You were involved in a minor fender bender. A small accident that didn’t result in a lot of damages and no injuries. Do you still have to report it? The general consensus is yes.
Even after a minor accident, you should call the police and file a report per the law outlining this obligation in the 2017 Florida Statutes 316.061. When you are involved in a car accident, you must stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident until all requirements are fulfilled to make a report.
Minor Florida Car Accidents
Minor accidents occur daily in Florida. This is an accident that results in only some minor property damage and another vehicle, or it could be your vehicle alone.
These types of accidents often include backing into a parked car, failing to stop for the vehicle ahead of you, sliding on a wet road and running into a mailbox or parked car, turning on a yellow light without ample room to successfully make the turn, and miscalculating the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
What to Do?
When you are involved in one of these minor accidents, the first thing you should do is make sure no one is hurt. Sometimes, even these small accidents can result in some kind of injury, including a concussion or soft tissue damage, and the injured person may not even realize it. If there is even a slim chance anyone is hurt, seek medical help immediately. Florida law requires this.
Calling the Police
As we already stated, even for a minor fender bender, you should call the police according to Florida statute. File a report when the police arrive on the scene. However, if they don’t arrive on the scene, it is still your responsibility to go to the nearest police station and file your report there.
you fail to do so, you may be facing a criminal charge in addition to any traffic citation you might have gotten as a result of the accident. When the accident only resulted in property damage, you could face up to 60 days in jail. If someone is seriously hurt or dies as a result of the accident, it is considered a felony.
Florida has a no-fault system in place. So, even if you are to blame for the accident, you can’t get sued for a minor accident. Florida law also requires all drivers to have insurance. If you don’t, you could be in trouble and will have to come up with out-of-pocket expenses.
If it is found that you broke the law, you may be given a citation. If you don’t agree, you can always contest it. Most of the time, the police will arrive on scene to investigate, even for these fender benders. You can also always request a copy of the police report.
When Not to Report
There really isn’t any instance in Florida when you would not want to report a minor car accident. However, if you are involved in an accident with just your car and no one else was involved, you may choose not to report it. You will then be on your own to make any necessary repairs.
But remember, damages, even if it is just your vehicle, can add up quickly. Also, when another vehicle or someone else’s property is involved, you still have to report it according to the law.
It may prove beneficial to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the process even after a minor accident.