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.
Under Florida law, you have to report a car accident when the accident involves one or more of the following circumstances:
(Fla. Stat. § 316.065 (2023).).
Drivers are required to immediately report the accident using the "quickest means possible" to one of the following authorities:
For most drivers, the "quickest means of communication possible" is a phone call from the scene of the accident.
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:
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).).
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).).
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).
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:
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.
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.