Every year, thousands of car accidents occur on the roads of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. While some of these accidents are minor, others can lead to severe injuries or even death.
After a serious crash, it’s important to report the accident to the relevant authorities. Not only is this a legal requirement in Texas, but it also helps to ensure that everyone involved receives appropriate medical attention and that police can investigate what happened.
If you are involved in a car accident in Fort Worth, Texas, it’s important to understand the steps involved in reporting the crash, as there are several critical elements in the process.
Your legal obligations after a Texas car accident
In the state of Texas, the law outlines specific obligations if you are involved in a crash. The legal requirements vary depending on the severity of the crash, including the following scenarios:
Scenario 1: Crashes that cause injury, death, or disable a vehicle.
If you are involved in a crash that results in injury or death or disables any of the vehicles involved, you must take the following steps: stop your vehicle, assist anyone injured, and report the accident to the police. Failure to take these steps can result in hit-and-run charges. The police will respond to the scene, secure the area, and investigate the crash. In cases where the crash causes injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000, the investigating officer will generate a police accident report.
Scenario 2: Crashes that only cause property damage with drivable vehicles
If you are involved in a crash that only causes property damage, and all vehicles remain drivable, it is not strictly necessary to call the police. However, exchanging information with the other driver is required. Calling the police, although not mandatory, can be beneficial for creating a record for insurance claims or in the case of hidden or delayed injuries. The police may choose to file a crash report, but it is not a legal requirement.
Scenario 3: Crashes involving unattended vehicles
If you are involved in a crash with an unattended vehicle, calling the police is only necessary if someone in your car suffers injury or death, or the crash disables your car. If this is not the case, the car’s owner should be located, or a note with your name, address, and circumstances of the crash should be left. If the vehicle damage is minor and both cars remain drivable, exchanging insurance information with the owner is necessary. This type of crash will generally not result in a police report.
Scenario 4: Crashes into structures
If you crash into a structure such as a building or sign, calling the police is only necessary if the crash results in injury or death or disables the car. If this is not the case, reasonable steps should be taken to find the owner and exchange information. If the crash causes injury or death or disables the car, the police must be called and will produce a crash report.
The importance of a police accident report
The police accident report serves as a critical piece of evidence in the event of an injury claim. It can provide a factual account of the events that took place during a car accident, who was at fault, and the extent of damages and injuries sustained.
The investigating officer’s report typically includes details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, the weather and road conditions, the names and contact information of all parties involved, and the officer’s assessment of fault. An accurate and detailed police accident report can be critical in determining liability, negotiating settlements, and supporting a claim for compensation. As such, it’s critical to ensure all information reflects what really happened in the crash.
That said, the police report is not the final word. It’s possible for injuries to be hidden or for the cause of the crash to be unclear. The police accident report is merely the result of an initial investigation, and as more information comes out, the situation may change.
Contact a Fort Worth, TX, car accident lawyer for help.
Keep in mind that an attorney can help you correct a police accident report if there are inaccuracies or omissions that could negatively impact your case. A lawyer can review the report and identify any discrepancies between it and your own account of the events. They can also gather additional evidence and eyewitness testimony to support your version of events. Once they have established the correct information, an attorney can help you set the record straight by taking steps to get the report corrected.
After a motor vehicle crash, the road to recovery can be a complicated and stressful journey. If you’re seeking compensation for your damages, you need a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney who can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you’re entitled to under Texas law.
That’s where the team at Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C., comes in. With years of experience in Texas car accident cases, our legal team will work tirelessly to uncover the truth and secure the outcome you deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.