How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident in Texas
Getting a police report after a car accident can help you fill in a lot of information you will need to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim. If you were involved in an accident, your lawyer or insurance company might request a police report, so it is important to know how to get yourself a copy.
In Texas, there are multiple ways to get a police report for your crash. Typically, the local police are in charge of drawing up the report and making it available. Every police department might use slightly different systems for hosting and distributing these reports. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) also has reports you can request copies of.
If you were injured in a car accident, call The Queenan Law Firm’s Dallas car accident lawyers today for a free case review. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.
Getting an Accident Report Online Through the Police for a Texas Car Accident
As mentioned, local police departments have different ways for people to get their accident reports. The Texas Transportation Code requires law enforcement officers who investigate car accidents to file a report and submit a copy to TxDOT, but these police precincts also tend to keep their own copies and records. You can get a police report by looking up the specific methods for the local police department that responded to the crash.
One common way that police departments provide police reports for car accidents in Texas is through their own websites. For instance, the Arlington, TX Police Department provides a report search tool on its website. You can use this portal to search for records, and it might be easiest to get your copy this way.
Other local police direct you to a service provided by LexisNexis called BuyCrash. For example, the Houston Police Department redirects you to this tool to search for a record and order a report through BuyCrash. Many police departments throughout the country use BuyCrash, so this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a police report for your crash. If the jurisdiction where your accident happened is not listed on BuyCrash, they might not participate with that record system.
If you have trouble retrieving a copy of your police report or cannot get access to a computer to complete the request, try getting a copy by mail or talking to your Arlington car accident lawyers about getting a copy for you.
What Information Do You Need to Get a Police Report Online in Texas?
The information you need will be different depending on which system you use to retrieve an online report. However, there are usually alternative ways to get the report by using any of the following groups of information:
- The report number given to you by police
- Your name and the date of the accident
- Your name and the street where the crash happened
If you are having trouble locating the record online through BuyCrash or a local police department’s records portal, there are two common possibilities.
Often, police reports cannot be located because they simply aren’t online yet. Try waiting a couple of days, then try again. It usually takes at least 7 business days for police reports to become available through online systems.
Alternatively, it’s possible that there were typos or mistakes when the record was put into the system, meaning your name or the street name could be misspelled. It’s possible that the officer that entered the date put it in wrong or mixed up information from multiple reports. Typically, this is not an issue if you use the report number since that number should be automatically generated for your specific accident. Try inputting the information again, as it’s also possible that the problem is just a typo on your end.
Getting a Crash Report Through TxDOT
TxDOT ultimately gets all police report data from across the State of Texas. If your Houston car accident lawyer or insurance company needs a police report, getting a report through TxDOT is usually an option.
The TxDOT website directs people to use their Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.) portal to purchase reports and view reports they’ve previously purchased. Typically, these reports cost $6 for a “regular copy” or $8 for a “certified copy” usable in court. You can also order a subpoena for records for state or federal court for $8.
Getting a Police Report by Mail or In Person in Texas
Local police departments may also have options for mail-in requests or in-person requests for accident reports. Contact the police department that investigated your crash for more information about how to get records from that specific department.
Many mail-in requests require a form that can often be located on the local PD’s website. There may also be a number you can call to request a report over the phone. If you intend to go in person to get a report, you may need to fill out the request form ahead of time, so see if you can print the form from the department’s website and fill it out before arriving.
Who Can Request Police Crash Reports in Texas?
While police reports are held as public records, they are not typically accessible by anyone who feels like looking up a report. TxDOT will only release police reports to certain people listed in the Texas Transportation Code.
This list always includes the person actually involved in the crash, so you should never be denied a report from your own accident. A report can also be retrieved by a parent or guardian – or even an employer, which is common in accident cases involving commercial drivers. Your insurance company or Fort Worth car accident lawyer should also be able to get a copy, but they may ask you to get the copy for them to help save time when you file your claim.
Call Our Texas Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you were injured in a car crash in Texas, the Plano, TX car accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm may be able to help. For a free review of your potential case, contact our attorneys today at (817) 476-1797.