Duty to provide information after an accident

Author: The Massey Clark Fisher Team | Monday, Jul 09, 2018

Under the Florida statutes every driver involved in a motor vehicle accident is required to give certain information to a police officer.

Keep in mind that while admissions of fault are confidential, other facts about the accident may be admissible in both criminal and civil cases. The results of breath, urine and blood tests administered to determine whether a driver is under the influence are admissible in evidence.

Depending upon the severity of the accident, either a long form Florida Traffic Crash Report or a short form report must be filed by the investigating officer.

These reports are available to the people involved in the accident so that they can identify, for their insurance companies, pertinent information about the accident and the name of the other driver’s insurance company.

A failure to cooperate with an investigating officer after a traffic accident can result in the issuance of a citation in the form of a nonmoving violation.

While drivers involved in automobile accidents have the responsibility to cooperate with the police officer investigating the accident, there is no responsibility to cooperate with the other parties’ insurance company. Oftentimes insurance adjusters, after the accident, will attempt to get statements from drivers involved in the accident. Any lawyer who handles personal injury cases would advise a potential client not to provide those kinds of statements. This is particularly true if the attempt to get those kinds of statements is made right after an accident. Injuries from an automobile accident can take time to develop. Over the space of a few days what was thought to be a minor injury may turn out to be something much more serious. It simply is not in the best interest of individuals involved in an accident to provide written or recorded statements to the opposing insurance carrier.

Lawyers who handle automobile accident cases do so on a contingency fee basis and charge a percentage of recovery rather than an hourly fee.