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 an read a crash report.
Investigating Officer’s Opinions on the Cause of the Accident
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 not aware of the fact 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 is able to be used in a personal injury lawsuit depends upon the officer’s qualifications and also whether the investigating officer did the necessary work to satisfy the court that the opinions are trustworthy. In more serious accidents, the investigation team may be qualified and do the necessary work for the opinions to be admissible in court.
Guilty Pleas Can Help!
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.
In the more serious cases involving wrongful death or very bad injuries, the likelihood of a formal accident reconstruction taking place is fairly decent. Generally, if a formal accident reconstruction takes place the officer handling the reconstruction is probably qualified to do that type of work.
Adjusters May Rely on the Crash Report to Deny a Claim
Many insurance companies base their initial acceptance or denial of a claim based upon the crash report. It is the contributing factors and who the officer puts fault for causing the accident that controls many insurance claims.
Of course, there are other matters that 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.
Call Baumgartner Law Firm to review your Houston crash report if you were injured in an accident and not at fault.
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 to 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.
Some of the more common causes of car accidents are as follows:
* Disregarded stop and go signal
* Disregard sign or light
* Driver inattention
* Distraction in vehicle
* Failed to control speed
* Failed to drive in a single line
* Failed to yield right-of-way (multiple variables)
* Fatigued or asleep
* Faulty evasive action
* Under the influence- alcohol (drunk driver)
Vehicle defects can include defective conditions in the vehicles such as no headlights, no tail lights, no trailer brakes, and other conditions.
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 Shared 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 still recover damages as long as they are not over 50% responsible for causing an accident.
Have Questions? Talk With a Preeminent Rated Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about a crash report or whether or not you may be entitled to damages as a result of an automobile accident, call the Preeminent rated personal injury lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation- (281) 587-1111 or send us an email.