A car accident report is an official document that contains the important details concerning an automobile accident. In Texas, there are two major types of accident reports. The Driver’s Crash Report, or CR-2 (also known as the “Blue Form”) is a report made by individual drivers when law enforcement does not investigate the crash. This is the report you would fill out yourself when involved in a low-speed fender bender in a mall parking lot, for example. However, if the damages caused by the crash exceed $1,000, or in the event that the crash resulted in injury or death, law enforcement must file an accident report. This report is officially known as a Texas Peace Office Crash Report, or CR-3.
What Information is Contained in a Car Accident Report?
The aim of a car accident report is to document the facts of the accident. For example, the law enforcement officer will document who was involved in the accident, how and when the crash occurred, and where the accident took place. The report also documents the identities of the people involved and any special circumstances. The car accident report will also roughly describe the damage caused to each vehicle and whether any personal injuries were apparent at the time of the accident.
Do I need to Submit an Accident Report?
You normally only have to submit a report if the police did not come to the scene of the crash, or if the police declined to or were otherwise unable to investigate the crash. In this case, you must file a CR-2 (Blue Form) report if the damages to the vehicles involved exceed $1,000, or in the event of injury or death. Blue Forms cannot be filed online. If the police have investigated the accident and already filed a report, you do not need to file.
Who Can Request a Copy of the Accident Report?
Because of the sensitive information contained in these documents, Texas crash reports are not available to the general public. In order to request a report, you must have a valid reason for making your request, such as having been involved in the accident. Insurance companies and authorized representatives of accident parties, such as attorneys, can also request a copy. The owner of a vehicle involved in an accident can also ask for a copy, as can government agencies and certain media outlets. An individual or entity not entitled to request a copy under law can still request a copy and state a reason for their request. In this case, the party making such a request will receive a redacted copy of the accident report, meaning that certain confidential information contained in the report will be blacked out.
How to Request an Accident Report
The process for requesting a crash report in Texas is straightforward. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is responsible for maintaining records for all crash reports filed in the state. To request a CR-3 (Peace Officer Crash Report) online, visit the site. You can also print out an order form from the TxDOT site and make your request by mail. Ordering a copy costs $6 for a regular report and $8 for a certified report.
You may also be able to pick up a copy of your report from the local police department or other law enforcement agency that filed the report. The cost is the same ($6 dollars for a standard copy and $8 for a certified report). Reports are normally ready within two to seven days, but if making your request online or by mail, allow a few extra days for the report to be delivered.
Do I need a Certified Copy of my Accident Report?
If you need the report for legal proceedings, then a certified crash report will be necessary. If in doubt, contact your attorney or insurance company to find out which version you need.
What If I Need a Crash Report from Several Years Ago?
The TxDOT currently only has copies of crash reports from the last five years plus the current year. Because of statute of limitation laws, laws which limit the time that you have to file a claim related to an accident, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to assert your legal rights. You don’t need to wait for an accident report in order to get help from an attorney.