How Important is a Police Report in a Car Accident?

police officer filling out car accident report at sceneThere are a lot of different types of evidence you can use to try to prove liability after a car accident. But there are few pieces of evidence as important as a police report from officers who tended to the scene of your crash. A police report is important because it creates an official record of your car accident that has been filed away by a government agency, which is not something an insurance company will want to question. It effectively makes your crash “real” to outside parties.

Filing a Claim Without a Police Report

You can still file a car accident claim without a police report, but it is not ideal. Without a police report to accompany your car accident claim, you can expect that the responding insurance company will deny the claim outright and put your case through the wringer just to prove that the crash ever happened. Furthermore, if your case goes to court, then you will have a more difficult time getting the judge on your side if you are missing this basic yet vital piece of evidence.

What If the Police Didn’t Show Up to Your Accident?

The average police officer has a busy schedule each day, to say the least. There is a chance that there will be no available officers to respond to your car accident call, especially if no one has been severely injured. What are you supposed to do if the police didn’t show up at your accident? Go to the police station and report it yourself.

It might not be convenient, but you can report your accident in person at the nearest police station, and you should. A report filed there that originates from you might not be as immediately convincing as a report from an officer, but it is better than nothing. Depending on where you live, your local police or sheriff's department might even let you report the accident online.

How Do I Get a Copy of My Accident Report in Texas?

Do you need to get a copy of the police’s car accident report? Texas has a convenient online “Crash Reports and Records” retrieval and purchase system from the Department of Transportation. Using this online system, you can get a copy of a crash report as soon as it is filed at the station, which will usually happen the next night or morning after an officer responds to a crash. You will be charged a small amount for using the system, but once the copy is obtained, it is yours to use – and copy or print again – as you wish. The law restricts how much you can be charged for a copy, too, so it should not be much, but it can vary.

You can click here to visit the TxDOT website and its crash report system, which includes requirements for requesting a report, costs for different types of reports, and so on.

Do Police Decide Fault When Filling Out an Accident Report?

A responding police officer is under no obligation to determine fault when creating an accident report. They are there to control the situation, make any necessary arrests, and provide first aid. They are not insurance adjusters or crash investigators.

However, police officers will commonly list the driver that they personally think caused the car accident in the report as “Party 1.” This designation is not official, and they might not state it directly, but it does apply in many cases. An experienced car accident attorney will know what to do with a police report that lists the other driver as Party 1, which could include interviewing the officer to get them to clarify that they did intend to mark that driver as the one who was primarily or solely liable.

Injured in a Car Accident in Texas?

Call Tijerina Legal Group, P.C. at (956) 777-7700 if you were in a bad wreck anywhere in Texas. We can work on cases that include police reports and those that do not. With our extensive experience in and out of the courtroom, there is no car accident case that is too much for our attorneys. Contact us now to get started.