Will It Affect Your Right to Recover for Your Losses?
One of the first things you hear after being in an accident is that you should get a police report. But it doesn’t always happen. Perhaps no one called the police to the scene because the accident seemed minor or there were a number of witnesses to testify regarding fault. Occasionally, police will come to the scene but not write a report. Do you need a report to file a personal injury claim? What is the potential impact of not having one?
A Police Report Is Never Required to File an Insurance Claim or Personal Injury Lawsuit
Under Texas law, a police report is not required in order for you to seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit or recover insurance benefits under a motor vehicle policy. Though a police report can be credible evidence of fault, that’s all that it is—evidence. In a personal injury lawsuit, a police report falls into the same category as eyewitness testimony, skid marks, and other evidence.
To recover compensation for injuries and losses sustained in a motor vehicle accident, you typically must prove the defendant was negligent. Under Texas law, there are three things you must show to successfully prove negligence:
- The defendant breached the standard of care expected under the circumstances – Under Texas law, every person in society has a duty to act as a reasonable person would in any situation. The police report, eyewitness testimony, and other evidence may all be introduced at trial to show that the defendant either met or breached that duty.
- The breach of duty caused an accident — To successfully establish a causal relationship, you must show two things: (1) the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care, and (2) the accident and injuries sustained were a reasonably foreseeable result of that breach of the standard of care.
- You suffered actual losses — You cannot recover for losses, such as medical bills or damage to your vehicle, if they’re covered by insurance. Actual losses can include unreimbursed economic losses (wages, medical bills, property damage), as well as physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship or consortium.
What to Do If the Police Do Not File a Report
In any personal injury lawsuit, compelling and corroborated evidence is key. Make certain you get accurate contact information from all parties to the accident and all witnesses. If possible, get the other driver’s auto insurance information, including the name of the company and their policy number.
Take pictures at the scene of the accident, using the camera on your cellphone if necessary. Take pictures of everything related to the accident and the conditions present at the time, including weather and roadway conditions, as well as your injuries, damage to your car, damage to other vehicles, and any marks on the road.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we know the impact that a personal injury can have on every area of your life. If you’re hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, send us an email or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.