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Do I Need A Police Report After A CMV Accident?


Not every road accident in Florida is reported to the relevant authorities. However, the state does require a police report in several instances, including any accident in which a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is involved. This is generally a good thing for injured plaintiffs, as it can serve a variety of purposes. A police report can help your attorney establish a timeline of the crash, and in some cases, can even help to establish liability on the part of a CMV driver.

Why Require A Report?

Florida law holds that a police report must be completed by the responding officer in several specific cases, including accidents where death or personal injury happens. The involvement of a CMV is one of the few specific vehicle types that will trigger a police report in every eventuality, and it is usually because most CMVs are very large, compared to the average car or motorcycle, and often quite heavy as well. Because of these factors, injuries and fatalities are disproportionately more common in these types of crashes.

Another factor which made a police report compulsory in CMV accident cases is that these cases are more likely to require a paper trail, so to speak – Florida is a no-fault state in terms of auto insurance, and normally, this means that road accident cases are handled by making claims with one’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance carrier. However, “significant and permanent” injuries, such as those often sustained in CMV accidents, lift that tort immunity, allowing the injured person to file suit in a standard court. Every bit of evidence will matter.

Several Different Uses

After a CMV accident, one of the most important things one can do in terms of preparing for a lawsuit is to obtain the police report, because of the many different ways it can be used in establishing liability. In order to hold a CMV driver (or their employer, if they allegedly acted negligently) liable, one must establish that a duty of reasonable care was owed, and then breached, by the driver’s actions. Some of the ways in which a police report can help to show that include:

  • Witness statements are often included in reports by law enforcement, and can be very useful in helping to establish a timeline or even outright liability on the part of a driver.
  • The report may include photos or diagrams of crucial evidence like tire tracks or debris left at the scene of the accident.
  • While any insurance claim you make may be offset by a jury award, many injured plaintiffs will contact their insurer anyway, to ensure that their bills and other expenses are paid by one or the other.

In general, a police report is a persuasive piece of evidence – but something important to remember is that it must still be admissible. Very often, police reports are considered hearsay (that is, an out-of-court statement offered for the truth it contains, with no opportunity to cross-examine the person making the statements), though this is not always the case. A knowledgeable attorney can help ensure that you have the best possible chance to recover.

Call A Tampa Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Commercial motor vehicle accidents can be life-changing, and a police report can help to establish liability on the part of the defendant – but they are not always usable tools. A Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you determine your options, and offer guidance for getting through the legal process. Call our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.



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