What If the Other Driver Wasn’t Cited for a Traffic Violation?
A police report is one of the most important tools for filing an auto accident claim. With this seemingly simple document, an accident victim can clearly show how the other driver caused their injuries and why they should receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
However, after looking over your accident report, you may notice that the other driver was not cited for a traffic violation, despite clearly being intoxicated or speeding. In these instances, you may be worried that it will affect your claim, but that is actually not the case.
The Role of a Police Report
When you are pursuing a claim for compensation from another driver, you carry the burden of proving that the other driver was at fault and caused your injuries. To do that, you will need to collect evidence of negligence, which typically involves a police report. The statement of a local LAPD police officer or California Highway Patrol officer can go a long way in determining who caused an accident. If they decide that the other driver caused your injuries, then the report will prove incredibly impactful in your case, especially if it goes to trial.
But it is important to understand how fault is determined after a car crash. When an officer responds to an accident, his first priority is making sure everyone receives medical care and is out of danger. After that, he will begin speaking to everyone involved and any witnesses. However, on the busy roads around Los Angeles County, officers may be pressured to clear the scene as quickly as possible so that traffic can resume at a normal pace. This may make it harder afterward to determine how the accident occurred, especially if the officer moves either vehicle to the side of the road or has them towed.
During this chaos, the officer may only have circumstantial evidence of negligence, meaning that the current circumstances surrounding the accident only partially show what occurred. For example, if no one witnessed the accident, the officer may only be able to make a conclusion based on the statements of the drivers, which can conflict with one another. Thus, he may not have enough evidence to cite the other driver for a traffic violation, such as if they were speeding or using a cell phone, unless he personally witnessed it.
Even if the other driver was intoxicated, the officer may fail to perform a breathalyzer test or not have the opportunity to do so if the driver was rushed to a hospital. This is one reason why a driver may not be charged with DUI despite causing an accident, and the report may not even mention it.
In these instances, you may be wondering what your options are. Insurance companies are well-known for lowballing accident victims when the police statement is vague or inconclusive. They may even try to convince you to accept a small settlement offer by claiming that it is your only option. However, you should not lose hope, as a skilled lawyer can still advocate for proper compensation through other types of evidence.
How Other Evidence Can Help
The police report is only one element in your auto accident claim, and even if it does not include a traffic violation or determine fault, you can still receive compensation. To do so, you will need to acquire additional evidence of negligence, which can come in a variety of forms.
For example, even if the other driver was not charged with DUI, you can still use surveillance footage, previous charges, their DMV record, and witness statements to support your case. In addition, at Aghabegian & Associates, PC, we are well-versed in working with accident reconstructionists. These skilled professionals can look at a variety of details, from the damage done to your vehicle, accident photos, and tire marks to determine if a driver was speeding at the time of a collision. Their statement, alongside the police report, could clearly outline how the other driver caused the accident.
A traffic citation is not the final word in your case. By working with a Glendale car accident attorney at Aghabegian & Associates, PC, our legal team can investigate the circumstances of your accident, and aggressively advocate on your behalf. When we take on a new client, we devote all of our resources to getting them the compensation they deserve after an injury. By contacting us at (818) 507-4311, you can trust that your case will be handled professionally and diligently.
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