There are a few different scenarios in which a car accident case may end up in court in Florida. One is if the claim involves significant property damage or injuries (the latter of which expenses exceed $10,000), and the insurance companies are unable to reach a settlement agreement. Another is if one of the drivers was operating their vehicle recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the other driver wants to file a personal injury lawsuit. When a car accident is brought to court, it is essential to consider what types of reports are acceptable as forms of evidence.
Car Accident Reports
According to Florida Statute 316.066(4),
"...Each crash report made by a person involved in a crash and any statement made by such person to a law enforcement officer for the purpose of completing a crash report required by this section shall be without prejudice to the individual so reporting. Such report or statement may not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal."
Not only are accident reports that reveal any form of identifiable information regarding the parties involved in a motor vehicle crash considered confidential, but any statements made to law enforcement by involved parties are considered privileged. Further, accident reports are generally considered hearsay due to the reporting officer, who was not present at the time of the accident, receiving information second-hand.
Car Accident Report Privilege
In Florida, the so-called "accident report privilege" protects certain information in a police report from being used as evidence in a civil court case. The purpose of the privilege is to encourage people to give accurate and complete information to the police after an accident without fear that their statements will be used against them in court.
What Types of Reports Can Be Used as Evidence?
Continuing from the above statute,
"The results of breath, urine, and blood tests administered as provided in s. 316.1932 or s. 316.1933 are not confidential and are admissible into evidence in accordance with the provisions of s. 316.1934(2)."
It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher in Florida. If a police officer has probable cause to believe that a driver is impaired, the officer may request that the driver submit to a chemical test to determine their BAC. The most common type of chemical test is a breathalyzer test, which measures the amount of alcohol in a driver's breath. A driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test may be subject to penalties, including the automatic suspension of their driver's license.
If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, they may be required to submit to a urine test. The test is designed to measure the alcohol or drug content in a suspected impaired driver's body. A urine test will detect the presence of a metabolite found in alcohol, called Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG).
Suspected impaired drivers may be required to submit to a blood test. This is typically done if law enforcement officers believe that the driver's blood alcohol content is over the legal limit. In order to administer the test, a trained medical professional will draw a sample of their blood, which will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis. The test results will be used to determine their BAC at the time of the incident.
Car Accident Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
No one expects to be involved in a car accident, but unfortunately, they happen every day. If you have been injured in a car accident, the experienced car accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A. can help. We will work tirelessly to investigate the cause of the accident and hold the responsible parties accountable. We will also work to maximize your financial recovery by pursuing all available insurance coverage.
If you have been injured in a car accident, fill out our form online or call us today at (888) 499-6206 for a free initial consultation.