The first piece of evidence you need to support a car accident claim in Texas is the police report filed after the crash. It is a public record officially known as Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). You should obtain a copy of it as soon as you are able after a car accident in Texas.
A police accident report provides basic information about the drivers and vehicles involved in a collision. It describes the accident but typically does not state whether one driver or the other was at fault. Because it is an official statement of what happened, it is key evidence in a car accident insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
The Corpus Christi car accident lawyers of Herrman & Herrman P.L.C.C. help individuals and families recover compensation after car crashes that were someone else’s fault. Often, to compel an insurance company to make a full and fair payout, an injured driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist must prove who was responsible for the accident, and what losses they have incurred as a result. The starting point for developing a claim for compensation is typically the report filed by the police who investigated the accident.
What Is Included in An Official Car Accident Report?
Texas law requires law enforcement officials to report motor vehicle accidents that have caused death, injury, or damage to property or vehicles exceeding $1,000 in value. Police will respond to all but the most minor fender benders. The Texas Department of Transportation says police reported more than 3,800 deaths and 205,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in the state in 2020.
For each of these accidents, police filed a report that includes such information as:
- Date, time, and location of the crash.
- Make, model, color, license plate number, and VIN of vehicles involved.
- Information about commercial motor vehicles (trucks, buses) involved in crashes.
- Names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information of drivers. Names and contact information for others involved such as passengers or pedestrians. Vehicle owners’ names if different from the drivers.
- Descriptions of any injuries and property damage caused by the accident.
- Disposition of anyone injured or killed.
- Where and by whom vehicles were towed from the accident scene.
- The officer’s narrative opinion and diagram of what happened.
- Factors and conditions that may have contributed to the crash.
- Potential causes of the accident and any tickets issued or charges filed.
- Results of driver sobriety tests, if administered.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident in Texas, you should summon police by dialing 911 if you are able, particularly if anyone has been injured. Even without injuries, the $1,000 damage threshold for a reportable accident is very low. If anyone needs emergency medical care, request an ambulance.
When the police arrive, if you are able, answer their question truthfully but do not cast blame on anyone or accept blame for the accident.
If you need emergency medical care after a car accident, you should accept help from first responders and go to the hospital in an ambulance if they suggest you do so. After an accident, you should see a doctor within 24 hours if not immediately. There are several serious injuries, including potentially fatal head injuries, that do not always exhibit serious symptoms right away.
Medical records of a doctor’s examination following a car accident are also important evidence if you have a car accident claim.
You will also need to report a car accident to your auto insurance carrier as soon as possible after the accident. The person you speak to (or an online form) will likely ask whether a police report was filed. A police report will be necessary for a claim to move forward.
How Do I Obtain a Car Accident Report in Texas?
Anyone who was involved in a car accident or who has an appropriate interest in the accident may obtain a copy of the police report. This includes:
- Insurance companies
- Vehicle owners (who may not have been driving)
- News media
- Government agencies
- Authorized representatives of individuals involved
- An employer, parent, or legal guardian of a driver involved in the accident
- Family members of a deceased individual killed in the accident
Local police must file copies of car accident reports with the state. They also keep copies for their own records. When you need a police report, you may contact the local law enforcement agency that responded to the accident or get it from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
In Corpus Christi, for example, you would go to the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Central Records Division on the first floor at 321 John Sartain Street between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday to get a police report.
Request a copy by mail at:
Corpus Christi Police Department
P.O. Box 9016
Corpus Christi, TX 78469
You’ll need to identify the report you want by providing:
- Date and time of the accident
- Location of the accident.
- Name of the drivers involved in the accident.
- Investigating police department.
The cost is $8 for a certified copy, which is required for legal proceedings.
In other locations, search online with the name of the police department and “car accident report” to find instructions.
An alternative is to obtain a police report through the TxDOT’s Crash Report Online Purchase System. It can take up to 14 days from the date of the crash for the report to be available.
For the system to locate your report, you must provide one of the following:
- Name of a person or company involved in the crash
- Driver’s license/identification card number of a person involved in the crash
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a vehicle involved in the crash
- TxDOT Crash ID assigned to this crash
Another alternative is to request a report from TxDOT by mail. This requires completing a form found online by searching “Request a copy of a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-91).” It requires you to identify how you are directly concerned or interested in the accident (from a list) and information necessary to identify the accident (date, location, names).
Mail the completed form with payment ($8 check or money order) to:
Crash Data and Analysis
Texas Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 12879
Austin, Texas 78711
It could take up to 20 business days to receive a report by mail.
If you receive the police report and find it contains incorrect information, you should contact a car accident attorney. Your attorney may be able to have the original report amended or file a supplemental report to correct the facts. You should act promptly to have any mistakes or inaccuracies on a police report corrected or they could be detrimental to your insurance claim.
How a Texas Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Auto insurance companies profit when they collect more from insurance premiums than they pay out for claims. When an insurance adjuster receives a car accident claim, they compare it to records of what the company has paid for similar accidents and injuries. They know the maximum they will offer you before even contacting you. Because of this, it’s not unusual to receive a settlement offer before you can possibly know your total losses from the accident.
The insurance company that makes a quick settlement offer is hoping to limit its liability and close your claim before the medical costs are known or you have had time to assess the full financial impact of the accident. In other cases, an adjuster may decide based on a police report to deny your claim. If they say the driver they insure was not at fault, how will you prove them wrong?
You will need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to stand up for you. If you engage a car accident attorney from Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. to handle your accident claim, we will gather evidence that shows who is responsible for the car accident. We’ll gather your medical bills and receipts and consult with your doctor to understand your future medical needs. We will calculate your present and future medical costs and other accident-related losses and document your pain and suffering.
The attorneys of Herrman & Herrman have 100+ years of combined legal experience as personal injury lawyers. We’ll demand maximum compensation for your costs and negotiate aggressively for a settlement or take your case to court if necessary to obtain justice for you. We will pursue your claim on a contingency fee basis. This means we will not seek a legal fee for our services unless we recover money for you.
Contact a Corpus Christie car accident injury lawyer at (361) 882-4357 as soon as possible after a car crash for your free initial consultation. We’ll get to work for you.