It is important to keep in mind from the outset of your personal injury claim that the insurance company is not on your side. No matter what the adjuster may tell you, his job is to find ways to minimize any compensation you receive or perhaps even find a way to avoid paying you anything at all. The police report is a pivotal piece of evidence in your personal injury case, and, if it proves unfavorable, your Vancouver car accident attorney will need to find a way to diminish the impact it can have on your case.
Why the Police Report Is So Important
When an injury accident occurs, there generally are conflicting stories of what occurred. The defendant, or tortfeasor, obviously wants to avoid taking responsibility. As your Vancouver car accident lawyer will tell you, the jury understands that neither you nor the defendant is a disinterested party in the case. If there are eyewitnesses to the accident, their testimony will be important. However, witnesses cannot always be relied upon to be accurate. This is especially the case if more than one witness testifies and the stories differ substantially.
The jury will generally look upon the officer’s report as the most accurate account of the incident. Consider the contents a police report generally includes, and it will be clear why it is deemed so key to a case:
• The identities of both parties as well as insurance information;
• A description of the accident scene, including weather and road conditions. Usually the officer will create a diagram to illustrate how the accident occurred;
• A description of the accident, damage to vehicles involved and resultant injuries and complaints;
• Information about witnesses;
• Any pertinent information about the drivers such as whether alcohol or drug use was involved; and
• The officer’s analysis of how the accident occurred, who is at fault, and contributing factors.
What Your Attorney May Do to Counter an Unfavorable Police Report
Even though the jury holds the police report in such high regard, officers do often make mistakes, and the report is not always accurate. Your Vancouver car accident attorney will need to find ways to poke holes in the police report if your claim is to have any chance of success. He will thoroughly assess the report to determine whether errors were made and how to convince jurors of this fact.
The following are some of the matters your attorney will consider:
• What was the officer’s actual role in the investigation? Did he witness the accident or did he arrive later?
• Hiring a private investigator or expert at accident reconstruction to gather the physical and forensic evidence and witness testimony necessary to counter the findings of the report;
• Interviewing the officer to determine his investigation methods and how he arrived at his findings; and
• If any criminal charges resulted from the accident, contesting these.
This will provide your Vancouver car accident lawyer with a chance to cross-examine the officer and engage in discovery not to mention potentially gain an overturn of the conviction.
An Attorney May Be Essential to the Success of Your Case
Whether or not you are represented by a Vancouver car accident attorney you can have a significant bearing on the outcome of your case, especially if the police report is unfavorable to your side. Call The Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff today at (360) 693-2919.