Brian White | February 27, 2023 | Car Accidents
Houston witnesses nearly 200 traffic accidents per day and more than 250 deaths per year. The filing of a car accident police report, known in Texas as a crash report, is a routine part of the claim resolution process. Can you file a claim without a police report? Maybe. Usually, however, you need a police report to stand your best chance at personal injury compensation.
The Contents of a Houston Police Report
A police report typically includes a substantial amount of information related to the accident. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following:
- The names and contact details of the parties to the accident;
- The names and contact details of any witnesses;
- The name of the officer who filled out the report;
- The date, time, and location of the crash;
- Information on the vehicles involved (VIN, license plate number, and more);
- Drivers’ license information for the drivers;
- Whether seat belts were used;
- Whether airbags deployed;
- Whether the officer administered a sobriety test;
- Whether a driver refused a sobriety test;
- Insurance information about the drivers;
- A description of injuries and property damage;
- The name of the hospital where injured parties were taken;
- Whether the police issued any citations;
- The officer’s opinion of the cause of the accident (including fault);
- Witness statements (perhaps); and
- A diagram of the accident from the responding officer’s point of view.
It is easy to see how you can use a police report to resolve a car accident claim. It is possible, however, to challenge the contents of a police report.
How To Obtain a Police Report in Houston
To obtain a police report concerning a car accident in Houston, navigate to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions web page. You can also get a police report by mailing or visiting the Records Division of the Houston Police Department. A police report should be available five to eight days after the accident. You will need to submit two of the following four items of information about the accident:
- The location of the accident;
- The date of the accident;
- The accident number (ask the responding officer); or
- The names of the drivers or other parties involved.
The cost is $6.00. Keep in mind that you must be a person associated with the accident to obtain a police report. You must affirm your status before you obtain the police report, and it is a crime to falsely affirm your relationship with the accident.
Can I File a Claim Without a Police Report?
An injury accident can generate a personal injury claim. In most car accident claims, it is the insurance company that pays compensation. Most insurance companies demand a police report to help them establish the facts of the accident. Nevertheless, some insurers will allow you to file an insurance claim without a police report. If you cannot supply a police report, you might have to proceed to trial because the insurance company could refuse to negotiate with you.
Ironically, you normally cannot use a police report as evidence in a court of law—they are considered inadmissible hearsay. You can only use a police report at a trial under special circumstances. Normally, you must call the police officer who wrote the police report to the witness stand to testify.
If There is No Police Report
If no police report was ever completed because nobody called the police at the accident scene, you will likely have a difficult time proving your case. It is not impossible, but it could be an uphill battle. Finding a car accident lawyer willing to represent you might also be difficult.
Either Way, Your Chances Are Better With a Houston Car Accident Attorney
If you have a substantial claim, your chances of receiving fair compensation are much better if you retain a Houston car accident attorney to represent you. Your chances improve further if you can produce a police report that confirms your version of events.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054