Texas Transportation Code § 550.026 establishes that a motor vehicle operator involved in any accident causing injury to or death of any person or damage to a vehicle such that it cannot be normally and safely driven must immediately give notice of an accident to a local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality, local police department or the sheriff’s office when an accident occurs not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality, or a sheriff’s office or nearest office of TxDOT if an accident is not required to be reported under Texas Transportation Code § 550.026(a)(1) or Texas Transportation Code § 550.026(a)(2). Under Texas Transportation Code § 550.062, a law enforcement officer who investigates a motor vehicle accident must make a written report of the accident when an accident results in injury to or the death of any person or damage to property of any person to the extent of $1,000 or more, and Texas Transportation Code § 550.065 states that upon written request and payment of any required fees, the department or the governmental entity must release accident information to an entity described by Texas Transportation Code § 550.065(b), a law enforcement agency employing a peace officer investigating an accident and sending the information to the department, a court in which a case involving any person involved in an accident is pending if the report is subpoenaed, and any person directly concerned in an accident or having a proper interest therein, including any person involved in an accident, an authorized representative of any person involved in an accident, a driver involved in an accident, an employer, parent, or legal guardian of any driver involved in an accident, the owner of a vehicle or property damaged in an accident, a person who established financial responsibility for a vehicle involved in an accident, an insurance company issuing an insurance policy covering any vehicle involved in an accident, an insurance company issuing a policy covering any person involved in an accident, a person under contract to provide claims or underwriting information to any person described by Texas Transportation Code § 550.065(c)(4)(F), Transportation Code § 550.065(c)(4)(G), or Transportation Code § 550.065(c)(4)(H), a radio or television station holding a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a newspaper that is a free newspaper of general circulation or qualified under Texas Government Code § 2051.044 to publish legal notices, published at least once a week, and both available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news, or any person who may sue because of death resulting from the accident.
A person will need to know their crash identification number, the name of any person involved in a car accident, the date of an accident, and/or the location of an accident to obtain a crash report after an accident. If police do not respond to an accident scene, a person may have to file their own report with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) by filing a CR-2 form or blue form.
How Crash Reports Work in Dallas
The two ways people can obtain police reports in Dallas are generally online or by visiting a police department in person. Police reports cost $6 for regular copies and $8 for certified copies, which are the types people customarily need for legal proceedings.
People can get police reports for car accidents in Dallas through the Open Records Unit of the Dallas Police Department. The Dallas Police Department does not currently offer a way for people to request police reports after car accidents online, but the TxDOT Crash Records Information System (CRIS) Purchase system allows people to search for crash reports and download previous purchases.
TxDOT says that the confidential nature of crash reports means that they are not available for online viewing by the general public. Accident reports typically do not become available until 14 days after an accident.
While a CR-2 will be the form people will file when they do not deal with police following an accident, police officers complete a form known as a CR-3. To obtain a CR-3, TxDOT requires a person to be an individual involved in an accident, an authorized representative of a person involved in an accident, a parent, legal guardian, or employer of a person in an accident, or a person who has established themselves as financially responsible for one of the vehicles.
Police officers and people must file crash reports with TxDOT within 10 days of accidents. Failure to report an accident can lead to a possible driver’s license suspension.
Filing and Reading Police Reports
If a person completes their own crash report, they must have all of the following information:
- Date and time of accident — While the actual time of a collision could be a guess, people should still know the actual dates that accidents happened.
- Accident location — It is important to note the county or city an accident occurred in as well as any specific roadways.
- Weather conditions — If weather was a factor in any kind of accident, it should be noted.
- Automobiles involved in an accident — A person will want to make their own vehicle the primary vehicle in a report.
- Damages — Note all damaged property.
- Injuries — Note all injuries people suffered in an accident.
- Driver’s statement — A driver’s statement is a person’s individual account of an accident.
- Your signature — Signing a CR-2 report means a person verifies that the information they are providing is correct and factual.
Most Texas crash reports are four pages. The first page provides a general overview of an accident, including when and where it happened as well as the vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, or other parties involved in the accident.
The first page will document who was involved and any injuries known to an investigating officer at the time a report was written. Police reports can involve many different codes that may be difficult for people to understand, but TxDOT offers a code sheet outlining the meaning of various numerical codes.
A unit is either a single motor vehicle or a pedestrian, bicyclist, or some other road user. A unit number used on the first page is the same unit number used throughout a report.
The first page will also list the motor vehicle type and its identifying information, like year, make, model, color, and vehicle identification number (VIN). There will also be the names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of vehicle owners.
Drivers and passengers can be listed on the first page with codes indicating injuries and whether they were ejected, extracted, or required other safety equipment. The first page will also note whether a driver was driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Page two documents injuries, citations, and property damage known to an investigating officer at the time a report is written. Contributing factors to an accident identified by an investigating officer can play an important role in liability for an accident.
There will also be a narrative section that allows police officers to include details they could not use elsewhere in the report. The second page provides six spaces for identifying the people injured or killed in an accident, and supplemental pages could be necessary when there were more than six injuries or fatalities.
The section below chronicles any tickets or citations issued in connection with an accident. Although a ticket can certainly be used to demonstrate liability, a person may still be liable even when there is no citation.
The second page also notes any non-vehicle property damage. There will also be a section for contributing factors, and the final section is the officer’s narrative and a diagram of the accident.
The third and fourth pages are the same TxDOT code sheets that explain all of the codes used on the prior pages.
Police reports will be vital to many personal injury cases because they often include evidence relating to an accident and also reveal whether a driver broke the law while driving. It is important to understand that police reports are not always the final word in court because some police officers may only be able to speak to one driver following an accident when another person had to be transported for medical attention or died from their injuries.
Contact Our Dallas Car Accident Attorney
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in any kind of car accident in the greater Dallas area of Texas? Do not wait to contact The Patel Firm PLLC for help with your automobile accident claim, as we have extensive experience helping people with all kinds of motor vehicle crashes.
Our firm has literally recovered millions of dollars for our clients in all kinds of personal injury cases. Call (361) 287-7242 or contact our Dallas car accident attorney online to set up a free consultation.