Everything You Need To Know If You Have A Traffic Accident in Texas
Everything You Need To Know About Texas Accident Reports And How To Obtain Yours After You Experience A Car Accident
Absolutely no one wants to be involved in a car crash and that’s an indisputable fact. However, according to auto insurance industry experts – the average driver will participate in a car accident once every 18 or so years. Therefore, over the course of a long and natural drive span, the average driver will experience about 4 car accidents in their lifetime. The average number of car accidents in the US every year is around 6 million. Fortunately, most of the car accidents do not involve a fatality or horrible injuries. As a matter of fact, 72% of the collisions result in property damage, in 27% of the accidents the parties involved suffer non-fatal injuries, and only 6% end up with a fatality. Texas has more than 300,000 miles of public roads – the most of any state in the US – and with over 13 million licensed drivers, there is a reportable crash every 58 seconds in the State of Texas.
Being involved in a car accident is a maddening and shocking experience. As previously mentioned, you are probably going to experience a couple of them over the course of a lifetime, so everyone should be prepared for the occasion just in case. Shortly after experiencing a traffic accident, emotions are running high and adrenaline is rushing.
Steps To Take After An Accident
It’s of the highest importance to remain calm and know the exact steps you need to take in order to protect your health and financial interest. After the initial check for injuries of everyone involved, it’s time to call the police department and wait for the authorities to arrive at the scene of the accident.
The Texas police officers are authorized to take multiple actions upon their arrival at the scene. They ought to secure the collision scene, coordinate transport, and care of the injured, arrange car-towing service for the vehicles in need, verify insurance information of the parties involved, issue traffic citations when needed, even make arrests in some cases, collect useful evidence and lastly, file a police crash report.
About Texas Accident Reports
Officially titled as the ‘CR3 Peace Officer Report’, a Texas accident or crash report is used by Texas police enforcement to summarize the details relating to the occurred accident involving any type of vehicle. The details in the CR3 Report are submitted by the officer who attended the scene of the car collision. In case an officer did not attend your car crash scene, you also have the possibility to file your own ‘CR2 Driver’s Crash Report’. The report itself is pretty complicated to fill out on your own though because there are numerous facts and circumstances that need to be recorded about each car crash.
The Texas police crash report is filled by the responding officer and essentially is a summary of the facts based on the responding officer’s observations and conducted interviews with the involved parties and witnesses. The CR3 report typically contains information about the whereabouts of the incident, date, time, location; identifying information of the parties involved; insurance policy numbers and providers for those involved; statements from the people involved or witnesses; known injuries and extent of damage to the vehicles; laws and codes that were violated; a visual diagram of the accident and the officer’s opinion as to cause and fault.
The sole custodian of crash reports in the State of Texas is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). By the Texas Transportation Code §550.062 any law enforcement officer who in the ordinary course of duty investigates a motor vehicle accident that results in injury or the death of a person or damage of the property of over $1,000, is obligated to submit a written report of the crash to TxDOT not later than the tenth day after the occurrence of the crash.
The responding officer files the Texas accident report using a special TxDOT system called “Crash Reporting Information System”, or simply CRIS. Thankfully, the Lone Star State is one of the most advanced states regarding how it handles its accident reports and the technology it uses to make the reports available online in just a couple of days. You should know that there are over a thousand police departments operating in Texas all capable of attending an accident scene and filing a CR3 report. Some five years ago, the State took the necessary steps to centralize its technology so right now all police departments in Texas are using the same CRIS system for all police crash reports. The centralized system gives you the possibility to easily find and obtain your report online saving valuable time waiting for the report to arrive in your mailbox or actually going to the physical location of the Police Department offices and getting your report there.
It’s pretty easy to obtain your police crash report online simply by knowing the county/precinct where the crash occurred, the date of the accident, the vehicles involved, or the Police Department that responded at the accident. For example, if you type Lee County accident report, you will find all reports filed in the CRIS system for the searched County.
You should also know that in order to claim a copy of a CR3 Texas Report, The Texas Department of Transportation allows the release of each crash report upon a request and payment only to specific persons and entities. TxDOT allows the release to any person directly concerned in the accident or having genuine interest such as any person involved in the accident, authorized representatives of any person involved in the accident, an employer, parent or legal guardian of a driver involved, the owner of a vehicle or property damaged in the crash, an insurance company that issued an insurance policy for a vehicle involved, a radio or TV station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, any person who may sue because of death resulting from the accident and any agency of the United States, the state of Texas or a local government. Entities who don’t meet the criteria may receive a redacted copy of the crash report.
As a rule, accident reports are made available within a few days to three weeks of the day of the incident. If the incident resulted in death or serious injury, it could take over a month before the investigation is closed and the report is finished. The majority of CR3 reports are available within a week. In case your CR3 Report is still unavailable after some time, freely express your concerns to a car accident attorney or your insurance company.