Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s common for the occupant of a passenger vehicle to instantly blame the truck driver for causing their accident. Many people assume this will be validated by the police officer who arrives at the scene and files the police report. This is not always true.
Police Accident Reports for Truck Accidents
Police officers have many tasks, and one of these is to protect the people. Naturally, police officers tend to be more concerned about crimes rather than traffic accidents that lead to civil litigation matters. This can result in police reports that are inaccurate or lacks important details. If this is true for your case, and the odds of winning are largely dependent on the police report, there could be problems.
If your police report is true and accurate, it is also likely the information in it is not the information a truck accident lawyer will need. This is because it is not the job of a police officer to ensure the police report is good enough for a civil lawsuit. Nor is it their job to determine whether or not the case qualifies for civil litigation.
The Point of a Police Report
As soon as a police officer arrives at the scene of the accident, they will call for medical attention if it has not already been done. They may also take pictures and measurements of the scene, including the vehicles. If possible, the officer will get statements from any witnesses, as well as, the driver. With all of this information, a report will be prepared. Included in the report might also be the police officer’s opinion of how the truck accident occurred and who might be responsible.
All insurance companies involved will review this police report to gain an understanding of what happened. It is not the only document they will use in a case, and is more or less of a by product of its original function which is to act as a record for police.
Why Are Police Reports Used At All In Civil Cases?
When a truck accident is not severe enough to warrant a private investigation, the police report may be used. A good lawyer will take into consideration that the report may not be 100% accurate. However, whatever is written could affect your case.
For example, if the police officer concluded that you are at fault, and not the truck driver, it could affect the negotiations between you and the insurance company. They will likely use this against you and may even tell you that you “should accept the settlement that we are offering you now.” A lawyer should be ready to investigate the case to ensure the police officers opinion was not incorrect.
Although the court tends to lean towards the conclusions in a police report, one that does not favor you does not mean that you won’t be able to recover damages. Furthermore, it doesn’t necessarily mean that no mistakes were made. Police officers do make mistakes; they are after all only human. If you believe your police report fails to detail crucial facts, is inaccurate, or based on their own bias, you should ask a Virginia truck accident lawyer to combat the inaccuracy.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at MartinWren, PC for their knowledge about truck accidents and personal injury claims.