If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts and the police are called or arrive at the accident scene, you should speak with them. This is sometimes contrary to what is commonly advised about criminal cases. We always hear that people should not speak to the police. But, in personal injury claims and motor vehicle accidents, speaking to the police officers at the scene may help your case.
In serious accidents, the responding police officer will write a Motor Vehicle Crash Report or a police report. These reports will be used later in your personal injury claim by the insurance companies and your personal injury lawyer. Let’s look at when and how these reports are used.
Police Reports are Used to Determine Liability
The insurance companies will always get the Motor Vehicle Crash Reports or police reports early in the personal injury claim process. They use police reports to make a decision on liability (determining who’s at fault). This is why you should be sure to let the police know exactly how the accident happened by explaining how the other driver was careless and caused the accident.
Remember, the police usually don’t witness the crash. The police officer’s conclusions and opinions of how the accident happened are based upon, not only their observations of the damage to the cars and the accident scene, but also what you (and the other driver) tell them. Don’t think for a moment that the other driver is going to admit they were at fault. Most times, the other driver will deny any responsibility and may try to blame you for the crash. So, be sure to explain to the officer how the accident happened so it is properly documented in the report.
Police Reports are Also Used When Negotiating Injuries and Damages
Make sure you describe any injuries you suffered in the accident. In serious crashes, where someone suffers a major injury, such as broken bones or a severe laceration, the injury may be obvious and the officer or EMT will have it documented. But, in other car accidents, your injuries may not be that apparent at first. Sometimes, accident victims may sustain a neck or back injury in the crash, but adrenaline may mask those injuries at the accident scene or someone may believe their injuries are not that serious, so they never tell the police officer. In those cases, the police officer may make a note in their report that there were no injuries reported. This could come back to haunt the accident victim later in their personal injury claim.
For example, we represented an individual who was rear-ended in Worcester, Massachusetts. Initially, he didn’t think his neck injury was that bad and never told the police officer at the accident scene. He also refused an ambulance ride to the emergency room. His neck pain never went away. Months later after a cervical spine MRI, he found out he suffered a severely herniated disc in his neck and required a neck surgery and fusion. The insurance company used the police report that stated there were no injuries and the refusal for an ambulance transport to argue that the cervical disc herniation was not related to the accident. This presented a significant hurdle in the accident case, which we were ultimately successful in overcoming.
Therefore, you should cooperate and comply with the police officer’s request when they arrive at the accident scene, such as moving your vehicle to the side of the road. But, don’t forget to explain how the accident happened and let them know about all the pain and injuries you suffered in the crash.
If you did not speak with or explain your pain and injuries to the police officer at the scene, don’t be too worried. Although it helps, it may not be fatal to your injury case. In any accident, though, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to be sure you have someone on your side to fight to get you what you deserve for your damages, losses and injuries.
Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been seriously injured in an accident, you should contact an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney. If the other driver is responsible for causing your injuries, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your losses and damages. You shouldn’t settle for less.
The Framingham personal injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP offer complimentary consultations where we will evaluate your case and provide you with a fair valuation of your accident claim. We offer contingent fee agreements on car accident cases, which means you don’t pay us anything unless and until we get you the money you deserve for your injuries.
To speak with someone on our legal team or to schedule your free meeting, please call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online.