You’re driving back from work after rush hour when all of a sudden, another vehicle runs a red light and hits the back of your car. You don’t sustain any injuries, although your car is badly damaged.
Though this is an example where no one got hurt, in Texas, car accidents took the lives of nearly 4,500 people in 2021. If you’ve been involved in an accident, keep reading to learn more about police reports and what to do after an accident.
What’s Included in the Report?
In Texas, a police report for a car accident is required if the crash results in an injury, a person’s death, or damage to an individual’s property worth $1,000 or more. These reports, or Form CR-3, include a detailed review of the accident with information such as the time, date, location, parties involved, the vehicles they were driving, and the type of road where the accident happened. Other details may also be noted, such as if one or both drivers were under the influence or paramedics were called to the scene.
How Do I Get a Copy After It’s Filed?
If you or a loved one were in an accident, you can obtain an accident report by reaching out to a lawyer, especially if you plan on filing a claim and wish to work with them. Or by visiting the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Report Online Purchase System.
Why Should I File a Police Report?
After an accident, it may be tempting to not call the police. It may cause a major inconvenience, or maybe there isn’t enough damage for you to feel like it’s warranted. But many injuries such as concussions and internal bleeding may not present themselves in full until after the adrenaline has worn off.
In addition, the damage to your car may not seem significant at first, but you might find out at the mechanic that it’s more than you bargained for. If you leave the scene without a report being made, it also makes it more difficult to prove which driver was at fault or obtain a settlement, especially if you sustained serious injuries. And even if the other driver admitted fault at the scene, without a report they may shift the blame onto you or make other false allegations.
If you can’t call the police at the scene, you’ll need to file a report within ten days, but you’ll. Not filing a report can cost you up to $5,000 in fines and/or imprisonment in severe cases.
What Should I Do While I Wait?
When you’re waiting on a police officer to come to the scene, there are multiple steps you can take to help the process and any claims you may make to the officer or your insurance. First, you should take pictures and/or videos of any evidence. This gives your claim more credibility and lets you timestamp just when and where the accident happened and the damage that was caused.
Secondly, get the information of the other driver and passengers, as well as any witnesses. Not only will this help with insurance, but also if the case involves criminal activity or is found to be connected to a larger series of events, having the names of the people involved will be vital.
What Happens Afterward?
After you’ve called the police and/or filed the report, you’ll need to get in contact with an attorney. This is important because once the report is filed, law enforcement and your insurance will start investigating the incident to determine who was at fault.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you’ve sustained injuries from the accident, you’ll need to seek medical treatment and continue to keep up with the appointments. Even for what seems like minor injuries, you should get a professional opinion and treatment if necessary.
If you have serious and/or severe injuries, this is especially important, as not seeking medical care puts you at further risk of injury and you’ll have more evidence to claim that they were caused by the accident and had a negative impact on your life.
Hold Off on Repairing Your Vehicle
Even if the vehicle is your only form of transportation, you shouldn’t be so quick to repair it after an accident. The damage is part of the evidence of the accident and you’ll want to have it available for your attorney to inspect to help your case.
Filing a Car Accident Report in Texas
If you’ve been involved in an accident, the aftermath can be extremely stressful and difficult to get through. But although it may take time out of your day, there’s more to lose than gain by not filing a police report. Doing so will not only make filing a claim with your insurance easier but can help you receive compensation if the other driver is determined to be at fault.