If you have been involved in a car accident, whether or not you’re at fault, you have to call the police in order for the officers to come to the scene and document the accident. If the investigating officer finds the other diver at fault, the police report will work to your advantage in settlement negotiations or in guiding the court in handing down favorable verdict. If the police report says you are at fault, it will set the scope and the extent of your liability for the damage.
A police report may sway a case. While the report typically includes the officer’s conclusions on who among the drivers caused the car accident, the report in itself is not necessarily the final determining factor of one’s liability. It’s important to note, however, that it carries much weight when it comes to settlement negotiations with the insurance companies and in finding liability in a personal injury lawsuit.
If the police officer points at the other driver as the party at fault, then the report is your huge asset. However, when the police report says you caused the car accident, the insurance company may use the report to bully you. The report concluding that you were responsible for the accident will be the insurance adjuster’s weapon in making a small amount of settlement offer for you. They will threaten you to accept the initial offer at the amount they choose or else, they will lower the offer. You know that courts tend to trust police reports, so you will feel you’re in a very challenging battle that you can’t seem to win.
A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help you with your case. There are several ways to challenge a police report, and a skilled lawyer can handle them really well. Depending on what the officer has reported, the lawyer can raise questions that may damage the report. The lawyer may find that the officer has concluded you were overspeeding just because the other driver said so, or the officer reported you were running on a red light just because a witness who may not have been in the position to see the traffic signal said so.
The personal injury lawyer may also challenge to gauge the officer’s training against his findings in the report, such as the expertise of the officer to analyze skid marks. The length of the tires’ skid marks can indicate how many feet was the vehicle from the impact when the driver started hitting the brakes. Accurately analyzing skid marks requires special training that not all police officers have been trained for.