July 21, 2020

Taking My Own Medicine, Part 2

I wrote the first part of this article here. If you missed it, I detailed how a distracted driver crashed into a vehicle behind me, moved that vehicle to the side, and then crashed into my vehicle. While I was released from the hospital without serious injuries, the whole ordeal continued to be frustrating.

First, a disclaimer, I am pro-law enforcement. I have many close friends who bravely serve to protect our communities. Our officers put their lives at risk every day to protect all of us. I am very much indebted to those dedicated public servants.

The trooper who responded to my traffic collision was not professional. Many of my clients have told me about inaccuracies and errors in police reports. These errors usually make the largest impact when my clients are being deposed. Skilled defense lawyers will compare the police report with my client’s version of the collision. Many clients are dumbfounded when the police report notes that they were not injured.

Having that background, I was very careful to tell the responding officer the truth. I was hurt, I told him, but did not need an ambulance. As many of you know, some very painful and lasting injuries do not require an ambulance ride to the hospital. I also told the EMS that I was injured. They evaluated me on site and told me to get medical attention.

After the trooper finished investigating, he told me he would send the FR10 the next day to my email address. Without the information on that form, I couldn’t verify whether the at-fault driver had insurance, I couldn’t get a rental car, and I couldn’t get my vehicle damage evaluated. 

I figured the officer was busy, but that the form would probably come on day 2. When the officer still hadn’t contacted me, I called his office and left a message. He didn’t return my call. Day 3 came and went without any contact. Finally, on day 5, I received an email that contained the FR10.

Five days is way too long to process an FR10. During that time, I had no information about the at fault driver, I did not know whether or not he had insurance, and I could not arrange for a rental car. That waiting only added to the frustration and anxiety of being in a car accident in the first place.

Next, I found errors on the collision report. First, the officer indicated on the report that I was not injured. It must be a mistake, I thought. I also noticed that a passenger in the car directly behind me was not listed. I respectfully replied to the officer’s email that I had read the report, that I recalled telling him I was injured, and that I believed a passenger’s information had not been included. I kindly asked him to revise his report.

His reply was surprising. The officer told me he remembered me telling him I was hurt. However, since he didn’t see any visible signs of injury, he indicated on the report that I was not. He also told me that because the passenger did not seem hurt to him, he had not included the passenger’s information on the report either. Finally, he refused to correct the report.

I knew this inaccurate report could cause many problems down the road. I couldn’t believe a police officer would knowingly refuse to correct these inaccuracies. His errors could cause doubt about whether or not I told him I was hurt. They could lead to an inaccurate investigation by the insurance companies because the passenger’s name and contact information were not included. Leaving a witness’s information off that report could deprive an injured party of finding relevant evidence and testimony.

In a following article, I will continue to detail my auto collision saga. My future articles will discuss the challenge in getting my vehicle fixed, and how I eventually took my own medicine when it came to being the victim of an auto collision.

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