The Importance of Police Reports After a Car Accident
Posted on August 4, 2022
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Getting a police report is one of the most important steps you must take after getting into a car accident in Texas. A police accident report can serve as a key piece of evidence during the financial recovery process. For example, a car insurance company will examine a police report to help establish the other driver is at fault for your accident, as well as to prove your losses. There are many reasons why you should always call the police after an automobile accident in Dallas.
When Does the Law Require You to Report a Car Accident to the Police in Texas?
In some cases, state law will require you to involve the police after a car crash. Failing to call the police in these scenarios could qualify as a hit-and-run, resulting in penalties such as fines and even jail time. As a general rule, you should always report a car accident to the police in Texas if you see:
Confirmed or apparent injuries
Deaths or unconsciousness
Damage to the property of any one person in excess of $1,000
Even if your car crash qualifies as minor, calling 911 from the scene of your accident is an important step. Texas Transportation Code Section 550.062 requires law enforcement officers to report any accidents that result in injuries, deaths or expensive property damage to submit a written report to the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days of responding to the scene. This report will create a piece of evidence that can be used during your case.
What Information Will You Find on the Police Report?
When the police arrive at the scene of your car accident, be sure to give them your version of events to be put in writing. Explain details such as where you were headed, how fast you were going and what you believe happened. Do not admit any fault or guilt for the accident, even if you believe you contributed to the crash. Instead, wait for an official investigation to determine fault. The police officer will create an official accident report that documents key information about the collision, including:
The exact time, date and location of the crash
The names of the drivers involved
Descriptions of all vehicles
Whether the other driver violated a traffic law
The directions that both vehicles were traveling
Statements from eyewitnesses
Official photographs and bodycam footage
The officer’s opinion of what caused the accident
Driver drug or alcohol test results
It is important to give the responding police officer accurate information while he or she is creating your crash report. If a police officer includes erroneous information in the report, it can make the recovery process more difficult. Before the officer leaves the scene, write down your police report number. You will need to give this number to your car insurance company so that it can access a copy of the accident report.
Why Do Insurance Companies Need Police Reports?
When you contact a car insurance company to report a car accident, it will ask for a police report. It needs the police report to gather key information about the crash and to aid in its investigation of fault. Texas is a fault-based state, meaning that the driver who caused the car accident will have to pay for related bills through his or her insurance company. An insurance company will ask to see evidence that its policyholder is at fault, in most cases, before it will accept a claim and offer benefits. This evidence can include a police report.
In many cases, a car insurance company will make it difficult for an injured victim to recover financial compensation by refuting fault. In this scenario, you could potentially use a copy of your police report to establish the facts of the crash. You or your car accident lawyer can use the report and other evidence to reconstruct the accident, prove the other driver is at fault, search for other defendants and demonstrate your losses. This is why it is important to obtain a police report immediately after a car crash in Texas.