Brian White | December 28, 2022 | Personal Injury
When you’re in a car accident in Houston or suffer any kind of damage to your property, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the right steps to take. One of the first questions many people ask is “Do I need a police report to file a claim?”
The answer is surprisingly simple; if you’re looking to make an insurance claim in Texas, you don’t actually need a police report. However, it can often be beneficial to have one.
Why a Police Report is Important
When you are involved in an accident, the best way to protect your rights is to file a police report. While it’s not required that you do so in Texas, here’s why it can be helpful:
A police report serves as third-party verification of the incident. It provides an impartial account from an outside source that does not have any vested interest in the outcome of the case.
Gather Evidence Quickly and Easily
When filing an insurance claim, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible about what happened during the incident in question. With a police report, this process is made much simpler because all the relevant information — such as statements from witnesses and a description of the incident — are already included in one consolidated document.
This makes it easy for you and your car accident attorney to quickly assess all of the evidence and build a strong case for reimbursement from your insurer.
Another benefit of filing a police report is that it documents any injuries sustained during the accident—even if they are minor ones. Minor injuries can worsen over time, so even if you do not feel pain right away, it’s important to document them in case you experience additional symptoms down the road.
A detailed record of all injuries sustained in the accident can help ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury recovery process.
Speeds Up The Claims Process
Finally, having a police report speeds up the claims process because it eliminates some of the need for investigation by the insurance company. Insurance companies will still want to do some of their own investigating but having a police report means they know where to start and know what to look for.
You May Have to File a Report With The Department of Transportation
While you don’t have to file a police report to file an insurance claim, you may have to file a report with the Department of Transportation if the police don’t show up and make a report.
If someone was injured or killed in the accident, you must notify the DOT within ten days of the incident. Additionally, if any individual sustained $1,000 or more in property damage from the accident, you must report this to the DOT within 10 days of the incident.
Texas is a Fault State
A fault state is one where an injured party can seek compensation from the person or entity that caused the injury. This means that if you are injured in an accident and another person was at fault, you can file a claim against the other driver or their insurance company to recover damages.
How Does the At-Fault System Work?
The at-fault system works by assigning responsibility for an accident based on who is at fault. An important aspect under this system is known as comparative negligence. The concept of comparative negligence revolves around assigning fault among parties involved in a car accident.
In Texas, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for an accident, you cannot collect any damages from another party. If you are 50% or less at fault, you can recover damages, but they will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if two cars collide and you are found to be 25% at fault, you will only receive 75% of your total damages award. If you were awarded $100,000, you would be left with 75% of that, or $75,000.
If you need help filing a claim, don’t hesitate to contact Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.
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