In the state of Texas, there are a few procedural steps you are legally required to take after a car accident, including filing out the appropriate forms. The Texas Driver's Crash Report (CR-2), which is commonly known as the "Blue Form," used to be one such requirement.
Most people first learn about the Blue Form from an officer. The way it plays out is that an accident occurs, no one is hurt badly or the cars are minimally damaged, so the officer refuses to make an official police report. Instead, they instruct the parties to the crash to fill out a Blue Form.
This leads many people to wonder: Do I have to fill out a Blue Form, and what purpose does it serve?
Answer: A Texas Blue Form is a DIY accident report. You are no longer required to fill it out. Further, it has little practical useful purpose to you as you seek compensation for your injuries or property damage.
The Idea behind the Blue Form CR-2
In a perfect world, police officers would be available to investigate every car accident case fully and then they'd prepare a typical, officer-created accident report (known as a CR-3). However, sometimes the police are unavailable. Other times, they may arrive on the scene only to decline creating a report.
The cold, hard reality is that some cops just don't feel like creating reports, so they hand over the responsibility to the people involved in the accident. Usually, the officer will say something like, "It doesn't seem like this is an accident that warrants me making a report, so maybe you should fill out a Blue Form."
To be frank, they often do this just to avoid the annoyance of creating a report themselves for an accident which they think is a waste of their time. But they don't always get this right. We've seen numerous cases where it was obvious that the people involved in the accident were injured and that the property damage was significant in value, yet the victims of the accident were still told to fill out a CR-2 because the officer just didn't feel like creating a report themselves.
Technically, the CR-2 Blue Form No Longer Exists!
Texas law used to require you to fill out the Blue Form if the following things occurred in an accident:
- There was an injury or death, or
- there appears to be more than $1,000 worth of damage to either party's property, and
- the police did not fill out a report for you.
But in 2017, the Texas Legislature decided to give up on the whole idea of Blue Forms. A law was passed which instructed police departments and other related agencies to discontinue furnishing Blue Forms to motorists.
So, Why Are We Still Talking about Blue Forms?
We're still talking about them because the police are still handing them out. As mentioned before, officers often used Blue Forms as a way to sort of blow people off when the officer doesn't think the accident warrants an official report. Even though officers are no longer required to hand them out, some still do, because it's still useful for them.
How the State of Texas USED to Use Blue Forms
Essentially, instead of an official report being submitted by an officer, a CR-2 was the record that explained to the Texas Department of Transportation how your accident occurred. The State of Texas wanted to know about every car accident that took place, so that they could maintain reliable statistics.
But Blue Forms Were Always Kind of Useless for Accident Victims
The only reason the Blue Form existed was to help the state track accident statistics. Nevertheless, many people mistakenly believed that if they filled out a CR-2 in just the right way it would give them a competitive advantage when filing an insurance claim against the person who caused their accident.
This is a misconception and is wrong for two reasons.
First, the CR-2 became "official" in the sense that it was made part of the state's record keeping, but it had no inherent authority for determining fault in an accident. So, no, you couldn't show up to court, throw a Blue Form down on the judge's bench, and exclaim, "Your honor, I rest my case."
The reason that most people think that Blue Forms carry this weight is based on another widespread misconception: the belief that officer-created reports carry such weight. In fact, they do not either. Police reports are viewed by the court as simply being an officer's opinion, which merely counts as one piece of evidence among many. Many jurors find that evidence to be compelling, but police reports, no matter how official they may seem, do not definitively determine fault in an accident.
Second, the CR-2 was largely useless because of a law which made much of its contents inadmissible.
Admissibility of Certain Accident Report Information
An individual's response to the information requested on an accident report form as provided by Section 550.064(b)(4)is not admissible evidence in a civil trial.Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 550.066.
The idea here is that the State of Texas wanted people to supply them with accident information when the police wouldn't do so. But lawmakers figured that people would be reluctant to provide this information if it could be used against them. Thus, the above law was passed long ago to make the information inadmissible.
Since insurance claims are based on what would happen if the case went to court, and since CR-2s aren't supposed to be admissible, any notion that a CR-2 would save the day is misplaced.
Now, there are circumstances where the information theoretically could have been admissible, but that's beyond the scope of this article. The point is that CR-2s didn't really do what the public often believed they did, and that's part of the reason the authorities are no longer required to hand them out.
How to Fill Out a CR-2 Blue Form
If you nonetheless find yourself in a position where you must fill out a Blue Form, just stick to the facts. Everyone just wants a bare-bones account of what happened. For instance, this is not acceptable:
I was minding my own business as I made my way to the orphanage to feed starving children, when all of a sudden this crazed madman came out of nowhere and struck my car. I know in my heart of hearts that he was trying to kill me!!!
A more appropriate telling of this story is:
I was driving my Honda Civic westbound on Forest Lane in Dallas, TX. My vehicle was in the outside lane. The other driver was heading southbound on Inwood Road in a Toyota Camry. I had a green light so I entered the intersection and was struck on the driver's side of my car, resulting in damage to both front and rear doors and the driver's side rear quarter panel.
Lastly, to be very clear, we do not represent people in filling out CR-2s. We are a litigation-only firm that represents clients primarily in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases, so by-the-hour work and filling out forms isn't something we're geared to do. But we're always glad to be good neighbors and are therefore glad to walk you through it as a courtesy. Just call, and we'll be glad to chat with you.