Police Reports are Crucial to Car Wrecks
Car accidents happen every single day on city streets, rural roads, and highways across America. Unfortunately, the holidays are more prone to these types of accidents than at any other time of the year. With all the family gatherings, holiday shopping, and company parties taking place during the holiday season, the last thing you want to have to deal with is a car accident. But accidents do happen, and you must understand your rights and what to expect. Regardless of who was at fault and where the accident occurred, report the incident to the police and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Today we are going to take a closer look at car accident police reports and what you should know about them. Not only is it essential to understand the car wreck laws in your city, but knowing what goes into a police report will also help your case. Every state is different, and there are even laws that vary by city and county. If you find yourself involved in a car accident in Dallas this holiday season, know your rights and contact Shamieh Law today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will go over your case with you and advise you on the appropriate way to proceed. If you have any additional questions about filing a police report or the information included in a car accident police report in Texas, give us a call today. We offer free consultations and are prepared to discuss your case with you.
What is a Police Report?
Most of us have heard of a police report, but do you know what they are and what information they include? For starters, a police report is made by the investigating officer who responds to your accident. When the officer arrives at the scene of the accident, he or she will begin the police report. The contents of the report will vary depending on the accident, but they typically include:
- Facts about the accident
- Information about all involved parties
- Opinions of the investigating officer(s)
- Insurance information
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not realizing that a police report must be filed for all accidents, regardless of how minor or severe. It is imperative to document the details of the incident to protect all parties. Consequently, depending on your case, the information on the police report may be vital to the investigation and outcome. Often, the police report governs the car accident settlement, and it may also play a role in whether or not the case goes to trial.
Information Included on a Police Report
Car accidents are often high-stress incidents, making it challenging to stay calm and pay attention to every little detail. The investigating officer that arrives on the scene of the accident will perform a handful of important tasks, from talking to the involved drivers and passengers to inspecting vehicles and taking photographs. These tasks give the officer pertinent information and insight into what caused the accident and who is at fault. Every little bit of information is important and may contribute to the officer’s final report. The police report is a summary of the officer’s investigation of the accident that occurred.
Some of the information a car accident police report may contain are:
- The date, time, and location of the car accident
- The names, addresses, phone numbers, and car insurance information for all parties involved in the incident
- The names and phone numbers of all witnesses
- Details about the damage to all vehicles involved
- Details about the road conditions, weather, construction, lighting, and any other factors that may have contributed to the accident
- A detailed diagram of the accident
- Statements from the involved drivers and witnesses
- Any citations or violations that took place before, during, or after the accident
- The officer’s opinions on the cause of the accident and who was at fault
Police reports can be tricky because they include both facts about the accident and the officer’s personal opinions. Depending on the case, the insurance company may conduct its investigation where they will assert their judgment as to who is to blame. There are circumstances where the officer’s opinion differs from that of the insurance company. This is why sometimes the police report is in your favor, and other times it is not.
The police report plays an instrumental role in any investigation of an accident, such as an investigation conducted by the insurance company. One of the takeaways from this should be that because the officer gets no benefit for telling the truth about the accident, embellishing details, or leaving things out, their opinion is considered as fact. Often, the police report helps support the insurance company’s investigation and, in turn, their determination.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Report in Texas?
In Texas, a Driver’s Crash Report must be filed within 10 days of the accident if the following occurred:
- The accident led to physical injury or death
- The accident led to more than $1,000 of property damage
TxDOT will cross-check the information with the involved party’s insurance company after the report is filed with your local jurisdiction. The amount that is paid will depend on the person’s insurance at the time of the accident. Even if you were not at fault and the accident is resolved out of court, you are encouraged to maintain a copy of the police report.
If you were in a car accident in Dallas, please contact Shamieh Law. Our experienced car accident attorneys understand how stressful these types of accidents can be, especially during the holidays. We offer free consultations and are here to advise you on how to proceed and what your rights are. If you have questions about filing a car accident police report in Texas, give us a call.