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What Is The Correct Way To Report A Car Accident In Texas?

Posted On March 15, 2020 In Truck Accidents

Nobody wants to get into a car accident. Unfortunately, car accidents in Texas are not uncommon. According to the state Department of Transportation, there are more than 249,000 traffic crash injuries and 3,639 traffic crash fatalities occurred during the latest reporting year across Texas. It is vital that anybody involved in a car accident understands the correct way to report the incident in the state.

Am I required to report the incident to the police?

It is highly recommended that you report every accident it occurs to the police, no matter how small. Under Texas law, drivers are required to report a car accident to the police if:

  • The incident results in property damage exceeding $1,000
  • Anyone his injured in the incident
  • Anyone is killed in the incident

A failure to report a car accident that involves any of the above thresholds can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment.

If you have any doubt about whether or not a car accident you have been in is reportable under the law, call the police so there will be an official record of the incident. The easiest way to do this is to simply dial 911 and let the dispatcher know where the accident occurred and whether or not anybody is injured.

How will reporting the incident help you?

It is not uncommon for anybody involved in an accident to be in shock initially after the incident happens. Drivers and passengers may not be thinking clearly. It may be the case that the at-fault driver offers to pay out-of-pocket for any damages they caused in order to get you to not report the accident to the police or the insurance company. It could be tempting to accept this offer, especially if there is minimal damage and there are no visible injuries.

However, accepting an offer like this and not making a report could result in major consequences for you. It is important to understand that many car wrecks injuries are masked by the rush of adrenaline a person experiences in the immediate aftermath of the crash. The signs and symptoms of some injuries do not occur for hours or even days after the accident. If you have left the scene without making a report only to later realize you are injured, complications can arise. Filing a car accident several days later, after injuries appear, will raise questions about why you did not make a report when the accident happened. This will make it more difficult to prove that the accident caused your injuries.

Another reason to report an even seemingly minor accident is that property damage to a vehicle can be deceiving. What may look like a small dent in a bumper may actually be several thousand dollars worth of damage, particularly if the body of the car, the chassis, or other internal parts have been damaged.

Having a police report will be invaluable when it comes to securing a settlement for injury or property damage expenses. The police officer will make a determination as to which party was at fault, and this information can be used by your insurance carrier or in a personal injury lawsuit. Be sure to ask the police officer at the scene how to obtain an official police report. Typically, these reports will be available a few weeks after the accident occurs.

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