How To Understand a Police Report

How To Understand a Police Report

After an accident, it is important that you know how to read a police report made by the investigating police officer. The attorneys at Adley Law Firm have over 22 years of experience dealing with accident reports in Texas and we can fight for you to obtain the compensation you deserve to pay for all of your damages.

Why Are Police Reports Important?

Police reports are important because they may be vital evidence for your personal injury claim. Furthermore, insurance companies will often demand a copy of your police report before handling your claim.

These reports are typically completed within 10 days of the accident. The Texas Transportation Code Code §550.062 states that crash reports are required for any collisions that cause injury, death, or $1,000 or more damage to property.

How Do You Get a Police Report?

The personal injury attorneys at Adley Law Firm can help you obtain a police report. You can also request a police report at the Texas Department of Transportation’s website. Once there, you can request a copy of a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3) on their website. You can receive a crash report immediately if it is available for purchase at $6 for a regular copy or $8 for a certified copy. You may also request to have the report mailed to you.

TxDot is responsible for all reports in Texas and collects all reports from each law enforcement agency in Texas. It does not matter if your accident happened on a state highway or on a public road, TxDot still has the crash report available to you. The TxDot keeps records as far back as 10 years. However, this policy recently began so accidents before 2009 are not available.

If you receive a 4-page document of the report from TxDot, you may still need help understanding it and how it may impact your claim. The attorneys at Adley Law Firm are here to help. Speak with us today by requesting a free consultation, we can review your police report and help you with the legal process of your case.

What Details Are on a Police Report?

The details that are on a police report are the date, time, and location of the accident. The location should be very detailed and state if the accident happened on a street, highway, parking lot, school zone, construction zone, or any other area.

The report will also mention if there was a fatality and if a commercial or school bus had been involved. If a tractor-trailer, big rig, semi-truck, diesel truck, 18-wheeler, or any other commercial vehicle was involved in the accident, the vehicle’s weight, size, cargo, and the owner will be added to the police report.

If there were charges filed in the crash then they should also be listed in the police report. These include the specific charge and the citation number.

The Vehicles Details

The detailed information of a vehicle is included in the police report. This information should include:

  • The license plate number and state
  • The model, make, and body style
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The name of the insurance company of the insured drivers of the vehicle and the policy number
  • Where it was towed, if it was towed
  • The estimated amount of damage

The Driver’s Details

The driver’s information in a police report should include:

  • Each of the driver’s name, address, & phone number
  • The type of driver’s license such as commercial or private
  • Driver’s license number & state
  • The occupation & ethnic background of each driver
  • Each of the driver’s insurance information

The police report should also state if a sobriety test was given to a driver for possible alcohol or drug use, the kind of sample taken, and the results of the test.

The Passenger’s Details

The police reports should also list the details of all the passengers and bystanders at the scene of the accident. The passenger’s details include:

  • Was a seat belt or safety restraint used & what kind
  • Seating position
  • Was the passenger ejected from the vehicle?
  • The seriousness and all injuries sustained to the passenger

The injuries suffered to the drivers, passengers or bystanders should list where the victims were taken.

Are The Police Witnesses to The Accident?

In most accident cases, police are not witnesses to the accidents they are investigating. However, police still form opinions of the crash in order to fill out the police report. The investigating police will describe how and why they believe the accident occurred. This information can include the weather, road conditions, and traffic controls. They may also draw a pictorial diagram of how they believe the accident happened. However, the opinions of the police are not facts of how the crash really happened.

What if The Police Report is Wrong?

If you believe the police report is wrong, we can help dispute it. For example, page 2 of the police report has a column stated as “Injury Code” this code can greatly impact your claim on how much you will receive to pay for medical costs. That same page also lists “Factors and Conditions” in the accident that an officer may have misunderstood or misinterpreted.

An experienced personal injury attorney can dispute and challenge while also correcting the errors made in the police report. This is very crucial because insurance companies may cite your police report even if it’s wrong and will assess how much you are owed based on the report.

If the report is inaccurate and not in your favor, you could lose your ability to receive compensation that you are actually owed.

Who Can View a Police Report?

According to TxDot, a police report is confidential. So not everyone can view the report. The Texas Transportation Code §550.065 allows for the release of police reports on a written request and upon payment of the required fees to those directly involved in the accident or authorized representatives, employer, parent, or legal guardian.

An authorized representative of the victim involved in the accident may be an attorney. Let us help you understand the police report and the paperwork involved. We are passionate attorneys and we will aggressively fight on your behalf so that you can get your life back.

Contact us today for a free consultation or call us at (713) 999-8669. We are also available via our live chat for any concerns you may have regarding your case.

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