If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in Texas, the police report could ultimately be essential for the claims process. However, you can file a car accident claim without a police report in Texas. In addition, the law does not require that a police report is on file before the claims process can begin.
A report might not be required to file your claim but having a report on hand could significantly increase your chances of success. Often, insurance companies will primarily base their decision to approve or deny a claim based on the facts outlined in the police report. A Dallas car accident lawyer could help secure a copy of the police report for your case.
Why is a Police Report Important for Car Accident Claims?
A police report might not be necessary to file an insurance claim but having a report could be invaluable to ensuring your claim is accepted. The police report provides insurance companies with relevant information about an accident in a single place. These reports are authorized by the police, who are not a party to the accident itself. A police report includes essential pieces of information, including:
- The location of the accident
- The parties involved
- Descriptions of the driver
- The weather conditions
- The date of the crash
- A narrative of events
- Indications of who was at fault
- Notes on any citations that were issued
Without a police report, tracking down this information could be difficult—if not impossible. Without all the relevant information, the insurance company could make an incorrect decision regarding a claim or even refuse to make a decision at all.
If you pursue an insurance claim without a police report, you will have to find documentary evidence elsewhere. This involves tracking down witnesses, recording the other driver’s license and insurance information, and making careful notes following the collision.
Even then, insurance companies will always approach your account of the accident with skepticism. The value of a police report is that a neutral party compiles it with nothing to lose in the pending car accident lawsuit.
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How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for My Car Accident?
The amount of time you have to file an insurance claim after a wreck depends on several factors. If you file a first-party claim with your own insurance company, your policy will likely provide you with a specific timeline.
If you are considering a third-party liability claim on the other driver’s policy, you will need to keep track of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the deadline to file a lawsuit after an accident, and insurance companies will not pay out benefits once that deadline has expired.
Do I Have to Report an Accident in Texas?
There are times when the police might not issue a crash report following an accident. There are also circumstances where you could resolve your car accident claim with the insurance company even though you do not have a copy of the report. There might be flexibility in these situations, but there is little latitude regarding the obligation to report an accident to the police.
State law requires motorists to immediately report an accident to the police under several different circumstances. Together, these circumstances cover the majority of accidents that might lead to a viable personal injury lawsuit. It is required under the law to report an accident to the police if it results in:
- Bodily injury
- Death, or
- Property damage of more than $1,000
The failure to report an accident could have serious consequences under Texas law. For example, you could face thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time if convicted.
The benefit of mandatory reporting is that when the police appear at the accident scene, they will typically make a report on their own. Therefore, in most cases, contacting the police and waiting at the crash scene is the only step you will need to take to ensure a report is made.
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Let a Car Accident Lawyer Deal with the Insurance Company for You
While you can file a car accident claim without a police report in Texas, it is not advisable. However, if possible, securing a copy of the police report could be a vital step toward getting the compensation you deserve.
If a police report was not issued in your case, do not lose hope. Your car accident attorney could pressure the officer to issue a report in a timely manner. If a report is never made, your legal counsel could still help you pursue a claim with your insurance company. To learn more, contact Loncar Lyon Jenkins at 800-285-4878 for a free consultation.