Are the Police Always Right in a Collision Investigation?

Should we accept the RCMP/Police view of fault for a collision?

It’s one thing to have a clear memory of an event and disagree with the investigating officers. What happens when you have no memory? Or you didn’t actually see what happened? Or the only one who knows for certain didn’t survive the crash? Are you supposed to rely on the authority’s version of events? The simple answer: NO!

Investigators are human and they come to an accident site with preconceived notions, preferences as to witnesses and a general bias against any driver who has been drinking or speeding, notwithstanding that the drinker or speeder may bear no responsibility for a collision.

If you have been seriously injured in an accident and you feel it likely wasn’t your fault, you NEED expert advice.

For example, in Willier v Lejeunesse, 2001 ABQB 877, the Robinson LLP team proved that the police had mishandled the investigation of a pedestrian-motor vehicle collision and uncovered evidence that showed the Plaintiff was not at fault. In the end, the court found that the Defendant motor vehicle was 100% liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries.

In this case, Mr. Willier had been walking down the side of the road when he was struck from behind by a truck. As the result of their limited “investigation”, the RCMP actually commended the driver for not causing more significant injuries or death. Wow…

The police in charge of the investigation had not interviewed the Plaintiff, had barely examined the Defendant’s vehicle, and had not investigated the Plaintiff’s injuries or how those injuries occurred. They had largely accepted the driver’s self-serving version of events. Due to the poor investigation, there was little evidence of what actually happened in the collision. This was compounded by the fact that the Plaintiff had no memory of the accident.

Our team at Robinson LLP was able to reconstruct the collision by examining the injury mechanism (discovering how bone was actually broken) and employing reconstruction engineering experts. We were able to convince the Court that the Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the truck striking him from behind as he walked on the shoulder of the road. The Court accepted this expert evidence and found the Defendant 100% liable.

Another example of needing expert evidence to prove fault was a case involving a Plaintiff who was rear-ended while leaving her driveway. The Defence said the Plaintiff was liable for failing to clean her windshield and pulling out of the driveway when it was unsafe. However, after an engineer reconstructed the collision, it became clear that the Defendant had been driving well over the speed limit and was also liable for the collision. Based on this evidence, Robinson LLP was able to recover damages for the Plaintiff’s injuries.

Robinson LLP has been successfully involved in countless claims which start with a finding contrary to police conclusions. The bottom line is that findings of fault on police reports are not always correct. This is why if you have been seriously injured and you believe you are not completely at fault, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately. Robinson LLP can use expert evidence to help you get to the bottom of what actually happened and help you win your case.

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