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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Understanding the Accident Report in Your Car Accident Case

October 29, 2021

If you were injured in a serious car accident case, it is highly likely that a police officer was dispatched to the scene. Once there, they may have interviewed you, the other driver, and perhaps other witnesses in order to determine what happened. Eventually, the officer prepared an accident report. You may already have a copy, but if you don’t, you can request one from the police. While the accident report is obviously important, it’s important to understand what it is and what it isn’t when it comes to whether you can pursue a claim for compensation. A Billings car accident attorney will know how the report should fit into your overall case. 

The Police Are Not Car Accident “Experts”

The police obviously have extensive experience in responding to car accidents and are typically adept at identifying the cause of the accident and what happened. That said, they are not considered “experts” from a legal perspective. The scene of a car accident can be chaotic, and their first priority is keeping people safe and directing traffic. As a result, it’s easy for them to overlook important facts and arrive at the wrong conclusions. 

Regardless of whether the accident report assigns blame for the accident to you or the other driver, do not assume that the report is the final word. A Billings car accident attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether the report is accurate. In some cases, you may need to engage the services of an accident investigator (a true “expert” when it comes to car accidents) to determine the cause of your accident and who should be held liable. 

The Police Are Focused on Whether Any Traffic Laws Were Broken

Another facet of the accident report that people often overlook is that the officer may be focused on whether any traffic laws were broken rather than who was at fault in causing the accident. As a result, the fact that you or the other driver were issued a traffic citation isn’t necessarily dispositive of the case. However, the citation can be powerful evidence of negligence, which can help or hurt your claim. A Billings car accident attorney will know how the accident report fits into your overall case. 

The Accident Report Is Only One Piece of Evidence

The accident report can be persuasive because it is prepared by a neutral third party who has extensive experience in dealing with car accidents. However, the police can make mistakes or focus on the wrong thing. It’s important to remember that it is only one piece of evidence in your case. A Billings car accident attorney can help you gather all of the additional evidence you need, including the statements from witnesses and camera footage. Furthermore, they can help you develop your own testimony into a consistent and compelling statement of what happened in your case. 

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Billings Car Accident Attorney Jim Ragain

If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t rely on the accident report to guarantee a successful outcome. You need an experienced Billings car accident attorney who knows how to get fair compensation for your claim so that you can make a full recovery. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today at 406-651-8888 to schedule a free consultation. We also have an office location in Montana and Wyoming.  


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