How a Police Report Can Determine Fault and Liability in a Car Accident
Posted on April 15, 2021
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If you get into a car accident in Texas, the person at fault for causing the crash will be financially responsible for your medical bills and property repairs. This is how Texas’s fault-based insurance system works. One of the best tools for determining fault and liability for a car accident is a police report.
When Is a Police Report Required?
Whether or not you have to call the police after a car accident depends on the law in your state and the severity of the collision. In Texas, you are legally required to report a car accident to the police if it causes any injuries, fatalities or property damage that appears to exceed $1,000. The law requires you to call the police as soon as possible – typically from the scene of the crash.
What Information Is Included on the Police Report?
When the police arrive, the responding officer will create an accident report with all of the most important information about the collision. The officer will conduct a brief investigation by asking those involved questions about what they witnessed and experienced. The officer may also take official photographs of the crash scene.
Typically, a police accident report contains the following information:
All of the basic facts about the crash will be documented, such as the date, location and exact time of the collision, as well as the names and information of the parties involved. It will also list the names of any eyewitnesses and a description of both vehicles.
If the police officer has an opinion about who or what caused the car accident, the officer may include this on the accident report. While this information is not treated the same way as the facts of the case, an insurance company can take the officer’s opinion about fault into consideration.
Many car accidents stem from a driver violating a traffic law, such as speeding or driving drunk. The crash report will include whether one or both drivers received any citations for moving violations and whether the officer believes the broken law contributed to the car accident.
This information can be critical during your car accident insurance claim. It can prove that the car accident took place the way you say it did and that you suffered the losses you are listing on the claim. The insurance company will want to learn as much as it can from the accident report before conducting its own investigation to determine fault.
How Is the Police Report Used During a Claim?
The police report for a car accident can provide information and evidence that helps an insurance company decide the driver or party at fault. Although it is not the only tool used to determine fault, an accident report can influence an insurance company’s decision. The insurance company can use facts and data provided in the report to piece together how and why the car accident happened.
An insurance company may work with crash reconstruction experts to create a diagram of how the collision most likely took place based on facts from the report, such as the time and location of the collision and statements from eyewitnesses. If the report includes information about one of the drivers breaking the law, the insurance provider will also use this to determine fault.
It is important to note that an insurance company will launch its own investigation before determining fault; it will not only look at the information on the police report. The insurance company will assign someone called a claims adjuster to revisit the scene of the car accident, inspect property damage in person and interview those involved to get to the bottom of the cause of the crash.
When to Contact an Attorney
The police report can be an important part of your car accident claim. It can ultimately determine whether or not you receive financial compensation for your injuries. Obtain and review a copy of your police report with help from an attorney in Dallas for more information about how it can impact your case.