Last Updated: April 17th, 2020 at 8:20 pm
Read Time: 5 Minutes
Is My Auto Accident Report Public Record?According to Section 316.066, Florida Statutes, car accident reports become public record 60 days after the date of the collision. Prior to that time, the information contained in your report is restricted to certain people or entities with a statutorily acceptable reason. Yourself, those involved in your claim, and of course the Florida authorities who investigate and report the accident all have unrestricted access to the report immediately upon publication. However, a variety of specific parties outlined in the statute also receive access to this information. Crash reports may be made immediately available to:
- The parties involved in the crash
- Each party's legal representative
- Each party's licensed insurance agent(s)
- Each party's insurers or insurers to which they have applied for coverage
- Persons under contract with insurers to provide claims information
- Prosecutorial authorities
- Law enforcement authorities
- The Department of Transportation
- County traffic operations
- Victim services programs
Why Is Accident Report Access Restricted?Following an auto accident, a victim will take several steps, including receiving medical attention, alerting the insurance company of the crash, and contacting an experienced auto accident attorney. During this strenuous time, the state keeps accident reports private so as to protect the privacy of the victims. Keeping victim information private protects those involved in the crash from receiving unsolicited calls from individuals or businesses who could profit from an accident. From car rental services and body shops to physicians, chiropractors, and lawyer referral services, certain businesses are in place to profit if they have access to an unlimited pool of accident victims. By keeping victims' names, numbers, and addresses private during the first 60 months after an accident, the state of Florida shields them from these uninvited offers.
What Is The Importance of a Car Accident Report?Florida law states that a written report of crashes, known as the Florida Traffic Crash Report Long Form, must be completed and submitted to the department within 10 days after an investigation is completed by the law enforcement officer. These reports are completed in any instance in which the accident caused death, personal injury, or any indication of complaints of pain or discomfort by those involved in the crash. Car accident reports are a summary regarding what occurred in the vehicle collision, which include both the facts related to the accident as well as opinions of the investigating officer. Aside from identifying information for the parties involved, the accident report will include facts that the investigating officer gathered, including:
- Approximate time, date, and location of the accident
- Location of damages to the vehicles involved
- Weather, roadway, and lighting conditions
- Diagram of the accident
- Citation and/or violations of law
- Statements from the parties and witnesses
- Opinions as to the cause of the accident and/or a fault determination
How Do I Access My Report?To obtain a copy of your accident report within the 60-day window before it becomes public record, you must request it from the local law enforcement office that drafted the report. The steps for obtaining your report are as follows:
- Submit a written request.
- Submit a sworn statement that you will not use the information for commercial solicitation.
- Provide a copy of your identification to prove that you are included in the parties eligible to view the report within the 60-day window.
- Input your report number to the BuyCrash database.