When a car accident happens and results in personal injuries, it’s important to notify law enforcement immediately. Once police arrive, an officer will investigate the scene and complete a car accident police report. Because this official document contains relevant details regarding the crash, you’ll need to get a copy. Our Houston car accident lawyers explain how to get a copy of a police accident report and why they’re important for your Texas insurance claim.
How to get a copy of a Houston car accident police report
In general, there are three ways you can obtain a copy of a police accident report:
- Online: Copies of Houston car accident police reports are available online via the HPD website. The cost is $7.50. However, be aware that this will be a redacted copy. This means that key information, such as the names and contact information of other drivers involved will not be visible.
- In-person: You can request a car accident police report by visiting the records division of the Houston Police Department (HPD) at 1200 Travis St. Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you visit the station, the in-person fee is $6.
- By mail: You can write to the records division and request a copy of your car accident police report via mail. You will need to include a $6 check or money order with your request, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
It can take between seven to ten days after a crash for a car accident police report to be available. When requesting a copy in-person, via mail, or online, you need to provide at least two descriptive details about the car accident, such as the date it happened, where it occurred, or the names of the drivers involved.
What information does a police report contain that is relevant in an insurance claim?
Car accidents are complex events. The more information you can get about the accident scene, the better it is for your case. Important details that can be found in car accident police reports include:
- The approximate date, time, and location of the accident;
- The number of vehicles and passengers involved;
- The road, traffic, and weather conditions at the time it happened;
- The location of the vehicles and extent of damage on each;
- The extent of injuries suffered by you and others involved.
How important is a police report in a car accident?
Why do you need a police report for a car accident claim? In the aftermath of a crash, a car accident police report helps to document important facts and provides a general summary of what happened. As a result, they can play a key role in insurance company settlement negotiations.
Our Houston car accident lawyers can use them in several ways:
- To support your version of events;
- To show the other driver was at fault;
- To indicate circumstances that may have contributed to the crash;
- To illustrate the extent of your personal injuries and property damages.
Car accident police reports can also be used by insurance companies to deny your claim or reduce your settlement. This can happen in cases if your version of events contrasts with the accident report or shows you refused treatment at the scene, casting doubt on your injuries.
In the event an insurance settlement cannot be reached, car accident police reports may also be used as evidence by either party in a car accident lawsuit.
Does a police report say who was at fault?
Car accident reports convey the impressions of the responding officer at the scene. While the police officer may give their opinion of who was at fault, the insurance company and your attorney may each conduct their own investigations and ultimately reach different conclusions about who was to blame for the accident.
Whatever the officer’s opinion is, our skilled Houston car accident attorneys can gather evidence to support or refute their statements as needed. In addition to the police report, other evidence your attorney can collect includes:
- Statements from all drivers or passengers involved;
- Statements from witnesses at the scene;
- Surveillance tapes from nearby stores of traffic signals;
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
Put your police report in the best hands with our Houston car accident lawyers
At Johnson Garcia LLP, our Houston car accident lawyers have over 30 years’ worth of combined legal experience and a track record of success representing clients in car accident claims. Our lawyers will manage your case from start to finish, beginning with helping you get a copy of the car accident police report.