Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely stressful or traumatic experience, especially if you suffered serious injuries. In the aftermath of the crash, you may wonder what to do next. Obtaining a San Antonio accident report is vital for protecting your legal rights.
Here is what you should know about obtaining a police report after a car accident in San Antonio.
How Do You Get a Police Report From a Car Accident in San Antonio?
According to the San Antonio Police Department, there are three different ways to request a police report:
- Request by mail – You can download the Police Report Request Form and mail it with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the SAPD Records Office.
- Request in person – Copies of police reports can be purchased at the Records Office between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday.
- Request online – Police reports can be requested online at the City of San Antonio’s open government website.
In most cases, the responding police officer at the scene of the accident will investigate the accident and create a police report based on the investigation. The officer should provide an accident report receipt at the scene, but this is not a full police report.
Why is a Car Accident Report Necessary?
A police report for a car accident contains crucial information that could help you receive financial compensation for injuries and other damages you suffered in the crash, such as:
- The location, date, and approximate time of the accident
- Contact information and insurance information for everyone involved in the accident
- Witness statements and contact information
- Any traffic violations that contributed to the accident, such as speeding
- Conditions that could have caused the crash, such as unsafe road conditions
- A description of injuries and property damage suffered in the crash
If you have been injured in a San Antonio car accident, we advise contacting the San Antonio Police Department to obtain a full police report, rather than rely on the accident receipt alone. It is important to document the accident as completely as possible.
How Can a San Antonio Accident Report Help You Get Financial Compensation?
If you have suffered serious injuries or property damage in a car accident, you may be concerned with recovering the financial compensation you deserve to account for these damages. A car accident report is often necessary for securing financial compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
In most cases, filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be the first step towards securing financial compensation. However, not all insurance injury claims are successful. Insurance companies are major businesses that employ teams of experienced attorneys who strive to minimize payouts or deny claims outright.
If you were injured in an accident that was another driver’s fault and are struggling to secure the financial compensation you deserve, it may be wise to seek legal guidance. An experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer can analyze your case and help you seek the full financial compensation you are entitled to.
When Do You Need a Car Accident Report in San Antonio?
According to Texas law, accidents with serious injuries or at least $1,000 in property damage must be reported to the police immediately. A police officer must then file a written report within 10 days of the accident.
While these are the only circumstances in which filing a San Antonio police report is legally required, we advise filing a police report for any car accident. Some types of car accident injuries may have delayed symptoms that do not surface until hours or even days after the crash. Failing to report a car accident could make it difficult to secure appropriate financial compensation for these types of injuries.
For example, let’s say you suffered whiplash after a car accident, but the symptoms did not show until a few days after the crash. Since you did not think you were injured, you decided not to file a police report at the time of the accident. Filing a successful injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company will likely now be difficult due to a lack of documentation for the crash.
How a Police Report Can Be Used in a Car Accident Injury Claim
When you decide to file an injury claim against an at-fault driver and their insurance company, both your attorney and a representative from the insurance company will request a copy of the police report. An insurance adjuster will then analyze this report as part of their investigation into the cause of the accident.
The adjuster may or may not agree with all of the facts presented in the report. However, a police report that clearly outlines all of the circumstances surrounding the crash can be a valuable piece of evidence in settlement negotiations. In some situations, the report may be used to establish the negligence of the other driver.
Your San Antonio personal injury attorney may point to certain facts noted in the police report as evidence of negligence by the other driver, which could potentially convince the other driver’s insurance company to offer a settlement.
For example, let’s say the at-fault driver ran a red light immediately before hitting your vehicle. There were no other witnesses and the other driver denied running the light. However, the responding officer obtained security camera footage from a nearby store that captured the driver running the red light, and this was noted in the police report.
Other Important Documents For Car Accidents
Thorough documentation is crucial for protecting your legal rights after a car accident and a police report is not the only important form of documentation. Let’s take a look at the other documents you may need to file an injury claim for a car accident in San Antonio.
Photos of the Scene of the Crash
We advise taking as many photos as possible at the scene of the crash, including:
- Damage to your vehicle – Take pictures of your entire vehicle, including the front, back, and sides. Photographing the entire vehicle works better than seeking out damage, as it is possible you could miss some damage at first glance.
- Damage to any other vehicles – Take several images of damage to any other vehicles involved in the crash in order to fully document the crash.
- Damage to objects or buildings near the scene – Photograph any other property that was damaged at the scene, such as road signs or buildings that were hit.
- Other evidence at the scene – Search for any other evidence of the crash at the scene, such as broken glass or car parts strewn across the road.
- Dangerous traffic conditions – Snap pictures of any hazardous conditions that could have caused the crash, such as potholes or a malfunctioning street light.
- Your injuries – Take photos of all injuries you or your passengers suffered during the crash. Remember that not all injuries may be immediately visually apparent.
These photos may be used as evidence for securing financial compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Obtain Witness Statements and Contact Info
Although a responding police officer will seek out any witnesses to the accident and take their statements, it may be wise to reach out to witnesses yourself first. Some witnesses may not stick around to speak with the police unless one of the drivers stops them first.
You can document witness statements by writing them down or recording them using your phone. If you do not feel comfortable obtaining witness statements yourself, you can ask them to wait and give a statement to the police.
Witness statements and contact info are an important part of a police report. In some cases, personal injury lawyers may use witness testimony as part of their case for establishing negligence in a car accident lawsuit.
Save All Documents and Receipts Related to the Crash
Thoroughly documenting your medical care is the best way to secure every cent to which you are entitled in a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim.
It is best to save all documentation for injuries related to your accident, including but not limited to:
- Medical bills and receipts
- Correspondence with insurance companies
- Quotes for the cost of car repairs
- Receipts from towing companies
- Fees for rental cars
- Any other receipts related to the accident
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help After a Car Accident in San Antonio
If you were injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, such as distracted driving, you should not have to take on the insurance companies alone. The experienced San Antonio car accident attorneys at Texas Law Guns are prepared to help car accident victims fight for all of the financial compensation they deserve for all of the damages they have suffered.
Each car accident case is unique, and the amount of financial compensation available for victims varies depending on the circumstances of the crash and the extent of the damages. Compensation may be available for all related damages, including:
- Medical expenses related to injuries suffered in the crash
- Lost wages and benefits from missing work due to the injuries
- Loss of earning capacity if the victim cannot perform their previous job due to injuries
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish damages for victims who suffer mental health issues related to the crash, such as PTSD
- Special damages awarded based on the victim’s unique situation
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement or impairment damages
- Property damage
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident that you believe was someone else’s fault, Texas Law Guns is prepared to help you explore your legal options. Get in touch with us today at (210) 800-0000 to learn more about your rights in a free consultation.