Texas Transportation Code §550.026 defines the factors that require a person to report a traffic accident. You must report a traffic accident immediately to law enforcement by the “quickest means of communication” when the accident involves:
- A traffic fatality;
- Bodily injury to someone; or,
- Property damage renders the vehicle unsafe to drive.
Typically, the quickest way to file a police report after an Austin truck accident is to call 911. The emergency operator dispatches law enforcement officers with jurisdiction over the accident scene. Texas law requires a law enforcement officer to complete and file a written crash report whenever a traffic accident results in death, injury, or property damage of $1,000 or more.
Because commercial truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and substantial property damage, law enforcement, emergency responders, and other agencies will likely respond to the accident. In that case, you would not need to file a police report after an Austin truck accident. Instead, the officers responding to the crash would file the report.
However, what happens if a police officer does not file a crash report after a truck accident? What should you do then?
Filing a Police Report After an Austin Truck Accident
Before September 1, 2017, drivers involved in an accident not investigated by the police had 10 days to complete and file Form CR-2 with the Texas Department of Transportation. However, Senate Bill 312 changed the requirements for Driver’s Crash Reports.
The Texas Department of Transportation no longer retains Driver’s Crash Reports.
However, drivers involved in a crash not investigated by the police should still complete the form for their records. Information on the Driver’s Crash Report includes:
- Location of the accident
- Date of the collision
- Information for all vehicles involved in the crash
- Description of the damage to each vehicle
- Description of the injuries sustained by people involved in the accident
- The driver’s statement about how the accident happened
If the police investigated the truck accident and filed a report, you can purchase a copy of the police report online through the Crash Records Information System. When you hire an Austin truck accident lawyer to handle your case, your attorney obtains a copy of the police report when investigating your claim.
Commercial Truck Accidents Are Not the Same as Other Traffic Accidents
Because of the size and weight of large trucks, the risk of severe injuries is higher in truck accidents. A passenger vehicle cannot protect occupants from the intense force caused when a semi-truck collides with a vehicle. In many cases, the passenger vehicle is crushed or explodes into flames on impact.
Therefore, the injuries and damages caused by a truck accident are catastrophic and life-altering. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Multiple broken bones and fractures
- Severe scarring, burns, and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injury causing permanent brain damage
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial and complete paralysis
- Loss of hearing and vision
- Injuries to internal organs could lead to loss of bodily functions
- Back and neck injuries
- Wrongful death
The damages caused by a truck accident can total hundreds or millions of dollars. Victims and their families might face a lifetime of lost wages, medical bills, and skilled care. Filing a police report is the first step in recovering compensation for these damages.
Who Is Responsible for the Damages Caused by an Austin Truck Accident?
The police officers investigating the accident typically make an initial determination of fault by noting which drivers contributed to the cause of the collision. However, a police officer’s opinion regarding fault is not evidence because the officer did not witness the accident.
Instead, a thorough truck accident investigation is required to determine causation and fault. A skilled Austin truck accident attorney has the resources to hire accident reconstructionists, engineers, and other experts to assist with the investigation.
Parties that could be liable for damages include, but are not limited to:
- Truck drivers
- Austin trucking companies
- Truck and parts manufacturers
- Loaders and shippers
- Other drivers
- Government agencies
- Truck repair and maintenance facilities
Determining the cause of the truck crash is the first step in holding the party responsible for your injuries financially liable for damages. Damages in a truck accident case include economic damages, including diminished earning capacity and the cost of medical treatment. You can also receive compensation for non-economic damages, including a decreased quality of life, permanent disabilities, and emotional distress.
Prompt medical treatment is essential, regardless of the severity of your injuries. Delays in medical care complicate personal injury claims.
Contact An Austin Truck Accident Lawyer for Help
It is generally a good idea to postpone discussing the accident and your injuries with claims adjusters, insurance investigators, and other parties until you can speak with an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer about your case. An attorney protects your best interest and legal rights while you continue to recover from injuries caused by a truck accident.
Contact FVF Law to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.