Brian White | July 6, 2023 | Car Accidents
Failure to report a car accident in Texas could result in one or more consequences. You could face legal penalties if you do not report an accident to the police. The party who caused your accident could claim that you were at fault, and you could lose valuable evidence for a personal injury claim by not reporting a car accident in the state.
Is It Illegal Not To Report a Car Accident in Texas?
If you do not file a car accident report required by law, you could face one or more penalties. Failing to file a car accident report could result in a suspension of driving privileges. However, the state only suspends your driver’s license when the car accident resulted in bodily injury, death, or property damage of more than $1,000.
When Am I Required To File a Car Accident Report in Texas?
Texas law requires drivers to report a car accident when:
- Someone was injured in the car accident
- A person died because of the car accident
- The car crash caused more than $1,000 in property damage
The 911 operator dispatches officers from the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the accident scene. The officers investigate the accident and file a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report within ten days after the accident.
It should be noted that the $1,000 threshold for property damage is low. A minor fender bender can cause more than $1,000 in property damage. Therefore, it is always best to report a car accident to the police to ensure you comply with the law.
Texas does not require drivers to report car crashes that do not meet the requirements. The state no longer required drivers to file self-report accident reports for accidents that do not cause injury or more than $1,000 in property damages. However, check with your local police department for local reporting requirements.
Reasons To Report a Car Accident in Houston, Texas
Even if you are unsure whether an accident meets the requirements for calling the police, it could be wise to report the car accident to the police because:
- You want an official record that the accident occurred to pursue a property damage or personal injury claim. You could be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic damages after a car accident.
- A police report often includes the officer’s determination of fault and whether the drivers were charged with traffic infractions. This information could be helpful for insurance claims and fighting allegations of contributory fault.
- The at-fault driver might change their story, even though they admitted to you at the accident scene they caused the collision.
- You want to protect yourself legally if the accident meets the threshold for reporting car accidents to the police in Texas.
- The car accident report establishes the date of the accident in case you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. The Texas statute of limitations for most car accidents is two years from the accident date.
Whenever there is doubt, you should err on the side of caution. It is better to have a police report after a car accident when you do not need it than to have no report and realize you need one.
What Are My Responsibilities in Reporting a Car Accident if I’m Incapable of Filing an Accident Report?
A car accident might cause injuries that render an accident victim incapable of reporting the car accident. In those cases, someone usually calls 911 for the accident victim.
The police arrive and investigate the car accident to file a report. You are not required to submit a separate report if a law enforcement officer investigates the car accident.
What Should I Do if the Other Driver Asks Me Not To Report a Car Accident?
Call 911 to report the accident to the police. The other driver might tell you they accept responsibility for the car accident and will pay for your damages. However, the driver could be lying.
Drivers might not want to report a car accident because:
- They do not have the required car insurance
- They are driving without a valid driver’s license
- They have a history of causing car accidents
- They are drunk or using drugs
- They have illegal substances or items in their vehicle
- They are not a United States citizen
You could be injured and not realize it immediately after an accident. Your vehicle could have property damage that is not visible. In either case, you want to protect your right to pursue a claim against the other driver by filing a police report immediately after an accident.
Notifying the Insurance Company After a Texas Car Accident
Most car insurance policies require that you report the car accident to your insurance provider. This requirement applies regardless of whether you are at fault or the other driver caused the accident. While you do not need to call your insurance company from the accident scene, you should notify the company as soon as possible.
You are not required to notify the other driver’s insurance company about the accident. However, the company might never contact you if you do not file a claim. Insurance companies avoid liability for claims whenever possible.
However, it is important to remember that you are not under any obligation to talk with the other driver’s insurance company after an accident. In most cases, speaking with the other person’s insurance company is not wise without first talking with a lawyer. The insurance company might use statements you make to fight your claim.
The best way to handle the situation is for a Houston car accident lawyer to contact the insurance provider. Your attorney handles all communications with the insurance company for you, including negotiating a personal injury settlement for the car accident.
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