Raleigh Injury and Accident Lawyer
What if my police report contains errors?
Police Report errors are rather common, and are typically clerical errors which simply fail to record the officer's true findings and opinions. First, the accident victim should know that slight, non-substantive errors contained in the report usually have no negative effect on their claims or case. Second, in the event that the error is problematic, we can help to motivate the officer to correct the public record by filing an Amended Report.
What if the officer mistakenly believes that I did something wrong?
Other common matters of concern are disputes over recorded officer opinions. North Carolina is one of only five states in the country that still follows the legal doctrine of pure contributory negligence. Under this approach, if the accident victim contributes slightly to causing his own accident or injuries, his claims are barred against other negligent drivers. Simply put, if the victim is found to have contributed just 1% to causing the accident, the driver who was found 99% to blame owes nothing for the results of the accident. There are complicated legal exceptions to this doctrine. However, as a general rule, slight misconduct destroys the victim's case and right to compensation.
Although many parts of the Police Report are admissible into evidence at trial, most opinions and conclusions concerning speed and fault are not admissible. Thus, most officer errors are not harmful to the victim's case. However, personal observations and measurements are admissible, and if they are recorded in error, steps should be taken to correct the public record.
What if the officer issues tickets/citations?
It is not essential that the police issue a citation or bring traffic or criminal charges against the responsible driver following investigation of a collision. In fact, many Police Departments no longer issue tickets following traffic accidents. Further, even in cases where tickets are issued, it is common practice to dismiss accident-related traffic charges if the responsible driver demonstrates financial responsibility by providing the Traffic Court with a letter from his/her insurer confirming coverage for accident related losses.
Simply put, the victim's claims remain strong even if no tickets are issued, or if traffic charges are later dismissed in Court. If the accident victim is charged with traffic violations, care should be taken to avoid negative impact on the victim's right to compensation for injuries and losses. If the citation was not for a moving violation, typically the citation will not affect the victim's case or claims in any way. If the victim is cited for driver error which contributed to causing the subject collision, he should not simply pay the fine as this amounts to a guilty plea and an admission of fault which would bar any claims against other parties and their insurance representatives. Contact an attorney if you are called upon to answer and defend any traffic or criminal charges arising from the post-accident investigation.
Does the police report contain all officer findings?
Typically no. Police Officers often prepare accident reports hours or even days after the related collision. Standard practice calls for the officer to maintain notes, photographs, diagrams, witness contact information, witness statements, and other evidence used to prepare the Police Report. We contact the reporting officer and secure copies of all documents and outside evidence supporting the Police Report.