A police report from the scene of an accident carries significant weight in court. This authoritative description of the event can play an important role when seeking compensation for one’s losses due to another individual’s negligence. But what if the police get the story wrong?
It recently happened right here in Colorado. A cyclist in her mid-forties, an experienced athlete training for Ironman Boulder, was out riding. She was on the right shoulder of the road and signaling a left turn when she was struck by a pickup truck. The accident left her with a punctured lung and multiple fractured bones.
When police began investigating, the cyclist was unable to speak with them because of her injuries. They were, however, able to interview the driver, who told them a different story: that she had actually turned left from the right shoulder, crossing out in front of his truck when he hit her. With little evidence at the scene to indicate otherwise, police accepted the driver’s version of the accident.
Fortunately for the victim, they did eventually follow up to obtain her side of the story. This ultimately led investigators to reverse their initial findings. They have now issued the driver with a citation for the accident, noting that the cyclist was properly within her lane.
Of course, police and investigators are only human and have to make the best decision based on the evidence they have available. When the extent of a victim’s injuries prevents him or her from actively cooperating with an investigation, a legal professional can play an important role as the victim’s representative. An experienced attorney will make sure that all available evidence is gathered and may even have insights to offer in situations where it seems little evidence is available.
A legal professional can help make sure that an accident victim has a chance to make his or her side of the story known. Sometimes police may even reconsider their initial conclusions when new evidence becomes available, which can strengthen victims’ claims for compensation.