How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in Texas

Whenever a car accident causes significant property damage or injury, state law requires every person involved to stop their vehicles at the scene and call the police or emergency services. Once police arrive at the crash scene, they collect information about who was involved and how the crash happened, which they then incorporate into a formal accident report.

Getting a copy of this accident report can be important to getting a fair settlement offer from insurance providers and effectively filing suit against the person at fault for causing your wreck in the first place. Here are some frequently asked questions—as well as their answers—about how to obtain a car accident report in Texas.

Who Makes and Stores Accident Reports After Car Crashes?

While various local police or sheriff’s departments may respond to a car accident scene and collect information there, depending on where the accident actually occurs, all officers will submit the information they gather to the same centralized system. More specifically, their accident report will be stored in the Crash Records Information System (CRIS) managed by the Texas Department of Transportation, accessible online through a state-operated portal.

What Is the Process for Getting a Car Accident Report in Texas?

To obtain an electronic copy of the accident report for your car crash in Texas, you will need to go to the CRIS website linked above and search for the report you need by inputting one or more of the following details:

  • Legal name(s) of someone involved in the accident
  • Vehicle identification number(s) (VIN) of a car(s) involved in the accident
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID number(s) of someone involved in the accident
  • The eight-digit TxDOT crash ID number given to you by responding police officers at the accident scene

If your search turns up the correct report, you can pay for a downloadable copy, which you can print out or keep as a PDF file to send copies to insurance providers and legal counsel. It may take 10 to 14 days after an accident for the report to be uploaded to CRIS.

Can I Get a Paper Copy of My Car Wreck Report?

As an alternative to using the CRIS online portal, you can request a copy of your accident report through the mail by filling out a copy of Form CR-91—which is also available online—and mailing it to Crash Records, Texas Department of Transportation, PO Box 12879, Austin TX 78711. However, it generally takes longer to receive a crash report this way than it does to request a downloadable copy online, and you may have to wait 20 days or more to receive your report in the mail.

Do I Have to Pay to Obtain a Car Accident Report in Texas?

Unfortunately, obtaining a car accident report in Texas either online or through the mail is not free. Requesting a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report has a $6 processing fee attached to it, and if you want a Certified copy of the report, you will need to pay $8.

That said, many insurance companies will front the cost of requesting an accident report on behalf of policyholders since they will need a copy of the report to determine the validity of related insurance claims. A qualified car accident attorney could offer further guidance about this possibility during a private initial consultation.