Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler February 7, 2017

By Texas state law, crash reports are required for any collision causing injury, death or $1,000 or more of damage to a property. Photo by redhumv (iStock by Getty Images)

Were you injured in an auto accident? If so, you should know how to read a police accident report made by an investigating officer. Jim “The Texas Hammer” Adler has decades of experience dealing with Texas accident reports and can fight for your legal right to payments for your injury losses.

Why Are Accident Reports Important?

As for why accident reports are important, they may be vital evidence when making a personal injury claim. In fact, insurance companies often demand a copy of your police accident report just to handle your claim.

Such crash reports are not completed at the scene of an accident, but rather within 10 days of the accident. By state law, Texas Transportation Code §550.062, crash reports are required for any collision causing injury or death or $1,000 or more damage to property.

How Do I Get A Police Accident Report?

If you’re wondering how you can get an accident report, the injury lawyers at Jim Adler & Associates’ Houston, Dallas, San Antonio or Channelview offices can help you. Or you can go to the Texas Department of Transportation’s website.

There, you can request a copy of a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). Online customers can receive a crash report immediately if it’s available for purchase, at a charge of $6 for a regular copy or $8 for a certified copy for legal proceedings. You also can request a crash report be delivered by mail.

TxDOT is the custodian of records for all Texas accident reports. TxDOT collects crash reports from each law enforcement agency in Texas, regardless of whether the crash was on a state highway or other public road. It keeps such records for 10 years beyond their year of origin, but that policy began only recently, so crashes before 2009 are not available.

If you get a copy of the four-page document on your own from TxDOT, you still may need help understanding it and how it may impact your injury claim. Again, Jim Adler’s injury lawyers can help. Notify us today for a free legal review of your case, which can include an evaluation of your accident report.

What Details Are On An Accident Report?

You may be wondering what details are on a police accident report. Such information starts with the date, time and location of a collision. The location should indicate if it was on a street, highway, parking lot, construction zone, school zone or some other area.

An accident report also will note if the crash had a fatality and if a school bus or commercial vehicle was involved. If a big rig, tractor trailer, diesel truck, semi truck, 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle was in your injury accident, many details will be added to the accident report, including the vehicle’s size, weight, cargo and owner.

If charges were filed in the crash, those also should be noted on the crash report, including the specific charge and citation number.

Vehicle Information in an Accident Report

Vehicle and driver information also is part of an accident report. Vehicle information should include:

  • The vehicle’s license plate number and state
  • The vehicle’s model, make and body style
  • The vehicle’s VIN, or vehicle identification number
  • The name of the insurance company for insured drivers, and the policy number
  • If the vehicle was towed, where it was towed
  • Estimated damage to the vehicle

Driver Information in an Accident Report

As for driver information in an accident report, that should include:

  • Each driver’s name, address and phone number
  • Driver’s license details for each driver, including the type of license (commercial or private), driver’s license number and state
  • The occupation and ethnic background of each driver
  • Each driver’s insurance information

A police accident report also should note if a sobriety test was given to a driver for possible alcohol or other drug use, the kind of specimen taken, and the results of the test.

Passengers in an Accident Report

Along with the name and badge number of the responding officer, police accident reports also should list details on the passengers and even bystanders at the scene of an accident.

Passenger information should include:

  • Whether a safety restraint was used, and if so, what kind
  • Seating position
  • If the passenger was ejected from the vehicle
  • The seriousness of a passenger’s injuries

For injuries suffered by drivers, passengers or bystanders in a collision, accident reports should list where the victims were taken.

Police Opinions in an Accident Report

In most cases, police are not witnesses to the accidents they assess. Thus, police form opinions of the crash for the accident report — opinions based on information gathered at the scene.

In the form of a written narrative, police will describe how and why they believe the accident occurred under the report’s heading of “Factors and Conditions.” This can include information on weather conditions, road conditions and traffic controls.

Police officers also may draw a pictorial diagram of how they believe a crash occurred. But as with a written narrative, that constitutes police opinion and not necessarily the facts of the crash.

What If An Accident Report Is Wrong?

If an accident report is wrong, let us help you dispute it.

For instance, page 2 of your accident report has an “Injury Code” column which can greatly impact your claim for health care costs. The same page also lists “Factors and Conditions” in the accident, which the officer may have misunderstood or misinterpreted. In any event, a knowledgeable car accident attorney can challenge and correct errors in the accident report.

This can be very important, since insurance companies may cite your crash report in assessing payment for your injury losses. If the report is inaccurate and not in your favor, you could lose payments to which you should be legally entitled.

Who Can View An Accident Report?

Not everyone can view a crash report, which is considered by TxDOT to be “confidential in nature.”

Texas Transportation Code §550.065 allows for release of crash reports on written request and upon payment of required fees to anyone “directly concerned in the accident or having proper interest therein.” This includes persons actually involved in the accident, as well as their authorized representative, employer, parent or legal guardian.

An authorized representative of a crash victim can be an injury lawyer provided by Jim Adler & Associates. Let us help you understand the paperwork and significance of a car accident report. Contact us today for a free case review.

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Testimonials

Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!
Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
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Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
I was dropped from a previous law firm regarding my case before I called Jim Adler. They immediately took up my case and worked hard on it - I was always up to date with each step they took and the benefits or consequences of each. In the end, I am highly satisfied with the outcome and would not have it any other way. It took some time but I truly appreciate and want to thank everybody who helped me on this journey and worked tirelessly on it.
Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.
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