How To Read Your Texas Accident Report
Check out this guide prepared by a car accident lawyer
After a car wreck in Bryan-College Station, Waco or anywhere in Texas, the police accident report can become a critical piece of evidence. Your insurance company will likely review this document to help determine liability for the wreck and assess how much to pay you. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, other organizations, such as your college or employer, may use the information in the police report as well.
The police report, formally called the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report (Form CR-3), can be difficult to read. That's why it's so important to review it with an experienced attorney.
As a free service to our users, Chad Jones Law, P.C. has prepared this visual guide to reading the accident report. We've reviewed hundreds of crash reports in over a decade of handling car wreck cases, and we can help you find critical evidence to support your claim.
If you have questions about your police report or any other matter pertaining to a car wreck, contact us today. We would be honored to meet with you for a free consultation at our office in College Station or Waco; if you can't come to us, we can visit you at home, at work or in your hospital room. Call 1-800-645-6637.
Top Section: Identification & Location
- Time and date of the crash
- County, city and location where the crash happened
- Officer checks if the crash likely caused over $1,000 in property damage
- Officer describes the roadway, including the highway number or street name as applicable.
- If crash happened at an intersection, the intersecting road is noted here. If not, the nearest intersecting road or other landmark is used as reference.
- This section includes the speed limit - valuable information if a driver involved was speeding. Note that in weather-related crashes, the speed limit is not necessarily a "safe speed." Note also that the speed limit listed is for passenger cars, even if the crash involved a commercial truck or another vehicle with a lower speed limit.
Vehicle, Driver & Persons sections
- Each "Unit" is a vehicle or pedestrian involved in the wreck. This may be a motor vehicle, train, bicyclist, pedestrian or other unit. "Unit Desc" is a number that indicates the type of unit.
- Note that trailers are considered separate units.
- If the unit was a hit and run driver or a parked vehicle, the appropriate box is checked.
- This section includes vehicle information such as license plate, make and model, body style and color as well as the operator's driver's license number and address.
- Any non-applicable information is left blank (for instance, a pedestrian does not have a license plate.)
- Persons in the vehicle or unit are listed here by name, beginning with the driver or "primary person."
- "Person Type" field refers to the person's role in the accident: for example, driver, passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian or motorcycle operator or passenger.
- "Injury Severity" field refers only to the most severe injury sustained by each person. It may not include secondary injuries - or injuries that were not obvious at the time of the crash.
- This section notes whether the injured person was wearing a seatbelt or helmet as applicable.
- For the primary person only (such as a driver, motorcycle operator or pedestrian) this section describes whether the person was tested for alcohol or drug use and, if so, what the results were.
- Name, contact and insurance information for the owner of the unit are included here.
- Additional pages may be used if the wreck involved more than two vehicles.
- Disposition of Persons Injured/Killed section explains where injured parties were taken for medical treatment and, if there were fatalities, the time and date of death.
- Charges section explains whether any of the persons involved were cited. Note that criminal charges are independent of any personal injury case resulting from the crash.
- Damage section includes damage to any property other than a vehicle.
- If the wreck involved a commercial truck, the CMV section is used. This includes any vehicle that weighs over 10,001 pounds, transports hazardous material or carries 9 or more passengers.
- This section includes the carrier's corporate name, whether hazardous material was involved, and whether the vehicle was disabled.
Factors, Conditions and Diagram
- The investigating officer lists any contributing factors, including driver errors or negligence, vehicle defects and environmental conditions. This piece of evidence can help determine liability for the wreck.
- The narrative section and visual diagram describe what happened in the accident.
- Bottom of the page include the investigator's name, ID number and agency.
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