Were you the victim of a motor vehicle accident in Chandler or its surroundings? Then you should consult a car accident lawyer to help you with your compensation claim. But, before you go to the meeting, did you obtain a copy of the police accident report?
The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers involved in accidents to contact the authorities. They can do so by calling 911 or the closest Highway Patrol. According to Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-667, the police officers have to file reports for all accident resulted in:
- Injury or death
- Property damage of over $1,000
Any Chandler car accident attorney will want to see the report. Here is why:
Why Chandler Car Accident Lawyers Care about the Police Report
In Arizona, the outcome of your case depends on what you can prove, not on what really happened. And, yes, car accident victims are the ones who need to provide the supporting evidence. The police accident report represents one of the most important pieces of evidence.
It usually includes the following information:
- Time and location of the accident
- Drivers, passengers, and witnesses’ contact information, vehicle registration and ownership, insurance status, etc.
- How the accident occurred and who investigated it
Sure, you may be able to provide your auto accident lawyer with all the above data. But what if the police accident does not coincide with your version of the facts? An experienced car accident lawyer will want more than one perspective of the case.
They will want to see the big picture. Winning a case takes evidence and preparation to counteract the defendant’s claim. Their obvious interest is to pay you as little money as possible.
The police accident report will tell your auto accident attorney what to expect from the defendant. It will disclose potential defense strategies and provide clues for their own investigation and case-building.
The importance of the police accident report is closely related to Arizona comparative negligence law.
Arizona Comparative Negligence Law and the Importance of the Police Accident Report
The comparative negligence principle stipulates that accident victims can claim compensation even when they were 99% at fault. However, the fault percentage attributed to them will be deducted from the amount of compensation they are entitled to.
The defendant, whether an insurer or an individual represented by a Chandler car crash lawyer will speculate that. They will use any detail in the police accident report to prove that you contributed to your own injuries. If they succeed, they will owe you less money.
Perhaps you were not wearing your seatbelt, your speed was slightly above the legal limit, or your car had technical issues. You may have been talking on the phone or texting when the accident happened.
Your car accident attorney will want to know whether there is anything the defendant could use against you. Insurers would use anything to pay less on or be able to reject car accident claims. The police accident report will tell your lawyer what to expect. It will also represent a great starting point for their own investigation.
As mentioned above, the outcome of your case depends on what you can prove. In order to obtain compensation for your losses, you will need evidence that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty of care
- The accident and its consequences occurred due to their breach
You probably do not have the necessary evidence. However, an experienced auto accident lawyer could start from the police accident report to find it. They can use the information in the report to track down witnesses and surveillance cameras. They may recreate the accident or request technical expertises.
And there are many more ways in which car accident attorneys can use police accident reports to their clients’ benefits. The bottom line is that, after your accident, you should remember to:
- Call 911 or the nearest police department or make sure someone does
- Be there when the police come to the scene to investigate the accident
- Get a copy of the accident report the law enforcement officer files
- Take the report with you when meeting your car crash attorney
Schedule a Consultation with a Chandler, AZ, Car Accident Attorney Now!
Whether you have already obtained the report or not, do not postpone consulting a Chandler car accident lawyer. Every day going by could negatively affect your case. As for the report, if you have not yet obtained it, we can help.
At Warnock MacKinlay Law, we always do everything possible to help our clients. We do not shy away from paperwork, field investigations, or court trials. Call our law office in Chandler at 480-757-3211 and make an appointment now! We will take care of the rest!