Texas Car Accident Police Reports: Everything You Should Know

What are the first things you should do if you are involved in a car accident? Always make sure that there are no severe injuries in any of the vehicles. If there are, call 9-1-1 immediately. You should also move your car to the side of the road if the accident was only a minor fender bender. This helps keep traffic moving and makes sure another accident won’t happen.

Your next step should be to call the police so you can get a report of the accident. This should be done regardless of the severity of the accident.

Do I have to call the police?

Texas law requires that an accident must be reported to the police if it results in an injury, fatality, or damage to a car that makes it not safe to drive anymore. While you may be tempted to drive-off if there are no injuries or damage, this is not recommended. You should call the non-emergency police number and have an officer come and file a car accident report.

Can I just settle minor crashes with the other driver?

You can, but again, this is not recommended. Some injuries like concussions may not be fully observable until days after the accident. Your vehicle may have sustained more damage than you think it did. Getting an officer to write a police report will be a record of the accident and what happened. This is useful in the future if you find out damage or injuries were more severe than you first believed.

What happens if I flee the scene?

You are legally required to report any damage to property that costs more than $1,000. You will not be able to assess the exact amount of damage after an accident. To be safe, do not leave the scene of the crime – even with minor accidents. You will also get in trouble if you flee the scene of an accident that causes an injury or fatality. If you do flee severe accidents, you face 2 to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.

What will an officer do at the scene of a car accident?

This depends on the severity of an accident. If there are severe injuries, the responding officers will help those people first. Next, the officer will interview the people in the wreck to find out what happened. This could be the drivers, passengers, and witnesses. They will also assess the scene and take notes of factors like weather, cell phone use, car conditions, or if someone was driving under the influence of a substance. The officer may also decide some fault of the accident and hand out driving citations.

What will be in the car accident report?

It is not typical for an officer to write the complete report at the scene of the accident. Generally, they take notes or a worksheet and then file the complete report once they go back to their station. They will use all of the information they collected at the scene and describe the facts and who they believe is at fault for the accident.

How do I get a copy of my police report?

The officer will more than likely hand you their card when they are done with their assessment of the accident. If they do not do this, ask them for their contact information. You can also make a public information request with your local police station for information relating to the accident, your report, and any charges you may be facing.

What happens if the police report says that you were at fault?

It can be hard to change the opinion of an officer. If you were found at fault for the accident, it would be in your best interest to hire a car accident lawyer. This is especially true if the other driver decides to sue you to recover compensation for their injuries or damage to their property. A lawyer can also help you defend any criminal charges you may be facing to either get a lesser sentence or fine.

What do I need to show my car insurance carrier?

Texas requires that all drivers have some form of insurance or they must prove that they have the financial means to cover damage in a potential accident. When you have any type of car accident, even a minor one, you should file a claim with your insurance. They may offer some payment for damage to your car, medical bills, or even lost wages. Most insurance companies will require that you have a police report to file a claim for compensation.  

What to do if you get in a Car Accident in Philadelphia

You were in a car accident in Philadelphia. Maybe you live in the city or you are just a visitor. Regardless, you will be wondering what steps you should take next. If you have an injury, you may need medical help and time off from your work.

There may be significant costs for the damage done to your vehicle. Can you sue someone to help compensate for some of your losses? What should you do next?

Understand Negligence

Not all car accidents can result in a lawsuit. To prove that someone was the cause of the car accident, you will more than likely need to prove that they were negligent.

Negligence is a legal term that is the foundation for many car accident cases. To prove that someone else is responsible for the accident and your injury, you will have to prove several things:

· The person or people that you are suing had a duty of reasonable care to you. This often means that they need to act in a reasonably careful way when interacting with other drivers or pedestrians.

· That the person did not fulfill their duty of reasonable care. In legal terms, this means that the person breached the duty of care. To show this, the court will ask whether they acted in a way that a reasonable person would act in a similar situation. If they did not act this way, then they violated their duty of care.

· You must also show that the breach of care was the direct cause of the injuries. You cannot have pre-existing conditions that you claim were caused by the accident.

· Finally, you must show that there were losses because of the accident. For example, you may not have any costs if you only have a minor cut or your insurance covered all damage fees to your car.

Get Well and Gather Evidence

Take pictures of the car accident scene if you are able to. These should include damage to your car, other cars involved, and any surrounding areas. It is also good to make sure to capture images of factors that could be important showing why the accident happened. This may include road signs, the weather, or the condition of the road.

Even if your injury is minor, it is best to go to a doctor and make sure that you don’t have any serious issues. You may not even be aware of some injuries until later like a mild concussion. You also may not even notice some cuts or bruises until days after the accident. Any symptoms you have after the crash, and recorded proof of them from a doctor, will be important if you decide to later sue the person responsible for the accident and your injury.

Get a Good Lawyer

There are a lot of personal injury lawyers in the world. It is important that you find one who will fight for you and advocate on your behalf. This could be your insurance company, the insurance agents representing other drivers in the accident, or in court if you take your case to trial.

