Everything You Need to Know About Filing a Crash Report in the USA

Road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the world, with more than 1.35 million people losing their lives to road crashes each year. Road crashes are also the leading cause of death for US citizens when they are traveling abroad. 

 

Within the US, more than 38,000 people lose their lives to road crashes each year, and about 4.4 million sustain injuries strong enough for them to seek medical attention. Apart from fatalities and injuries, road crashes are also a tremendous financial burden, with them costing the US citizens around $871 billion.

 

No matter how precautious you are while driving or how safe the car is that you drive, there are still chances that you might get involved in a road accident once you go on the road. In the unfortunate event that you do get involved in an accident, there are a few steps that you need to take immediately, including checking for injuries, informing the authorities, and filing a police crash report. 

 

Many people often think that filing a crash report is not that important if the accident is minor and not severe, but this is not the case.

 

Importance of filing a police crash report

 

In many cases, the injuries and damage to the vehicles might be latent, meaning that it might show up days or even weeks after the accident. In this scenario, a police crash report can prove to be very important because the police officer at the scene will take down all the necessary information, including their opinion on who they believe is at fault. 

If the accident is major, the chances are that the police will already have been called, and they will file the crash report without having to be asked. Apart from providing accurate and unbiased information regarding the road accident, a police crash report can also be used as a very useful form of evidence. 

Since it gives an unbiased account of the accident, the importance of a police crash report will undoubtedly be more than the victim’s or the at-fault person’s account of the accident in any court of law. When you file for an insurance claim after the accident, the police crash report will be useful as the insurance companies will require it to settle your claims. 

Legal proceedings and lawsuits can originate after a road accident either by you or against you, and a police crash report can potentially help your position in the court of law in many ways. Different states have different rules regarding a police report. 

For instance, Texas, which has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the US, makes it mandatory to file a police report if there are any injuries, fatalities, or property damage exceeding $1000. 

Texas Law requires the police crash report to be filed within ten days of the accident, and failure to do so under the prescribed circumstances can lead to criminal charges being filed against you. You can get your hands on the police report either by requesting at the police station, or going online and accessing the report. 

Let’s take Harris Country and its surrounding countries as an example. There have been 956 fatal crashes between 2010 and 2018. So, If you were involved in an accident there, you might need to access the police crash report for insurance claims or legal proceedings. All you need to do is access the Harris County crash report online is to enter the ZIP code, accident date, and vehicle details.

What information does a police crash report contain?

A police report provides a third person’s unbiased account of the accident. The report is not an opinion of the police officer regarding who is wrong or right. Rather it is an objective view of individual factors of the accident, including:

  • Exact time, date, and the precise location at which the accident took place
  • The nature of damage caused to the vehicles involved in the accident and any other property damage that might have occurred due to the accident
  • Number and level of injuries incurred by the people involved in the accident including the drivers, passengers, and passersby if any
  • Contact information and statements of witnesses if any were present at the scene of the accident
  • Accounts of the drivers involved in the accident regarding their opinion and perspective of the accident
  • Any other important factors that the police officer might deem necessary to include in the report

 

Filing a police report is very important as the information in the police report can support your insurance claim and can significantly increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Even if you are determined at fault by the authorities, the police crash report can still prove to be useful to prevent any false claims being raised by the opposing driver. 

 

Thus the information in the crash report will prevent the people involved in the accident, making claims for any fake injuries and describing the property damage more than it was.

 

How to file a police crash report

 

 

 

Ideally, the first thing you should do immediately after a road accident is to call the police after pulling yourself together from the event. When you call the police, you should inform them about the nature and place of the accident, and describe the apparent nature of injuries and property damage. 

 

Once the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will interview the people involved in the accident, and you should discuss the details of the accident in detail with the responding officer. The police officer will interview all the people involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.  

 

Conclusion

 

No matter the nature of the accident, even if it looks like a fender-bender and no real injuries or property damage has been sustained, you should let the police be the judge of whether a police crash report needs to be filed or not. 

 

Not submitting a police report can, at times, lead to criminal charges being filed against you; therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry. Additionally, a police report can be your most reliable piece of evidence against legal proceedings against you and in support of the claims you make.

 

 

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