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Do You Need a Police Report for Insurance Claims in Texas? 

DO YOU NEED A POLICE REPORT TO FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM IN TEXAS? 

Car accidents can be inconvenient or major disruptions to life. In either instance, they demand your immediate attention to protect yourself physically and financially. Documenting the incident and contacting your insurance are crucial steps to kickstart a claims process.  

 

This may include filing a police report. For car accidents in Texas, informing you on relevant laws and regulations is wise to help your case. This guide answers common car accident questions, such as: 

 

  • What steps must you take immediately after a car accident? 
  • Do you need a police report to file an insurance claim in Texas? 
  • What evidence will you need to support an insurance claim? 

 

We know there is a lot to consider. Keep reading for these answers and more to help you achieve the best possible outcome after a harrowing car accident. 

TEXAS CAR ACCIDENT LAWS AND REGULATIONS 

Texas, unfortunately, ranks among the top 10 most dangerous states for drivers in the U.S. This concerning statistic highlights the need for drivers to know Texas laws that safeguard individuals in the event of an accident.  

 

Several laws and regulations govern how car accidents are handled in Texas throughout the process. These laws ensure proper documentation and processing of the incident, especially in the event of injuries or damage.  

 

In Texas, drivers have mandatory duties they must perform after a car accident occurs. These responsibilities are designed to ensure the safety of everyone involved and to comply with the law. Transportation Code, Chapter 550 outlines:  

 

  • Drivers must immediately stop at or as close to the scene as possible when a collision may have resulted in injuries or damage.  
  • Drivers must determine whether other people were involved in the collision and assess whether aid is needed without delay.  
  • Drivers must stop at the scene without disrupting the traffic flow more than necessary to safely address the collision.  

 

Suppose the accident caused only vehicle damage and not bodily injuries. In that case, drivers only have to remain at the scene until they have met all legal requirements, such as providing their information and offering assistance, except when on busy streets, like a main road or the freeway.  

 

In these situations, drivers should move to a designated location away from traffic.  

WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN ACCIDENT? 

Your first priority in an accident is to focus on safety: 

 

  • Examine yourself and other passengers for injuries; never move anyone with serious injuries.  
  • Assess the situation to see if your car (or the other vehicle) is in a safe position or needs to be moved.  
  • Look at your surroundings to scan for immediate dangers like fire hazards or leaking fluids.  

 

Ensure that everyone involved is out of harm’s way, including yourself. While this always includes checking for bodily harm and assessing damage, it is sometimes necessary to request emergency services right away, including medical personnel or law enforcement.  

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD YOU DOCUMENT IN A CAR ACCIDENT? 

After you’re sure everyone is safe, you can then focus on documenting the incident and exchanging information with other parties involved. Collect:  

 

  • Full names and contact information 
  • Proof of insurance 
  • Vehicle registration information 
  • Driver’s license information 

 

Exchanging this information is not optional—it’s the law.  

 

Document the scene by taking photos of your vehicle, other vehicles involved, and any traffic signs and conditions in the area. This evidence could later help determine who was at fault. 

DO YOU HAVE TO REPORT AN ACCIDENT TO THE POLICE? 

You must report a car accident to the police when the situation meets certain criteria. In Texas, drivers are required by law to report any accident that causes:  

 

  • Injuries 
  • Property damage exceeding $1,000 

 

Failure to report a car accident to the nearest Texas law enforcement agency could result in penalties like fines or potential criminal charges for leaving the scene of the accident.  

IF ANYONE IS INJURED 

Drivers involved in the accident are responsible for rendering reasonable assistance, such as calling 911 and remaining at the scene until first responders arrive.  

IF PROPERTY IS DAMAGED 

Even if the damage appears minor, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and report the accident. There could be legal consequences if you don’t report and the damage exceeds $1,000. 

DO MINOR CAR ACCIDENTS NEED TO BE REPORTED? 

Texas law does not require that every car accident be reported—only those that meet or exceed the mandatory reporting threshold. Still, if the accident doesn’t meet the mandatory threshold, a police report can be invaluable for insurance claims and collision documentation.  

 

While it may be difficult to determine the initial property damage amount after an accident, injuries after an accident can be just as tricky. You may not feel any pain for the first few hours or days after an accident.  

 

Filing a police report at the scene can bring peace of mind if the situation evolves over the days following the accident. It’s much better to be safe than sorry down the road.  

