Getting into a car accident can be an overwhelming experience. This can lead to some people not getting all of the information they need from the scene of the accident. Thankfully, police reports should be able to give you all the information you need to file a claim with your insurance company. In addition, police reports are a great source of information if you are looking to open a personal injury lawsuit. Police reports are such a valuable piece of information so you want to make sure you have an understanding about police reports as it relates to auto accidents.
When to File A Police Report
In order to better understand police reports, it is necessary to know when you actually require a police report to be filed. In most cases, a police report will be filed automatically by the police after an accident–that is if you called the police. Some people choose not to call the police but want to file a claim with their insurance later on. In these cases, the insurance company may not accept your claim because there is no police report of the incident. Overall, it is best to call the police the moment after an accident so they can file a police report that day. This will help you avoid any headaches later on.
How to Get a Copy
When you get into an accident one of the most important pieces of documentation is the accident report. In the state of Texas, this accident report is called a “Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report.” This report is then filed within a few days to a few weeks of the accident. However, you can still request a copy of this report prior to it being filed. This allows you to get a copy immediately when it is available.
At the time of the accident, the police officer should have given you an incident or accident report number. If you did not receive a number, you can still look up the report through some simple identification information. This can include the date and time, name of drivers, location of the accident, and the police department. In most cases (particularly if your accident occurred after 2018) you can request a copy of your report online. In other cases, you will have to go to the police department and request a mailed copy of the report.
What is on the Report
The accident/incident report should summarize the facts of the accident and the officer’s opinion of the “at fault” party. In the police report you should find:
- Date, time, and location of the accident.
- Identifying information of drivers.
- Each driver’s insurance provider and policy number.
- List of the known injuries and damage to the vehicle(s) involved.
- Witness and driver statements.
- Witnesses’ contact information.
- Conditions at the scene of the accident.
- A visual diagram of the accident.
- Laws/codes violated (driver ran a red light, the driver was intoxicated, etc.)
- The officer’s opinion as to cause and/or fault.
How a Report Can be Used
The accident report can be used in a variety of ways by outside entities. For example, they can be used by insurance companies and personal injury attorneys to create context and provide information.
Insurance companies often turn to the accident report in order to double-check the information provided on your insurance claim. This can include the extent of the vehicle damage, who is at fault, etc. This information can then be used to deny or accept your insurance claim.
In some cases, there is incorrect information on the police report which can influence the decision of an insurance adjuster. In these cases, it is important that you contact the police department to see if you can get the information corrected.
Personal Injury Cases
In the event that someone involved in the accident decides to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, the police report is a vital piece of information. This can help the plaintiff prove their claim or help the defendant refute the claim. The accident report can also help attorneys track down any witnesses and officers involved who can serve as witnesses in the case that the suit goes to trial.
Auto Accident Attorneys in Texas
Texas is a third-party liability state. That means that a car accident victim has the right to pursue the at-fault driver, or the at-fault driver’s insurance company, for compensation. If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence it is time to get the damages you are owed. The lawyers at Paxton Law Firm have helped hundreds of people just like you get the compensation they deserved. Call the attorneys at Paxton Law Firm (281) 978-2244, or schedule a free consultation.