Police will respond to a car accident in Tampa if someone calls them about it or they happen to see the accident while patrolling the area. Following a collision, it is every police officer’s responsibility to:
- Get to the scene in a timely fashion
- Ensure that everyone who needs medical assistance gets it
- Speak to everyone involved in the crash and anyone who witnessed it
- Investigate the accident to determine how it happened and who is responsible
- File a prompt and detailed report describing the accident and the people involved
When the police respond to your accident, it is essential to cooperate with them as much as possible. If you sustained injuries, they could help you get medical treatment.
Getting Police Help After an Accident
As stated in Florida Statutes § 316.065, it is a driver’s responsibility to report an accident to the applicable authority if the accident involves:
- The death of one or more people
- The injury of one or more people
- Property damage in excess of $500
Failure to report the accident is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000. However, if you or someone else suffers severe injuries, you should get emergency medical aid as quickly as possible and report the accident later.
Once you or the other driver has called the authorities, it is important to stay on the scene and wait for their arrival. You can spend that time exchanging contact information with the other driver and taking pictures of the damage done to your car. This information can serve as critical evidence should you file a lawsuit.
When the police arrive on the scene, it is their job to get help to those who need it and launch an investigation into the crash’s cause. An officer will likely ask you many questions about your recollection of the accident. Unless you are in too much pain to stay on the scene, you should answer their questions as thoroughly as you can.
Per Florida Statutes § 316.066, an official accident report must include:
- The names and contact information of everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- When and where the accident happened
- The officer’s name, badge number, and agency
The responding officer must file this report within 10 days of completing the investigation.
For a free legal consultation, call (813) 259-0022
How the Police Response Helps You
The police investigation and subsequent accident report may serve as a key piece of evidence in a lawsuit. A car accident lawyer from this firm can use this report to:
- Establish basic facts about the crash, including the liable party’s presence
- Determine how to contact witnesses who could make a statement or provide other materials in support of your case
- Prove the liable party’s responsibility for your injuries
- Establish the severity of your injuries, thereby justifying the amount you seek in compensation
Other evidence sources may include your medical records, accident-related bills or receipts, surveillance footage or other videos, and personal photos. Armed with this evidence, you can:
- Determine the monetary value of your physical, psychological, and financial damages
- Go to the liable party’s insurance company and insist it pay what you need
- Persuade a jury that the at-fault party owes you compensation
Who Else Can Help After a Car Accident?
In addition to the police, other experts can provide crucial assistance in the days and weeks after a car accident:
- Medical professionals can save your life, tend to your injuries, and prescribe treatments to alleviate pain and improve quality of life
- Personal injury lawyers can help you better understand your rights, figure out how best to approach your case, and fight for the justice you deserve
- Economists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, accident reconstruction experts, and others may agree to provide statements confirming your injuries and how they affect you
If the idea of trying to coordinate medical care and build a lawsuit at the same time feels too overwhelming, you can call on a Tampa law firm for help. A car accident attorney can:
- Request a copy of the car accident report
- Recruit experts to examine your case and write supportive statements
- Manage all paperwork and communications on your behalf
- Meet with the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement
- Take your case to trial if the insurance company does not cooperate
- Encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary and respond to your queries promptly
- Keep you updated throughout the entire process
We Represent Tampa Car Accident Victims
After the police respond to your car accident, you may have the right to seek compensation from the liable party. At Distasio Law Firm, our Tampa team devotes itself to providing The Distasio Personal Touch—thoughtful and sensitive yet professional legal representation that helps you get back on your feet after a devastating accident. Call (813) 259-0022 for a free consultation today.