Car Accidents and Police Reports FAQ
Car accidents frequently result in personal injuries and financial losses. When an accident occurs, it is important to establish liability so that responsible parties can be held accountable for accident damages. There are several pieces of evidence that can prove vital in establishing who is at fault for a crash, one of which is a police report.
Many car accident victims have questions about police reports and their role in a car accident claim. Car accident lawyer Hardin Ramey provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding car accidents and police reports so that drivers in the Dallas, TX, area understand more about these documents.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident to the Police?
Texas law requires drivers to report a car accident to the police if the accident results in injury, death, or property damage that renders a vehicle impossible to drive. When an accident is minor (no one is hurt and property damage is minimal), drivers are not obligated to call the police to the scene of the accident. However, if property damages exceed $1,000 or if injuries develop, an accident report needs to be filed within 10 days of the collision.
Although the law does not require a minor accident to be reported to the police immediately, we recommend that Dallas drivers inform local law enforcement of any crash. Car accident injuries may not always be apparent right away, and if injuries or property damage are worse than suspected, it can be extremely beneficial to have a police report in the event that a lawsuit is filed.
What Is Included in a Police Report?
A police report is a written document that serves as a summary of the responding officer’s investigation of a car accident. Police reports contain vital crash details and information, which may include:
- Date, time, and location of the collision
- Identifying information for all parties involved in the accident
- Contact information for accident witnesses
- Statements from involved parties and witnesses
- Summary of property damage
- Weather and roadway conditions at the accident scene
- Diagram of the accident
- Citations for any traffic violations
Does a Police Report Establish Accident Liability?
Although it is not required, police reports often include the officer’s opinion regarding the cause of a collision and who is at-fault for the crash. While insurance companies and attorneys usually take an officer’s opinion seriously, a police report does not automatically establish liability for an accident.
Insurance companies and/or attorneys still conduct their own investigation to come to their own conclusion regarding the cause of an accident and who is at-fault.
How Do I Get a Copy of a Police Report?
Before leaving the scene of an accident, the responding police officer should provide drivers with a receipt that contains the number of the police report. Individuals can use this number to request a copy of the police report from the traffic division of their local law enforcement agency.
Are Police Reports Free?
No. There is often a small fee to collect a copy of the report. To avoid this fee, drivers can ask their insurance company if they have requested a copy of the report. If so, insurers will often provide drivers with a free copy of the police report, if requested.
If you have been injured in a car accident and suspect that another person or party is at-fault for the crash, lawyer Hardin Ramey can assist you in pursuing compensation for accident damages. To discuss your accident in further detail, send us a message online or call our Dallas law firm at (972) 437-5577.