Police Reports Are Not Always Correct
Following any serious traffic collision, law enforcement will conduct a crash scene investigation in order to determine what happened and which driver(s) is to blame. This involves talking to witnesses; talking to the parties involved in the crash; analyzing evidence at the scene, such as tire marks; and gathering any other type of pertinent evidence such as recordings of the crash from dashboards or ordering subpoenas for cell phone records. There are over six million collisions resulting in injury, fatality, or property damage every year in the U.S. With crashes being so commonplace, mistakes are bound to be made when it comes to investigations.
While many of these official accident reports are completely accurate, and serve as additional evidence to support a personal injury claim, unfortunately not all police reports get to the truth.
Why An Official Accident Report May be Inaccurate
Chances are, the officer writing the report about your crash was not at the scene as a witness when you and the other vehicle collided, and it is likely that no other law enforcement officers personally saw what happened either. As such, law enforcement relies on investigations incorporating physical evidence and eyewitness testimony, including the biased claims of each driver involved. Below are a few examples of factors that may lead police to the wrong conclusion:
- The other driver lied about what happened, and their story was convincing enough to dictate the accident report or sew doubt on your side of the story;
- The police never even contacted you for your side of the story because you were in the hospital. This is all too common in pedestrian and cyclist collisions, where the driver remains uninjured and at the scene of the crash to be interviewed, while the pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist is fighting for their life at the hospital;
- Eyewitnesses got it wrong and gave intentionally or unintentionally inaccurate statements. Eyewitness testimony is often unreliable, as researchers at the Innocence Project have found when it comes to wrongful criminal convictions, as reported by Scientific American.
- Police are humans, and they can make mistakes when analyzing evidence.
- Law enforcement incompetence—worse than a simple mistake is not understanding traffic laws, which, surprisingly, some crash investigators struggle with, particularly in pedestrian and bicyclist collisions. Other errors can be made by not adhering to investigation procedures or simply not taking the time or effort to get to the truth.
Will a Faulty Police Report Ruin My Case?
The short answer is no, a faulty accident report does not mean your personal injury case is doomed. It may make it slightly harder to prove the other party’s negligence if the police let them off the hook, but it will not necessarily ruin your chances of fair compensation. A competent attorney will conduct a separate investigation if necessary, working with crash scene reconstruction professionals, additional witnesses that were not contacted, and expert witnesses if necessary.
Call an Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer for Assistance
The experienced Orlando auto accident lawyers at the Payer Law can help you prove your innocence and the other party’s negligence in causing the crash and your resulting injuries. To get started today, call 407-307-2979 to schedule a free consultation.