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Do Police Determine Who is at Fault for a Traffic Crash in California?

Almost every car accident in California involves a determination of fault on behalf of one of the drivers. Police on an accident scene often speak with the drivers and any witnesses to the accident. They’ll survey the damage to the vehicles involved and where they came to rest and issue one or more traffic citations. So, an accident report is then written up, and it’s available to the parties to the accident. Thus, the report plays a pivotal role in determining who was at fault for the accident because insurance companies and attorneys are likely to rely on it.

Using a Police Report to Prove Fault

A police officer’s findings, are the summary of what happened immediately before, during, and immediately after a crash. Therefore, certain conclusions made by the investigating officer are the basis for concluding how a traffic accident occurred and issuing one or more traffic tickets. Likewise, based on the contents of a police report, insurance adjusters must also conclude the issue of fault.
If a party to an accident admitted fault, that admission is also likely to appear in the investigating officer’s accident report. Undoubtedly, the insurance company will take note.

Determining Fault in Court

In an accident involving personal injuries, if the parties involved can’t settle outside of court, they must go to trial. It could be a bench trial where a judge hears all the evidence and renders a verdict. Or, it could be a jury trial when 12 people hear the evidence and decide on the fault issue. Sometimes the judgment is that both parties share fault, so each party receives a percentage of fault.

The Officer’s Accident Report in Court

A police officer’s report of the accident might play a critical role in deciding fault in such a case, but the report isn’t determinative. The report may be useful if the reporting officer cannot recollect events. For this reason, they might testify from the contents of their report. However, only the judge or the jury determines fault.
There are accidents when fault becomes a tricky issue. Referencing a police accident report could resolve that issue. If you received injury in a motor vehicle accident anywhere in California, contact us here at Maison Law for a free consultation and case review with our California car accident lawyer. You can email us a copy of the police accident report, and we’ll review it and discuss it with you. If you have a viable car accident personal injury case, we can help you pursue your legal options.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer Serving California Victims

With so many insurance companies that may be involved in your injury case, your pain and your real need for financial assistance shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. A California Car Accident Attorney works to call out this “bad faith” behavior on the part of insurance adjusters, so you get to keep your focus on your recovery.

After an accident involving a serious injury contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He works closely with victims and families to make sure they have everything they need to rebuild their lives.

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