TEXAS CAR ACCIDENT REPORTING PROCEDURES EXPLAINED 

Filing a police report after an accident involves specific procedures and timelines dictated by Texas law. If you call 911 after a car accident, they may or may not send an officer out to take a police report. You should urge them to do so for your records with the insurance company.  

 

Understanding car accident reporting procedures can streamline the process:  

 

  1. Filing a Report: This is done at the scene of the accident. Law enforcement gathers information from all parties involved and documents the circumstances in an official report. 
  1. Requesting a Copy: In most cases, the police report won’t be available immediately after the accident. Drivers must request a copy from the agency that responded to the incident. Depending on their procedures, this can be done in person, by mail, or online. 
  1. Obtaining the Report: Most law enforcement agencies charge a fee for providing a copy of the police report, usually around $5–$10. The copy can be received in 7–10 business days, but depending on the circumstances, it could be longer.  

 

Texas offers an online portal where you can purchase certified copies of crash reports through the Crash Records Information System (CRIS). 

 

Where you file and request a police report depends on the location of the accident: 

 

  • Police reports for accidents that occur within city boundaries are usually obtained from that city’s police department.  

CAN YOU FILE A POLICE REPORT DAYS AFTER AN ACCIDENT IN TEXAS? 

You can file a police report up to 10 days after a car accident in Texas, but it’s better to do so as soon as possible after the incident. Filling a report right away:  

 

  • Ensures the details are fresh in everyone’s minds 
  • Allows you to capture evidence at the scene 
  • Captures information that may determine liability 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T FILE A POLICE REPORT AFTER AN ACCIDENT? 

Failure to report an accident in Texas when required may call for a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment. If injuries or fatalities occur, drivers could face felony charges for not complying with the law. In these cases, you need to secure a police report. 

HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO REPORT AN ACCIDENT IN TEXAS? 

If you are legally required to file a crash report after your accident, the state-mandated 10-day window gives you plenty of time to comply with the law. A police report may also come into play when it’s time to submit an accident claim with your insurance company. Filing a report immediately can facilitate your claim. 

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES 

Failing to report an accident is a violation of Texas law in some circumstances, but there are other consequences to consider as well, particularly for insurance claims, legal actions, and liability.  

INSURANCE CLAIMS 

Insurance companies often rely heavily on police reports when investigating claims and determining fault. Police reports serve as official documentation to back up your claim, and in some cases, a report can make or break it. 

LEGAL ACTIONS 

If you or the other party decides to pursue legal action, the absence of a police report can be detrimental. The courts consider a police report to be an objective account of the accident, and it can be challenging to build a strong case without it.  

LIABILITY 

If you’re accused of fault, a police report can serve as a strong defense. It might contain important details that contradict the other driver’s claims or offer context that establishes liability in your favor. These details can be crucial to disproving accusations of negligence or fault.  

 

If you need assistance understanding your rights, we’re here to help. Get in touch or try our free case calculator to start your journey to justice.  

THE FULL IMPACT OF POLICE REPORTS ON INSURANCE CLAIMS 

The details in a police report, like witness statements and the officer’s assessment of the situation, can help prove who is responsible for the accident. For instance, if the report shows that the other driver was speeding, it can be valuable evidence to attribute liability to that driver.  

 

Without these details, some companies may deny a claim altogether and leave you responsible for out-of-pocket expenses. They may rely on their client’s version of the incident, placing fault upon you. 

 

In a word vs. word scenario, you may not win. This is the importance of a police report.  

WHAT FACTORS OR DISPUTES CAN ARISE IN THE INSURANCE CLAIMS PROCESS? 

Police reports are not always considered conclusive evidence. Insurance companies consider many factors when making a determination. This can sometimes result in disputes that hold up the claims process, such as:  

 

  • Conflicting accounts of the events 
  • Incomplete or inaccurate information 
  • Disagreement with the officer’s assessment 

 

Insurance companies are required to conduct a thorough and fair investigation when handling accident claims. Witness statements, vehicle damage patterns, and expert analysis offer additional insight into the incident. Considering all the available information helps ensure a more accurate investigation.  

DO YOU NEED A POLICE REPORT TO FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM IN TEXAS? 

Whether you need a police report to file an insurance claim after an accident depends on your insurance company. A police report is not legally required for insurance purposes. Though it’s not required in all circumstances, some insurance companies require a police report to process certain types of claims, particularly those involving injuries or damages.  

 

Check your policy or contact your provider to understand their requirements.  

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T SUBMIT A POLICE REPORT TO YOUR INSURANCE? 

