Jason Stephens | June 1, 2022 | Car Accidents
No one wants to get into a car accident. But between the heavy interstate traffic and the overload of commuters and tourists in Fort Worth, car crashes are an unfortunate daily occurrence.
Knowing what to do after a car accident in Texas, including when to contact law enforcement, can make it easier to navigate through this complex situation. Keep reading for answers to common questions Texans have about car accident reports.
What is a Crash Report?
One of the most important documents from your car crash is the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report, also called an accident report. This document compiled by a police officer contains essential information about the incident, from road conditions to who was involved. It may even assign responsibility for the collision to one party.
Police officers must submit their reports to the Texas Department of Transportation within ten days of the incident.
When Am I Required to Report a Car Accident in Texas?
If the accident resulted in the injury or death of at least one person, or if there was property damage of more than $1,000, then state law requires the accident to be immediately reported to the police. You must also notify the police if your vehicle is disabled to the point that it can’t be safely driven.
You should also call the police if one of the drivers involved in the crash is intoxicated, if someone is uninsured, or if a driver leaves the scene without giving their information.
If you were involved in a crash that didn’t involve any of these things, you should still call 911 to report the accident and ensure that you meet your legal responsibilities.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Car Accident?
If an injury or death occurred due to the accident or if property damage is greater than $1,000, you must immediately notify the police. They’ll file the report with their department within ten days after the accident.
Otherwise, you should stop at the accident scene and exchange information with the parties involved. Texas no longer requires that drivers self-report accidents that don’t meet the requirements for the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report. However, your jurisdiction may have reporting requirements.
It’s best to call the police, regardless of how minor you think any damage or injuries are. Even if they don’t investigate the accident scene, they’ll advise you on the best next steps, including any self-reporting requirements (if applicable).
Where Can I File an Accident Report?
If a police officer took a report at the crash scene, you don’t have to do anything — it’s already reported to the DOT. Otherwise, check with your local jurisdiction to see if they have self-reporting guidelines you must follow. The DOT no longer retains a driver’s self-reports.
How Do I Report a Car Accident?
You can report your accident by calling 911. Give the dispatcher your information and answer their questions. They’ll determine whether a police officer will be dispatched to the scene to investigate. Alternatively, if they decide not to send a police officer, they’ll give you information on what you should do next.
Having a police officer investigate the scene is generally best, as the officer will be familiar with the process and can make sure there are no mistakes. Even if a report isn’t legally required, you can request one. They can also facilitate the exchange of information between you and the other driver.
Is it Against the Law to Not Report an Accident?
If you fail to report an accident that the Texas DOT requires you to, you could face significant consequences, including having your driver’s license suspended.
What Happens if I Don’t Report My Accident?
Besides the possibility of losing your license, you may not be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit without an accident report. These reports provide vital evidence and are often required by insurance companies.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107