Being in a car accident can be a stressful experience, especially if the other driver denies responsibility for the collision. Even with a police report stating you were not at fault, the other motorist may dismiss your version of events or contest liability for your injuries and vehicle damage. Working with Okemos personal injury lawyers can help you with insurance claims and potential lawsuits without admitting legal fault on your part takes knowledge and care.
Do not lose hope if you find yourself the presumed “guilty” party in a disputed auto accident case. Various options remain open to help establish your actual innocence and gain fair restitution. By taking key steps and securing legal representation, you can build a negligence case, forcing the other driver to potentially own up to causing the crash.
Make Sure to Get a Copy of the Police Report
Getting a copy of your police report following an auto accident is an important first step. The report will document critical details about how the collision occurred, including statements from drivers and witnesses. This evidence can help support your claim if the other motorist denies responsibility later.
You generally have a right to obtain a copy of your police report for a small administrative fee. Visit the records department of the agency that responded to the request. Having the report number ahead of time speeds up the process.
Review the police report closely once you obtain it. Make sure all the key facts are recorded accurately, such as the vehicles involved, their direction of travel, right-of-way issues, and any citations issued. Getting errors corrected now can prevent problems later.
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What to Do if You Never Contacted the Police
If the police were not called to the accident scene, you still have options to establish fault. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to file a claim on the incident. An adjuster can investigate and help determine responsibility.
Even without a police report, collect evidence that supports your account of the collision. Take photos of vehicle damage, skid marks on the pavement, and the accident location documenting traffic signs or signals. Get contact info for any witnesses who saw the crash.
While more challenging without a report, a personal injury attorney may still be able to build a strong liability case. A lawyer knows what evidence carries weight and how to negotiate strategically with insurers. While there is no guarantee, it is beneficial to have legal representation on your side through the process.
When the Police Report Wrongly Says You Are at Fault
Even experienced police officers sometimes incorrectly assess fault and make accidental mistakes when writing up auto accident reports that wrongly label innocent drivers as responsible parties. If a report incorrectly cites you as the party at fault, try not to panic unnecessarily, as that does not definitively mean you will lose or negate your legal right to make an injury claim. This common error can be corrected if you take the right steps.
You can politely contact the specific officer who wrote the inaccurate accident report to present additional evidence or witness statements that may prompt them to revise the report. Ask them to correctly reassign fault to the other driver, or at least change the determination to “undetermined,” pending further investigation. Most officers will make reasonable efforts to cooperate and correct errors if you reach out to them respectfully and provide substantive evidence showing their original assessment was mistaken.
As a wise next step, have your personal injury attorney draft and send an official letter to the police department clearly demanding substantive corrections to the demonstrably inaccurate report. An experienced lawyer knows how to properly and formally potentially compel reasonable revisions to police reports. They can also help your position with insurance companies by arguing your side of the case more persuasively and effectively.
We know how to get our clients the results they need in the toughest legal arenas.
The Four Forms of Negligence
When building an injury claim, your lawyer must prove the other driver acted negligently. There are four main forms of negligent driving that lead to accidents. Understanding these helps determine who should pay, and so you know what you are up against.
The most common is reckless driving, where a motorist drives aggressively without regard for safety laws. Examples include ignoring traffic signals, tailgating, or street racing. Drivers can also act negligently through distraction or impairment from substances.
Some accidents result from a driver’s negligent failure to properly maintain their vehicle. Operating a car with severely worn tread on the tires or a faulty brake system demonstrates negligence through a lack of appropriate action. Your attorney can help build a strong case showing the courts exactly where the other motorists failed in their duty to safely operate their vehicles within the bounds of the law.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
Why You Should Be Careful What You Say to the Insurance Company
When an insurance adjuster contacts you about your accident claim, proceed cautiously during the conversation. While some adjusters operate in good faith, remember they represent the other driver’s interests. Answer questions factually, but avoid speculation.
Statements you make could be used against you later to minimize or deny your injury claim. Politely defer questions requiring subjective assessments of fault and only provide objective facts. If pressed further, simply state you need to consult with your lawyer.
An attorney acts as your advocate when negotiating for fair compensation from insurers. They shield you from giving statements that jeopardize your case and know how to deal effectively with adjusters. Trust an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle communications.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Attorney
If you have suffered injuries or vehicle damage in an auto accident caused by another negligent driver who contests fault, it can help to work with an attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer has the skills to thoroughly investigate your crash, build a potentially convincing negligence case even without an initial police report, and aggressively negotiate the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact our team for a free consultation so you can focus on healing if we can move forward fighting for your case.
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