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How Long Do You Have To File a Police Report After a Car Accident in Texas?

After a car accident in Texas, it’s crucial to understand your legal obligations and the steps you need to take to protect your rights. One of the most important things to know is how long you have to file a police report in Texas. In Texas, you must report the accident immediately after it occurs, even if you were not at fault. Failing to report the accident immediately can lead to legal consequences.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to file a police report after a car accident in Texas, the consequences of not filing, and how an experienced Texas car accident attorney can help you navigate the process. Read on to learn more. To schedule your free consultation with our skilled Texas car accident lawyers, call (469) 813-7332 or reach out online.

Texas Laws Regarding Car Accident Police Reports

Reporting periods vary by state. In Texas, investigating police officers must report car accidents that result in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Doing so creates an official record of the incident, which can be invaluable when seeking compensation for damages or injuries.

Texas law also requires individuals involved in a collision to file a police report immediately after an accident that results in injury, death, or damage that makes it impossible to operate the vehicle safely. This law applies regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and report it to the authorities.

What Happens If You Don't Report a Car Accident in Texas?

Failing to report a car accident that meets the reporting requirements in Texas is a misdemeanor offense. If you do not promptly report the accident to the local authorities, you could face legal consequences, especially if the accident resulted in injury or death. Providing false information for a police report is also a Class B misdemeanor if it becomes part of a criminal investigation, which can further complicate your legal situation.

Further, not reporting an accident can negatively impact your ability to seek compensation for damages or injuries sustained in the accident. Without an official record of the incident, proving fault and the extent of your damages may be more difficult when filing an insurance claim or suing the at-fault driver.

Insurance companies rely heavily on police reports when investigating claims and determining liability. In the absence of a police report, they are more likely to dispute fault or question the severity of your damages. This can lead to denied claims, lower settlement offers, and protracted legal battles. To protect your rights and ensure you have the necessary documentation to support your future claims for compensation, always report car accidents, especially if they are serious.

These are the major statutory duties after a car accident in Texas:

Statutory Duty
  • Immediately stop at the scene of the collision or as close as possible.
  • Immediately return to the scene of the collision if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the collision.
  • Remain at the scene of the collision.
  • Immediately determine whether others involved in the collision require aid.
  • Do not unnecessarily stop traffic.

Depending on the seriousness of the injuries and property damage caused by the collision, a violation is punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

  • Give your name and address, the registration number of your vehicle, and the name of your liability insurer to the other driver and any person injured.
  • If requested and available, show your driver’s license.
  • Provide reasonable assistance to individuals injured in the collision, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital if they need treatment or if the injured person requests transportation.
  • If the accident resulted in injury, death, or property damage that renders the vehicle inoperable, you must make an immediate report to local law enforcement.
  • Immediately stop and locate the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle and give that person your name and address.
  • Leave in a conspicuous place in, or securely attach in a plainly visible way to the unattended vehicle, a written notice giving your name and address and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.

Violations are a Class B or C misdemeanor, depending on whether the damage is less or more than $200.

  • Take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the collision.
  • If requested and available, show your driver’s license to the owner or person in charge of the property.

Violations are a Class B or C misdemeanor, depending on whether the damage is less or more than $200.

Do I Need To Report the Car Accident to My Insurance Company?

Ideally, you should not speak to any insurer before consulting with an attorney after a crash. In fact, you have no legal duty to speak with an at-fault driver’s insurer at all. However, reporting the accident to your own insurer as soon as possible is important, even if you were not at fault.

Insurance policies typically require policyholders to report accidents promptly. Though deadlines vary, most give around 30 days to file your claim. Failing to do so may result in your insurer denying your claim. Read your insurance policy carefully to determine the correct deadline.

You are also required to cooperate with your insurers’ investigation of the accident. But remember that even your own insurer will prioritize their bottom line before compensating you fairly. Therefore, exercise caution when speaking to their adjusters. You are not required to provide a recorded statement or give access to medical records unrelated to the crash. Further, have an attorney review settlement offers before accepting to ensure you are being compensated fairly.

What Information Is Included in a Texas Crash Report?

Texas crash reports are filled with detailed information about the collision. Among other things, they include information like:

  • Location, date, and time of the accident
  • Descriptions of the vehicles involved, including make, model, and license plate numbers
  • Driver’s narrative of the events leading up to and during the accident
  • Descriptions of injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, or pedestrians
  • Descriptions of property damage to vehicles or other property
  • Contact and insurance information for all parties involved
  • Contact information of witnesses

What Happens After I File a Crash Report?

Once a crash report is filed, your attorney and involved insurers will investigate the claim to determine fault and liability. Again, it’s important to remember that insurance companies, even your own, are not always on your side. Their goal is to minimize payouts and protect their bottom line.

This is where having an experienced Texas car accident attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your claim. Our attorneys can help you gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Let Shmaieh Law Help After a Texas Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from the legal team at our Texas personal injury law firm. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the state’s car accident laws. We can help you file a police report and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

We offer free case evaluations so you can understand your legal rights and options at no cost to you. Our team will work tirelessly to investigate your case, gather all available evidence, and build a strong car accident claim on your behalf. We’ll handle all communication with insurance companies and fight for maximum compensation.

Don’t let the stress and confusion of a car accident’s aftermath overwhelm you. Call (469) 813-7332 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We are here to help you protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve.

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