Can You File a Miami Car Accident Claim Without a Police Report?
March 26, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Car Accidents
After a Miami car accident, you might question how to file a claim without a police report. This situation arises more often than people realize. For example, you and the other driver agree to exchange information instead of calling the police because no one was injured and the cars sustained minor property damage.
You might also wonder if you can file an insurance claim without a police report for a single-car accident or a hit-and-run crash. Sometimes, people might question whether they can claim an accident without a police report because they forget to file the required documentation after a crash.
While you can file an accident claim without a police report, it is not necessarily in your best interest. First, reporting a car accident is typically required by Florida law. Second, even though you can file a car accident claim without a police report, the insurance company might deny your claim or fight the claim more aggressively.
Filing Requirements for Accident Reports in Miami, FL
Florida law requires individuals to report car accidents by the “quickest means possible” if the accident involves:
- Bodily injury
- A death
- Over $500 in property damages
Generally, the quickest way to report a car accident in Miami is to call 911 from the accident scene. The emergency operator collects the necessary information to dispatch the correct law enforcement agencies to the crash site with jurisdiction over the accident scene. The emergency operator also dispatches fire departments and EMS, as necessary.
A police officer must investigate the crash and submit a Florida Traffic Crash Report Long Form if the accident involves any of the following situations:
- A death or bodily injury
- Drunk driver
- Hit-and-run driver
- A vehicle that cannot be driven away from the scene and must be towed
- Someone complains of discomfort or pain
- Commercial motor vehicles
If a long form is unnecessary, the police officer might complete a short form or provide the form to the driver to exchange information. The law requires drivers to complete the driver exchange information form.
When a law enforcement agency does not respond to or investigate a Miami car accident, the drivers must file a written crash report with the FLHSMV. They have 10 days from the accident date to submit the written crash report.
Why Do I Need a Police Report To File a Claim for a Miami Car Accident?
A crash report prepared by the Miami Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, or the county sheriff’s office is an official record that a car accident occurred. It helps prevent the other driver from “forgetting” they were involved in a collision when you file a claim against them.
Furthermore, a crash report has information that can help you file an insurance claim, including:
- The names and contact information for everyone involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.
- The name and contact information of the vehicle owner
- The location, date, and time of the car crash
- Eyewitness information gathered by the police officer
- The weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
- Whether either driver contributed to the cause of the crash
In some cases, the officer might have estimated the amount and type of damage to each vehicle. Depending on the severity of the crash, the officer might conduct a thorough investigation that is included in the accident report. If a driver admitted fault for the accident to the officer, this information could be beneficial if you file a liability claim for damages.
Submitting a Claim to an Insurance Company for a Miami Car Accident
Florida drivers must have a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Property Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP benefits pay a portion of the person’s medical bills and lost wages. You must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident and follow all requirements in your PIP insurance policy.
No-fault insurance coverage only pays up to 80% of medical expenses and 60% of loss of income. It does not compensate you for all damages caused by a car crash.
However, if you sustained a serious injury in a Miami car accident, you might be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company. Liability insurance can cover all economic damages caused by a crash. It can also compensate you for your non-economic damages.
You Must Prove You Are Entitled to Damages if You File a Claim Against the Other Driver
You have the burden of proving the other driver caused the crash if you’re eligible to file a claim against them. You must also prove the crash caused injuries that meet the statutory definition of serious injuries. The insurance adjuster will use any means to avoid paying the claim or paying less than the claim is worth.
Before talking with an insurance company, you might want to seek legal advice. Miami car accident lawyers offer free consultations. Ensure you understand your legal options before you talk to the insurance company.