Oftentimes, the single most important document in a motor vehicle collision case is the crash report (otherwise known as police report or car accident police report). A crash report is completed when a responding law enforcement officer investigates a traffic crash when there is apparent damage of $1,000 or more to property or the crash resulted in injury or death.
If you were injured in an automobile collision and are seeking representation, then do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Armstrong & Lee LLP. We routinely obtain copies of crash reports for our clients. If, however, you have not decided to hire lawyer yet or are simply looking to obtain your crash report on your own, here you will find (1) what is contained in the crash report and (2) how to obtain it.
What is a Crash Report and Why Do I Need It?
Texas law requires crash reports to contain certain information. For example, the crash report will provide you with the following information:
- Identifying information for the drivers involved
- Identifying information for the responding police officer
- Contact information for any witnesses
- The driver’s insurance information, including the insurance company and policy number
- Identifying information for the vehicles involved
- Date and time of the collision
- Location of the collision
- Vehicle Damage Rating
- If the vehicles had any defects
- Roadway, weather, lighting conditions
Perhaps, most importantly, the crash report may also provide (1) a description of how the crash occurred, (2) indicate what factors contributed the crash, and (3) list any citations issued and laws violated for the crash. This information is extremely important to determine who is “at fault” for the crash. If one of the drivers received a citation for the crash, there is a good chance that they will be found at least partially “at fault.” The crash report often helps prove that.
How to Obtain a Copy of Your Crash Report?
You have two primary options to obtain a copy of your crash report in Texas: (1) by mail through the Texas Department of Transportation, or (2) online. Keep in mind that it may take up to fourteen (14) business days from the date of the crash for the report to be finalized. Sometimes, it takes even longer.
By Mail. To obtain a copy of your crash report by mail, you must fill out a CR-91 form and mail it with the appropriate fees to: Crash Data and Analysis, Texas Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 12879, Austin, Texas 78711.
Online. To obtain an electronic copy of your crash report online, click the following link: https://cris.dot.state.tx.us/public/Purchase/app/home/welcome. You can search for a crash report using (1) the names of anyone involved in the crash, (2) the driver’s license number for anyone involved in the crash, (3) the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of any vehicle involved in the crash or (4) the TxDOT Crash ID assigned to the crash. If you are searching by name, make sure to double-check the date to ensure you are purchasing the correct report. To download the report, you must certify that you are authorized to obtain a copy of the report. Once you have selected the correct report with the correct date, you can download a PDF version of the crash report.
Certified or Uncertified?
The cost to obtain your crash report will vary depending on what type of report you are ordering. Regular copies of crash reports cost $6.00. Certified copies of crash reports cost $8.00. A regular copy just contains the crash report. A certified copy is an official version that contains a certification from the Texas Department of Transportation that the crash report is a true and correct copy. A certified copy may be helpful if the crash report is going to be used in legal proceedings.