How A Police Report Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case
It’s always a good idea to file a police report after a car accident, regardless of whether or not you feel you were at fault. Fault is often difficult to determine, and there may be many other factors that can influence your case. Here’s how a police report can affect a personal injury case.
What Happens When Police Arrive
Upon arrival at the scene, the police will first check if there are any serious injuries that require medical attention, then move the cars out of the way if possible. It’s a good idea to take pictures before this happens, to help back any claims you make later. The police may or may not take pictures of the damage, measurements of the skid marks and get official statements from drivers as well as eyewitnesses. The officer may also include notes about who they think is at fault, but insurance companies will often have their own methods for determining fault, so it’s important to speak to a qualified personal injury attorney first.
If You Are Not At Fault
If the officer found that the other driver was at fault then you will have the upper hand. Using the police report as supporting evidence that the other party involved holds most of the blame will help greatly during negotiations with insurance companies. Also, if your case were to turn into a lawsuit the police report will be a big asset that you can use in court.
If You Are At Fault
Unfortunately, if the police report found that you were at fault the other driver’s insurance company will use this as ammunition against you. They may even tell you that there is no point taking this case to trial and that you might as well settle for the amount of money they deem suitable. However, this does not necessarily mean that you do not have a case.
What An Attorney Can Do
It’s important to remember that the police officer filing the report most likely did not witness the accident, and their opinion on who is at fault is just that – an opinion! If a police report points the blame at you, get a second opinion from a lawyer. Remember that consultations are usually free, so it never hurts to ask.
Whether you are being accused of causing the accident or not, your personal injury attorney is the most qualified person to process your claim. Robert Meissner is a personal injury attorney with over 20 years experience. Call our offices at 916.863.2900 today to schedule a free consultation!