An accident can leave you injured and traumatized. You are likely in shock and disbelief following an accident, especially if you were injured. One of the last things you may think about is filing a police report. However, you must file a crash report if one has not already been filed.
The police accident report will officially document the incident and will allow you to make a written statement regarding how the accident occurred.
Always call the police if you sustained any injury from the accident with a big rig. Do not simply exchange information with the truck driver. Call the police if anyone is hurt or if the damage to your car is significant.
All too often, a negligent driver will change their story after they have left the scene. Getting the police to the scene is the best way to prevent someone from changing their story.
How to Report an Accident
Not only is it a good idea to file a police report, but it is also the law. Texas law requires you to file a police report following an accident in which injuries, fatalities, or property damage exceeds $1,000. The easiest way to file a report is to call the police immediately from the accident scene. However, sometimes the police don’t respond to seemingly minor accidents.
You may also report the accident at the police station or online. Houston accidents should be reported to the Houston Police Department.
What to include in an accident report:
- Name, address, and driver’s license number for all drivers
- Make, model, and license plate number as well as VIN for all vehicles (if available)
- The exact location of the accident
- Date and time of the accident
- Driver statement of the accident
- List of injuries
- List of property damage
It is important to fill out the form completely to avoid any confusion. The most important part of the report will likely be the driver’s statement. Make sure you make the statement as thorough as possible and state the facts without embellishment.
An officer making the report will author a part called “factors and conditions.” That part will contain the officer’s opinions on fault. While a jury will not hear the officer’s opinion on fault most of the time, the opinion will carry weight with the insurance company. Usually, if the officer finds fault, there is a legitimate reason.
The whole crash report is generally not admissible in court, but the report as redacted can be used to establish the main facts of the case.
How do I Get a Copy of the Accident Report?
Driver crash reports are known as CR-3s and are gathered by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). You can obtain a copy of the report by requesting one from TxDOT. Crash reports cannot be viewed online since they are considered private information.
It is best to obtain a copy of the crash report as soon as it becomes available and provide a copy to your truck accident attorney for review. Here is how to get a Houston crash report online.
Your attorney will evaluate the report for accuracy and determine its usefulness in your case. In some instances, the crash report could be used against you. A skilled truck accident lawyer must know what is in the report to take the proper steps to preserve your rights.
Remember that you should not answer questions from the insurance company or sign any type of settlement agreement until your attorney reviews it. The insurance company sometimes offers you a low settlement to resolve the matter quickly.
But 18-wheeler settlements can vary greatly. Always consult the best attorney in your area who is experienced in truck accident lawsuits.
Contact a Preeminent Truck Accident Law Firm in Houston
Before you consider any settlement offers, make sure that you contact an experienced Houston trucking accident attorney.
Contact the personal injury team at Baumgartner Law Firm today to discuss the details of your case with a FREE consultation. Call (281) 587-1111!