In the chaos following a car accident, lots of important details can get lost in the shuffle. This is why the State of Texas has a process by which police officers can compile and document the details of an accident. This is known as a crash report. Getting one can make a difference in your search for financial recovery.
All crash reports about accidents in Houston are recorded with the Texas Department of Transportation. These reports contain critical information about an accident and the parties involved, such as descriptions of the accident and surrounding environment, vehicle details, witness statements, and insurance information. The process for obtaining this information can take several days or a few weeks depending on circumstances. Once you get the crash report, you and your attorney can review it for any incorrect information or mistakes, which you have the ability to fix.
Dealing with these important actions after a car accident can be daunting for a victim still reeling from their experience and injuries. That is why the Houston car accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. are here to help. We can offer you an initial consultation on your potential car accident injury claim free of charge. To schedule your appointment today, you can reach us at our offices by calling (817) 476-1797.
Who Files a Car Crash Report in Houston?
After you are in an accident, it is important to get official documentation of the event from an impartial police officer. This is the reasoning behind the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). When called to the scene, Houston police officers will collect information for a crash report. In the instance of an accident that results in injury or death or appears to cause at least $1,000 in property damage, the police officer is bound by Texas law to file their report with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The officer must file the crash report before the end of the 10th day after the crash. Data on crash reports is made available through TxDOT for 10 years once filed.
In order to obtain a crash report, you first need to ensure that one is going to be filed. Be sure to call 911 and ask the dispatcher to send a police unit to the scene of the accident as soon as possible. You can also request that the dispatcher send an ambulance to the scene so that the EMTs can tend to your injuries. If your injuries require that you leave the scene before everything is resolved, the police unit can take care of gathering information for the report so that you can get the medical attention you need.
Administrative Procedure and Costs for Obtaining Crash Reports in Houston
When you purchase a copy of your CR-3 crash report, you must specify the reason for your request. This is because the report must be prepared according to your needs. All crash reports that are intended for legal use must be certified. Uncertified, the cost of obtaining the report is $6. For any legal use requiring certification, the cost is $8.
To request a certified copy of your crash report, you must submit a request by visiting the online purchase system or by manually filling out Form CR-91(titled: Request a Copy of a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report). If proceeding by mail, you must mail your CR-91 with a check or money order for the required payment to the address on the form. Obtaining other forms of police-gathered evidence such as field notes, additional photographs, or body camera footage requires a different process, but your Houston personal injury attorney will be able to help.
Depending on the severity of the accident and the backlog of the department, it could take days or weeks to obtain a copy of your report. Anyone involved in the accident, owners of the affected property, their attorneys, or representatives of insurance companies may request a copy of the crash report.
What You Should Look for in Your Houston Crash Report
Once you receive a copy of your crash report, you should review it thoroughly for completeness and accuracy. A Houston crash report should contain information on all of the following details:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Insurance information (i.e., policy numbers) for all drivers involved
- Make, model, and VIN numbers for all vehicles involved
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license information
- Details about road conditions and weather at the time of the accident
- Speed limits and other road guidance at the scene of the accident
- Statements from drivers and any eyewitnesses
Crash reports are compiled by police officers, who are human and capable of making mistakes, particularly while filling out paperwork. If any of the information contained in the crash report is wrong, incomplete, or misleading, you have the ability to request that the report be amended.
To that end, you may submit any evidence that can speak to your objections with the contents of the crash report. This evidence could include eyewitness statements or visual evidence such as photos or videos. Your lawyers can help you gather this evidence and keep it safe from tampering or misplacement. Having a Houston head-on collision lawyer on your side can greatly improve your chances of getting your crash report changed to help you in your injury recovery.
We Can Help You Obtain and Fix Your Crash Report After a Houston Car Accident
The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. is dedicated to helping the victims of Houston car accidents get the legal and financial help that they need to rehabilitate from their injuries comfortably. If you are interested in obtaining our services, schedule your first appointment with our Houston car accident lawyers for free by calling us at (817) 476-1797.