If you were injured in a car accident in Texas, your attorney will likely ask you for a copy of the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). You will need to obtain a copy of this crash report to help build your personal injury case against the negligent driver, but even if you’re aren’t injured it’s a good idea to get a copy of this report. Of course, your attorney should be able to assist you in obtaining this report, but in case you would like to get a copy in advance of your consultation with your attorney, here’s how.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) makes it easy for you to obtain a copy of a CR-3 using its online system or by ordering report via mail.
Ordering a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3) Online
You can obtain a copy of the CR-3 right away if the Texas Department of Transportation has already made the report available online for purchase. There is a small charge to use the TxDOT report purchasing system, and due to the confidential nature of the reports, they are not available for general viewing online by the public.
If the TxDOT system cannot properly identify you and your crash using the information you provide, you will not be able to use online means to obtain a CR-3 and will instead have to order it via mail.
Ordering a CR-3 Via Mail
If you cannot use the TxDOT online system to order a CR-3, you can obtain your report by filing out the appropriate request form and then mailing it to the TxDOT, along with the required payment. Currently, CR-3 crash reports cost:
- $6 for a standard copy
- $8 for a certified copy (this is used when an official document is required, such as during a legal proceeding)
CR-3 Crash Report Requirements
The TxDOT acts as custodian for all vehicle collision records for the entire state of Texas. Texas Transportation Code §550.062 requires any police officer investigating a crash in the regular course of duty, where the crash results in injury or death to a person or property damage to a person that is apparently $1,000 or more, to fill out and submit a written report of that crash. The report, the CR-3, must be submitted no later than the 10th day after the date of the vehicle accident.
All crashes that have occurred and been reported by law enforcement personnel, on all Texas roadways, end up in the TxDOT system. TxDOT must retain these crash reports for 10 years plus the current year; however, as of 2015, the requirement for retention was only 5 years plus the current year. This means that TxDOT will annually add to the retention schedule until it catches up with the new 10-year requirement.
Information Required to Obtain a Copy of a CR-3
Texas Transportation Code §550.065 allows for a CR-3 to be released upon written request and payment of a required fee. A CR-3 report may only be released to a person directly connected with the accident and having appropriate interest therein, which includes (not comprehensive):
- A person involved in the accident
- An authorized representative of a person involved in the accident
- Any driver who was in the accident
- Any employer, legal guardian, or parent of a person in the accident
- Any person established as financially responsible for a vehicle involved in the accident (as described in Texas Transportation Code 601.501 – which may include a policyholder of a motor vehicle)
There are several other instances in which a person can obtain a copy of a CR-3. If you suspect you need a CR-3 and aren’t sure if you quality to receive one, you can visit the Texas Department of Transportation website to find out.
If you have been in a vehicle accident and don’t yet have an attorney to help you sort through the process, Patterson Law Group may be able to assist you. Fill out the contact form on this page and one of our lawyers will be in touch with you shortly.