Thankfully, most people aren’t involved in car accidents very often. For this reason, a lot of people genuinely ask themselves, “Do I need a car accident report”? after they’ve been in a car accident.
Car accident reports can have a big impact on your injury case. In Texas, a police officer must prepare an accident report if it involves an injured person. Police officers are also required to complete an accident report if there is more than $1,000 in property damage.
A car accident report must be completed within ten days of the accident. Police officers are busy people, and they are often called to handle life and death situations. For this reason, many 911 operators will question callers in an effort to see if a police report is truly necessary. Even though it’s not intended, the questions from 911 operators can cause some callers to question whether a car accident report is truly necessary. Police accident reports can make or break your case, so don’t feel pressured to avoid having a police officer come to the accident scene if you meet the requirements.
What Information Is Included In A Car Accident Report?
1. Information about the other driver.
Car accident reports include basic information about the parties involved such as their names, addresses, insurance information, license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, and drivers license numbers. This information is helpful for setting up a car accident claim with an insurance company. The information can also be helpful in knowing where to serve the other driver if you eventually need to file a lawsuit.
2. Witness contact information and a brief statement.
Car accident reports don’t provide enough space for detailed witness statements. However, police officers will usually include the phone number, name, and a brief summary of what the witness told the police officer. The brief statements that officers include are typically not enough information to prove your case. However, a driver can get a detailed statement through a deposition if they choose to do so at a later date.
3. Car property damage rating.
Texas car accident reports rate the damage to cars, trucks or motorcycles on a scale of 0 to 7. Insurance companies will consider the amount of property damage when deciding how much your case is worth. An insurance company is unlikely to pay a personal injury settlement if the cars only have minor scratches. On the other hand, substantial property damage to a car will typically cause an insurance company to negotiate a fair car accident injury settlement.
4. The police officer’s conclusion.
After gathering all of the available information from the accident scene, police officers will attempt to determine who was at fault. They will attempt to convey their findings by drawing a diagram of the car accident. Next to the drawing, the police officer will write a narrative, which is a brief description of what they believe happened. The police officer will also list the “contributing factors” they believe caused the car accident.
If the police officer assigns fault to the other driver then there is a greater likelihood that the insurance adjuster will be willing to negotiate a settlement. Likewise, a jury will typically be more likely to award a person with a car accident injury a favorable verdict if the injured person’s version of the facts matches the facts of a car accident report that places the fault on the other driver.
Keep in mind that some of the police officer’s findings will be considered hearsay and may not be admissible, but an experienced trial lawyer will know ways to get around most, if not all, of these issues.
Don’t ask Yourself, “Do I Need a Car Accident Report?” Get One! Then Call Allbee Law Firm!
Accident reports don’t always tell the whole story. Call Mike “Big Mike” Allbee at Allbee Law Firm if you’ve been in an accident if you need an Arlington Personal Injury Lawyer. We also have offices in Dallas and Fort Worth so that we can serve all personal injury victims in the DFW Metroplex. Call us 24/7 at (817) 244-6453. We are more than willing to help you dissect your car accident report for free.