In the official Texas Crash Report, there is a section called Factors & Conditions. There are three subsections for officers to fill out, a) contributing factors, b) vehicle defects, and c) environmental and roadway conditions. Here is how to get and read a crash report.
About the Investigating Officer’s Opinions on the Cause of the Accident in Texas
The first two sections are the police officer’s opinions regarding what caused the accident.
The environmental and roadway conditions are viewed as factual observations from a legal perspective.
The admissibility of the police officer’s opinions in the crash report depends on his qualifications and how the crash was investigated.
Admissibility of the Opinions in an Accident Report
Many people are unaware that the police officer’s opinion may or may not come into evidence in a personal injury trial. Nevertheless, we recommend people injured in an accident who think another is at fault always call the police and get a crash report.
Whether the officer’s opinion on the cause of the accident can be used in a personal injury lawsuit depends upon the officer’s qualifications and whether the investigating officer did the necessary work to convince the court that the opinions are trustworthy.
In more serious accidents, the investigation team may be qualified and do the necessary work to make the opinions admissible in court.
Guilty Pleas To Tickets Can Help A Car Accident Case
Nevertheless, if the at-fault party pled guilty to a traffic ticket and paid the fine, the admission might be useful and impact a personal injury case.
The likelihood of formal accident reconstruction is fairly decent in the more serious cases involving wrongful death or horrible injuries. Generally, if a formal accident reconstruction occurs, the reconstruction officer is probably qualified to do that work.
Insurance Adjusters May Rely on the Crash Report to Deny a Claim
Many insurance companies base their initial acceptance or denial of a claim on the crash report. The contributing factors and who the officer says is at fault for causing the accident control many insurance claims.
Of course, other matters can influence an insurance claim, such as witness statements, statements from the actual insured, and other evidence that may not appear in the crash report.
If you have been involved in an accident, a review of the factors and conditions section will quickly tell you the investigating officer’s conclusions regarding the causation of the accident. If you have questions about who was at fault, speak with the best car accident attorney you can find.
Following the section on “factors and conditions” comes the narrative and diagram section, which supplements the factors and conditions and gives more detail into the officer’s opinion regarding the cause of the wreck under the laws of Texas.
The crash report can show other basic information, such as:
- Seat belt use
- Speed limits
- Injury code at the scene
- Officer’s opinions on fault
- Names of persons involved
- Eye Witnesses and more.
Some of the more common causes of car accidents are as follows:
* Disregarded stop-and-go signal
* Disregard sign or light – usually leading to a t-bone accident
* Driver inattention or Distracted Driving
* Distraction in vehicle
* Failed to drive in a single-lane
* Failed to yield right-of-way (multiple variables)
* Fatigued or asleep
* Faulty evasive action
* Following too close- usually a rear-end collision
* Under the influence- alcohol (drunk driver)
Vehicle defects can include conditions in the vehicles, such as no headlights, tail lights, trailer brakes, and other conditions.
Also, not allowing a safe distance between cars can lead to crashes.
Finally, weather conditions can also play a part, such as rain making the roads slick, sleet, or fog.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car wreck or a truck crash. What is recorded under the “factors and conditions” section of the crash report can be very important to an insurance claim or even a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Texas is a Fault State
It is also important to understand that Texas maintains a comparative responsibility scheme that apportions fault between various parties to the litigation.
Generally, someone can be partially at fault and recover damages if they are not over 50% responsible for causing an accident. If you are hurt in a car accident, not your fault; you should contact an experienced injury attorney in Houston, TX.
Contact The Houston Personal Injury Lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm for Help
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy
Houston, TX 77069
Call (281) 587-1111 or send us an email.
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