If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, the police may attend at the scene of the collision. If the accident caused injury, death, or sufficient property damage, the officer will fill out a BC Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Police Investigation Report, more commonly known as a “Police Report”.
What is a Police Report?
The Police Report is a document where the police record important information about the accident, including the names and contact information of the persons involved and any witnesses, the precise location of the accident, and whether any charges were laid. Some of the information in the Police Report is recorded in the form of numeric codes found in boxes on the sides and bottom of the document. Certain of these boxes relate to “contributing factors” to the collision. There are four types of “contributing factors” that might be noted by the police. These are:
Human Condition – E.g.: driver fatigue, alcohol impairment, or inattentive driving;
Human Action – E.g.: following too closely, speeding, or failing to signal;
Environmental Condition – E.g.: poor weather or a defective traffic light; and
Vehicle Condition – E.g.: defective brakes, tires or headlights.
Knowledge of these codes is crucial to understanding a Police Report. The Vancouver car accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP are experienced at reading and interpreting Police Reports.
How Will a Police Report Affect My Claim?
The Police Report contains valuable information about the accident and will likely affect ICBC’s position regarding your claim. It can therefore be very helpful in personal injury settlement negotiations. The contact information of other motorists and witnesses is also important for conducting further investigations. While the Police Report is an important document, it is not necessarily determinative of who was at fault for the accident. Typically, the police officer who fills out the report has not witnessed the collision him or herself. The information noted in the report is gleaned from the officer’s observations of the accident scene and interviews with witnesses. Since much of the officer’s knowledge was not obtained first-hand, it will often be considered by the courts to be inadmissible hearsay. For this reason, it is important to track down the witnesses who can provide their personal observations concerning the accident.
Do I Have to Obtain Witness Information If the Police Attend?
As noted, the first-hand evidence of witnesses to the accident is important to your claim. Even if a police officer attends at the scene and fills out a Police Report, it is still recommended to obtain the names, drivers license numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, and contact information for all other individuals involved in your accident, including witnesses. This will be of great assistance if the Police Report is illegible, inaccurate or incomplete
Where Can I Find a Copy of the Police Report?
A copy of the Police Report may be provided to you at the scene. If not, it is a good idea to ask for the police file number. This will help in obtaining a copy of the Police Report from the RCMP or municipal police department. A car accident lawyer at Bronson Jones & Company can assist you in obtaining a copy of the Police Report.
Get a Free Consultation from One of Our Vancouver Car Accident Lawyers
If you were involved in an accident involving a car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle, you may be entitled to seek compensation in a personal injury claim. The Vancouver car accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP are experienced in representing plaintiffs. As our firm focuses on personal injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, we have extensive knowledge of Police Reports and the other evidence that is necessary for investigating and proving your claim. Call us 24/7 toll-free: 1-855-852-5100. 1-855-852-5100