FAQs: Car Accident Reports in Texas

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), a reported crash occurred every 57 seconds in 2021. That same year, vehicle accidents injured 239,539 people and claimed 4,489 lives. 

Reporting a car accident to the police and creating an accident report is often required by Texas Law. When accidents involve injuries, deaths, or property damage that is over $1,000 or that makes a car undrivable, Texas law requires that drivers report their accidents. 

Reporting the accident can also help victims secure compensation from those at fault. If you choose to take legal action against the driver at fault, your accident report becomes an important piece of evidence to use in settlement negotiations.

What Is an Accident Report? 

When police respond to severe accidents in Texas, they create accident reports. An accident report is an official document that provides critical information about the incident. 

Information provided on an accident report includes the date and time of the accident, the people involved, a description of what happened, and sometimes an assignment of fault. Police typically diagram the accident. 

You can submit an accident report to TxDOT if the police do not make a report. 

If you intend to take legal action against someone who injured you in a Texas car accident, your accident report can be an important piece of evidence in your case. Though these reports will not constitute admissible evidence in court as they are generally considered hearsay, they may still prove vital in negotiations with the at-fault party.

When To File a Police Report for Car Damage

If your accident is severe, you must notify the police right away. Texas law imposes this requirement on drivers who are involved in accidents that cause personal injury, death, or severe vehicle damage. Vehicle damage is severe under Texas law when the driver can no longer operate it safely.

Sometimes, people only realize the severity of an accident after the fact. For instance, they might sustain injuries that do not become apparent until hours or days after the accident. Or, they may only realize that their vehicle has sustained damage later. 

If you did not inform the police immediately following the accident, file a police report for car damage as soon as possible. 

Reporting an Accident To The Police After The Fact 

If you do not notify the police of a severe accident immediately, or if they do not investigate your accident, you must report it to the Texas Department of Transportation. 

When the police attend to a severe accident, they create an accident report. Even if the police do not come to the scene of the significant accident, you must create a crash report. 

How Long Do You Have To Report an Accident? 

You have ten days after the accident to file the report with the Department of Transportation. However, it is a good idea to notify the Department of Transportation and make the report as soon as possible. You may also notify your local police department. 

What Happens if I Don’t Report an Accident? 

You could face penalties if you do not report an accident resulting in death, injury, or $1,000 or more in property damage. Your driver’s license could be suspended. 

Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a hit-and-run. You could face criminal and civil penalties for failing to stop after an accident. 

Under Texas Law, a hit-and-run penalty is a minimum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. 

Contact a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer

If a car accident has negatively impacted your life and was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else, an experienced attorney can help you get the justice you deserve. Most car accident attorneys in this area of the law offer free initial consultations, so you can reach out and get some preliminary legal advice at no cost to you.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Dallas, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Dallas, Texas, and need legal help, contact our Dallas personal injury lawyers at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers
2512 State St,
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 855-1420