When a police report is not filed at all or isn’t submitted in your claim, insurance companies may need to rely solely on statements and any evidence provided by both parties. This can make it far more challenging for them to determine liability and could result in an inaccurate accident assessment.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF FIGHTING FOR A FAVORABLE OUTCOME 

Protecting your health, safety, and legal rights is always paramount, especially in the aftermath of an accident. Here are some expert tips and recommendations to increase your chances of the best outcome:  

 

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, get medical care. Keep any official documentation. 
  1. Capture the Scene: Take photos and videos on your phone or camera and back them up as soon as possible.  
  1. Remain Calm and Cooperative: Provide accurate and truthful information without making statements that could be used against you later.  
  1. Get Witness Accounts: Obtain statements from people who can corroborate your observations.  
  1. Create a File: Keep all documents related to the incident in an organized location, including records, estimates, and correspondences.  

 

Being in an accident can be an overwhelming experience. It’s normal to worry that you may not have covered all the necessary bases. It’s wise to take advantage of professional assistance and the systems in place to help you navigate a challenging time. 

LEVERAGING TxDOT’s CRASH REPORT SYSTEM 

Considering their value in the legal and insurance landscapes, fair and accurate crash reports are critically important.  

 

In Texas, accident reports are handled through the state’s online Crash Reporting and Analysis for Safer Highways (CRASH) system.  

 

This system is worth mentioning for several reasons, especially if you’re unsure whether you should file a police report after your accident.  

ACCURACY 

Crash reports, also known as Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports (CR-3), are subject to specific standards. Still, manual reports are always subject to human error.  

 

The CRASH system integrates features that enhance the accuracy of a police report, like error correction and discrepancy notifications.  

 

WHY IT MATTERS: Officers can avoid errors and accurately enter crucial details about the accident. Highly accurate reports ensure the truth, establishing facts that can become invaluable for your legal or insurance claims.  

EFFICIENCY 

Traditional police reports can be time-consuming and prone to delays. Complex reports require additional resources both at the law enforcement and insurance provider levels to investigate an accident thoroughly. 

 

With the CRASH system, officers can submit an accident report online in as little as 10–15 minutes with a high-level summary of the incident.  

 

WHY IT MATTERS: Filing a Texas crash report could expedite the path to the compensation you deserve. You’re more likely to avoid a lengthy, drawn-out process and can start moving quickly after the accident.  

CONSISTENCY 

Manual police reports could differ significantly across locations, time periods, and law enforcement officers. You may be at the mercy of the officer’s skewed perspective or ability to capture the right information to solidify liability.  

 

The CRASH system employs standardized protocols, diagramming tools, and templates to ensure consistency. 

 

WHY IT MATTERS: The incident is less vulnerable to subjectivity. Built-in tools catch errors and keep reporting metrics consistent, focusing on the facts of the situation rather than personal interpretations.  

 

In short, Texas crash reports are better—and stronger for your case—than ever. In the context of claims and legal proceedings, such a report could very well be the keystone for a successful case.  

THE VALUE OF ADVOCACY AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT 

Even seemingly minor car accidents can become surprisingly complicated. There’s a lot to manage, especially when dealing with legal and insurance complexities. This is where the value of professional help comes in.  

 

Professional guidance and support structures can help you through the process more effectively by:  

 

  • Collecting evidence to protect your rights 
  • Fulfilling your legal obligations 
  • Dealing with insurance companies 
  • Maximizing your potential compensation 

 

Whether it’s compiling accurate documents or assessing the extent of your damages, having someone in your corner can be the difference between a successful process or one marked with unnecessary hurdles. 

 

Don’t go at it alone.  

GET A 5-STAR INJURY LAWYER IN YOUR CORNER 

Having a police report isn’t always necessary to file an insurance claim in Texas, but having one can significantly strengthen your case. An official report bodes better for you should you have any injuries. It’s essential documentation that can bolster your claim for fair compensation. 

 

When it comes to getting the proper compensation you deserve for your injuries, having an experienced attorney on your side makes a major difference. Our legal team is here to guide you through the car accident claims process and fight for your rights. Call the Dallas car accident lawyers at Angel Reyes & Associates. 

 

Should you have any more questions about police reports or need to obtain a police report after a car accident, call our staff now to answer any and all questions you may have at (214)-526-7900. 

 

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need an experienced car accident lawyer specialist to protect your rights against insurance companies dedicated to minimizing your claim and compensation!

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