When you get into a car accident, you must pull over and exchange information with the other driver. If the accident led to an injury, fatality, or excessive property damage, you must call the police to the scene. Once the police arrive, they can fill out an accident report. This report is key if you plan to pursue damages in a personal injury lawsuit, so it is important to know how to get a police crash report.
Why You Need a Police Crash Report
The police crash report is needed because insurance companies rely on it to learn the details of your accident. It can help insurers decide who is liable for the accident and for potential damages it caused.
If the other party’s insurer determines their client was at fault, they may cover the property damage or injuries they caused you to suffer in the collision. If you try to pursue damages in a personal injury case, the police crash report is also an important piece of evidence.
This document serves as a written account of the events that took place, based on the police officer’s observation. Personal injury cases can take a long time to complete. Memories can fade or become less reliable, so it is better to have an unchanging, accurate account of the events to refer to during a case.
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The Crash Report Might Contain Valuable Information
The police crash report may contain important details about your car accident, including:
- When and where the accident occurred
- Contact information of each driver
- Statements from drivers and witnesses
- Contact information of witnesses, if applicable
- Known injuries
- Damages to vehicles
- Road and weather conditions at the accident scene
- Any violated laws or codes
- Officer notes about cause or fault
- A visual diagram of the accident
Essentially, a police crash report might contain the information you need to make your case if you decide to pursue damages. An actual statement from the police showing that another driver violated laws or received a ticket may be helpful when trying to show why someone else should be to blame for an accident. This report may serve as evidence that the other driver was at fault for the accident, which might bolster your case and help you recover the compensation you need.
Learn How You Can Get Your Report in Texas
If you want to know how to get a police crash report in Texas, you have two options. However, there is something that you need to be aware of first. The Texas Transportation Code §550.062 requires officers to produce an accident report if a crash leads to injury, death, or $1,000 in property damage. A smaller accident might not trigger the need for a crash report. If your crash was minor, you may request to fill out a driver’s crash report form, known as a CR-2, to serve as a record of the accident.
A police crash report should be ready for you to retrieve within a few days or three weeks at most. It might take longer to get a crash report if the accident led to a death or serious injury because a comprehensive investigation is required. Once the report is ready, you may retrieve it through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for a small fee. However, some municipalities might require you to request the report in person or by mail.
Just remember that only someone directly involved with the accident can request a report. The Texas Transportation Code §550.065 allows only people with a direct interest in the accident to request a report, generally meaning the drivers involved, their insurance companies, and their attorneys.
How a Lawyer Can Help You with Your Case
A lawyer can make this process simpler. If you decide to pursue damages after suffering an injury in a car accident, your lawyer may request a copy of the police crash report early on.
A lawyer, who may handle every other aspect of your case, can help you amend the police crash report if needed. Your crash report might also contain mistakes, but your lawyer can review the report so that it is accurate, that any inaccuracy is fixed, and that supplemental reports are filed if needed.
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Call Underwood Law Office About Your Personal Injury Case
If you suffered an injury in a car accident and plan to pursue damages, you do not have to take on your case on your own. You can call the Underwood Law Office and learn more about your legal options and how to pursue compensation. Call (972) 535-6377 for a free consultation in Texas.