Many people inaccurately believe that all they need is a police report in their favor to win a commercial truck lawsuit. However, a police report is not a definitive determination of fault, as that is not their purpose. In actuality, a police report is designed to aid in criminal prosecution, and they are essential in criminal lawsuits.
Generally, people place a great deal of respect and trust in our police officers, and for good reason. When it comes to catching murderers, rapists, thieves, and other criminals there is no one better suited for the job. However, just because they excel in one area, does not mean they excel in all.
The majority of police forces are ill-equipped to conduct a proper analysis of a crash scene. This means that police reports are not infallible, and their investigations of commercial truck accidents frequently miss crucial details that can aid victims in a lawsuit. Details that could be found in:
- the trucking company's safety policies (or lack thereof), training procedures, and maintenance protocols,
- witness testimony,
- forensic analysis of the vehicle to identify the defect,
- engine control module (ECM) data,
- dash camera footage,
- medical records,
- cell phone data, etc.
None of these things are found in a police report, but every single one is extremely valuable information that can contradict or affirm a police report, but they also make a police report irrelevant. If someone is injured by a commercial truck and facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills, the best and most assured way to prove who is at fault is through accident reconstruction and exhaustive research, not a police report.