You want to conduct in-depth due diligence before hiring an attorney. Make sure to research several in the area and find one that has experience with your type of accident and injury. This can be done by reading reviews online or asking for referrals from friends.

You should also do a background check on attorneys you are thinking about hiring. In Pennsylvania, you can check the status of a lawyer and view their license and discipline actions online.

Once you have picked a few you like, schedule initial meetings. Most lawyers offer these consultations for free. It is an opportunity to present your case and for the lawyer to decide if they can or want to represent you. Have a list of questions ready to ask them including:

  • How many similar cases like mine have you taken part in?
  • What is your success rate in car accident lawsuits?
  • What is your current caseload like?
  • Who usually does the work on the cases? Is it handled by attorneys or other admin staff?
  • What type of communication do you prefer with your clients?
  • Do you have references of past clients you have represented?
  • How do you prefer to be paid? Is it hourly or do you only get paid after the case is over?

You want the lawyer to be transparent with you. If they cannot or do not want to answer your questions, they may not be a good fit for you. You also want to feel comfortable with them and be able to trust that they can make decisions on your behalf. Once you have met with several lawyers, pick the one that you like the most and get ready to proceed with your case. 

If Airbags Did Not Deploy in a Car Accident, Is the Car Company Liable?

Airbags are designed to keep drivers and passengers protected. Vehicles are heavily marketed for their safety features, which includes having effective airbags.

Crash test results are boasted about by manufacturers who use successful results to attract buyers because they are deemed the “safest” car on the market. However, sadly, not all airbags are safe and there can be catastrophic injuries or even death if one fails to deploy during an accident. 

If you were in an accident and your airbag did not deploy, you may have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle. You could also have a case against the manufacturer of the airbag or any company that inspected the vehicle for safety.

According to Michele Mirman, a car accident lawyer in New York City, “These companies have a duty to the consumer to make a safe product. If they violate that responsibility, they can be held accountable.”

How Do Airbags Deploy?

Cars and other automobiles are built with a number of safety measures, including airbags. Airbags can be both on the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. The purpose of an airbag is to reduce the physical effects of an automobile accident. More specifically, they are designed to reduce head injuries by cushioning the neck and head during the forward movement of a collision.

Airbags are most commonly located behind the steering wheel or the passenger side dashboard. They can also be located on the sides of the vehicle. Airbags rely on two things: timing and a small explosive charge. The airbag begins to inflate the second the vehicle begins to slow down as the result of a collision.

Each airbag has an accelerometer attached to it that detects the deacceleration of speed. If it is faster than a normal breaking pattern, the accelerometer will activate the airbag circuit.

The airbag circuit passes through a heated electrical current that ignites a slow chemical explosive. This explosion creates a harmless gas that fills the airbag when it deploys. The airbag begins to deflate the second it makes contact with the driver’s or passenger’s head. If functioning correctly, the airbag should be completely deflated by the time the automobile comes to a total stop.

What Causes Airbags to Not Deploy?

Speed or Type of Crash

Airbags do not deploy in every collision. One main reason they may not is the nature of the crash. The majority of airbags are most effective in moderate to severe crashes involving the front of the vehicle. Airbags generally deploy if the speed is at least 8 to 14 mph.

If the crash is minor or at a low speed, it may not trigger the circuit that deploys the airbag. Also, since most airbags are located at the front of the car, they may not deploy if the collision is to the back or side of the vehicle.    

Design or Manufacturing Defect

Defects in the manufacturing or design of the airbag may also be at fault. Types of defects include airbag sensor defects and defective electrical components. These defects are usually to blame when the airbag deploys early, late, or unexpectedly when there is no collision.

If the defect is great enough, the airbag could even explode. Additionally, there could be a defect in the design of the airbag itself which led to an injury because it did not deploy correctly.

Installation Errors

Finally, there may have been an issue with installation or safety check that caused the airbag to not deploy. A common example of this is car manufacturers cutting costs in the installation by making the location of the airbag ineffective because wires were routed through areas that were vulnerable to being severed or damaged.

It is also possible that a negligent safety check was performed that could have found the defect. However, the defect went unnoticed because the check was not done correctly or to the company standard.  

Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?

You may have a personal injury case if you have an injury that was caused by an airbag malfunction. Usually, these injuries are caused by the airbag not deploying or deploying at an incorrect time.

Examples of these types of injuries include neck whiplash, face lacerations, hearing damage, broken bones, soft tissue damage, brain injuries, concussions, organ damage, or even death. 

To prove that an airbag or automobile manufacturer is to blame for the injuries caused by a defective airbag, the law of strict liability applies. Automobile and airbag manufacturers have a responsibility for providing a product that is properly designed and tested to ensure customer safety.

To be successful in a personal injury claim, you will need to prove two things:

  1. The airbag had an unreasonably dangerous defect and, 
  2. The specific defect caused injury or harm.

If you can prove these things, you may be able to recover monetary compensation to help recover from your injury. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.