Should I Get a Police Report After a Houston Car Accident?

Home ยป Car Accidents ยป Should I Get a Police Report After a Houston Car Accident?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, at least one reportable motor vehicle crash happened every 56 seconds in 2019. If this statistic seems high to you, keep in mind that a lot of car crashes go unreported because both parties want to resolve a minor accident without the involvement of law enforcement. They exchange auto insurance company information and agree on a fair settlement.

Following a car accident, people’s first instinct is to call their insurance adjuster instead of the police. Understandably, if the damage is small and nobody is hurt, why would you file a police report when things can be solved by negotiating? However, acquiring a police report can give you the leverage you need to protect yourself and guarantee fair compensation from the incident.

Why People Don’t Report Car Accidents

When a person is involved in a motor vehicle collision, you’d think that their first instinct would be to call the police. However, there are several reasons why people prefer to talk it out with the other party rather than involve the police:

They Assess The Damage as Minimal

The first thing people do when they get into a car accident is to assess the damage.. If the vehicle damage is mere dents and cracks, one or both parties might decide that it’s not worth staying and waiting for the police department to arrive. In most cases, these people just exchange contact and insurance company information and leave it to their insurance companies to file claims to cover the vehicle repair cost.

They Are Busy

A car rear-ends you and your car’s taillights are cracked. However, you have an important meeting in 10 minutes and you simply cannot be late. In a lot of cases, a minor accident gets resolved quickly because both parties need to be somewhere and don’t have time to sit around and talk about the damages. If the damage doesn’t affect the car’s ability to function, both parties may decide to simply exchange contact and insurance company information and talk about the details later.

They Feel Guilty

A person might feel the need to resolve the situation without police assistance for fear of being found at fault. It’s not uncommon to see a common car accident where both parties are at fault, in varying degrees.. For example, a car sideswiped your vehicle because the other driver made a left turn without signaling. The other driver apologizes, and you decide to resolve the matter quickly because you were distracted and were partly responsible for the accident.

When Should a Car Accident be Reported

Until now, people still don’t feel the need to report every single motor vehicle accident they get into. However, there are situations where police intervention is considered a must:

  • One party is intoxicated
  • Car damage is extensive
  • The injured party requires medical assistance
  • One party is uncooperative or disagreeable
  • The other party is an uninsured driver.

The Importance of Getting a Police Report

Many experts recommend getting an accident report even with minor incidents to protect yourself and to ensure that you follow Texas traffic laws. Even if the damage is minimal, it’s better to call 911 and let the police department decide if the incident requires police intervention or not.

Police reports serve as a credible account of events

Following an automobile collision, one or both parties may feel disoriented and dazed, and their understanding of the situation may not be accurate. A policeman on the scene of the accident can assess the situation objectively and create a report that describes the incident in the most credible and authentic way.

Easy insurance claim process

The insurance company may ask for a copy of the report to help expedite the investigation process. Because the report was put together by a policeman or a peace officer, it holds more weight and can help them determine whether they should accept or deny your accident settlement claim.

It can be used in small claims court

If you want to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, police reports may help give a clear and objective account of what happened. Keep in mind that while these reports are accepted in small claims courts, they may or may not be accepted as evidence in circuit court.

Police intervention can help alleviate disagreements

Having a police officer present at the accident scene can help alleviate problems. Usually, both parties come to an understanding on their own, but what if the other driver refuses to give their insurance company information to you, or keeps insisting that you’re the at fault party? A peace officer on-site can help keep things civil and facilitate the exchange of contact information. If the other driver is particularly unruly, you may want to call an experienced car accident lawyer by your side to defend you..

How to File a Police Report

The reason why most people forgo getting an accident report is that they think the process is lengthy and requires a lot of effort. However, acquiring one is easier than you think, especially if you call 911 as soon as you get into a car accident. Here is a short step-by-step guide on how to secure a police report:

  1. Immediately call 911 to report the accident. The dispatcher will ask you questions and depending on your answer, they may or may not send paramedics along with the officer. In Harris county, 911 dispatches peace officers for car crashes.
  2. Once the officer arrives at the scene, they will assess the situation and interview both parties if they are uninjured.
  3. Both parties will be asked for their contact and insurance company information. Harris County automobile insurance laws require drivers to have at least a basic auto insurance policy, and a driver can be fined if they don’t have insurance.
  4. If driver fault is obvious, such as in the case of a drunk driving or distracted driver, the officer will then write up the necessary tickets.
  5. The officer will interview witnesses to get more information. If there are no witnesses, the officer can request security camera footage from the area.
  6. Once the officer is done with their investigation, they will give you a receipt so you can claim the report. Usually, the officer will give you their basic information and if they don’t, it’s your right to ask for it.
  7. The officer will then create what’s called the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports, or CR-3, and you can obtain a copy of this report for a fee.
  8. If you don’t want to go through the process of acquiring the report for yourself, or if you don’t want to pay for it, you can always go to your insurance adjuster and ask for a copy if they have already requested it.
  9. If no police officer was dispatched, you can purchase a crash report through the Texas Department of Transportation website.

