receive compensation.
What if the Other Driver Fled the Scene?
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, call the police immediately, and write down everything you remember. Hit-and-run drivers sometimes disappear, but when the victim gets a license number or a good description, those drivers are usually apprehended by the police.
After any traffic crash, seek medical attention promptly, whether or not you “feel” like you are injured. Otherwise, you may have to deal with a latent or undiscovered injury that emerges as a serious medical condition. Drivers in Florida should also be aware of the state’s “14-day rule.”
If you do not have a medical examination within 14 days of an accident, your auto insurance company may not compensate you for your injuries out of your own personal injury and protection (PIP) coverage, and it will be difficult to move forward with any type of injury claim.
How Are Most Personal Injury Claims Resolved?
Most personal injury claims in Florida are resolved privately and out-of-court, so if you eventually file a lawsuit arising from a traffic accident, you will need to be represented by a Miami personal injury attorney who is both an experienced negotiator and a skilled trial lawyer.
Because every case is different, what you’ve read here is general, basic information. If you are injured by a negligent driver, you will need personalized legal advice.
The important thing to remember is that the right Miami accident attorney will fight aggressively for the compensation you need and will bring your personal injury case to its best possible conclusion.