A car accident can be overwhelming as a victim. You might not know where to turn or how to find relief. One of the most important steps during a claim to damages is to report the car accident. If you fail to report a serious crash, you could receive a fine. You will also lose the opportunity to use the report as evidence for your car accident claim later. If you get into a traffic accident in Texas, learn how to file a report and properly document your collision.
Call 911 From the Scene in Serious Cases
In Texas, Transportation Code Title 7, Subchapter B lists a driver’s duties after a car accident that likely caused injuries or deaths. These duties include immediately pulling a vehicle over at the scene of the crash, returning to the scene if the driver did not stop, and determining if anyone requires aid. Then, the driver must complete all the duties listed in Section 550.023 of the law: swap information with the other driver, show a driver’s license if asked, and assist anyone with injuries in acquiring medical care. Failing to stop at the scene and complete these duties is the crime of hit-and-run.
The law also requires calling the police from the scene of the car accident if it caused injuries, fatalities, or at least $1,000 in property damage. Most serious crashes meet these terms. Call 911 while at the scene and explain what happened. Do not admit fault while on the phone with the officer. Request paramedics to come to the scene if anyone has serious injuries. Once the officer arrives, he or she will draft a CR-3 Form on your behalf. Write down your police report number. In a crash the police respond to, the officer should submit a crash report to the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days.
If you strike a parked unattended vehicle, immediately stop and try to locate the vehicle’s owner. If you cannot do so, leave a note in a conspicuous place on the unattended vehicle with your name, phone number, and how the collision happened. It is a violation of Texas’ hit-and-run law to leave without providing this information. You will not need to report the wreck to the police, however, unless you think you have caused more than $1,000 in property damages
Contact the Insurance Company
Auto insurance – either yours or the other driver’s – may pay for your crash-related damages if you report the wreck. Call the correct car insurance company to report the car accident as soon as possible (within 24 to 72 hours, if you can). Most car insurance companies have strict reporting deadlines. If you fail to notify the car insurance company in time, it might have grounds to deny your claim.
Texas uses fault-based car accident laws. If you believe the other driver caused the wreck, call his or her insurance provider. If you think you were at fault, call the number on your insurance card or listed in your policy. Explain to the claims adjuster that you are not sure whether you have injuries and are going to see a doctor if you call before you receive medical care. Do not admit fault during conversations with an insurance agent.
Notify the Department of Transportation
It will be your responsibility to submit a crash report if you were in a car accident that did not require police reporting, or if the police responded but did not file a CR-3 Form. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will still need a notice that the accident occurred. File this report within 10 days of the crash using the CR-2 Form you can find on the TxDOT’s website. You can submit the form, once you fill out all necessary information, online or by mailing a paper copy to the TxDOT’s office. This will satisfy your crash reporting requirements.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, speak with a San Antonio car crash attorney for legal help.