BAD POLICE REPORT
Fighting Bad Police Reports for Motorcycle Accidents
While a bad or unfavorable police report may seem like the end of your motorcycle accident claim, it is in fact one of the more common obstacles we face at Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®. Unfavorable police reports do not faze us; they come with the territory of being a motorcycle accident lawyer and we know how to pick them apart. We understand how frustrating it can be when your side of the story is not portrayed correctly or acknowledged by witnesses or police. Whether due to bias, inexperience or simple error, even the best police officers do make mistakes and witnesses can be misquoted or even downright lie. Their accounts do not necessarily end your case– do not give up without calling us. Here are some smaller case examples to illustrate how proper investigation and insight can turn a case around.
Christina L. was in an accident while lane splitting/lane sharing on the highway. Backed by an independent witness’ statement, the police report found Christina fully at fault. Consequently, the insurance adjuster completely denied liability and placed all blame on Christina for causing the accident. However, upon retaining the case, we re-interviewed that same witness and found that their testimony of the accident was incorrectly portrayed on the police report. The witness provided us with an accurate account of the accident, which then forced the insurance adjuster to revise the liability. We were able to obtain a final settlement of $72,000 for Christina. Needless to say, the client was very happy that we were able to neutralize the problematic police report.
Carson C. got into an accident with a motorist on a one-way road. The police report was completely against him and claimed Carson was speeding and passing a car illegally on one-lane road. Luckily, he called us and after some investigating, we were able to contact an independent witness and get a solid statement, which portrayed the facts differently. As a result, we were able to recover the policy limits of $25,000 for him.
Husband and wife Mike & Janet F. were riding two-up and run over by an oncoming left turning car at an intersection. Seriously injured, the police report put them at fault for running a red light. This was based on the accounts of two independent witnesses who said the motorcycle ran a red light. Upon taking the case, we began investigating and subsequently interviewed both witnesses again. They were equally shocked to hear what the police officer attributed to them. Witness #1 said the motorcycle clearly had a green light, not red, and he had no doubt since he was right next to the riders when it happened. Witness #2 stated he had no idea what color the light was and that he was certain he had told this to the investigating officer at the scene. As a result of our diligence, we were able to successfully demand that defendant’s insurance company pay Mr. & Mrs. F.—each—the $50,000 policy limits. Additionally both were also able to access another $50,000 each as a result of their own Underinsured Motorist coverage. (Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® highly recommend every rider carry UM/UIM to match their underlying insurance coverage.)
$100,000 Current Offer
This police report had motorcyclist Joseph F. fully at-fault. The opposing driver claimed that she did nothing wrong, Joseph just over reacted. There was also an independent witness listed in the report purportedly confirming that the driver of the car did nothing wrong. However Joseph came across as extremely credible and was adamant that the car made a left hand turn in front of him. We therefore contacted the independent witness who said that the account attributed to him in the police report was not what he said to the officer, and he agreed to a recorded statement very favorable to our client. Upon sharing the recorded statement, the other side offered the full $100,000 policy limits. Client is thinking over current offer.
FULL POLICY LIMITS
Brian N.’s original attorney dropped him as soon as he saw the police report. The officer put Brian illegally riding his motorcycle in the bicycle lane and unsafely passing on the right. Further complicating his situation, he had no insurance at the time of the accident for which he was cited. Our research and knowledge of motorcycle law proved Brian was legally using the bicycle lane since he was within the allowable distance prior to making a right hand turn. After presenting this fact to opposing counsel, they tendered the full policy limits. We were also able to reduce Brian’s out of pocket medical bill in half.
FULL POLICY LIMITS
Our client, James S. was traveling the speed limit when a negligent driver caused him to crash. However, the police report blamed the accident on our client, stating the bike was traveling at 50 mph in a 35 mph zone when it went down. The officer based his calculations on a standard formula for determining speed relative to the length of an automobile’s skid mark. However, when this bike went down, it was metal against asphalt and the motorcycle slid much farther. Due to our experience with motorcycle accidents, the police report was revised to reflect our client’s true speed of 35 mph, the legal speed on that stretch of road. This simple adjustment resulted in James receiving the full insurance policy limits.
FULL POLICY LIMITS
Marcello R. was very badly injured and deemed 100% at fault for his accident in the police report. A Spanish-speaker, he was challenged in finding a law firm to represent him given the negative facts of his case. Despite verifying that the police report was largely accurate and that Marcello’s assigned liability made sense, we were able to point to one arguably immaterial inconsistency in the main witness’ original statement in order to take a hard line stand. In our opinion, most lawyers would have backed out after seeing the police report, and yet due to the severity of his injuries we were able to help Marcello and get him a policy limits offer.