Are Car Accident Reports Public Record in Miami, FL?
December 21, 2021 | Sagi Shaked | Car Accidents
Are police accident reports public record in Miami, FL? Yes, they are.
Car accidents are a matter of public interest and safety. For this reason, all accident reports become part of public record in Florida and can be accessed online.
Accident Reports Are Routine
Drivers in Miami are subject to Florida state laws when it comes to reporting accidents. If the police were called to the scene of an accident, they’ll complete the accident report for you.
It’s a legal requirement for police to be called to the scene of an accident if anyone was killed or injured.
If the police were not called, drivers are still legally obligated to file an accident report if the damages were greater than $500. A report can be filed with the DMV.
Unless the damage was minimal and both drivers agreed not to involve the police, most accidents result in an accident report. That means most accidents should end up in the public record.
Can Anyone See My Personal Information?
Once an accident report becomes publicly accessible, details about the accident – including the names of the individuals involved, accident details, and any tickets issued – can be accessed by anyone.
There are several safeguards in place to protect personal information.
When released to public record, sensitive information like Social Security numbers and driver license numbers are redacted.
Additionally, an accident report is not made available to the public until 60 days after the accident.
Why Isn’t a Report Visible Right Away?
The choice to withhold an accident report from the public for 60 days is done to protect the individuals involved in the accident.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, drivers could be the victim of unwanted solicitation from entities like:
- Medical businesses
- Legal businesses
- Car dealerships
- Car repair shops
- Car rental agencies
- Insurance agencies
For all these parties and more, a car accident might present an opportunity to profit from the consequences of the crash.
To protect those involved from being inundated from third-party solicitations aimed at profiting from the crash, the record is held for two months. By this time, most legal issues and repairs are in progress or completed.
How Can I Access an Accident Report in Miami, FL?
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) maintains the Florida Crash Portal. This is the online database used to store accident reports.
Accident reports are available to concerned parties 10 days after filing. These parties include:
- Drivers involved in the accident
- Insurance companies
- Law enforcement
These are the primary groups that might need to access a report before it enters the public record. You might want a copy for personal reasons. Your car accident attorney may need one to prepare for court. Your insurance agency will probably require a copy to process any claims from the accident.
For any of these parties to access the report, they must provide identification that shows that they are an authorized party.
After 60 days, anyone can access a Miami accident report through the Florida Crash Portal. You can also complete a mail-in request or visit the police department in person to obtain a copy of the report.
Public Road Means Public Record
Unless a car accident was minor and wasn’t reported, most police accident reports end up on public record. In Florida, they can be accessed by anyone interested enough to pay the $10 report fee.
For better or worse your accidents – and any tickets and violations incurred – are online and accessible to anyone. The state of Florida uses this information to monitor high-crash areas so the roads can be safer for everyone.