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The role of police in the aftermath of a car accident

Most Californians have likely observed the scene on the side of the road: an accident has occurred, the drivers are standing by their damaged vehicles and a police officer is on the scene, making notes about everything involved. However, what some people do not realize is just how important the role a police officer has in the aftermath of a car accident.

If a car accident results in the need to file a personal injury lawsuit, the information the police officer gathers at the accident scene can be crucial. Many of the details, such as what time the accident occurred, statements made by drivers and passengers on the scene and a diagram of the scene of the accident, can help -- or hurt -- each side in the personal injury lawsuit.

If a car accident is serious enough, someone will obviously call 911 to get the police and other emergency responders on the scene. While the role of paramedics or firefighters who arrive on the scene provide rescue services and medical treatment, the police officer is also there for another reason: to try to determine who was at fault. In addition, the police offer is trying to determine whether any laws was violated during the accident.

A police officer could determine that one of the drivers was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alternatively, the officer might determine that one driver was distracted by texting and driving. If these or other notations are made in the police report, they can become powerful pieces of evidence to recover financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source:, "Tips for Reporting an Accident to Police," accessed on April 30, 2017

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