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What is a Police Officer’s Role in Assessing Fault for a Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Aug 28, 2020 in Auto Accidents

car-accident-police-officerIf you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do after ensuring everyone is safe is call the police by dialing 9-1-1. It is their duty to go to the accident scene, document the details and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

The question some accident victims may have is: Can a police officer determine fault for a crash?

The short answer is: Not necessarily, however, the officer responding to the scene can influence the outcome of the claim, depending on the situation.

In most cases, having a licensed lawyer on your side could be a significant benefit after being involved in a car accident. The Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Anderson & Cummings are available to discuss your claim in a no-cost consultation. We work on contingency – which means we do not bill you for our services unless we win compensation on your behalf.

Read on to learn more about a police officer’s role in determining fault in a car crash claim and how it may affect your situation.

Police Officer’s Role

The first thing a police officer should do after a car accident is check to see if all parties are safe from further harm. This could include contacting additional first responders such as paramedics, the fire department, utility workers or other police. The officer could also divert traffic away from the accident scene by placing cones or flares or by using hand signals to direct other drivers.

Next, the officer will start gathering the following information, which should appear on the accident report:

  • The date and time of the collision
  • The location of the crash
  • Road conditions
  • Weather conditions
  • The time the police were notified
  • The number of vehicles involved in the accident
  • The types of vehicles involved
  • The person who called the police

After the above information is documented the officer will then try to determine if any traffic citations should be given. He or she will speak with each party separately, including passengers and witnesses. The officer will record each statement and take note of the physical and mental state of each person.

The officer will also document where the vehicles seem to have collided, such as a T-bone, sideswipe or head-on collision. He or she will also take notes and may take pictures of the damages to each vehicle.

What is a Deposition?

In some instances the responding officer may be asked to provide a deposition. This is when attorneys from both sides can question the officer about the accident under oath.

This process is used to determine whether the officer will be asked to testify as a witness if your case should end up going to trial. Their perspective could help clarify something on the police report which could benefit your claim.

Benefits of Contacting the Police

Even if no one appears to be seriously injured, it is important to notify the police immediately after a car accident.  

Although a police officer may not be able to determine who is at fault for an accident, if you do not notify them, your chances of recovering compensation from the insurance company could be diminished significantly. Insurance adjusters may try to say your injuries were caused by something other than the accident. Insurance policies often require a police report before the policyholder can receive compensation for a car crash claim.  

Learn How Our Lawyers Can Help with Your Claim

There are many ways our lawyers can help with a car crash claim, including obtaining a police report on your behalf. If we determine your claim to be viable, we can also interview witnesses, help gather evidence, such as video footage and medical reports, and negotiate with insurance companies to pursue the compensation you need for a healthy recovery.

The experienced lawyers at Anderson & Cummings have a history of success. See what our clients have to say about our services on our testimonials page. Our focus is protecting the rights of injury victims in Texas by holding at-fault parties accountable for damages sustained.

There are no upfront charges to discuss whether you qualify for compensation. We only receive payment if we secure funds for your claim.

Call Anderson & Cummings today at (877) 920-9009 to set up your free consultation.