Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Florida?

Drivers in Florida are required to report most car accidents to the police and to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

By , Attorney

Each state, including Florida, has rules about when and how drivers are required to report car accidents to local and state authorities. If you've been involved in a car crash in Florida, you'll have to follow these rules to protect yourself and lay the groundwork for a potential car insurance claim or car accident lawsuit.

Car Accident Reporting Requirements in Florida

Under Florida law, you have to report a car accident when the accident involves one or more of the following circumstances:

  • the death of any person
  • injury to any person, or
  • damage to any vehicle or property in an apparent amount of at least $500.

(Fla. Stat. § 316.065 (2023).).

Immediately Report the Accident to the Police

Drivers are required to immediately report the accident using the "quickest means possible" to one of the following authorities:

  • the local police department if the crash happened in a city
  • the county sheriff, or
  • the nearest station of the Florida Highway Patrol.

For most drivers, the "quickest means of communication possible" is a phone call from the scene of the accident.

Report the Accident to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Florida law requires law enforcement officers to submit a "Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form" to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ("the Department") within 10 days of completing an investigation when the crash involved:

  • a death
  • an injury or complaint of pain or discomfort by anyone involved in the crash
  • a hit and run
  • driving under the influence
  • a commercial vehicle, or
  • vehicle damage that requires a wrecker to remove it from the scene of the crash.

Drivers involved in accidents that don't require a law enforcement report have to submit their own written report to the department on a form approved by the department within 10 days of the crash.

(Fla. Stat. § 316.066 (2023).).

What About Incapactiated Drivers?

Drivers who are seriously injured in a crash and incapable of making a report are excused from reporting the accident while they are incapacitated.

If an incapacited driver had a passenger in the car at the time of the crash, the passenger must report the crash for the driver. If the owner of the car is different from the driver, the owner must report the crash for the driver within 10 days of the crash.

(Fla. Stat. § 316.064 (2023).).

Penalties for Not Reporting an Accident in Florida

Failing to report an accident to the authorities in Florida is a noncriminal traffic infraction. The punishment for a noncriminal traffic infraction is a fine only (no jail or prison time).

What to Do After You Report the Accident

Reporting a car accident is just the first step. You'll want to take additional steps to protect yourself and your car accident claim.

For example, some car accident evidence can only be collected at the car accident scene. If you can, be sure to:

  • exchange information with anyone involved in the accident
  • talk to witnesses who may have seen or heard the crash
  • take pictures of the accident scene, and
  • locate and request video of the accident.

Do I Have to Tell My Insurance Company About the Accident?

Your car insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company that almost certainly requires you to report all car accidents that could trigger coverage to your insurer as soon as possible. If you don't report an accident, your insurer may deny coverage for the crash or cancel your policy.

Learn more about how to contact your insurance company after an accident.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you've been involved in a car accident in Florida, talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can answer your questions about Florida car accident laws, including reporting requirements, and Florida's no-fault insurance rules.

Learn more about hiring a car accident lawyer. When you're ready, you can connect with a lawyer directly from this page for free.

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