Q I was hit by a drunk driver. I got a copy of the police report of the accident, and some of the information the police officer put down was wrong! Does it matter what is on the police report?
In serious accident cases, one or more police officers will come to investigate. One of them is responsible for getting information about how the collision happened – what the scene looked like, measurements and locations of vehicles and physical evidence on the road, interviews with witnesses -- and basic information about injuries of drivers and passengers and pedestrians. Usually, that information is right, but sometimes it is wrong. An accident scene is hectic and sometimes mistakes are made.
The answer to your question is YES, it matters what is on the police accident report. Although a jury at a trial in Virginia will never hear exactly what was written down, an officer who testifies at trial will use the report to refresh her recollection. Jurors recognize that police officers are neutral to the people involved in the lawsuit, and folks tend to believe and trust them. So, especially if the report is that no one (including you) was injured, and you are claiming injury from the collision, it matters. Oftentimes the officer checks off that box if you did not request or agree to go from the scene in an ambulance.
An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer knows how to question a police officer. Officers will honestly say on the witness stand at trial that they are not medical doctors and will defer to the opinions of treating physicians. (CAUTION: If you do not have a doctor to support your injury claim, you will lose.)
Evidence at trial of what happened and how badly you were hurt includes a lot more than just the police accident report. While it is important, it is not the only evidence needed to prove your case.