How Can I Get a Copy of My Houston Car Accident Report?
If you were recently in a car accident in Houston, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the next steps. Focusing on your recovery is naturally important, but so is collecting evidence for insurance claim purposes. Depending on the nature of the accident, taking legal action may be necessary. Whether you are filing an insurance claim, legal claim, or both, you will need to obtain a copy of the car accident report, also known as a Texas Peace Officers’ Accident Report. To find out more, and how to obtain your report, review the following guide.
Where can I get a copy of my Houston car accident report?
You can get a copy of your crash report by going in person to the police department or sheriff’s station where the officer who made the report was working at the time the report was made. Often, the officer who made the report will provide you an information card with the report number, police department information, and other information about the crash that you may need to get the crash report. If you have any questions about whether you are going to the right police station, whether the report is ready, what time of day you can come pick up the report, or any other similar matters, it is usually a good idea to call the police department first to get your questions answered over the phone before going to the station in person.
In addition to visiting the police department, you can make the request by mail or online. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the online and by mail options might be best.
If you opt to go online, visit the Crash Reports Information System (C.R.I.S.) through the Texas Department of Transportation. Should you make the request by mail, you will need to fill out a crash report request form and send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with payment in the form of a check or money order to the appropriate police department.
How much does it cost to get a copy of my Houston car accident report?
Whether you get your report online, by mail, or in person, the fee is six dollars ($6.00) for a non-certified copy of the crash report and eight dollars ($8.00) for a certified copy.
Should I get a certified or uncertified copy of my Houston car accident report?
A certified copy of the crash report is an official version of the document which may be necessary for court or other official proceedings. Since a certified copy is eight dollars whereas the uncertified copy is six dollars, we recommend always getting a certified copy of the report if possible.
What information do I need to get a copy of the report?
The process of obtaining a car accident report in Houston requires furnishing at least two of the following items of information:
- The date and location of the vehicular accident
- The accident report’s incident number
- The names of the person(s) or company involved in the crash, such as the driver and passengers
- The driver’s license number or identification card number of a person involved in the crash
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a vehicle involved in the crash
Providing all of this information up front is recommended, because it allows the staff member at the applicable Houston police department to find the report quickly and make a copy for you.
What information do car accident reports typically include?
A car accident report is created by the police officer on the scene and typically features a detailed description of the accident, including what damage each vehicle sustained. The report may also feature a diagram of the accident scene, the weather and road conditions at the time of the incident, injury descriptions, driver statements (from all drivers involved in the accident), and witness statements, if applicable. The report will also include information if anyone was ticketed for any violations related to the crash, and may include the investigating officer’s opinion as to what caused the crash.
What to do once you have your car accident report
The first thing to do after obtaining a copy of the accident report is to ensure the information it provides is correct. If you notice any errors, such as the incorrect accident date or the wrong number of passengers in your car, contact the police officer who created the report. Send a letter describing what information is wrong and what the report should include instead.
Unfortunately, the police officer may not be willing to correct the information, as they might feel their take on the accident is factual. Should this happen to you, contact a Houston personal injury lawyer before moving forward with your claim to learn how the incorrect information in the police report may or may not affect your claim and discuss what steps you can take to move forward with your claim in light of your specific situation.
Why car accident reports are essential to insurance claims and personal injury cases
Insurance carriers need proof of car accident-related injuries and property damage to provide coverage. Whether you are dealing with your insurance agency or the other driver’s carrier, an accident report provides official proof of your claim. A report also offers the same benefit if you decide to file a personal injury action.
Your attorney reviews the report in exhaustive detail, extracting information that ensures a viable claim. If you need to file a personal injury suit because the opposing driver refuses to cooperate or other factors are at play, the report strengthens your damage request. Common damages in car accident claims include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
If the accident resulted in permanent injuries that prevent you from working full time or at all, you can request reduced earning capacity or disability damages, respectively. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Houston and the rest of Texas is two years from the date of the incident. Claims filed after the deadline expires are typically dismissed by the court.
Filing a claim after a car accident is much easier and less stressful when you work with an attorney from the beginning. It allows you to focus on your recovery while your attorney ensures your claim is error-free and filed well before the statute of limitations expires.
If you need to take legal action after a car accident in Houston, contact The Kishinevsky Law Firm. You deserve compensation for injuries caused by negligent drivers so you are not on the hook for medical bills and other expenses. Our Houston-based practice provides representation for a full suite of personal injury claims, including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
Houston personal injury lawyer Rashmi Parthasarathi represents clients in personal injury claims and has spent several years representing clients in product liability cases who were injured by pharmaceutical and medical device companies who put profits before safety of their products. In January 2020, Rashmi Parthasarathi joined the Kishinevsky Law Firm where she continues working to help clients harmed by the wrongful acts of others to obtain justice, especially individuals being taken advantage of by insurance companies and other large corporations.