Drivers involved in accidents causing injury to or death of any person or damage to vehicles causing them to not be normally and safely driven have to immediately give notice of the accident to a local police department when an accident occurs in a municipality, the 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), according to Texas Transportation Code § 550.026. It is further important to note that Texas Transportation Code § 550.062 states that a law enforcement officer investigating a motor vehicle accident must make a written report of the accident when an accident causes 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 also provides 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
- 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
- any person who may sue because of death resulting from the accident
Everybody will want to know their crash identification numbers, 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 police report after an accident. Should police officers not respond to accidents, people may have to file their own reports with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) by filing a CR-2 form or blue form.
How Crash Reports Work in Houston
People have multiple ways to obtain police reports in Houston that usually involve either seeking reports online or by visiting or contacting a local police department. Police reports typically cost $6 for regular copies and $8 for certified copies, with certified copies often being the kinds people need for legal proceedings.
People can get police reports for car accidents in Houston through the Houston Police Department. Requests may be sought in person or by mail through the following address:
Houston Police Department Headquarters
1200 Travis Street
Houston, TX 77002
CR-2s can also be requested through TxDOT. The TxDOT Crash Records Information System (CRIS) Purchase system lets people obtain copies of Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports (CR-3s) by using the Crash Report Online Purchase System link.
TxDOT says that the confidential nature of crash reports means that they are not available for online viewing by the general public. Accident reports are not usually available until 14 days after an accident.
The CR-2 will be the form people themselves file when police officers do not file their own reports following accidents, as police officers complete forms known as CR-3s when they do file police reports. Obtaining a CR-3 will mean TxDOT requires a person to be either a person 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 accidents can be punishable by driver’s license suspensions.
Filing and Reading Police Reports
A CR-2 will require all of the following information:
- Accident location — A CR-2 lists the county and city or town where a crash occurred and the road on which a crash occurred. There can also be information about intersecting streets or whether an accident occurred away from an intersection.
- Date and time of accident — Details in this section include the date of a crash, the day of the week, and the estimated time of the crash.
- Vehicles involved in an accident — An accident report is broken down into vehicles, with the first vehicle being a person’s own vehicle and the second being the other vehicle. Information will include the year model, make, type of vehicle, and license plate number. Additional information can include driver information like name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, sex, and race as well as owner information relating to insurance coverage.
- Damages — This section relates to property damage other than vehicles.
- Injuries — There will be two slots for injured party information that often includes a person’s name, address, age, sex, race, and whether a person was killed. There is another space to describe injuries.
- Driver’s statement — The driver’s statement will be a person’s individual account of their accident, and people may want a lawyer to advise them on what they are saying here. It is a small space, but you can continue on another page when you need additional space.
- Your signature — The signature on a CR-2 report is the final line of a report and means that a person verifies that the information they are providing is correct and factual.
Texas crash reports will often be four pages long. The first page offers a general overview of an accident, including when and where an accident happened and the vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, or other parties involved in the accident.
The first page also says who was involved and any injuries known to an investigating officer at the time a report is written. Police reports can involve several different codes that can be difficult for people to understand, but TxDOT offers a code sheet outlining the meaning of various numerical codes.
The unit is either a single motor vehicle or a pedestrian, bicyclist, or some other road user. A unit number used on the first page will be the same unit number used throughout the report.
The first page will also list the motor vehicle type and its identifying information, such as year, make, model, color, and vehicle identification number (VIN). There can also be names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of vehicle owners.
Drivers and passengers could 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 specify whether a driver was driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Page two documents the injuries, citations, and property damage known to an investigating officer at the time the report is written. Contributing factors to accidents identified by investigating officers could play an important role in liability for an accident.
There is also a narrative section that lets police officers include any details they could not use elsewhere in a report. The second page also has six spaces for identifying people injured or killed in an accident, and supplemental pages might be necessary when there are more than six injuries or fatalities.
Another section will note any tickets or citations issued in connection with an accident. Tickets are often used to demonstrate liability, but people can still be liable even when there is no citation.
The second page also states any non-vehicle property damage. There is another 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 explaining all of the codes used on the prior pages. People must know that while police reports are often central to many accident injury claims, they are not completely faultless because it can be possible that a police officer may not have spoken to both drivers in connection with an accident when one driver had to be transported away for medical care.
Contact Our Houston Car Accident Attorney
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in any kind of car accident in the greater Houston area of Texas? It will be important for you to get in touch with The Patel Firm PLLC as soon as you possibly can because we have extensive experience with car crash claims, and we understand how confusing the accident process can be for most people so we will take the time to walk you through the entire process.
Our firm will know how to obtain the crash report you are seeking and then use the information within that report to help you recover appropriate damages in your case. Call 713-539-1115 or contact our Houston car accident attorney online to set up a free consultation.