If you have ever had to wait for police to arrive following a car accident, you know it is no fun and can take a long time. This is especially true when it comes to minor fender benders occurring in larger cities, like Jacksonville.
The Florida Highway Patrol prioritizes accidents in terms of severity. Car accidents involving severe injuries, death, or accidents with vehicles that are no longer operable take precedence over minor accidents like fender benders. Considering the fact that Florida Highway Patrol investigates more than 100,000 accidents each year, it is easy to see why this is the case.
Now there is a more convenient solution. A new online system introduced by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles makes it much easier for drivers to report minor car accidents on their own. As long as the accident meets the following criteria, it is acceptable to submit an online form rather than calling the police:
• The damage to the vehicles is less than $500 • There were no injuries
• The accident did not involve an impaired driver • The accident was not a hit and run • None of the vehicles involved required a tow truck • The accident did not involve a hit and run
You can access the form through Florida’s Department of Highway and Motor Vehicle’s website. Before this online system was developed, drivers either would have to wait for a police officer to arrive or go online, download the paperwork, print it out and mail it to Tallahassee. Now drivers can simply fill out the form, press a button to send and they are done.
When Is It Necessary To Wait At The Scene of an Accident?
If your car is still functioning after you’ve been involved in a minor crash, you do not need to wait for police. In these cases, you can choose to download and complete a crash report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s web site.
To complete the online report, you will need to have the driver’s license numbers of those involved, registration and proof of current insurance. If the other driver cannot or refuses to show you these items following the accident, call the police and wait for them.
When deciding whether to wait for police or file your own crash report, be cautious and make sure that you have all of the necessary documents.
Why file an accident report?
It is important to report all car accidents, even minor ones, because having a legal record of the accident will help if a driver refuses to pay for damages or you have any insurance problems down the road. It is not uncommon for drivers without insurance to try to dissuade you from calling the police or filing a report to avoid being at fault.
What types of conditions cause the most fender benders?
Like most cities, there tends to be a big spike in car accidents – severe and minor — in Jacksonville when it rains. During the summer months, you can count on a thunderstorm, sometimes severe ones, almost every afternoon. When driving in the rain, give yourself more space between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow for more breaking time during wet conditions. It is also important to slow down when driving in the rain and if conditions are severe enough to impact visibility, it may make sense to pull over and wait for the rain to subside.
Written by Elizabeth Allen
If you have been involved in a car accident in Jacksonville, it is important to contact an experience attorney. Contact The Lawrence Law Group today for a free consultation. Our attorneys can help you determine if you have a case and, if so, help you get the compensation you deserve.