When you are involved in a car accident, a police officer will arrive at the scene and fill out a car accident report. This crash report will be an essential piece of evidence in your case, providing details such as injuries, property damage, and witnesses. Insurance companies use car accident reports when processing claims and determining if their policyholders are eligible for compensation. Therefore, it’s essential to understand your report, because if any of the information is incorrect, it could have serious implications.
Understanding a car accident report on your own can be challenging, as there are a variety of codes, symbols, and abbreviations used to display information. Additionally, if your accident involved commercial vehicles or witnesses, the report can be quite lengthy. Ultimately, the best way to understand your car accident report in detail is to consult a trusted car accident attorney. Here are some helpful pointers for reading and understanding your Texas car accident report.
You can get a copy of your car accident report by visiting the Texas Department of Transportation crash report online purchase system. In order to find your report in the system, you will need to provide one of the following pieces of information:
- Your driver’s license number or the license number of the other parties involved in the crash
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a vehicle involved in the crash
- The legal name of a person or business involved in the crash
- The Crash ID assigned to the wreck by the investigating officer
Once you’ve obtained a copy of your car accident report, it’s essential to read it over and ensure all the details are accurate. Below are some helpful tips for reading through each page.
The first page of a car accident report provides general details of the accident, including the location, time, and vehicles involved in the crash. Additionally, page one will indicate whether seatbelts or helmets were used, if airbags deployed, and whether any parties involved in the crash were intoxicated. It is important to note that these factors will be designated by certain codes that are outlined on pages three or four of the report.
The bottom of the page will provide vehicle information for all parties involved along with a vehicle damage rating assigned by the investigating officer. However, some property damage—such as to the car—may not be blatantly visible, and the report does not have the final say on the severity of vehicle damages.
This page will also detail any known injuries, contributing factors, and citations that the investigating officer observed. However, it is important to note that many injuries from a car crash have a delayed onset, and just because an injury is not noted in the police report does not mean it will not be formally recognized in the insurance or legal process. Page two will also outline any contributing factors the officer identified as cause for the crash—all of which can influence who is deemed liable for the accident.
Pages three and four of the accident report outline and explain the codes used on previous pages. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the codes that designate injury severity, drug or alcohol tests, and vehicle damage.
Car accidents are overwhelming experiences that can be difficult to navigate. Unfortunately, in the wake of an accident, it’s essential to take action sooner rather than later. The best way to protect yourself and ensure all the information surrounding your crash is collected and accurate is to work with a trusted attorney.
At Sutliff & Stout, we understand the stress caused by car accidents and are dedicated to employing a personalized approach to every case. Our team has been recognized as one of the top personal injury law firms in Houston, and our team has helped thousands of individuals with their car accident claims.
If you are looking to discuss your car accident case with a personal injury lawyer, the team at Sutliff & Stout is here to help. Call us today at (713) 987-7111 or contact us online to discuss your injury or car accident claim.