Jason Stephens | January 25, 2022 | Car Accidents
A police accident report can provide valuable information for your insurance claim. The accident report can verify all of the facts you include in the claim. It may even include the investigating officer’s opinion about who caused the car accident.
In Texas, all traffic accident reports go to a central database maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation. The department has an online accident report portal that allows authorized parties to access an electronic copy of the report.
Here are some facts to understand about car accident reports in Fort Worth.
Your Duties After a Traffic Accident
If you are in an accident that causes injury or death, you must:
- Stop at the accident scene
- Assist anyone injured in the crash
- Exchange personal and insurance information with the other drivers
If you fail to perform all of these steps, you risk criminal charges for hit and run.
If your accident causes injury or death or disables your vehicle, you must report the accident to the local police. If the accident did not happen within city limits, you must report the accident to the county sheriff’s department or the Texas Highway Patrol. The quickest way to do this is by calling 911.
The Law Enforcement Officer’s Duties After a Traffic Accident
Law enforcement officers typically investigate accidents that cause injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage. They can also investigate accidents with less than $1,000 in property damage, but they do not need to investigate them under Texas law.
During the officer’s investigation, the officer may:
- Talk to each person involved
- Interview witnesses
- Take photos of the accident scene
- Determine whether any driver was intoxicated
The investigating officer will produce an accident report that contains the officer’s findings. The accident report may also include the officer’s conclusions about who caused the accident.
Contents of an Accident Report
All Texas law enforcement agencies use a standardized crash report form called a CR-3. This form includes fields for:
- Date, time, and location of the crash
- Drivers and passengers
- Vehicle owners
- Insurance policies
- Disposition of each person injured or killed
- Criminal charges or traffic citations issued
- Property damage caused
- Commercial vehicle information for truck accidents
- Contributing road and weather factors
- Narrative of what happened, including diagrams
The law enforcement officer must complete this report and file it with the state within ten days after the accident.
Accessing Your Car Accident Report
You have two options for accessing your car accident report. You can visit the Texas Department of Transportation online portal to download your report. You can also use the Fort Worth Police Department’s online crash report portal. Both of these portals charge a fee to download your report.
The portals also limit who can access the report. Under Texas law, you can only access the report if you are:
- Someone involved in the accident or their authorized representative
- The employer, parent, or legal guardian of a driver involved in the accident
- The owner of a vehicle or property damaged in the accident
- An insurer for any of the vehicles or people involved in the accident
- A radio or television station
- A free newspaper
- Someone who may file a wrongful death lawsuit because of the accident
To access the report, you must affirm that you fall into one of these categories. If you do not fall into any of these categories, you can only access a redacted accident report.
Using Your Accident Report
When you file an injury claim after your accident, the insurance company will review the accident report. This will tell the insurer what happened, who caused the accident, and who got injured.
You should cooperate with the police officer investigating the accident so your accident report aligns with your insurance claim. Any inconsistencies could result in claim denial.
If your injuries allow it, you can also document your accident. A lawyer can often help you bolster your story using your photos, videos, and witnesses from the accident scene. They can also locate and obtain the crash report on your behalf.
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