What Happens When You Don’t Report a Collision?

What are the consequences of trying to resolve a car accident on your own? Obviously, without an experienced attorney and police officer present, verbal agreements between both parties are not legally binding and don’t hold any value. If you don’t seek the intervention of a peace officer, you might run into the following problems:

The other driver might change their story

Imagine having a civil conversation with the at fault driver involved in the accident. You exchange information and they promise that their insurance company will take care of everything. A few days later, you find out that the insurance company has denied your auto accident claim, all because the other driver changed their story and put the blame on you.

Initially, the other driver might be okay with a quick settlement, but they can change their mind and file a personal injury lawsuit against you on their accident attorney’s advice. If you don’t want to file an initial accident report, it’s still better to have an auto accident lawyer or police officer to mediate. Keep in mind that personal injury law states that a personal injury lawsuit has a statute of limitation of up to 2 years, so an accident lawsuit can come back to haunt you long after you’ve forgotten about the incident.

Injuries are not apparent immediately

When the human body experiences a severe injury, it releases a substance called Adrenaline, which is also a pain blocker. Because adrenaline is still present in your veins after a qualified car accident, an accident injury can remain unnoticed until later. Some people drive away from a car accident just fine, only to experience pain later on. By this time, the other driver is long gone from the accident scene and you may need to shoulder the medical expenses on your own.

Of course, you can always file a personal injury claim to have your medical bills reimbursed. Your personal injury attorney can use your medical record as evidence, although the process will be a lot smoother if you filed a police report.

Do You Need an Auto Accident Attorney?

We’ve established the importance of having a police or peace officer at the scene and securing the accident report. However, do you also need to have an auto accident attorney beside you throughout the process?

While in most cases, a police officer’s intervention is enough, there are situations wherein having an experienced car accident lawyer can ensure you get fair compensation if you are the accident victim. For example, if the police are having a hard time pointing out the fault driver, a lawyer can defend you and protect your rights.

Also, if the other party’s insurance company is giving you a hard time, having an experienced car accident attorney by your side ensures you get a quick settlement for your vehicle repair.

Automobile collision might be a common occurrence in Harris county, but it doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Save yourself from the mental anguish of chasing after collision insurance claims and negotiating with the other party. The accident lawsuit experts at McDonald Worley will ensure that you get the maximum compensation you deserve and that you’re protected from any dubious property damage claim that comes your way.

Meta description: Should you file a report for every car crash? Learn about how a police report can protect you from legal troubles and additional expenses if things go wrong.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, at least one reportable motor vehicle crash happened every 56 seconds in 2019. If this statistic seems high to you, keep in mind that a lot of car crashes go unreported because both parties want to resolve a minor accident without the involvement of law enforcement. They exchange auto insurance company information and agree on a fair settlement.

Following a car accident, people’s first instinct is to call their insurance adjuster instead of the police. Understandably, if the damage is small and nobody is hurt, why would you file a police report when things can be solved by negotiating? However, acquiring a police report can give you the leverage you need to protect yourself and guarantee fair compensation from the incident.

Why People Don’t Report Car Accidents

When a person is involved in a motor vehicle collision, you’d think that their first instinct would be to call the police. However, there are several reasons why people prefer to talk it out with the other party rather than involve the police:

They Assess The Damage as Minimal

The first thing people do when they get into a car accident is to assess the damage.. If the vehicle damage is mere dents and cracks, one or both parties might decide that it’s not worth staying and waiting for the police department to arrive. In most cases, these people just exchange contact and insurance company information and leave it to their insurance companies to file claims to cover the vehicle repair cost.

They Are Busy

A car rear-ends you and your car’s taillights are cracked. However, you have an important meeting in 10 minutes and you simply cannot be late. In a lot of cases, a minor accident gets resolved quickly because both parties need to be somewhere and don’t have time to sit around and talk about the damages. If the damage doesn’t affect the car’s ability to function, both parties may decide to simply exchange contact and insurance company information and talk about the details later.

They Feel Guilty

A person might feel the need to resolve the situation without police assistance for fear of being found at fault. It’s not uncommon to see a common car accident where both parties are at fault, in varying degrees.. For example, a car sideswiped your vehicle because the other driver made a left turn without signaling. The other driver apologizes, and you decide to resolve the matter quickly because you were distracted and were partly responsible for the accident.

When Should a Car Accident be Reported

Until now, people still don’t feel the need to report every single motor vehicle accident they get into. However, there are situations where police intervention is considered a must:

  • One party is intoxicated
  • Car damage is extensive
  • The injured party requires medical assistance
  • One party is uncooperative or disagreeable
  • The other party is an uninsured driver

The Importance of Getting a Police Report

Many experts recommend getting an accident report even with minor incidents to protect yourself and to ensure that you follow Texas traffic laws. Even if the damage is minimal, it’s better to call 911 and let the police department decide if the incident requires police intervention or not.

