How to Get a Car Accident Report in Hillsborough County
Posted in car accident on August 14, 2018
After you have been in a car accident, it is important to keep a copy of all the documentation relating to the incident, including medical bills, car repairs, and time away from work. Dedicating a file or a folder for this purpose will ensure every piece of information is available to your accident lawyers as needed. To maintain a copy of your Hillsborough County report, follow a few simple steps.
What Is a Car Accident Report?
When a car accident occurs, the police officer(s) who arrive at the scene will compile an official report. They view all the evidence and determine who was at fault for the accident, plus the total amount of damage. Usually the officers will give you a handwritten copy of the other person’s insurance information and contact information, so you can inform your insurance company of the accident. If you are not able to stay at the scene of the accident due to injury or other circumstances, it is important someone gets this information for you, or you will need to contact the police department when you are able.
How to Obtain Your Hillsborough County Accident Report
You can obtain a copy of your report in one of three ways:
- You can visit the office during normal business hours and request a copy of the report.
- You can request a copy online. This is the fastest and most convenient way to receive your report if you do not live nearby the office.
- You can send a request by mail to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Attention: Records Section/Freddie Solomon Annex, Post Office Box 3371, Tampa, Florida 33601. Be sure to include a check for 15 cents per page for the copying fee.
Car accident reports are confidential for 60 days after the accident. They are only available to involved parties, attorneys, and select media outlets. If you submit a request prior to the 60 days, you will need to fill out a sworn affidavit stating why you would like a copy. Note that copies of the report are usually not free and may cost a fee.
The Hillsborough sheriff’s office also recommends use of the website BuyCrash.com. This third-party site can find the details of your accident nationwide. You’ll need:
- The report number
- The VIN number of your car
- The party’s names
- The date of the accident
The report is immediately available for download, and a link arrives in your email for future reference.
Why Should You Obtain a Copy?
The police report is the official report of what happened in the car accident. The police officers at the scene take notes and photographs to document where the fault lies, the property damage, any injuries, and any other important details. This report is useful if the accident ever develops into a legal matter, and for reporting the accident to your insurance company. It may help determine what kind of settlement you can claim in a personal injury case, how your insurance will handle the claim, and the treatment of your injuries.
Keep copies of your report in a safe place. It is a good idea to use a folder or binder and keep a copy of all documentation relating to the case in one spot. Bring this file with you to all appointments with insurance agents, lawyers, and other people on your team. A strong case will provide a larger settlement payment in the end, and documentation helps strengthen the case. By obtaining a copy of your report immediately, you can save the hassle of running around at the last minute under pressure and provide copies to anyone who needs them at the appropriate time.