From speeding up the claims process with an insurance provider, to serving as key evidence in a personal injury suit, a car accident report can be incredibly valuable.

Even if a police officer doesn’t respond to the accident scene, there are instances that require you and the other drivers involved to file a car accident report.

Where to Get a Copy of Your Accident Report in Fort Worth

There are several ways to secure a copy of your accident report.

  • Online. You can make your request by visiting the Fort Worth Police Department’s site. If you don’t know the report number, you can search their database by providing the date of accident, the location where it happened, or the name of the insurance providers involved. Because of the confidential nature of the reports, you won’t be able to view your report in detail online.
  • Postal Service. If you want a copy of the report mailed to you, call the police department’s Traffic Division at 817-392-4850.
  • In-person. You can make your request in person by visiting the police department at 1000 Calvert St., Fort Worth, TX 76107.

One thing to keep in mind is that the processing of accident reports is on a first-come, first-serve basis. This means it can take as long as 10 days for you to get your accident report.

When Is Filing a Car Accident Report Required in Texas

If someone experienced injuries or lost their life, or if there was more than $1,000 in property damage in a car accident, state law requires you to file a crash report with the Texas Department of Transportation. 

Links to the right forms are on the agency’s page

If you do not file a crash report as required, you could be facing a year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. 

Understanding What’s Included in Your Accident Report

If you’re unsure about how to read your Texas car accident report, your Fort Worth personal injury lawyer can help you interpret it. 

For each involved driver, the police officer will record:

  • Name, address and contact information
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance information.

As for all involved vehicles, the report will include:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Make and model
  • License plate number 
  • An estimate of the amount of property damage done to each vehicle 

The officer will also include:

  • A brief description of the accident, as well as the conditions that led to or contributed to it
  • Details on seating positions of all passengers
  • Towing information, if needed 

Police officers also make note of all injuries stemming from the accident.

What To Do After a Car Accident in Texas

Statistics from the car insurance industry estimate that U.S. drivers will be in a car accident once every 18 years. 

If you’re in an accident, your first priority should be to check on everyone’s safety – including your own. 

Then, depending on your ability, do the following.

  • Call the police. Notify law enforcement even if there are no injuries, even if no one is hurt. Don’t go along with another driver asking you to settle things without involving police or insurance companies. There’s nothing to prevent the other driver from giving you false information. While you should call 9-1-1 if there are injuries, the non-emergency number for the Fort Worth police Department is 817-392-4222.
  • Get contact and insurance information from all other involved drivers. Keep your conversation with the other drivers to a minimum. Their insurance provider can potentially use anything you say during this time against you.
  • Identify and collect contact information from people who witnessed the accident. Witness testimony can be invaluable, especially if you choose to file a personal injury claim.
  • Be seen by a licensed medical doctor, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms. Some of the most commonly reported car accident injuries, like neck and back injuries, take days or even weeks to reveal symptoms. Plus, taking the time to be examined medically means you took the car accident seriously and were concerned about your health–this is a pivotal step in proving a personal injury claim.
  • Speak with a car accident lawyer. In addition to the potential injuries themselves, a car accident can be extremely costly. Mounting medical bills, lost wages, and property damage can put a serious dent in your finances in a hurry. The sooner you speak with a personal injury attorney about your situation, the better your chances of receiving compensation to cover those expenses. 

Even though a car accident can be a jarring experience, it’s best to be as proactive as possible by doing things like securing a copy of your accident report, being seen by a doctor, and speaking with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer.