Motor Vehicle Accident Reports are prepared by the Police when there is a collision and Police attend. A lot of the times this is one of the first documents referred to in a personal injury case.
What does it tell us? Sometimes, not very much.
When you meet with your lawyer, it is important to review all of the documents on your file with them. The review should include the medical records and any other reports. Motor Vehicle Accident Reports are some of those documents, and it is important to review them with your lawyer. Sometimes, there are errors in them.
In almost all cases our clients will tell us when we are reviewing documentation with them, that there is a mistake somewhere in that documentation. If there is an error, we simply need to advise the insurance company’s lawyer of that fact.
Trained professionals file all Motor Vehicle Accident Reports and documents. People make mistakes from time to time. For example, errors on medical records are very common. Let’s say a medical note on our client’s medical file says “Pain resolved six months post-accident.” Upon review with us, our client might say, that this notation is an error. It should say that “Pain is not resolved six months post-accident.” Errors of this fashion are relatively easy to deal with if it is known and reviewed in advance of the questioning of our client.
We remembered some years ago; our firm was dealing with a case where our client, we will call her Jennifer, was involved in a motorcycle collision. Despite her being a great defensive motorbike rider, she was one of those people who, through no fault of her own, was involved in a collision and she was one of those seriously injured motorcycle accident victims, she had a former lawyer to us, and we took over the case mid-way through.
What we learned was that the original report prepared by the Police was full of errors. It indicated that our client was riding west when she was riding east. It showed that the location of where she was at impact was different (like a couple of hundred meters) than where she was.
Why did this matter?
It mattered a lot because then it called our client’s entire credibility into question. While questioned at her Examination for Discovery (part of the legal process), she was asked about the Motor Vehicle Accident Report. Not only had her lawyer not reviewed it with her, but she had not reviewed it either. In essence, it appeared that the only person who had reviewed the Motor Vehicle Accident Reports was the lawyer for the insurance company. In reality, our client was taken by surprise when asked the questions. The jarring questions made her stumble around in her answers. It made her look like she was not truthful because up until that point, it did not occur to her that it would have errors in it.
This case would have gone differently if our client knew about the errors in the report in advance of her Examination for Discovery. She could have been ready to explain the discrepancy in the Motor Vehicle Accident Report. She would have not only been telling the truth, but she would have looked like she was telling the truth.
Reviewing all documentation is one of the steps that needs to happen while a lawyer works with their client to prepare Motor Vehicle Accident Reports.
How did it turn out for our client? Well, it turned out okay in the end as we were able to assist her in explaining the discrepancy. It would have; however, been way better if this difference was noted at the outset case in the Motor Vehicle Accident Report.
It would have been much more beneficial if had she reviewed the materials beforehand with her lawyer. Errors as such are why we always ensure we review all our documents with our clients before Examinations for Discovery and Trial. Reviewing with our clients would have helped us when we negotiated with the insurer in this matter, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
Contact us for your free consultation regarding your injury.
By Val Hemminger, personal injury lawyer