Jason Stephens | July 17, 2023 | Car Accidents
After a car accident in Texas, it is easy to overlook things you need to do. Between reporting the crash to your insurance company and trying to make arrangements for a rental car, you might forget to report a minor car accident to the police. In this blog post, our Fort Worth car accident lawyers explain your requirements for filing a police report in Texas.
When Do I Have To File a Police Report After a Car Accident in Texas?
Some drivers might be confused about when to report a car accident in Texas. Several years ago, the laws changed to eliminate the need to self-report minor car crashes. Now, the only accident reports the Texas Department of Transportation requires are police crash reports. Police crash reports must be filed by the law enforcement officer within ten days of the accident.
However, you have several legal obligations after a car accident in Texas. Understanding your legal obligations helps you know when to report a car accident to the police based on injuries and property damage.
Car Crashes Resulting in Injuries, Death, or Disabled Vehicles
You are required by law to stop your vehicle, assist anyone in the crash, and report the crash to the police whenever an accident causes injury, death, or renders the vehicle disabled. If you fail to stop at the accident scene, you can be charged with hit and run.
Calling 911 is the quickest way to report the crash to the police. The operator dispatches police officers from the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the accident scene. If the crash involves $1,000 in property damage, injuries, or death, the police officers investigate and file a crash report.
Crashes Only Involving Minor Property Damage
If your car accident does not involve injuries, the vehicles are drivable, and the property damage is under $1,000, you can stop and exchange information with the other driver without calling the police. However, you can still choose to call the police, and it might be a wise decision for several reasons:
- The damage to your vehicle could be much more than $1,000 to repair
- You could have delayed injury symptoms
- You may want an official report to support an insurance claim against the other driver
Having an official police report creates a record of the accident. It prevents the other driver from denying they were involved in an accident. Even if you only have a property damage claim, a police report can make the insurance claims process easier.
Crashes Involving Unattended Cars or Structures
Some car accidents involve unattended vehicles. If the accident does not disable any vehicles or cause injuries, you follow the same rules about reporting the crash to the police. However, you must locate the car’s owner to report the crash or leave a note with your information and the accident circumstances.
If you hit a building or other structure, the same rules apply. If there is only minor damage and your car is operable, you can locate the owner and exchange information. However, if your car is disabled or someone is injured, you must call the police to report the crash.
What Should I Do After I Report a Car Accident to the Police in Fort Worth?
Most car accidents are reported to the police. Drivers generally wait for police officers to arrive at the accident scene. There are some steps you can take at the accident scene to help you prepare to file a personal injury or property damage claim:
- Do not admit fault or discuss the accident with anyone other than the police officer.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, including the vehicles and property damage.
- Make a video of the accident scene and the surrounding area to capture any evidence you might have missed while taking pictures.
- Ask people who stop for their names and contact information. They could be eyewitnesses or have information to help you with an insurance claim.
After the police officers complete their investigation, seek medical treatment. If EMS comes to the accident scene, do not refuse treatment. Refusing treatment could be interpreted as you stating you were not injured in the accident.
Prompt medical care helps your case, you may be suffering from injuries in your brain, back, chest, or spinal cord, burn injuries, and even catastrophic injuries. Medical records are used to prove you were injured and link your injuries to the car accident.
A Fort Worth car accident lawyer reviews your case during a free consultation and advises you on your legal options. Based on the attorney’s review, you can decide the best way to proceed to improve your chance of receiving fair compensation for your damages.
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 # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107