Getting into a motor vehicle collision is a very traumatic experience. Not only do you have to recover from the shock and begin the recovery process, but you have to deal with the insurance company. And one of the first things it will ask for is a police report.
If you have never been in a serious car crash or truck collision before, you may not know how to go about getting the incident report. After all, you’re busy fielding calls from the insurance companies, making doctor’s appointments, and maybe arranging to take time off of work. Who has time to fetch a police report?
Any Dallas car accident attorney will tell you that the police report will have vital information that you need in order to receive fair compensation for your injuries. It generally answers two of the most important questions you will face after a car crash—what happened and who is at fault? Let’s dive into what you need to know:
What Information Does a Police Report Contain?
A police report is usually created by the investigating officer at the scene of the accident. It typically contains the following information and more:
- The date and time the collision occurred;
- The location of the collision, including the town and county;
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the car crash;
- Contact information and details about each of the drivers involved in the wreck;
- Information about passengers in the vehicles and the owners of the vehicle;
- Details about the accident and the vehicles, including a diagram of the placement of the vehicles at the time of the collision;
- Details about who was injured and whether anyone received a citation;
- A brief summary of what happened, taken from statements from the vehicle occupants and witnesses at the scene; and
- Investigating one’s opinions about who was at fault.
How Do I Get a Police Report?
The application to obtain a copy of the police report can usually be done in person, via mail, or online via the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). For instance, you can obtain a copy of the police report right away if the Texas Department of Transportation has already made the report available online for purchase. There is a small charge to use the TxDOT report purchasing system, and due to the confidential nature of the reports, they are not available for general viewing online by the public.
Usually, the police will provide the drivers involved the police report number before they leave the scene. This report number can be used to obtain the Police Report when it is completed. Sometimes, the police will provide you with a crash receipt following the accident. This isn’t a full report but will provide you with important information such as the date and location of the accident and the other party’s information.
If you have any trouble obtaining your crash report well after the incident, a Dallas car accident attorney can help you get the information.
Why Do I Need a Police Report?
The crash report for your collision will contain crucial information about your case. The police take the time to investigate the collisions, inspect the vehicles, talk to witnesses, and they may take photographs of the scene.
Also included in the police report will be opinions by the police as to what was the cause of the crash and who may be at fault—critical information that could bolster your personal injury claim.
After your collision, you will likely file a claim with the at-fault’s insurance company which will then review the details of the collision and medical records to determine how much compensation you’re owed (if they believe they owe you any).
Unfortunately, many car collision cases can get complicated quickly. Even if you have ample evidence proving you were not responsible for the collision, insurance adjusters may not agree with your version of the events. In some cases, they may try to prove you were partially responsible or pin the blame on you entirely.
The independent and unbiased assessment contained in a police crash report can be a valuable asset to your claim if any details or fault determinations are called into question. However, it is important to remember that the police do not have the final say about civil fault and liability for a crash.
A Dallas Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Obtain Your Police Report
Without the report, you may have trouble proving your side of the story. And the days following a car collision can prove overwhelming. This is one step in the process that you do not want to forget.
An experienced and compassionate Dallas car collision attorney from The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare can help you navigate this process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.