Jason Stephens | February 19, 2022 | Car Accidents
Texas law was changed five years ago to eliminate the need to self-report minor car accidents. The only type of accident report that the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) requires and keeps now is police crash reports.
After an accident, you have several legal obligations. These obligations depend on the nature and severity of your accident. As a result, the process for making a police report after an accident in Fort Worth, TX, will vary based on the injuries and damage resulting from it.
Here is an overview of how to make a police report based on the type of accident you have.
Legal Obligations After a Texas Car Crash
Texas law addresses your legal obligations in four scenarios:
Crashes that Cause an Injury or Death or Disable a Vehicle
When a crash causes death or an injury or disables any of the vehicles, you must:
- Stop your vehicle
- Assist anyone injured in the crash
- Report the accident to the police
If you fail to take any of these steps, prosecutors can charge you with hit-and-run.
The police will respond to your call. Police officers will manage the accident scene and investigate the crash. If the crash caused an injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage, the police will prepare and file a police crash report.
Crashes that Only Cause Property Damage and All Vehicles Remain Driveable
In this situation, you do not need to call the police to make a police report. But you do need to stop and exchange information with the other driver.
Even though you do not need to call the police, you can choose to do so. A few reasons you might want to call the police, even for minor property damage, include:
- You might have hidden or delayed injuries
- You might want to create a record for your insurance claim
Texas law does not require the police to prepare a police crash report, but an officer can choose to do so. This will help you in any subsequent injury or property damage claim.
Crashes Involving Unattended Vehicles
If you hit an unattended vehicle, you do not need to call the police unless someone in your car suffers an injury or death or the crash disables your car. If any of these situations apply, you must call the police. The police will create a crash report.
If the damage to the vehicles was minor and both cars remain driveable, you must either:
- Locate the car’s owner or
- Leave a note with your name, address, and circumstances of the crash
When the owner reaches out, exchange insurance information. This type of crash will not result in a police report.
Crashes into Structures
If you hit a structure, like a sign or building, you only need to call the police if the crash injures or kills someone or disables your car. If you do not need to call the police, you still need to take reasonable steps to find the owner and exchange information.
If the crash caused an injury or death or disabled your car, you need to call the police and report the crash. The police will investigate and produce a crash report.
The Police Crash Report
Once you report the accident, the investigating officers will produce the crash report. You should cooperate with the police so that they understand your version of events. This will help you when you file an insurance claim after your accident.
If your claim matches up with the police crash report, a claims adjuster will have fewer excuses to deny your claim. A police report that backs up your version of events can provide powerful evidence in an injury claim.
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