When you get in a car accident, and the officer at the scene pronounces you at fault, you may feel defeated and hopeless. What if you weren’t truly responsible for the accident, or there were other factors the police failed to consider? Rest assured- an experienced Florida car accident lawyer can protect your legal rights and get you the compensation you deserve, even when the police report says otherwise.
Police officers are trained in investigating auto accidents, and will write up an official police report about the details of the accident according to the Uniform Traffic Crash Report Manual. However, police reports are not the sole source of information establishing fault or blame when it comes to a car accident. Florida law clearly states that determinations of fault from insurance companies and police reports absolutely do not control the final determination of fault in a court case. Additional evidence, photographs, witness testimony, physical evidence, and expert console can all be called into the courtroom to persuade a jury.
How Police Accident Reports Work
FL § 316.066 mandates police officers to gather information at the scene of a car accident and formulate a police report, as stipulated by the municipal codes. Typically information in a police report includes:
- Identification documents and statements from drivers, witnesses, and passengers
- The location, date, and time of the car accident
- Road and weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Driver and passenger injuries
- Identification of the cars involved, including vehicle model, year, color, and make
- Property damage to the vehicles
- Additional factors that may have contributed to the accident, such as incorrectly turning left, speeding, faulty brake lights,failing to use a turn signal, etc.
A police officer typically takes photos of the scene of the car accident and vehicles involved for the police report. Any field sobriety test results, Florida traffic violations cited, or breathalyzer test results also become part of the police report, along with other officer opinions and illustrations of the incident.
Police Reports Impact Injury Claims
A police report includes facts and information on the car accident, and can play an integral role when determining fault in an injury claim. Some things that could impact your injury claim:
- Traffic citation: While this traffic citation doesn’t prove liability, it may be used as proof a driver was potentially negligent.
- The police officer’s determination of fault: A police report may indicate the police officer’s opinion on which driver was at-fault, but it’s essential to remember that even if a police report states one individual was at-fault, it may not automatically mean they will be liable for damages.
What Do I Do When The Police Report Says I’m At-Fault?
Police reports are extremely persuasive to juries and insurance companies in a personal injury claim, but police officers can make mistakes- their report may be inaccurate, mistaken, or incomplete. Mantia Law Firm can do in-depth investigations and come up with additional evidence to persuade the insurance company and the other driver’s insurance adjuster that you may not be totally at-fault for the incident. Insurance companies generally have internal departments to handle car accident fault disputes, and with the right lawyers you have a chance at trial to prove you were not at fault through additional testimony and evidence.
Contact Us Today
Mantia Law Firm is a top personal injury firm in Florida. Call Mantia Law Firm to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney today.