If you get into a car accident in San Antonio, there are a few steps you need to take to fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver. One important step is contacting the police so that you can obtain a Texas crash report. The crash report will have key details about your accident that can help you support an insurance claim.
Do You Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident in Texas?
It is recommended that you call 911 to report any car accident to the police in Texas – even a minor collision. However, state law only requires you to report a car accident if it causes injuries, fatalities or property damage that appears to exceed $1,000. If you fail to report a serious crash, you could face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or jail time.
Why Crash Reports Are Important
Even if your car accident was minor and you are not required to report it by law, contacting the police can be useful to you as an injured victim. Reporting your collision can provide you with an official document to use during your insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in Texas. The crash report can help your car accident claim in a few important ways.
Proving Your Accident Happened
Insurance fraud is common enough that insurance companies are careful about the claims they accept. Some policyholders try to stage car accidents or lie about how they sustained their injuries for insurance coverage. One way to prove that you are being honest about your crash is by providing the insurance company with a crash report from the police.
An official crash report drawn up from the scene of your car accident can prove to an insurance company that your car accident took place the way you say it did. If you were involved in a hit-and-run crash, for example, having an accident report can help you prove that you did not cause the property damage yourself. Details from the responding police officer can establish the truth behind your claim.
Documenting Basic Information
You have enough to worry about in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You should have the freedom to focus on your injuries and wellbeing rather than documenting the facts of the crash. If you call the police to respond to the scene of the crash, you benefit from a law enforcement officer recording the basic details about the accident for you.
The police report will list information such as the other driver’s name, the names of any eyewitnesses, vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, and the date, time and location. A car insurance company can use this information to understand the basic facts of the crash before conducting its own investigation.
Providing Evidence of Fault
If the other driver involved in your car accident committed a moving violation, such as speeding or driving under the influence, the police report will document the citation given to the driver by the responding police officer.
Although the citation alone is not indisputable evidence of fault, it can help you prove a case against the other driver. A Texas crash report will also include the responding officer’s opinion as to who or what caused the crash. An insurance company will take this opinion into account.
How to Obtain a Copy of Your Crash Report in Texas
If you wish to obtain a copy of your police report for an insurance claim or your own records, contact the police station in the county where your car accident took place. Give them your police report number and your basic information. If the officer has already submitted the paperwork (typically, officers have 10 days to do so), you can pay a small fee to have a copy mailed to you.
Filing a crash report can be one of the most important things you do after getting into a car accident in San Antonio, Texas. Reporting your accident puts it on the official record and provides documentation you can use during the insurance claims process. For assistance with a crash report, contact a car accident lawyer near you.