Failure to report a car accident in Texas could result in the suspension of your driver’s license. However, this is not necessarily the case for every type of car crash. There are only certain situations in which you are required by law to report a wreck in Texas.
With that said, reporting your motor vehicle accident, even if you are not legally required to, could make all the difference in your ability to recover fair compensation for your damages.
Why Should I File a Car Accident Report?
Whether to file an accident report, and how to file the report, is one of the primary questions accident victims face in Texas.
Texas law does not require you to file a car accident report in every circumstance. Still, there are certain benefits to filing a police report after a crash, even if your damages or injuries are minor. By filing a car accident report, you create an official collision record.
Creating a record of your accident may be necessary because you may pursue compensation from insurance companies or through a lawsuit. The report helps you maintain all options for seeking that compensation, and keeping these doors open may be especially important when:
- Injuries develop that are not immediately apparent at the time of your accident
- Seemingly minor injuries turn out to be a significant problem
- Property damage turns out to be more costly than you first think
You want to cover all your bases after a car accident, and filing an accident report is one of the bases to cover. Not only will you protect yourself from possible legal consequences if you need to file a report, but you also protect any financial recovery you seek in the future.
One of the benefits of having a crash report is that they make the insurance claims process run more smoothly. Police will often determine liability at the scene of the accident. Insurance companies can use the police department’s report as evidence when processing your claim.
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Am I Required to File a Police Report for a Car Accident in Texas?
Under Texas Transportation Code §550.062, you must file your car accident report within ten days of a collision that results in death, damage to property exceeding $1,000, or bodily injury. If a law enforcement officer responded to the accident scene, they may have filed a report and absolved you of any filing responsibility.
If you are required to file a car accident report, you will need to fill out a Form CR-2, commonly referred to as “the Blue Form,” which you will then submit to the Texas Department of Transportation. Your Form CR-2 will include:
- Where the accident occurred
- What time the accident happened
- All involved drivers’ names, addresses, dates of birth, license numbers, insurance information, and contact information
- A summary of how the accident occurred
- Any road or weather conditions at the time of the collision
It may be difficult to locate or recall certain information, and having a car accident lawyer assist with the filing process could ensure your Form CR-2 is accurate, filed with the right authorities, and filed on time.
The information in your Form CR-2 could prove valuable evidence in an insurance claim or lawsuit. These are reasons to file Form CR-2, even if you believe you were in a minor accident that does not require a report by law.
What Will Happen If I Do Not Report My Accident?
Failure to report your crash at the scene or at a later date through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is punishable by suspension of your driver’s license. While a suspended license may not sound especially serious, consider what may happen if you continue to drive on a suspended license.
Driving on a suspended license in Texas may lead to:
- Jail time
- Substantial fines
- Points on your license
- Additional legal penalties
You generally face a license suspension only if you fail to report an accident in which someone suffers serious bodily injury, passes away, or if the total property damage of the accident exceeds $1,000.
Motorists may struggle to calculate property damage or understand other parties’ injuries. Therefore, it’s wise to file a report rather than risk a license suspension.
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How Do I File a Report for My Car Accident in Texas?
When you are ready to file your accident report in Texas, you can do so in a couple of different ways. First, you can file your report with the police officer who shows up at the accident scene. The peace officer will file their report with their law enforcement agency, which will become part of the public record.
If you do not call the police to the scene or decide to file your accident report later, you can do so with the Texas Department of Transportation. Remember, filing a police report does not automatically mean you will have access to a copy of the report. However, your attorney will obtain a copy of the report as they oversee your claim or lawsuit.
Using the Crash Report Online Purchase System, your personal injury lawyer can obtain a copy of your Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3).
A regular copy of your car accident report will cost six dollars, while a certified copy will cost eight dollars. These prices may be subject to change. If you have questions or concerns about your ability to file or access a copy of your Texas car accident report, contact a car accident attorney from our firm to discuss your concerns further.
Should I Have a Lawyer File My Car Accident Report?
You should consider having a lawyer help with your car accident report (and any related case) because:
- Personal injury lawyers are very familiar with the process of filing accident reports
- Your lawyer may complete and file the accident report more efficiently than you could on your own
- Time is of the essence when reporting an accident
- The stakes of failing to report an accident are potentially high, even if you’re not legally required to file the accident report
Our attorneys are eager to assist. We charge no upfront compensation for our services, so there is no direct financial risk in accepting our help.
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins Today for a Free Consultation About Seeking Justice for a Car Accident in Texas
Do not risk the suspension of your driver’s license for failure to report a car accident in Texas. Our firm can help you file your accident report, and we’ll also seek any compensation you deserve from liable parties.
You can get started on your car accident lawsuit when you contact our team for help. Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins today for your free consultation.