Police Reports: Why They Are Often Wrong
After a car accident, police do an investigation, talk to the witnesses, and file a police report. Although the police report is generally inadmissible at trial in Maryland, the facts contained in the report and the conclusion of the police officer as to who was at fault colors - sometimes permanently -how the insurance companies view the merits of accident claims.
In serious injury accident cases, often there are parties to the accident who are unable to talk to police because they are tending to their injuries. Obviously, this problem is even more pronounced in wrongful death accident cases.
I recently received a call from a potential client who forwarded to me the police report in this case that showed that she was undeniably the cause of the accident. The problem was that as a matter of physics and given the property damage, the accident could not have happened as the police report suggested. What did the woman who was listed at-fault tell the police after the accident? Nothing. She was airlifted to shock trauma. So the police officer listened to the driver that was there, accepted his story and then filed his police report listing the woman as the at-fault driver.
The big lesson here for accident lawyers is to take the police report's findings with a grain of salt. If you have a serious injury case, do your own investigation of the accident as opposed to making a decision on the case by looking at the police report.
- Sample Police Reports (under "Sample Forms for Car Accident Lawyers")
- Baltimore City Police Reports (how to get)
- Montgomery County Police Reports
- New (Since Modified) Rules on Getting Police Reports
- Ambulance Chasers Using Accident Reports