Brian White | May 27, 2021 | Car Accidents
According to the Houston Police Department, accident reports require five to eight days to process before they are available to the public. After that time, car accident reports are handled by the Records Division.
It is important to note that five to eight-day turnaround time is an estimate of the processing time. Some car accident reports could be delayed. For example, if the officers are investigating a DUI, traffic fatality, or other complicated matter, it could take several weeks for the crash report to become public.
If you wish to obtain a copy of an accident report, you must have at least two of the following pieces of information:
- The date of the motor vehicle accident
- The location of the car accident
- The names of the drivers and parties involved in the crash
- The incident number for the accident report
There are three ways that you can obtain a copy of a Houston car accident report. You can purchase the accident report online through the Texas Department of Transportation or BuyCrash (use Houston Police Department as the jurisdiction).
You may also request a copy of the car accident report by mail. You must send a completed Houston Police Department Crash Report Request Form (H.B. 2633), a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a check or money order for $6 payable to the City of Houston. Mail your request to the Houston Police Department, Records Division, 1200 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002.
You may also request a copy of a car accident report by visiting the Records Division in person. The office is located in the Edward A. Thomas Building on the First Floor at 1200 Travis Street, Houston, Texas 77002.
Why Do I Need a Copy of My Car Accident Report?
Obtaining a copy of your car accident report is an important step in proving a personal injury claim. A crash report contains valuable information your attorney can use to investigate how the accident occurred.
The police report may contain the names and contact information of eyewitnesses. The report may also contain statements made by individuals at the accident scene. This information gives you a starting point for tracking down and interviewing witnesses.
Eyewitness testimony can be the critical piece of evidence that proves your personal injury claim. If you and the other driver have very different versions of the car crash, the jury members may have difficulty believing either of you. However, if you have an eyewitness to back up your story, that could convince jury members to believe you.
An eyewitness does not have a stake in the outcome of the trial. Therefore, jury members may give the testimony of an eyewitness more weight than the testimony of the parties to the lawsuit.
Statements Made by Drivers
The police officer may have notated statements made by either of the drivers at the accident scene. In some cases, a driver may admit fault or say something that could lead a jury to believe the driver was admitting fault. Having that information could significantly improve your negotiating power with the insurance company.
Weather and Road Conditions
In some cases, weather and road conditions could be factors in the cause of a car accident. Having that information might help you establish that the other driver was driving too fast for conditions at the time of the crash.
Diagram of the Accident Scene
If your injuries prevented you from taking pictures or making a video of the accident scene, a diagram on a crash report could be the only evidence that shows the placement of the vehicles after the collision. This information can assist an accident reconstructionist in recreating the crash to identify the cause of the wreck.
Additionally, if the other driver’s testimony contradicts your testimony about the accident scene, the police officer can testify about drawing the diagram. His testimony could help you establish the cause of the accident.
Citations and Traffic Violations
Violating traffic laws is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. The police officer notes if either driver was ticketed with a traffic violation. While a traffic ticket might not be sufficient proof to establish fault, it can assist in proving the other driver was negligent or careless, and those actions led to the cause of the car accident.
There is much more information included in a car accident report. Your lawyer reviews the report and analyzes each piece of information to determine how it relates to your case. You never know if the key piece of evidence that will prove you are entitled to compensation from the other driver will be on the car accident report completed by a police officer.