One of the most important pieces of evidence in any California Personal Injury case is the police report. Most police reports derive from a car collision on the roadway, and so I thought it would be helpful for you to see what an injury lawyer looks for in these documentations.

There are probably about 7-8 important items to review, but in this video, I have narrowed them down to the top 4 items:

1. Property Damage

Why is this important on the police report? What the officer put down as to the severity of damage explains the force and location of the vehicle impact or impacts. It also explains the debris field which can aide in determining fault quickly. Keep in mind this part will show property damage for every vehicle involved in the car collision.

2. Fault

Even though an officer cannot give causation testimony at time of trial as to who was at fault in a car collision case (unless the officer witnessed the collision occurring), I still want to know which vehicle the officer put at fault, as that will tell me who the focus should be on when I am reviewing the police report. Keep in mind, sometimes officers get fault wrong, but that is probably in 10% of the cases. Also, the fault section will give me the California Vehicle Code Section that was violated. Since I have most of the California Vehicle Code memorized, I will know exactly the safety rule violation the officer focused on in the car collision.

3. Witness Statements

These are huge as a good witness statement can make or break a police report meaning they can overturn liability on a car collision that the officer simply got wrong. What makes a witness statement good? I will want the witness to be “independent” of the parties involved. This includes people in other cars that were not involved in the collision, or this could include pedestrians who saw what happened. Usually the officer will do a good job with these statements and include the full name, address and phone number of the witness. Juries also love witnesses because they usually do not have any “skin in the game” to be biased one way or the other.

4. Ownership of the At-Fault Vehicle(s)

Probably the most important item in terms of how you are going to get paid in a car collision case, it will show not only who owns the vehicle, but who insures the vehicle. I am going to want to see the full name of the insurance company with the policy number. Just by me knowing who the insurance company tells me how aggressive the insurance company will be in defending a particular case.

Also, our car accident attorney is going to look at any co-ownership with other persons. For example, sometimes the at-fault driver is driving an employer’s vehicle. So, I will want to make not of that as there will be two insurance companies to pursue instead of just one. Also, with the prevalence of Uber and Lyft, if you are injured by these drivers, depending on whether they were working at the time of the collision will dictate important insurance coverages for your injury case.

Well, I hope this video and blog will help you gain insight into what any experienced personal injury lawyer looks for in a California car collision. If you still have questions in your injury case, please consider contacting me via email or telephone anytime.

Stay strong, Attorney Mark

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Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney