Do Police Reports Determine Fault for a Car Accident?

car accident

After a car accident, one of the most important things to secure is the report made by the police officer who responded to the scene. Doing so will provide details about the accident, statements from parties involved, what witnesses saw, the officer’s opinion on what happened, and more. While a police report is not required to prove fault in Pennsylvania, one can help a person who is trying to do so.

Are Police Reports What Determines Fault for a PA Car Accident?

Police reports are supposed to contain information that shows what led an officer to determine who they think is at fault for an accident. For example, a car accident report might contain information about skid marks the officer observed, road conditions, and damage caused by the accident. Then, they’ll consider this information along with statements from witnesses and parties involved with the accident to say who was at fault.

While a police report can be helpful for a person’s insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, it doesn’t always mean that it will have the final say when it comes to determining fault. In fact, some police reports might not reveal who an officer believes was at fault for a crash. When an officer does state who they think caused an accident, it’s their professional opinion and is not binding. So, a police report can help a person’s fault claims but it won’t determine if that person’s claims will be upheld in court or by an insurance company.

What If the Police Report for My Accident Is Wrong?

Accident scenes can be chaotic. Additionally, those involved with them can be confused, shocked, and less than aware of what they are saying. Officers are human, and they are prone to making mistakes on reports as a result. So, when a report is wrong, it can feel frustrating and frightening—especially when a person needs compensation after an accident.

While having a police report that works against you isn’t favorable, it’s far from being a factor that means you’ll lose your case or claim. If the police report is incorrect for your accident, getting help from an attorney can help you find the evidence needed to counter it.

A car accident attorney can help:

  • Find and interview witnesses to record statements about what really happened
  • Search for evidence at the scene of the accident, including any footage from nearby surveillance cameras
  • Hire experts who can provide informed opinions about what really happened during your accident

What If the Other Party Lied for a Police Accident Report?

When the other party lies about what happened during an accident, it’s more than just frustrating—it’s illegal! In Pennsylvania, purposefully providing a false report to the police is a misdemeanor that’s punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,500. However, when the other party gives a statement that counters yours, it doesn’t always mean that they’re behaving criminally. Instead, they might be biased, misunderstood what happened, or have the order of events mixed up.

Get Help from PA Car Accident Lawyers Trusted Since 1922

If you’re struggling to get compensation from your insurance or wish to hold the other party liable for causing a serious accident, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC is ready to help you. For decades, Pennsylvanians have turned to our lawyers for help after car accidents. We’re can investigate your accident and work towards the results that you need, whether the police report is in your favor or not.

Call us today and let us know what happened at (888) 498-3023. A consultation with our car accident lawyers is free and will help you decide what to do next.

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