Do Texas Department of Transportation Crash Reports Help or Hurt Your Injury Case?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation guidelines on accident reporting, any law enforcement officer who, during the regular course of duty investigating a car crash that caused injury or death, should submit a crash report within 10 days. Section 550.062 of the Texas transportation code also requires a report to be submitted to the TxDOT for all investigated crashes that led to property damages of at least $1,000.
If an investigated crash does not involve property damage or injuries, submitting a report on it is not necessary. However, if a victim of the crash dies within 30 days of the accident due to injuries sustained during or as a result of the crash, a supplement ought to be submitted to the TxDOT to indicate fatality and change the injury code to K. The time and date of death should also be added.
Other guidelines for this process are:
- If a test result indicating a high BAC is received later, a supplementary report should be submitted
- Should an original report be submitted later with complementary information, a supplement report needs to be submitted
What Is Included in a TxDOT Crash Report?
Immediately after a crash, victims are encouraged to call the police and report the case for immediate assistance and support. Doing so can make it easier to determine fault and pursue a damage claim.
Once the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they write an official accident report indicating whether that particular accident led to death, an injury, or at least $1,000 in property damages. A police report, in this case, includes but is not limited to:
- Date and time of the accident
- The precise location of the crash
- Names of witnesses, their contact details, and their recorded statements
- An indication of any traffic violations
- Indications of driver negligence (if any)
- A list of factors that played part in causing the crash
How Will a TxDOT Crash Report Affect Your Claim?
To win an accident claim, you must be in a position to prove negligence or fault on the party that caused the accident. You need solid evidence to prove this, and a TxDOT crash report is one of the most substantial pieces of evidence you can obtain to work with for your case.
Should the report indicate that another party caused the accident that led to injuries, property damage, or the death of a loved one, then you will be in a better position to win your claim.
However, if the TxDOT crash report indicates negligence on your part, your injury case will be significantly affected as proving otherwise can be quite difficult. This may lead to the loss of your right to claim damages and, in unfortunate circumstances, you may be held liable for damages to the other party and may have to pay compensation and damages. Your situation could even worsen if the other party levies punitive damages against you.
Are TxDOT Crash Reports Final?
Fortunately, TxDOT crash reports are not enough to dictate the verdict of guilt or innocence of people involved in a car accident. Police reports on crashes are regularly updated as additional evidence, if any, comes up. Other forms of evidence that can be used to build your claim case may include:
- Reports from crash reconstruction officials
- Recordings of a driver admitting to fault
- Witness testimonies
- Surveillance camera footage
- Car dashboard camera recordings
- State of the accident scene
- Record of the driver’s phone activity
While you can count on a police report to build your case against a negligent road user, a good lawyer will help you challenge the report if it damages your case. This will help you get the justice you deserve. With this, once you get a copy of your police crash report, you should carefully review it to ensure it does not have any inaccuracies or inconsistencies that could negatively affect the soundness of your claim.
How to Obtain a TxDOT Crash Report
Regardless of whether a police crash report indicates that you were at fault or otherwise, it is recommended that you get one so that you can know where to start from with your claim, what additional evidence you should gather to challenge the report or back it up, and narrow down all of your other legal options.
TxDOT crash reports are usually available on the 10th day after an accident and can be obtained online. The Texas Department of Transportation keeps these reports for at least 10 years and you can access them anytime within that time frame.
A standard copy of an investigated and filled TxDOT Crash report costs $6, while a certified copy will cost you $8.
You can search for and buy a copy of a TxDOT crash report here.
The report will include the ID number or badge of the investigating officer, names of motorists involved, the date of the crash, and its location.
We Are Ready to Handle Your Claim
If a TxDOT Crash Report indicates fault on the other driver, then you are lucky, and your chances of winning a claim are higher. In such a case, one of our Houston accident lawyers will help you gather supplementary evidence for a stronger claim and more compensation. However, if the police report identifies you as the guilty party, remember that a single report is not always final. Our lawyers are ready to help you challenge such a report based on a professional investigation of the accident and gathering of all relevant accident evidence.
Start your claim process here. We will review your information and we offer free consultations and professional guidance regarding all of your legal options.
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