Motor Vehicle Crash Reports
Posted on Monday, September 7th, 2020 at 10:38 pm
Police departments create crash reports to document the facts of a motor vehicle crash. The facts include the types of motor vehicles involved, the identities of the drivers, the roadway, the time of crash and the weather conditions. The opinions of the police officer are sometimes included in the crash reports (but not always). Crash reports are often not admissible in court without the officer present and juries are almost never allowed to view a copy of the crash report. If a major motor vehicle crash occurs, often involving truckers or 18-wheelers, then a more comprehensive crash report is filled out and it often takes longer before the longer truck crash reports become available. Crash reports are not available to the general pubic. In order to obtain one, you must either be one of the parties to the crash (or their attorneys), involved with either driver’s insurance company, or be a member of the media.
In Texas, police officers must complete crash reports where a person is injured or killed or property is damaged in excess of $1,000. Fender benders showing even the slightest body damage can be in excess of $1,000.
“Texas Transportation Code §550.062 requires any law enforcement officer who in the regular course of duty investigates a motor vehicle crash that results in injury to or the death of a person or damage to the property of any one person to the apparent extent of $1,000 or more, to submit a written report of that crash to TxDOT not later than the 10th day after the date of the crash.” Source: https://www.txdot.gov/driver/laws/crash-reports.html
Crash reports can be difficult to read without training or experience in decoding them. A useful key to understanding the alphanumerical codes contained in the crash reports can be found here.