Police reports serve as a credible account of events

Following an automobile collision, one or both parties may feel disoriented and dazed, and their understanding of the situation may not be accurate. A policeman on the scene of the accident can assess the situation objectively and create a report that describes the incident in the most credible and authentic way.

Easy insurance claim process

The insurance company may ask for a copy of the report to help expedite the investigation process. Because the report was put together by a policeman or a peace officer, it holds more weight and can help them determine whether they should accept or deny your accident settlement claim.

It can be used in small claims court

If you want to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, police reports may help give a clear and objective account of what happened. Keep in mind that while these reports are accepted in small claims courts, they may or may not be accepted as evidence in circuit court.

Police intervention can help alleviate disagreements

Having a police officer present at the accident scene can help alleviate problems. Usually, both parties come to an understanding on their own, but what if the other driver refuses to give their insurance company information to you, or keeps insisting that you’re the at fault party? A peace officer on-site can help keep things civil and facilitate the exchange of contact information. If the other driver is particularly unruly, you may want to call an experienced car accident lawyer by your side to defend you.

How to File a Police Report

The reason why most people forgo getting an accident report is that they think the process is lengthy and requires a lot of effort. However, acquiring one is easier than you think, especially if you call 911 as soon as you get into a car accident. Here is a short step-by-step guide on how to secure a police report:

  1. Immediately call 911 to report the accident. The dispatcher will ask you questions and depending on your answer, they may or may not send paramedics along with the officer. In Harris county, 911 dispatches peace officers for car crashes.
  2. Once the officer arrives at the scene, they will assess the situation and interview both parties if they are uninjured.
  3. Both parties will be asked for their contact and insurance company information. Harris County automobile insurance laws require drivers to have at least a basic auto insurance policy, and a driver can be fined if they don’t have insurance.
  4. If driver fault is obvious, such as in the case of a drunk or distracted driver, the officer will then write up the necessary tickets.
  5. The officer will interview witnesses to get more information. If there are no witnesses, the officer can request security camera footage from the area.
  6. Once the officer is done with their investigation, they will give you a receipt so you can claim the report. Usually, the officer will give you their basic information and if they don’t, it’s your right to ask for it.
  7. The officer will then create what’s called the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports, or CR-3, and you can obtain a copy of this report for a fee.
  8. If you don’t want to go through the process of acquiring the report for yourself, or if you don’t want to pay for it, you can always go to your insurance adjuster and ask for a copy if they have already requested it.
  9. If no police officer was dispatched, you can purchase a crash report through the Texas Department of Transportation website.

What Happens When You Don’t Report a Collision?

What are the consequences of trying to resolve a car accident on your own? Obviously, without an experienced attorney and police officer present, verbal agreements between both parties are not legally binding and don’t hold any value. If you don’t seek the intervention of a peace officer, you might run into the following problems:

The other driver might change their story

Imagine having a civil conversation with the at fault driver involved in the accident. You exchange information and they promise that their insurance company will take care of everything. A few days later, you find out that the insurance company has denied your auto accident claim, all because the other driver changed their story and put the blame on you.

Initially, the other driver might be okay with a quick settlement, but they can change their mind and file a personal injury lawsuit against you on their accident attorney’s advice. If you don’t want to file an initial accident report, it’s still better to have an auto accident lawyer or police officer to mediate. Keep in mind that personal injury law states that a personal injury lawsuit has a statute of limitation of up to 2 years, so an accident lawsuit can come back to haunt you long after you’ve forgotten about the incident.

Injuries are not apparent immediately

When the human body experiences a severe injury, it releases a substance called Adrenaline, which is also a pain blocker. Because adrenaline is still present in your veins after a qualified car accident, an accident injury can remain unnoticed until later. Some people drive away from a car accident just fine, only to experience pain later on. By this time, the other driver is long gone from the accident scene and you may need to shoulder the medical expenses on your own.

Of course, you can always file a personal injury claim to have your medical bills reimbursed. Your personal injury attorney can use your medical record as evidence, although the process will be a lot smoother if you filed a police report.

Do You Need an Auto Accident Attorney?

We’ve established the importance of having a police or peace officer at the scene and securing the accident report. However, do you also need to have an auto accident attorney beside you throughout the process?

While in most cases, a police officer’s intervention is enough, there are situations wherein having an experienced car accident lawyer can ensure you get fair compensation if you are the accident victim. For example, if the police are having a hard time pointing out the fault driver, a lawyer can defend you and protect your rights.

Also, if the other party’s insurance company is giving you a hard time, having an experienced car accident attorney by your side ensures you get a quick settlement for your vehicle repair.

Automobile collision might be a common occurrence in Harris County, but it doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Save yourself from the mental anguish of chasing after collision insurance claims and negotiating with the other party. The accident lawsuit experts at McDonald Worley will ensure that you get the maximum compensation you deserve and that you’re protected from any dubious property damage claim that comes your way.

Meta description: Should you file a report for every car crash? Learn about how a police report can protect you from legal troubles and additional expenses if things go wrong.