Florida law requires that police be called when a motor vehicle crash occurs. The investigating officer will arrive and be tasked with documenting the scene, interviewing witnesses and preparing a crash report.
At the same time, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees those accused of crimes the right to refuse to answer questions that could be used against them in a criminal proceeding. To prevent a possible constitutional violation, Florida law has carved out something called accident report privilege (which is not exactly a privilege, but more on that later). Basically, statements made to an investigating officer for purposes of completing the crash report can’t be used in criminal proceedings OR a civil injury lawsuit.
As a Naples injury attorney can explain, there are a lot of different reasons for this protection – constitutional and otherwise. But it’s important to note because it could have a negative (or positive) impact on your ability to recover damages from the at-fault driver. The good news is that if you work with an experienced attorney, he or she can usually obtain that same information elsewhere – especially when the details can still be gleaned during the discovery process. Continue reading