When you’ve been in a crash, one of the essential things you’ll need to know is how to get a car accident police report. By law, police in Texas must make a written report if someone was injured or killed in an accident or if there was over $1,000 in property damage. It’s very important to include a copy of the responding officer’s report with your insurance or legal claim to increase your chances of getting a fair settlement. Insurance adjusters often rely on police reports when reviewing claims. Without the police report, your car accident claim will be incomplete and you risk having it denied or being given a lowball offer.
How to Obtain a Police Report
There are several ways you can try to obtain a copy of your crash report. If the Houston Police Department responded to your car crash, and in other areas of the state as well, you can do the following to get a report:
- Go online to TxDOT.
- Request the report by mail.
- Visit the police station.
- Have your attorney obtain a copy.
- Ask your insurance company.
These are the basic steps for how to obtain a police report after an accident. In some smaller municipalities, online access may not be available and you may have to request the report at the police station or through the mail. Also, reports may not be available for several days following your accident. According to the Houston Police, it can take anywhere from five to eight days.
Go Online to TxDOT
You can search for your car accident police report online through the Texas Department of Transportation crash report purchase system. Fees for downloadable reports are $6 for a regular report and $8 for a certified report. A certified report would typically be used for a legal proceeding. If you don’t find your report there, contact the police agency that took the crash report to see if they have their own online system.
Request the Report by Mail
You can also request your police report from TxDOT by mail. To do so, fill out the agency’s CR-91 form, available on its website, and mail it with your payment to P.O. Box 12879, Austin, TX 78711. Or if the Houston Police Department handled your crash, send a request to the department’s Records Division at 1200 Travis St., Houston, TX 77002. You will need to include a crash report request form available on the department’s website, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a check for $6.
Visit the Police Station
Stop by the police station for the department that took the crash report to request a copy. Ask the desk clerk about the process for getting one. You will most likely need to provide the report identification number or other applicable details about your accident. In Houston, you can visit the police department’s Records Division and fill out a request form for your report.
Have Your Attorney Obtain a Copy
If you have an attorney handling your car accident claim, they can do the legwork for you. In addition to obtaining a copy of the police report, an attorney can gather other evidence to help your case. They can also interview eyewitnesses to the accident and identify possible expert witnesses who may be valuable to your claim. In some cases, they may even extract data from electronic devices or work to obtain video footage that help prove what happened.
Ask Your Insurance Company
Another option is to ask your insurance company whether they have a copy of the report. If they do, they may be willing to provide a copy to you for free.
More About How to Get a Police Report After an Accident
When you are requesting a police report after an accident, in addition to paying a fee, you will need to provide details about the crash. Be prepared to provide information such as:
- Date and time of the accident
- Where it happened, including street(s) or highway, and city
- Names of drivers involved
- The incident report number, if the responding officer gave it to you.
You will usually have to provide at least two of these items to get the report.
How a Car Accident Police Report Can Benefit Your Claim
Now you know how to get a car accident police report, but do you know what it contains? Texas car accident police reports include the basics like:
- Date and time of the accident
- Insurance companies and policy numbers for drivers
- Known injuries
- Vehicle damage
- Road, lighting, and weather conditions
- Laws violated.
Additionally, the report may contain the officer’s opinion about what happened, including who was at fault. It might also have eyewitness statements and their contact information. By obtaining a copy of the accident police report, you can see whether there is negative information about you that could potentially affect your claim. If so, your attorney can gather the evidence needed to refute what the officer or witnesses are saying.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys for Help with Your Claim
Car accidents are scary, confusing, and stressful. If you’ve been injured in one, a seasoned attorney can ease your anxiety and work to try to improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Most people do not have the experience necessary to take on insurance company adjusters and lawyers. Car accident attorneys have extensive knowledge about how the insurance system works and will stand up for you every step of the way. If there is misinformation in your car accident police report, we will fight to set the record straight on your behalf. And if the insurance company isn’t offering you a fair settlement for your injuries and damages, we can advise you about your additional options for compensation.
At the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant, our car accident lawyers will work diligently to protect your rights and get you paid for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. You shouldn’t have to take on insurance companies by yourself when another driver caused you injuries. Contact Terry Bryant and our team of car accident attorneys at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free consultation.