This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone.
Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash is stressful, especially if you or a loved one suffered injuries. Besides dealing with the accident itself, you’ll need to handle medical bills, insurance claims, police reports, and other essential paperwork.
Many people assume that a police crash report is always accurate. However, police officers make mistakes, which could affect your ability to get compensation to pay for your injuries and property damage. Work with an experienced car accident lawyer to set the record straight if this happens to you.
When writing up a crash report, police officers usually interview anyone present at the scene. They could exclude an injured party, like one of the drivers if that party has already been transported to the hospital. If the police officer only gets one side of the story for the report, this could result in a biased account of events.
Even if the officer doesn’t assign fault in the crash report, errors in the sequence of events leading up to the crash could influence whether you are eventually found to be at fault. For example, someone may try to claim that you were turning right on red when the light had just turned green.
Fault assignments are crucial in nearly every state in the U.S., but the nuance of fault is critical in Massachusetts. Massachusetts crash compensation laws use the concept of comparative negligence, which awards compensation based on how much blame each driver holds. A slight alteration of the events of the crash could significantly affect how much compensation you receive.
To correct the fault on a crash report, you may need to track down other witnesses to the crash or even evidence from red light or speed cameras. This is much easier to do with the help of a local Boston car accident lawyer.
Errors in Facts
If the report contains errors in the make and model of the cars involved, this can have serious effects on your ability to file an insurance claim. An insurance company may even call into question whether you were hit in the first place, especially if you are dealing with a hit-and-run accident with few witnesses.
There can also be errors in the basic facts of the case, such as the location of the accident. This can happen when a police officer is in a hurry and writes down the wrong street address. Since the exact location of the accident matters to accident reconstruction experts, making sure the crash report contains the correct location is crucial.
Errors vs. Omissions
Sometimes a crash report will be technically correct but leave out key details that may influence drivers’ injury claims. For example, a crash report for an incident that took place on or right by a bridge might omit the fact that the bridge had patches of black ice on it.
The presence of black ice could prove whether a driver was driving recklessly or just lost control due to bad luck. This detail could make all the difference in personal injury cases due to Massachusetts comparative negligence laws.
Another example is the omission of traffic signals, pedestrian actions, or other external factors that contributed to the accident. Even though these factors might not always influence fault, they may determine whether negligence played a role in the accident or to what degree.
Setting the Record Straight
Convincing the police department to correct their report isn’t always easy. Even with hard, factual evidence of an error, it’s challenging to track down the correct person and make them fix the problem.
An experienced car accident lawyer can go over the facts of your case and determine how to tackle the errors. They may even be able to identify other questionable details in the crash report that you hadn’t even considered contesting. This process is critical to filing a personal injury claim in an accident case, so it’s important not to let minor details slide.
You also need a lawyer’s help to make sure expert witnesses in your case can make their claims with the correct information. Expert witnesses are subjected to the voir dire process, in which defense lawyers and judges may ask them questions to assess their credibility. If errors in the crash report undermine your expert witness’ credibility on the stand, it may become much harder for you to win your personal injury lawsuit.
Work With a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers specializes in personal injury cases in Massachusetts. If you or a loved one received significant injuries after a car accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation. However, getting this compensation is challenging if the crash report has errors.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation. Our team can examine your case, including the crash report, and determine whether you can file a lawsuit and how much compensation you can sue for. With our help, you can get your life back on track.